26 December 2018
New Year offers the opportunity to take stock and reminisce or make plans and get excited about the year ahead – but what does it mean for you and how do you spend it?
For far too many years now, we have been getting together with a group of friends to welcome the New Year. We have fond memories of squeezing into cheap camping barns; we then progressed to large cottages when babies came along and we had to be a little more creative when we had teenagers in tow, but we’ve just about got to the point where, sadly, we no longer have to worry about the kids, alas they are worrying about us!
This year, for the first time, we are a little divided. Some of us (the childless party set) have decided to go back to our routes and rekindle the times when we all met – the dim and distant 80’s – and celebrate in true 80’s style. The others, are seeking a sophisticated approach and trialing a dinner party ending with cheese and wine! Who will have more fun? Who will make more memories? I guess only time will tell... So, here’s what we are planning…
’80s themed New Year party
What makes a good 80’s party? When I look back at pictures, I think to myself – surely, we need to rekindle those hair styles, find the leg warmers and complete the look with luminous accessories! And what were we eating and drinking back then? Too much of Liebfraumilch – i.e. German sweet white wine – springs to mind, and beer. As a west country lass, it was 6X brewed in my home town.
Food wise, I do believe we were partial to a prawn cocktail, and surf and turf was a top seller at the local steak house I worked in. Lavish desserts were coming into their own. Black forest gateau was often the centrepiece, with its multiple layers of chocolate cake, cherries and lashings of cream, decorated with grated chocolate. And the humble cheesecake was definitely making a name for itself too. For those fortunate to have a freezer, the Viennetta was a real treat as well (we didn’t all have freezers back then you know!).
When talking about 80’s food, there’s surely one recipe that can’t go without a mention – chicken kiev – introduced in 1979 by M&S as a TV dinner! You can find Chef James Martin's recipe here and here are a couple of deep fryers that may come in handy.
Amazingly, so many of these foods went out of fashion in the 90’s and 00’s but many are becoming cool again as are so many other things! We’d love to hear about your favourite 80’s foods – which ones you think should definitely make a comeback?
Sophisticated New Year party
Moving onto our more sophisticated dinner party. A typical approach is for one family to work hard in the kitchen all day, work hard all evening and your friends have a jolly good time. Hmm… We are fortunate to have a group of friends where we share. The host takes on the mains, but the rest is shared, the more families involved means the more courses and trimmings.
About an hour before mains are served, the doorbell starts to ring announcing the arrival of the guests who come laden with their contribution, be it the starter, dessert, coffee or chocolates etc. We all live busy lives, so some are bought, others are made, it doesn’t matter, no one judges, it’s the getting together that counts, is it not? The best part is we have friends that love cheese, and they bring the most extraordinary selection of locally produced, artisan cheese complimented by some juicy grapes and warmed port, passed to the left of course!
With all things, there’s some optional etiquette to serving cheese. Some may have a lovely cheese board and a choice of knives. Where space is a premium, there’s really no harm in using a lovely chopping board, such as this one. When it comes to knives, cheese knives can help and Stellar does offer a lovely selection too. The real success factor of a cheese board has to be temperature – did you know it’s best to eat cheese at room temperature? So at the end of the meal, do we all smile and say ‘Cheese’ while hoping the dishwasher fairy will coming along to load and unload?
Which type of party are you going to or organising for New Year’s Eve? Are you more of an ‘80s fan or do you like your year to start on a sophisticated and fancy vibe? However you are celebrating, share some pictures with us on social media!
We wish you all a brilliant end of 2018 and a fantastic start of 2019!