Staying in is the new going out! If you’ve offered to do the hosting this year, the easiest way of organising the food table is to ask your guests to each bring along a dish, pot-luck style.
You’ll want to set a general theme, like world food dishes, and give people some idea in advance of what’s needed – don’t forget to request vegetarian choices, and sweet as well as savoury dishes.
Food that you can make ahead is the simple key to a good party. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen whilst your guests are busy partying without you!
Grab yourself a big board or a clean plank and get started on this Bloody Mary seafood platter – lettuce cups, charred bread and avocado, prawns, shrimp and smoked salmon with a spiced up Bloody Mary-inspired dressing. All this needs is a crusty baguette or a freshly baked ciabatta loaf to mop up the sauce. I’ve already made this recipe once this season, for family who arrived from America and they loved it – so it’s firmly on the menu for New Year’s Eve.
Another great centrepiece is a classic crudité platter filled with crunchy vegetables and a homemade dipping sauce. Try this Winter crunch salad with a mind-blowing sauce, filled with seasonal vegetables, such as carrots, beetroot and fennel. You could serve it alongside retro-style pineapple and cheese cubes on cocktail sticks, but using local, speciality British-made cheeses, such as a strong cheddar, Double Gloucester, or even a cheese combined with chilli peppers for an extra flavour kick.
I love to roast up a big pork shoulder, very slowly, so that it’s meltingly soft and can be piled up into rolls to make sandwiches. This New Year I’ve found a new recipe to try – a leaner pork loin roast to make Posh roast pork party kebabs. A 2kg loin of pork will only take an hour and twenty minutes to cook, whereas a slow-roasted shoulder takes around 3-4 hours. Serve with plenty of salad on the side and a stack of lightly warmed pitta breads.
You’ll definitely want to wow your guests with a decadent dessert. A tiramisu is a great Italian classic that you can make in a huge bowl. Or stick with a classic British retro trifle layered up with sponge fingers, fruit, jelly and custard. Give everyone a large spoon and get them to dig in.
And to set the tone and create a fun welcome, practice your cocktail-making skills with a pimped-up Prosecco and crank up the volume on the music as the guests arrive!
Wishing you all a healthy and happy New Year!