2013 was a pretty successful year for us in many ways; planning a wedding, having said wedding, career changes, going to Berlin, Tuscany, France and Vietnam. It was busy, stressful, exciting and memorable for lots of reasons, one of which of course was food.
There has been bratwurst in Berlin, trofie in Tuscany, foie gras in France and … nope I can’t think of anything starting with a ‘V’ in Vietnam. But we had many, many spring rolls.
To finish off our wonderful year of food we decided to have a celebratory feast at home, just the two of us. We spent the morning surrounded by recipe books and magazines trying to devise the perfect New Year’s Eve menu. It took a while. D wanted to bake some bread, of course, so that needed to be factored in. I had decided that I wanted to cook with different meats, less chicken and more duck, quail and game. We came up with a combination of recipes from our favourite chefs and cooks for a full on feast.
There is no better way to start a meal, especially on New Year’s Eve, than with a champagne cocktail. We squeezed the juice from a punnet of raspberries and strained it, before adding it to each glass; about a third full before topping it off with cava. It was delicious! We did the same with the juice from clementines, which was very refreshing and so much better than bucks fizz with regular orange juice.
Starter – Paul Hollywood’s choux buns with mushrooms
You can find this recipe here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/savoury_choux_buns_with_48778
This is a great recipe from the new ‘Pies and Puds’ book that D got for Christmas. It turns out that choux pastry is really easy to make and this recipe resulted in big, puffy, light and crispy pastry buns ready for whatever filling you want. We followed the recipe and used mixed mushrooms. We got four different types of mushroom from our local veg shop; chestnut, Portobello, oyster and some girolles as a treat.
This was a great starter and although it looks very big, the pastry is really light and full of air so it’s not too filling. You could try making the buns a bit smaller if you wanted a slightly less indulgent starter. Although we used nice mushrooms it is still a low cost choice and using creme fraiche instead of cream means it is not too rich.
Main course – pot roast pheasant with chorizo and butter beans, cumin roasted carrots and dauphinoise potatoes.
This was a combination of three different recipes. The pheasant is a Hugh Fearnley Whittinstall recipe: http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/pot-roast-pheasant-with-chorizo-butter-beans-and-parsley/
We had never cooked pheasant before so this was a good way to ease our way into it as it is slow roasted at a low temperature in lots of liquid. The chorizo, butterbeans, stock and wine combine to make a lovely, slightly spicy sauce and kept the pheasant tender and juicy.
To go with it we made roasted baby carrots with cumin and butter. This was another recipe by Hugh, but he used orange juice as well, which we didn’t fancy.
Finally, I used a Nigella Lawson recipe for the dauphinoise potatoes: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/crafty-gratin-dauphinoise-2254
These were lovely and creamy but used milk as well as cream so were not too heavy. I think I used too much milk so they were a bit runny, but still delicious.
Because we decided this feast wasn’t quite enough, baker D made some roasted garlic bread from Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’. I can’t find this recipe online, but check it out in his book, which is brilliant. It uses a standard white bread recipe, but packed full of soft, sweet roasted garlic cloves.
The combination of pheasant and spicy chorizo, the sweet baby carrots, creamy potatoes and garlic bread to mop up all the juices, was perfect. We didn’t talk at all while we ate it, apart from to repeat over and over how delicious it all was and how clever we were to make it all ourselves.
And that’s it! I’m afraid we didn’t make a dessert, and I was quite relieved. We were so full afterwards, I lay down on the floor in the recovery position for half an hour, whilst D groaned on the sofa. It was totally worth it, but I would recommend a decent gap between the starter and the main, or make the choux buns a little smaller! D had some vanilla ice cream afterwards, of course.
The whole meal, with bubbly, cost around £30-40, using ingredients primarily from the local shops in Herne Hill. Thank you to Dugard and Daughters for the delicious pheasant and chorizo (@DugardandDaughters).
Happy new year everyone, leftovers for tonight!