Festive Menus

New Years Eve

Need an inspiration for  easy New Year's Eve dinner ideas? Including delicious New Year's appetizers, tasty main course, and a delicious dessert. No big crowds this year but that doesn't mean that you don't deserve a nice meal or stop yourself from having a miniature New Year's Eve party just for the two of you. Who says you have to have a ton of people in your home just to have a good time and enjoy a good meal?

Since this is New Year's Eve we are talking about, there is no need to think about calories, consider a healthier option, which is what we will do here so we don't need to feel guilty as you load up your plate and watch a New Year's Eve movie. Even if you have been dreaming up healthy lifestyle resolutions for weeks now, those can wait until the morning—and you can always have a healthier meal on January.

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Starters 

Can't decide between meat and cheese, hummus and veggies, or bread and fruit? You don't have to! A party platter uses a bit of everything — berries, nuts, olives, dips, cheese, meat, bread — to make everyone happy. Stick to lighter cheeses like goat, feta, and mozzarella, so everything blends well.

It’s hard to go wrong with a classic meat and cheese board. The hard part: picking the best pairings.

Mixing the textures and flavours and pop of colour from the fruit. 

Though we love the assortment as is, it is also fun to try different nuts (like pistachios or spiced almonds) and whatever fruit is in season. 

I have decided to start our dinner with a platter. It is a very easy option with two kinds of cheese, smoked salmon, chouriço and homemade hummus. A small choice of crackers and a bit of fruit to make it pretty.

Since was just the two of us I thought this was a great choice to start the evening!

Main Dish

Roasted Sea-bass filled with Quinoa and Bacon plus Roast vegetables

When you want to cook a dinner and at the same time enjoy the meal without worrying on things to do at the last minute, my advise would be to go for a roasted meal. 

That is an easy option to prepare it all before hand and turn the oven on at a certain time and there you go! The food will be ready for you with no fuss and clean hands!

Roasting can be applied to a wide variety of meat. In general, it works best for cooking whole chickens, turkey, and leaner cuts of lamb, pork, and beef. But a whole big fish works great as well.The aim is to highlight the flavour of the meat itself rather than a sauce or stew, as it is done in braising or other moist-heat methods.

Roasting involves cooking food in an uncovered pan in the oven or in a tray. It is a dry cooking technique, as opposed to wet techniques like braising, stewing, or steaming. Dry, hot air surrounds the food, cooking it evenly on all sides. Depending on the food you are preparing, you can roast at low, moderate, or high temperatures.

Ingredients

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Sea-Bass Popular species of bass include striped bass, largemouth bass, and sea bass. Like other fish on this list, bass are rich in omega-3s and protein. Bass are also a goodsource of manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.

Garlic Part of the lily, or alium, family, of which onions are also a member, garlic is one of the most indispensable ingredients around, and plays a central role in Mediterranean and Asian cookery. 

Onions The humble onion is found in every kitchen, but its curative powers make it an important medicinal plant too. Like garlic, it is a member of the lily family. There can be no doubting the power of the juices contained in onions; anyone who has ever sliced one and shed a tear is only too aware that they hold something special. Quite apart from its medicinal properties the onion is simply delicious. 

Bacon is a type of salt-cured pork made from various cuts, typically from the pork belly or from the less fatty back cuts. It is eaten on its own, as a side dish (particularly in breakfasts), or used as a minor ingredient to flavour dishes. I tend to use Turkey bacon. 

The Method

Take the central bone of the fish with a very sharp knife. Or ask your fishmonger to do it for you! Probably the best idea!

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First we are going to prepare the filling. Through the sliced onions and the bacon in the fry pan. You won't need any olive oil here as the bacon will let go enough fat to cook the onions. 

Once the bacon is crunchy and the onions are yellowish you can put the quinoa. 

Here we are using one big onion, a 100 grms of bacon and 1/2 cup of black quinoa.

The black quinoa is great for fillings as it is very crunchy, so it won't get soggy when you put inside the fish. I really recommend using the black quinoa for fillings!

Add 1/2 glass of water and put the lid on the fry pan and cook for about 10 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your vegetables to roast. Feel free to use whatever you like here. The quantity depends on how much you eat. I have used parsnips, sweet peppers, shallots and small potatoes.

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Marinate the fish and the vegetables with olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt and black pepper.

3 Tbsp of olive oil

2 Tbsp of garlic

1 Tbsp of paprika

Salt & Pepper

Brush it all inside and out and place the filling inside the fish. Close and put in the oven for about 30 minutes. That should be the right time to cook the fish and the veggies as well.

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Dessert

Lemon curd almond tarts

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Ingredients

For the base

5 dates( If they are big);

4 Tbsp of almond flour;

For the Lemon Curd

1 Cup of water

2 lemons

2 Tbsp of honey

1 Tbsp of corn starch

2 Egg yolks 

Zest from 1 lemon

These little lemon curd almond tarts are absolutely delicious and not very difficult to prepare. Just a few steps and then you can decorate the top as you wish!

The first thing is to leave 5 dates soaking in water. This dates were quite big, so I used 5 but the original recipe requires 7, so work that out according to the ones you have at home.

Leave them soaking in water for about 15 minutes. Open and take the seeds out.

Through them in the food processor with the almond flour. Spin until they are all well mixed up.

Mould into the little silicone tins and put al of them in the tray to go in the oven.

Bake for about 10 minutes, be careful because they can burn really quick, so keep your eyes in the oven just to make sure.

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The next step is to prepare the lemon curd.

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Squeeze the lemons into the water and add all the ingredients but the egg yolks. Place all in the sauce pan in medium heat and stir all the way through until gets creamy. Turn the heat off and let it cool for a bit. When it is cool mix the egg yolks stirring really quick, once they are well mixed put back into the medium heat to cook for another minute or two. Stirring all the time, otherwise it will stick on the bottom of your pan.

The reason we have to let it cool before to add the egg yolks is to avoid them being cooked before they are totally mixed, if it makes any sense to you! And basically we need to cook the egg yolks afterwords, so that is why it has to go back to the heat for another minute.

Once is cool pour into the tarts and decorate as you wish!

It is easier than it sounds, I promise you!

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This combination was absolutely perfect for this occasion. You could offer this same menu at other dinner parties you may have, your guests will be pleased and happy.  

If you need any help with the quantities for more than two people, feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help you!