A Hogmanay Dinner Party with James Bond
New Year. For the last few years, we have had a house full of guests and generally a complete ‘free for all’. I thought it was time we reigned things in a bit. Start being sensible, and act our age. What I want to know right now, is who wrote that last sentence? The first sentence was a good start, however the second & third part had ‘lies, damn lies’ written all over it.
So, what do we do that’s different to any other Hogmanay that we have done before? Normally, it’s a house full of people and total carnage. What we wanted to do was have a ‘civilised’ New Year. Let’s keep it calm, just have a few folk to the house, a few nibbles, a couple of drinks.
That’s never going to be enough, is it? New Year is all about getting completely trollied, dance on the tables, play music so loud the speakers start to ‘pop’. Get the vinyl records out and play the mind-bendingly weird ’70s and ’80s stuff that we have in the record collection. We are all, however, getting older, so in our ‘wisdom’ we (read *’royal we’*) decided that we were going to opt for the civilised route. I am not going take any credit for what ensued.
It was really Ellen, Mike and Annie that started it all off. All I said was, “I want to have a ‘different’ New Year this year.” It gathered momentum after that. It was unanimous, it was going to be a ‘formal’ dinner party. Mike was ‘up for it’, so was Annie, Ellen, Andy, Mum, Ronnie, Neil and Jenny. Ed was erm… well… I sort of didn’t involve him in the decision. Ellen and I just sort of slipped it into conversation one night. “Formal, my arse,” said Ed. “If you think I am going to put on a Bonny Prince Charlie outfit for New Year you can just… foxtrot oscar. ” That was us told. Ed did agree to his kilt though, that wasn’t a problem in the slightest.
It has to be said that Neil did have a small OMG moment when we said that it was going to be a formal dinner party – in his Irish brogue, he said “Feck, I don’t know if I will fit into my kilt.” Needless to say, 50 hours on the wii fit did the job! Well done sir!! (I had the same feeling about my ‘frock’ to be honest, with 4 weeks of sitting on my ass in the house, it was a thought!)
The menu took a month in the planning. I had a wee trip up to Aberdeen in George before winter set in, and when Annie and I were in Asda, we decided upon a lap supper and DVD night. That’s when we watched Julie & Julia and I have to say, I have watched it again since! What an ace film. For long enough it was going to be Julia’s Beef Bourguignon, however, we knew that that was never going to be good enough for the boys. Whiffly beef bourguignon was never ever going to be good enough. We could imagine screeches of “Beef WHAT?”.
Ellen straight away offered to do some canopies. No, that’s not right is it? Canopies are not very tasty. A bit on the chewy side. Canapés more like. The fact I thought that Ellen was going to serve up stuffed tents didn’t deter her! Of course, pudding wouldn’t be pudding without Ellen making it! Sorted.
Then Annie came up with the Roast Rib of Beef idea. Superb. Ordered with our business suppliers, I have to say it was a superb half cow from David Comrie. At this point, I have to say that the hunk of beef was much better than Comrie’s website! 😉 I wanted beef to feed 10 hungry folk and got a 5.5kg chunk of beef that you would happily eat raw. Decidedly well hung…. oooerrr mrs!
So, it all started with Neil and Jenny arriving on the 30th. Irish nutters to say the least, with the most amazing sense of humour, as you can imagine. A few beverages were consumed with Duck and pancake dinner, oh, and there were ribs too. I think this blog should have been titled ‘food, and how to eat it with drink’, but that’s too boring, isn’t it!!
Annie, Ronnie and Mike arrived at about 3pm, which gave me a good excuse to stop working. Yes, I was working, really, I was (Craig). I had been working from home after a knee operation on the 7th of December. It was really quite good, and pretty productive all told. That’s enough of that cr@p.
So, us girls got busy. We managed to avoid all alcohol, until Ellen appeared, and at that point we thought that it seemed rude not to have a wee glass of wine. Boxed. Costco. Yum. Tatties peeled, carrots chopped, parsnips stripped, spinach rinsed…. what else, the beef smothered with out of date English Mustard….. well, I don’t think it was, I got it from Mum. Oh well, that kind of guarantees that it was at least 6 years out of date. It was a ‘best before’ I am sure. Oh, broccoli, don’t forget that.
It’s at this point I have to say I now understand why Maris Pipers are the best for roasting, and since then, for mashing tatties. OMG springs to mind!!!
When everyone arrived, it was a real ‘wow’ moment. 10 of us in our ‘glad rags’:
I have to say that I felt marginally smug taking that photograph, attaching my gorilla tripod!. I particularly like the wee spirit level on the tripod. The reason I felt smug was Mike admitted that he hadn’t sussed out how to use his camera on timer. Woop, not often I know something about my camera that Mike didn’t!! The group photo turned out pretty darned well… Glad we took it early… hehe!
Now, you might wonder why I have ‘James Bond’ in the title. Highest on the ‘wow’ factor was Andy Brown who we all agreed brushed up rather well. I thought that both Andy and Ellen looked stunning… we should get Ellen in a dress more often!
You just have to believe me here, when I say we took this picture when we were sober, however, it did give us one of the biggest laughs of the evening:
So, the dinner was nearly ready. Ellen made some magnificent canapés. I don’t think I could actually list them all, I would need help for that one! They went down really well, and I am sure everyone had at least one thing that a) They wouldn’t necessarily eat through choice or b) Never had the nerve to taste / combine certain foods! We all had a great nibble! Annie, being the goddess of anything roasted was on fine form…
Before we made a big mess, I thought I should take a wee picture of the table….
Dinner is served. Mum’s butternut squash soup – truly scrummy, then followed Annie’s epic Rib Roast! Much slavering had gone on from the minute this hunk of beef arrived in the house. The honour of carving fell to Ronnie, who, let’s all admit was the best man for the job. I am sure he has carved one or two over the years.
I have to say, it was one of the nicest hunks of beef I have eaten in ages. Well done to our butcher. I don’t think there was much left of the main course to be honest. Before I knew what had happened, Ellen had cleared it all up and washed the dishes… Ellen, you are a whirlwind in the kitchen, and a star! I know Annie was mightily relieved to get her part out of the way, so she could just chill and enjoy it all.
Ellen yet again came up trumps with dessert. Champagne jelly with frosted grapes… lovely palette cleanser! The cheesecake we thought was going to beat us all, until later on when we created a bit of space. We did have cheese too, which Mike bought from Mellis’ in Aberdeen. I would put a wee linky in here, however, as it transpires a wee old fashioned shop like Mellis doesn’t need a website! A stunning selection which we washed down with a variety of Ports! (Needless to say, there was white wine and red wine before that!!)
The table by now wasn’t looking quite as bonny as it started. Mum sneaked away before 11.30, so she could snuggle up with the cat in bed, for the bells. The boys took that as ‘cigar time’. Where on earth did they come from?
I think the rest of the evening was a blur. There are a couple of pictures that deserve to be on here though:
Before we knew it, it was nearly midnight. There was a bit of a panic… quick, get the telly on for the bells… eek, pour the champagne Fi… Ronnie, let’s get the fireworks…. Ronnie disappeared, only to come back looking a bit worried – where the hell were his car keys…. The whole house was searched…. The bells rang, we drank champagne and wished each other a Happy New Year… Then Neil appeared with the keys for Ronnie’s car. Tell me, why did you leave them on the decking, Ronnie?? Ronnie and the boys still managed to have the fireworks going off before anyone else in the village… well done all of you!
The biggest rocket of the night was set off in memory of our pal Jack. We miss you Spratty, and think about you every day. We know you are up there getting walkies from Derek!
Then all hell broke loose. Out came the vinyl records, the bopping around the room started, and the standard of photography got decidedly dodgy. We attacked the cheesecake and generally trashed the house! Prior to the trashing, we did manage to get a good photograph of Mike and Edward:
I can’t remember who was the first to bed, I think it may have been Neil… or was it Annie…. I am glad now that I didn’t do cocktails, which does have the tendency to ‘break’ Ellen. Andy and Ellen’s bewitching hour was 1am, so they left at 1.30 and promptly got press-ganged in the village… I think they were in bed later than we were. Oh well, El, you only had breakfast for 9 (or was it 6?) in the morning! Ed and I did a good clean up job before hitting the hay. I have to say, I am glad we did… my lovely husband did have a small issue of a headache the next morning! Hmmm… I wonder why?
It has to be put down to being one of the best New Year parties that I have had in years. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ‘dressing up’ excuse, and fantastic to have everyone chip into the meal / dishes / clearing up! Jenny did a ‘Jenny’ on the kitchen on New Year’s morning, which was fantastic… then we went down to Lesley’s for lunch… yup, more food!! That was followed up with a chocolate slump in front of the telly! Thank you to our friends for making it such an ace time. Can we do it all again next year?