New Year's Eve Drink Selection...Something for Everyone...

Mulled Wine – Red or White

What You Need...

1 bottle red wine, 500ml orange juice,

1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, 4 cloves, 1 sliced lemon and 1 sliced orange

Adjust the potency of this by eliminating or increasing the orange juice – add 50g or sugar if you omit the juice entirely. Add a dash of brandy to give an extra kick.

What You Do...

Ideally this will be made the evening before you need it to allow the mulling spices impart their lovely aroma and delicate taste into the liquid.

Pop all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a slight simmer before turning off the heat and allowing to cool. Gently warm before serving.

 

Mulled Apple Juice

What You Need...

2 Litres of Apple Juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise & 6 cloves, 1 tablespoon of sugar - with some sliced apple and orange to decorate.

What You Do...

Ideally this will be made the evening before you need it to allow the mulling spices impart their lovely aroma and delicate taste into the liquid.

Pop all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a slight simmer before turning off the heat and allowing to cool. Gently warm before serving.

 

Cranberry & Apple Sparkle

What You Need...

A litre each of Cranberry, Apple & Sparkling Water with some mint leaves, blueberries and mint leaves if you have them.

What You Do...

Mix all three liquids together and pour into jugs leaving enough room for ice and the berry & mint garnish. Serve in champagne flutes or wine glasses.

Sangria

What You Need...

1 Bottle wine (red or white) 500ml of lemonade, 250ml or orange juice and a good dash of brandy. Add blueberries, strawberries and orange slices to decorate.

What You Do...

Mix all the liquids together and pour into jugs leaving enough room for ice and the berries & orange garnish. Serve in wine glasses.

 

 

Spiced Roasted Nuts

In the event that you have truly cleaned out the cupboards over Christmas and have no snacky nuts leftover that you’d like to get rid of, and would suit a glass of wine or a beer, you should aim to roast your own nuts…and not for martyr reasons, but because it’s almost easier that doing the party shopping…

What You Need...

  • 500g Mixed Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Brazils, Almonds complete with skins, Cashews)
  • A hanful of mixed seeds if you have them just for a texture a flavour change – sunflower & pumpkin are great
  • 30g Sunflower Oil or Butter
  • ¼ Teaspoon each of Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon each of paprika, cayenne pepper, chilli pepper (Optional)

What You Do...

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Toss the nuts in a bowl with the oil or butter and salt, pepper and spices. Put on a baking sheet and roast until lightly browned which will take about 10 minutes or so.

Cool before serving; they will crisp as they cool.

 

A variation on this would be to omit the salt & pepper, and to use a tablespoon of honey and a half teaspoon of chilli powder instead. This will give you a sweet and spicy version.

Pulled Beef ‘Do it Yourself’ Sandwiches

New Year’s Eve, again…! Last year we did lots of little bites for a drinks party, and this year we are going to take a different approach – make a big pot of something that requires no input from the chef on party night and let the guests help themselves to tasty little sandwiches that will fill a small gap or a big gap, depending on whether your guests ate ahead of coming out for the evening.

This recipe uses a very inexpensive cut of beef and uses up any leftover cola in the house before you start the New Year Detox!

If you have any gluten free guests in the house, you can omit the bread rolls and let them service themselves in little bowls with the slaw and maybe a few lettuce leaves…certainly no need to do a special alternate dish.

Pulled Beef.jpg

What you Need…

 2.5kg Rump of Beef, or a Housekeepers Cut, Round Roast – any stewing cut which will be inexpensive but very flavoursome after a few hours braising

 4 Onions, Sliced or Grated

 600ml of Coke a Cola or other Cola

300ml of Tomato Ketchup

1 Tsp Cumin Seeds

Level Tablespoon of Mustard Seeds, or Yellow Mustard

2 Tbsp of White Wine Vinegar

 4 Tbsp of Lea Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

 ½ Tbsp of chilli flakes

(Add a Glass of Red Wine or a Dash of Brandy if you have it lying around which will add another layer of depth to your sauce, but don’t sweat if it you’re saving it for the guests!)

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Fresh Crusty Bread, or Soft Bread Rolls to serve sandwich style

What you Do…

This one couldn’t be easier – Slice your onions by hand or using a mandoline, or just grate them if its easier – they will soften down to form part of the sauce by the time your finished anyway so don’t be precious about it. That’s the work done! Now putting the onions at the bottom of either a slow oven, or an oven proof lidded casserole, add the cumin, chilli, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, wine, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and stir through completely mixing the thicker ketchup through the looser cola liquids. Add your beef piece which will likely be completely covered and pop in the fridge overnight to marinate.

If you are using a slow oven, give this 12 hours on low, or 4 hours on high depending on your timing for the party. If you are using a casserole in your regular over like I do, then you’ll be popping it in a preheated oven at 160C for about 5 hours – for a 7pm party start, it will go into the oven between 1 & 2pm and that will give you plenty of time to check it after 4-5 hours and give it an extra hour if necessary, but this dish will happily sit for an hour or two before serving. When cooked – and you’ll know because two fork will pull the meat apart into delicate soft threads really easily.  Use the forks to break up the joint on a service plate. If you sauce is much reduced you probably won’t need to do anything further, but if it’s quite runny, then pour it into a saucepan and cook on medium high until the sauce thickens a little. Pour this over your pulled meat.

Service on the serving platter with a bread bowl and the fresh slaw below. Think about little ramekins of mayo if you fancy it and leave plenty of side plates and serviettes around the room!

What you Need…for the accompanying Fresh Slaw

1 Head of Red Cabbage Finely Sliced (or half red and half white)

2 Small Finely Sliced Red Onion

1 Grated Sharp Green Apple, like a Granny Smith

Juice of 2 Lime

Bunch Chopped Corriander

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

 

What you Do…

Slice the red cabbage and red onion and mix with the lime juice and coriander seasoning well with salt & pepper. Mix well and set aside to allow the flavours come together.