New Years Eve 2011 Party

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Right, this is my last blog post from 2011’s holiday season! It’s taken me a while to catch up, but I’m finally there. This post is about the party that I held on New Years Eve. It was part cheat, part cook myself, but the important thing is that we all had a great time, and it was fab to have all my family and my closest friends all in one room as we rang in 2012 to the chimes of Big Ben :)

My kitchen is *fingers crossed* about to be fitted out with a new one – shiny new units, and cooker, and fridge, and decor…I can’t wait! But in the meantime I have to work with what is here, and it’s not very pretty! So I’ll just apologise in advance for that!

There were 15 of us for NYE, and I’ve *only* got one room from which to entertain – the living room. This means that the buffet has to go in the kitchen. One day I’ll have my dream home with a huge kitchen and dining area, but till that day comes…

I’ve got 3 surfaces in my kitchen that I can serve from, so they got covered with some banqueting sheets. They’re paper and fit just right across the counters. Not the prettiest, but they are mostly covered up by platters of food!

So towards the end of the buffet went the plates and napkins – I pile them up with the napkins in between – saves space on having another pile of napkins!

I tend to lay out my serving dishes/platters in advance so I can figure out where everything goes, and if I’ve got enough room for everything!

I also added a glass full of cutlery, as there were some salads to go with the finger foods. Over here would go the crudités, salads and dips.

Piles of stuff, to be used, or put away if I didn’t think I could use them, plus boxes of Christmas chocolates and biscuits that would be getting used up at this party – I wanted to start the new year a junk food free zone!

Would you look at that – a retro serving hatch! In all the years I’ve lived in this place it’s never been used for its purpose. When we get the kitchen done, it’ll be blocked off.

More surface covering and platters for hot food. Also, my glass cheese board – to use up all the cheese from Christmas too!

You may remember my Sunday Inspiration blog post about a cheat’s party. Well, the supermarkets were all selling prawn cocktail shots. I wasn’t having none of it – they are just as easy to make up yourself. So that’s what these shot glasses are for…it’s amazing what you can find when you root around in the back of your kitchen cupboards! I’d long forgotten I had them.

I had bought some new year table confetti. I love this stuff. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and even if you don’t decorate anything else, a sprinkling of this stuff just makes it look pretty.

So a liberal sprinkling of table confetti – I put this out before I lay food out so that it doesn’t inadvertently fall into the food.

And now for the food! A platter of crudités – mini bell peppers, cherry plum tomatoes, mini sweetcorn, carot batons, cucumber, broccoli and cauliflower. This is always my mainstay of this type of buffet.

A bowl of salad leaves (to be healthy of course lol) and some shop bought coleslaw and potato salad. Again, I can easily make this myself, but sometimes I just want an easy life. And a selection of dips to dunk veggies and bread sticks into – but no double dipping!

A platter of cut veggies for dipping, I think always looks so colourful and always gets noshed up by my party goers…apart from the peppers which no one seems to eat, but I always put out! What’s not to love about mini food? I couldn’t resist buying them (we used them up in a salad the next day).

My retro, 1970s prawn cocktail shots…so easy! In a bowl mix up some cooked prawns with some prawn cocktail sauce, spoon into the shot glasses and top with a tiny bit of cucumber. To complete the look I do wish I’d had some paprika! I grew up living in pubs/restaurants and always remember prawn cocktails being served with a sprinkling of paprika on top.

The shots of seafood went down really well! I’m so pleased that I thought of it ;)

Onto the cooked food…platters half empty since I was still cooking stuff in the oven (only trouble with cooked things on a buffet). What did we have? Well, a buffet favourite – cocktail sausages of course, along with chicken teriyaki skewers, chicken goujons, sausage rolls, mini beef and ale pies and breaded mushrooms. Potato wedges and onion rings also came out.

You can see peeking out, a tray of ham sandwiches, cut into triangles that always taste good when someone else makes them!

A cheese board to use up the cheeses we didn’t get to eat over Christmas, and there was also a shop bought pate. (I always buy too much at the holidays, but this party was an ideal way to use the stuff up and not let it go to waste!)

I made my own sausage rolls. Again, so easy! Roll out some puff pastry and cut into fat strips. Lay a couple of thin sausages along each one and fold over and crimp together. A few slits in the pastry, an egg wash, baked in a moderate-hot oven for 20 – 30 mins and ta-dah – homemade sausage rolls. I didn’t leave them long like this though, I cut them into bite size pieces.

Chicken teriyaki skewers – not home made.

Mini beef and ale pies, not homemade, but my mum thought they were!

Can’t have a buffet without some retro crisps! Onion rings and salt and vinegar twirls.

A nice shop bought black forest gateaux. At under a fiver from Iceland, it was a bargain! I love getting all retro with this type of buffet – I guess it reminds me of my childhood.

Individual mini desserts – banoffee pie, choc orange cheesecake and chocolate fudge brownies. That’s why mum’s go to Iceland! ;)

Now for more using up of treats around the house…chocolate stars.

‘Celebrations’ chocolates (in my retro, Disney tins)

OMG, so good…white chocolate and cranberry popcorn!

After a night of laughter and games with family and friends, we rung in the new year…counting down with each bong of Big Ben. Party poppers were popped, hugs and kisses were exchanged tears were wiped away, as we, as a soppy date family always seem to cry at new years! ❤

Then another tradition to watch Jools Holland’s Hootenanny on BBC2, cross arms, join hands and sing along to Auld Lang Syne.

With every party, there is an aftermath…but I don’t mind, as it reminds me of the great times we have had. It’s been a while since all my family were together for New Years Eve, so this one was that extra bit special. ❤❤❤

A bit late I know, but we’re still in January, so…Happy New Year! I look forward to sharing my party planning ideas with you in 2012 :)

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