NYE planning needn’t be a stress guys.
Chances are that if you haven’t planned some ludicrously expensive and complicated night out, you will be (like most of us) having a few pals over for some festive drinkies and a few rounds of Auld Lang Syne whilst watching the fireworks on TV. Because let’s face it, New Year’s can sometimes be a mega let down, so ringing in 2016 at a friend or family member’s gaff rather than standing in a queue outside some grotty club seems like a far more attractive option right?
So if that’s the case and you are either hosting or attending a New Year’s soirée, we’ve found some of the best make-ahead recipes that you can prepare well in advance – leaving you more time to quaff the bubbles, play charades, talk loudly about your resolutions, and/or dance around to ALL the cheesy tunes.
Happy 2016 folks!
Strawberry and Vanilla Caipirinha
This fantastic cocktail recipe from Las Iguanas can be made in advance and just topped up with ice when it is needed! Perfect for welcoming in your NYE guests.
35ml Las Iguanas Magnifica Cachaça
2 bar spoons of Licor 43
1 bar spoon sugar
25ml Strawberry Puree
– Take ½ a lime, cut the tips of the top and tail, and then cut the lime into 4 chunks
– Add the lime pieces to a glass tumbler and add the bar spoon of sugar
– Using a muddler or round ended rolling pin, crush the sugar into the lime, pushing and twisting so the abrasive texture of the sugar cuts into the lime peel and releases the oil
– When all the lime juices have been extracted, half fill the glass 3/4 with crushed ice
– Add the remaining ingredients and fold together gently with a spoon
– Keep in the fridge until needed and then top with crushed ice upon serving!
Lovely Lamb Tagine
This great Moroccan inspired dish is ideal for feeding a larger gathering. Make the day before and then just warm through once your guests have arrived. Even though the recipe calls for cous cous, you could always serve straight from the oven with warm flatbreads to save yourself plating up.
2 tbsp oil
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
600 g lamb diced, fat trimmed
150 g carrots roughly chopped
150 g dried apricots
400 g chopped tomatoes
500 ml lamb or beef stock
1 tbsp ras – el – hanout
1 tsp ground coriander
1 lemon zest only
1 handful fresh coriander
– Preheat the oven to 180C
– In the tagine base heat the oil, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic, ras-el-hanout and ground coriander and cook for a further 2 minutes stirring often
– Add the lamb, carrots and apricots to the dish. Pour over the stock and tomatoes, season and bring to the boil
– Put the lid on the tagine and transfer into the oven for 1 hour
– After an hour stir the tagine and return uncovered for 30 minutes
– Serve with cous cous, lemon zest and chopped fresh coriander
Mini Duck Pies
This yummy little pies can be made a couple days ahead and served to your NYE party with post-countdown bubbles. Be sure to have plenty of pickle or chutney to hand.
500g packet of short crust pastry
200g packet of ham hock
1 tub of Castle MacLellan Rannoch Smoked Duck Pâté with Bramley apple jelly
100g of plum chutney
– Preheat the oven to 200oC
– Roll out the pastry so slightly thinner than a pound coin. Cut out 8x9cm circles of pastry for the base and 8x7cm circles for the top of the pie
– Take a muffin tray and brush the moulds with a little oil. Push the pastry base into the muffin case
– Drop a tablespoon of the ham hock into the base of each pie; you want it to be about ½ full
– Spread a thin layer of Castle MacLellan Rannoch Smoked Duck Pâté with Bramley apple jelly using about ½ a tablespoon on each pie. Then drop the same amount of chutney onto top
– Brush the outer edge with milk/egg and add a pastry lid. Pinch the sides to seal and make a small hole in the top
– Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown
Roasted Pumpkin, Blueberries and Spiced Lentils
Created by especially by Madeleine Shaw, for her Eat Smart campaign, this yummy yet wholesome dish will ensure your veggie guests are well looked after. Plus, it’ll make you feel you are starting 2016 (somewhat) healthily 🙂
– Preheat the oven to 200 C.
– Cut the pumpkin up into big chunks. Rub in the avocado oil, cumin, smoked paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes until golden and cooked through.
– While this is cooking place the maple syrup and pecans in a pan, toast the pecans in the maple syrup for 3 minutes stirring well until they are golden then leave to the side to cool.
– Remove the seeds of the pomegranate. Drain the lentils from the can.
– When the pumpkin is cooked through, throw in the blueberries, lentils, a pinch of salt and the olive oil to the roasting tray and stir well. Place the tray back in the oven for 5 minutes to roast a little longer then remove and serve with the pomegranates and pecans sprinkled over the top.
Chococo’s “Black Forest” Ganache Tart
For a showstopper that doesn’t involve any baking, this is hard to beat. You will just need to give yourself enough time to make all the elements. However, if you don’t want to decorate it with chocolate shards & curls, don’t worry, cherries piled into the middle of the tart & sprinkled with icing sugar just before serving would look just as stunning!
200g all butter shortbread
60g unsalted butter
½ tbsp soft light brown sugar
250g dark 70% chocolate chopped
300ml double cream
35g unsalted butter
80g dark soft brown sugar
½ tsp Cornish sea salt
100g griottine cherries
1-2 tbsp kirsch juice (from the cherries)
1 edible pattern transfer sheet (available from online cake decorating suppliers)
250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) chopped
– line a 20cm round loose base cake tin with baking parchment around the base & sides
– To make the biscuit base for the tart, gently melt the butter & light soft brown sugar in a pan and crush the shortbreads into powder using either a food processor or by putting the biscuits into a strong plastic bag and bashing them very well with a rolling pin
– Mix the biscuits with the melted butter & sugar mixture, press firmly into the base of the cake tin and put in the fridge to chill
– Whilst the base is chilling, put the cream, sugar and salt for the ganache in a heavy-based pan and warm gently to melt the sugar. Stir this mixture continuously and take it off the heat as soon as it comes to the boil
– Add the chopped chocolate & butter, stirring gently to melt together and form the ganache. If the chocolate doesn’t all melt, put the pan back onto a very gentle heat stirring gently all the time to ensure that the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Then add the kirsch juice to taste (if just 1 tbsp doesn’t do it for you!)
– Set aside to cool for at least an hour. By the way, if the mixture “splits” (doesn’t blend) on you, stir it vigorously to re-blend once it has cooled. If that doesn’t work, you may need to add a little more warm cream to help it re-blend into a smooth shiny “emulsion”.
– Place 100g of griottine cherries in a shallow dish & pat dry with kitchen roll to remove excess kirsch juice
– Pour a thin layer of the cooled ganache onto the chilled base and sprinkle the cherries before covering them with the rest of the ganache and leave to finish setting in a cool place for several hours. Ideally, you would put this tart in a cool, dry room to set rather than in the fridge as this will help maintain the shine on the top of the ganache. If however, your only option is the fridge, put it in there to set.
– You can simply decorate the tart with cherries &/or other berry fruits or have some fun with melting chocolate to make shards & curls whilst the tart is setting!