JUST SNAPPED @littleswallowchinadoll

A very happy new year

After deciding that NYE was definitely not going to be spent battling crowds, I decided to focus on the things I like most: friends and food. 

So in our little one bedder, we saw in the new year with a feast for 10.

You can't see, but my boots matched my apron. 'Cos that's just how I roll.

We started with the CG's request: prawn cocktail - presentation style nicked from my older brother and sister in law.

Followed by roasted butternut squash soup in bread bowls. This is the super easiest recipe ever, I'll have to remember to share it soon.

A touch of lemon and leek risotto with scallops (baked in the oven - no stirring required!).

Hearty Polpo style meatballs and homemade tomato sauce (note: getting distracted by guests and adding a cup of chicken stock to the sauce instead of the soup will not result in complete disaster).

Finished with roast bork belly on radicchio and toasted hazelnuts, tossed in red wine vinegar. Definitely my defining moment, even if presentation definitely isn't my strong point.

Well, that was the finish of the savoury courses, anyway. My support crew, sous chef Miss B, and chief washer-upper Miss J, ensured that things in the kitchen stayed under control despite my best efforts to lose track of timings, measurements, and to use as many pots and pans as possible. Craftily, the CG managed to wiggle out of all washing up duties thanks to the use of disposable plates and cutlery, Miss J's efficient pot clearing as we went, and nursing a hangover the next day. Cheeky.

After a quick midnight countdown, toast and kisses all around, it was time for Lizzie, baker extraordinaire, to take over the kitchen. And boy, did she. To be exact, we had just as many desserts as we did starters and mains!

Lemon posset was the perfect balance of tart and sweet.

These meringues...oh hell. I can't even begin to describe the chewy chocolate meringue that actually had chocolate chips throughout it, topped with freshly whipped cream and butterscotch sauce...and little silver stars! Heaven.

Absinthe cookies. Yes, these are actually a thing.

These unassuming little icing sugar dusted cookies are spectacular. Actually possibly my favourite of all.

And crumble. Individual, freshly baked crumbles. 

All followed up with cheese, courtesy of Miss J, and washed down with oodles of wine, bubbles, sambucca and jaeger bombs.

We realised at ten minutes to 1am that we'd forgotten the party poppers and sparklers - so we had another countdown and a short play in the street.

And as we waved goodbye to our last guests at 4am, we patted ourselves on the back...warm and happy that we only had a 30 second journey to bed.