Hello! I’ve been very quiet recently, and for that I apologise – I seemed to perfectly time taking a break from making videos with becoming so busy I didn’t have time to blog. I’ve also been at work over Christmas so haven’t had that much time to be on the computer.
But I’ve had a few comments from people saying that some of my recipes would be good for New Year’s Eve party food, so I thought I’d do a bit of a round-up of good NYE recipes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re having a quiet evening with a group of friends, planning to be up until 3am and spend the first morning of 2016 with your head in the toilet or just going to be quietly watching Jools Holland with your other half – nice food always makes it feel a bit special.
So, let’s start with savoury and mini-baked Scotch eggs. They’re easy to make, baked rather than fried so that liiiiitle bit healthier for you, a total classic, and they’re also bite-sized so you don’t end up chewing through a tennis-ball sized mass of pork and egg. This is a good one to get the kids involved in.
Another thing you can make ahead and then just leave for people is a kebab. Wooden skewers are cheap enough in a big supermarket or Wilkinsons, and if you blast some music or catch up on Christmas TV whilst you do it you can power through assembling the ingredients in no time at all. I’ve got two good kebab recipes – chicken and pepper and lamb and pineapple. Make them, cook them, leave them on a plate for people to enjoy with some salad.
Other things you can cook ahead and leave out include fully loaded sweet potato skins, burgers and buns (I like my lamb and leek burgers but I’ve also got chilli and coriander burgers, ultimate cheeseburgers and cajun chicken with bacon burgers), rosemary and sea-salt flatbreads and spiced chicken nuggets. Oh, and my KFC chicken! One of my most popular recipes to date, and it would be easy to make a huge batch and then leave on a tray for people to pick at.
I once went to a party where the host had made a huge tray of baked potatoes and then had various toppings to go in them – baked beans, tuna salad, cheese, that kind of thing. Importantly, though, they’d also made an enormous vat of chilli to go with it. Jacket potatoes topped with chill is such a comfort food, and we all ate it in the garden watching the fireworks go off. The chill in my chilli skins recipe is a great one for this, but there’s also buffalo chicken chilli if you want something a bit different or you can use Jamie Oliver’s veggie chilli with roasted sweet potato for vegetarians.
Then, if you wanted to go even further, you could serve rice with the chilli so people could choose if they wanted jacket potatoes or rice. I’ve got saffron and coriander rice and lemon and coriander rice which would both go very nicely with these.
Again on the theme of batch-cooking food for your guests, I love this cheaty chicken curry recipe. It really is the kind of recipe where you just bung some stuff in a pan and it uses frozen mixed veg so you don’t have to spend hours standing over a chopping board. Make a big pot of it, let it simmer, then put it out for your guests to help themselves to. Maximum effect, minimum effort.
If you don’t fancy having something that needs to be kept warm, there are still plenty of other options for you. I made this Bombay Pie a few years ago but you still love it even now – it’s basically a giant samosa, and it is wonderful. The recipe makes two, so it’s great for feeding a crowd but you can always freeze one if you need to – or enjoy the leftovers the next day!
And we haven’t started on sides yet! I have so many – simple potato salad, fennel seed coleslaw, hot spicy potatoes and rosemary potatoes to name a few. They’re all in my side dishes section, go check them out. And you must make this braised red cabbage with apples. It’s utterly delicious, and great with something meaty like chilli or pulled pork.
So now you’ve plied your guests with all this delicious savoury food…what’s for dessert?
Or you might like something a bit spectacular. If you’re a fan of fresher, cleaner flavours, then this Key Lime Pie is deceptively easy to make but looks beautiful.
I’ve made this Malteser Cake for parties and celebrations more times than I can say, and it always, always goes down well.
If you use pre-bought pastry you can quickly make a dessert that seems like it took ages when actually it took no time at all. My peach and chocolate squares are a great example of this as they use pre-bought pastry and peach slices from a tin but always make people coo with delight when they try them. But there’s also Daim Bar tarts and cherry chocolate pies if you fancy something more chocolatey.
If you’re a bit more confident in the kitchen, why not give meringues a go? This is my foolproof recipe for chocolate meringues. That post has a step-by-step set of photo instructions and a video tutorial. I’ve had people tell me they’ve struggled to make meringues their whole lives, but following my recipe and instructions has finally let them make them. I’ve also brought these meringues to a dinner party and been told they’re the best meringues they’ve ever tasted, so y’know. This is a bloody good recipe. Dare you to give it a go.
And finally, for those of you who are really trying to stay healthy, fruit salad. But not just any fruit salad. This is a Mexican inspired fruit salad, filled with strawberries and mango and mint leaves and steeped in a little sugar and tequila (hey, it’s New Year’s Eve, you can’t be too healthy). It’s deliciously grown-up, and eating it feels a bit like fireworks going off in your mouth – the flavours are intense and sweet and tangy and complimentary, and it’s just wonderful. Another thing you can make ahead, chuck in a bowl and pull out at the last second to delight your guests.
So there you go. My recommendations for New Year’s Eve party food. Have you seen anything you like the look of? Let me know in the comments.
I hope you have a very Happy New Year, and that 2016 brings you everything you want it to. See you next year!