Monday, 1 February 2010

New Year's Eve

I never did tell you about my New Year celebrations, did I? So caught up in my pitiful bubble of sleepless nights, weeping and making complicated decisions that I forgot to mention that I did actually have a lovely time.
In January I only managed to post a few photographs of the entire Christmas break before I retired back to bed with a large blanket and an even larger gin.

Well today is 1st February folks, and it is my very own New Year's Day. Considering that the 1st of January was spent immersed in the sad chaos of a break up and the additional chaos of tidying my parents house after a massive party, I didn't really get to experience that sense of boundless optimism and enthusiastic resolve that the first day of a new year can bring.

After going on and on about the planning for the New Year party, at which I was tasked with feeding 22 people, I finally settled on a menu that was filled with amazing locally produced food (Ramsay would be proud!) and would cause me minimum stress.

That menu went as follows:
Fresh smoked salmon, produced at the Exe Valley Fishery
Sausages with chorizo and lentil served with mashed potato and roasted parsnips (recipe can be found here)
Ice cream sundae with Langage farm ice cream, amaretti biscuits and baileys .

The starter was simple and, although smoked salmon feels like quite a basic dish, when there are this many people to feed that is very appealing. I spent a lot on the salmon and on the bread and my dear friend Katy ,who stepped in as sous chef for the night, prepared several plates of beautifully arranged bread as well as the salmon so people could help themselves. This course received heaps of praise, I think it is a rare delight to enjoy really high quality salmon and I was lucky enough that our local fishery is so fantastic (and that the fishmongers had some in stock).

The best thing about the main course was that I was able to make the dish during the day and as such I spent a leisurely afternoon copping onions, chorizo and garlic while chatting to my friends as they arrived at the house. By 4pm all the preparation was done and I simply put two large pots into the aga and left them for 3 hours. The added cooking time (you can put this dish in the oven or ago for just 45 minutes) meant that flavour was even more rich and intense.
The difficulty with cooking for this many people is gauging how much food to make. I underestimated the potatoes meaning there was only just enough mash to go around. Of course I'd always rather have too much than not enough but it did mean we weren't all completely stuffed at the end of the meal and immediately felt sprightly enough to jump up at midnight and dance the night away.

The dessert was a bit of a cop out, I was just too exhausted to make something more elaborate. But we covered the sundaes in sparklers and edible stars. It felt like a children's party treat which perfectly set the mood for the behaviour that followed throughout the night.


  1. Glad the party went well. Love the dress!

  2. thanks Juanita, the cinched waist is very forgiving after an indulgent Christmas!


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