Monday, 31 December 2012

New Years Eve drink nibbles

Cheese and anchovy palmiers

We were planning for the first time in years to have New Year's Eve just the two of us. It's a least favourite celebration as really it's just the end of the holidays with another year stretching out ahead.

I know this sounds really 'bah humbug' and I do feel batteries are charged and I am well prepared to face anything with a positive attitude but, well let's face it, it's really more of the same old, same old with a few highlights thrown in to keep us all going. I have a lot to be grateful for I do get that, a job I love and great people to work with. A family I adore - yes I don't think that's too strong a word to use. Great, loyal and supportive friends who make me laugh. A husband who is right there at my side to appreciate the good, bad and indifferent. So I am lucky and am happy, but you still won't convince me that New Year is little more than an anticlimax followed by a hangover.

But a few of the aforementioned friends were getting together to ring in the new just up the road from where we live so it looks like our 'Johnnie No Mates New Year' is to be put back in the box for another time.

Having come to the party list late we were asked to bring some exciting nibbles to go with pre-dinner drinks. Now we've all endured the Iceland Christmas advert with piles of prepared nibbles that in reality, whether you buy them from Iceland, Morrisons, Waitrose or M&S, are never the same as they look in the picture. And are certainly not a patch on those you make yourself. So this is on my menu to keep my friends happy before the main event... I would have gone mad with some seafood and pork but having Jewish friends in the mix decided to go for things everyone will be able to eat and hopefully enjoy.

Tiny Yorkshire puddings with roast beef and horseradish sauce.
150g plain flour
150ml semi-skimmed milk
2 medium eggs
1 rib steak (enough to carve 16 small pieces of steak)
horseradish sauce
creme fraiche

Beat the milk and eggs together then add flour and beat to remove all lumps. Heat up a small tart tin with a teaspoon of oil in each section then when it is not quite smoking put in a soupspoon full of the batter mixure. Cook until risen and golden. Allow to cool on wire tray. Fry the steak to the required level of cooking (rare, medium etc) then slice into really small wafer thin pieces. Mix up a small amount of horseradish sauce and creme fraiche. Make a slit in the cold Yorkshire pudding and fill with creme fraiche mixture. Garnish with a piece of beef steak.

Tomato and goat's cheese bruschetta.
1 thin french bread baguette sliced into small slices
olive oil
crushed garlic clove
2 firm medium tomatoes
Soft goats cheese

Mix up olive and garlic and brush onto small slices of french bread. Cook in the oven (180 degrees) for around 25 mins but make sure they don't burn. Allow to cool and put in an airtight container. When ready to serve, soak tomatoes in boiling water for 5 mins then remove skins and pips. Cut into tiny pieces. Spread thin layer of pesto onto bread followed by a thin layer of goats cheese. Garnish with chopped tomato and decorate with fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper.

Palmiers with anchovies and cheese.
1 pack puff pastry
jar anchovies
strong cheddar cheese (grated)
black olives

Cover 2/3 of pastry with grated cheese and fold in the final third and then the cheese covered third again. Roll out into a square, cover with tiny pieces of anchovy and chopped black olive and fold both sides into the corner. With a sharp knife slice into thin slices and cook in a hot oven for around 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Serve with cocktails, champagne and love.

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