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New Year’s Eve dinner party...

 

This is the stuff of luxury – a great way to see out the old and bring in the new!

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Champagne and Party Cheese Twists 
 
The thing about buying ready-rolled puff pastry is that you often have some left over (as you will if you have made the Mincemeat and Apple Jalousie) and this recipe is a brilliant way to deal with it. These crispy, flaky twists are absolutely scrummy – perfect for New Year’s Eve with apéritifs or a drinks party. You can also sprinkle them with sesame seeds instead of cheese, if you prefer. 

Starter

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Souffled Arbroath Smokie Creams
This is a very old favourite that never fails to delight. It’s easy, can be prepared in advance and fulfils all the criteria of a really good first course

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with

Foaming Hollandaise Sauce 

This makes the perfect accompaniment to Soufléed Arbroath Smokie Creams and, even better, it can be frozen ahead

Main Course

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Confit of Duck with Port and Sour Cherry Sauce

Confit is the French word for preserve, and not only is it a wonderful way of serving duck if you like it with a crisp, crunchy skin, but you’re also able to prepare it all well in advance – then on New Year’s Eve all you have to do is whack it in the oven for 25 minutes. This really does take so much pressure out of entertaining. But be prepared – the salting takes 24 hours before you cook the duck legs and it’s best if you keep the confit for at least four weeks before serving. But if you haven’t got four weeks, it will still be brilliant. The sauce, made with dried sour cherries, is one of the nicest to serve with duck and can be made ahead and gently reheated. 

 
  

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Served with 

Potato Boulangeres with Sage

Potatoes boulangères – so named because French bakers would offer to bake people’s potatoes in their ovens after the bread was baked – are crisp and golden on the top, soft and creamy within. They are perfect for entertaining, as they sit happily in the oven without needing any attention.

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Braised Red Cabbage with Apples 

like to freeze two thirds of this to serve 8 on New Year’s Eve and I serve the rest on Christmas Eve as an accompaniment to roast gammon. This is a recipe I have been cooking for years. It’s great because it can be made the day before and gently reheated with no bother

Dessert

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Petit Monts Blancs

Chestnut has an amazing affinity with meringue, and here the creamy richness of mascarpone is lightened by fromage frais. This recipe has been devised as part of the New Year's Eve timed plan, which is why there are instructions to freeze the meringues; you can, of course, make the entire recipe in one go.

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Festive Sugar Plums 

These are great to serve with coffee and drinks after dinner, and are so simple - they're literally made in moments.


Single malt whisky at the chimes of midnight

 

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