I have a slightly controversial view on New Year’s Eve in that I only ever do lunch…
As the great Fergus Henderson once said, “Great lunches lead to great afternoons and great nights. With dinner you eat and then you go to bed”.
New Year’s Eve Feast
So, for me New Year’s Eve is a feast, a celebration, a time to share, consolidate and perhaps commiserate the year gone by and to look ahead to the coming year with excitement. But what food?
If you are going to offer a dinner then a celebratory centrepiece would be in order, perhaps a beef wellington, a whole beef fillet wrapped in rich mushroom duxcelle and crepe then puff pastry or a whole baked seabass baked in a salt crust, or a saddle of lamb roasted whole on a bed of Boulanger potatoes – a real showstopper.
This event deserves a dish to linger over, bookended by a luxury starter of dressed crab, prawn cocktail or a plate of delicious smoked salmon.
For dessert, a chocolate tart or even a BFG ‘black forest gateau’ easier than it looks, and delicious!
A lovely cheeseboard to ponder over into the early hours with coffee and chocolates to see in the New Year.
But for me it’s lunch…
This consists of a larger group, family, and friends alike, the food would be family style sharing, homely and humble such as a large game pie or roast beef and dauphinoise.
Last year I cooked roast mallard and chips! A large platter of succulent ducks with devils on horseback (prunes wrapped in smoked bacon) redcurrant jelly and lots of slow cooked bitter greens such as kale and Cime di rapa which are delicious bitter turnip tops spiked with anchovies.
A simple tart, one that would last the test of time, such as pear and frangipane or quince and crumble perhaps.
For me lunch can involve the whole family and any number of friends who may stay for a short while or may never leave… the options are there.
By midnight we are well and truly done, cleaned up, nightcap in hand to view the fireworks, a quick blessing on the year ahead and to bed!