Make your last supper of the decade worth remembering with these food and wine suggestions.

This is it. Just one day to go until this century’s roaring (we hope) twenties supplant what have been, overall, the 21st-century’s rather fraught teenage years. Whether you plan to have a traditional knees-up to see in the new decade and bid farewell to the one on its way out, or you’re more in the market for an intimate celebration at home, here we suggest the perfect recipes for every kind of New Year’s Eve. It’s the last hurrah of the decade; it’s worth making it a good one.

Whatever your plans, we wish you the very happiest of new years, and all good wishes for a happy, healthy and thriving 2020. Like Robert Burns himself, ‘We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, for auld lang syne.’ Hear hear, and here’s to you.

For the dinner party

Focaccia Bites With Pesto And Prosciutto Di Parma

Lavender and Lovage

Even if you’re having a dinner party as opposed to just a plain old party, New Year’s Eve should be a relaxed-bordering-on-raucous affair. You’ve cooked and grafted all over Christmas, and now it’s time for a knees-up. For that reason, we suggest dispensing with starters, and instead letting your guests mill about with a glass of bubbly, while keeping the wolf from the door with some bite-sized morsel. We love Lavender and Lovage’s Focaccia Bites With Pesto And Prosciutto Di Parma. This is such an easy recipe and is as delicious as it looks; salty, carby, meaty, perfect. It takes ten minutes longer but we recommend whizzing up the pesto yourself; the shop-bought stuff can be fine, but it’s no match for the real deal.


Jamie Oliver

You can rely on Jamie for a meal that encourages conviviality. His Italian-inspired schtick is all about the get-together and about sharing good, simple food with those we love most. And at no time is that more fitting than on NYE. As he suggests, you can make this rolled stuffed pork loin the spectacular centre of a feast with all the trimmings, but let’s face it; we’ve just done all that for Christmas. Instead, we recommend his alternative suggestion: presenting it on a board to carve up with buns, salad and dunking gravy. Plus it serves 16-20, making it ideal for a large gathering. Relaxed perfection.

Spanish Chicken With Chorizo and Potatoes


All hail Nigella for echoing a wisdom we’ve long stood by: spinning plates – sometimes literally – in the kitchen while guests descend is the domain of the at least semi-professional cook. For the rest of us gastro mortals, the oven bake is a thing of beauty and joy to be deployed with enthusiasm. The original domestic goddess’ Spanish-inspired rendition here takes some beating. It’s easy, can be done ahead and is outrageously delicious. As she suggests, serve it up with a green salad and some Spanish wine, and you’re dinner party-ready.

Dinner Party Selection

Berry Bros & Rudd
You can rely on Berry Bros & Rudd to deliver a great and varied case of wine from its cellar of 4,000 vintages; after all, it has been honing its trade since the 17th-century, so it really ought to know a thing or two. Its dinner party selections of 12 bottles range from £145 to £395, and each features ‘food-friendly’ bottles, with a selection of whites, reds, sparkling, sweet and fortified wines. Ideal.

For the cocktail party

Christmas Palmiers

Stevie Parle

Stevie Parle is chef-proprietor at no fewer than four restaurants in the capital: the uniformly excellent Rotorino, Craft London, Palatino and Pastaio. He opened his first restaurant – the legendary Dock Kitchen – aged just 24, and before that had cut his teeth at Moro, Petersham Nurseries, and the River Café (turns out if you don’t spend your youth watching Neighbours and Home Away, you can get quite a lot done). This is a man, then, who knows his onions and we’ll take his word on just about anything food-related. Not that these palmiers take much convincing; they’re easy to make with shop-bought pastry and can be flavoured any which way you fancy. The absolute perfect canapé for a NYE party, accompanied by a glass of fizz.

Paprika Chicken Skewers

Hungry Healthy Happy

To get cocktail party food right, you need to ask four very simple questions: can it be eaten without a plate? Will it be messy and stain people’s frocks? Is it tasty? Will it help to soak up the wine being liberally poured into people’s glasses? Scoring high on each of these points are these chicken paprika skewers (ok, so the dip could present a challenge to spilling on oneself, but it’s your guests’ call as to whether they want to dunk or daintily dip). We love the smokey, spicy flavour and the fact they take ten minutes to make.

Mince Pie Toastie

Jack Monroe

Jack Monroe started out with a blog titled A Girl Called Jack. Now, it goes by the name of Cooking on a Bootstrap, reflective of her high profile campaigning on poverty issues and hunger relief. She details the cost of every ingredient, and these glorious mince pie toasties come in at just 36 pence a pop. We say they are brilliant for a party; festive, warming and stomach-lining, they combine a mince pie with cheese and a toastie maker. What more do you need to know? A brilliantly inexpensive take on the St John’s classic: Eccles cake with Lancashire cheese. Who doesn’t love a toastie?

The Seasonal Celebration Case


Cocktails are, it goes without saying, pretty standard at a cocktail party (clue’s in the name). But it’s NYE, and NYE requires a little sparkle. To that end, we cannot recommend Nyetimber enough. Produced in Sussex, it is probably the best English sparkling we’ve tried. As they say: ‘Our vineyards share similar characteristics with the best sparkling wine vineyards in the world. Greensand and chalk soils allow our vines, in each of our separate sites, to flourish across the south of England. The climate here allows for the slow ripening of our grapes, allowing us to achieve the optimum levels of ripeness and acidity, as well as the complexity and finesse for which our exquisite wines are renowned.’ Make sure it’s one of these beauties that goes pop on the stroke of midnight and carries you into the twenties.

For staying in à deux

Pistachio and Orange Crusted Lamb Mini Roast

Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary

Staying at home for an intimate dinner with your loved one can be the most perfect way to see in a new year. The family and friends have been and gone and now is the moment to kick off your shoes and make merry à deux. But fewer people doesn’t mean you need not be festive. We’re all for creating a beautiful repast for the two of you, and what better than with Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary’s Pistachio and Orange Crusted Lamb Mini Roast? It is succulent and celebratory and just the right size for two. Perfect with a good robust glass of red, and a blast of crooning jazz (Abba later, obviously, for when it gets to the dancing round the kitchen stage of evening). The ideal way to see the year out and look ahead to the new.

Welsh Rarebit on Crumpets

Lavender and Lovage

This is one for all those who have done a marathon of cooking over the last week and now, frankly, never want to see a roasted anything until at least the start of February. Sometimes, there is little more beautifully comforting than a simple cheese on toast. But it is New Year’s Eve, after all, and this Welsh Rarebit on Crumpets perfectly jazzes up the classic. Cheddar, eggs, cream, mustard and Worcestershire sauce are all you need for your last meal of 2019 – though we should add that a glass or two of Champagne is pretty much obligatory to accompany. Laid-back, delicious and special all at once.

Chestnut and Coconut Mont Blanc Pies

Anna Jones

There are few puds more perfectly wintry than this lavish Anna Jones-created number, thanks to the snow-capped mountains and the general fluffy white joy of it all. If this is to be the final morsel you hoover up of the year, it may as well be an unalloyed pleasure. The days that lie ahead are for moderation; tonight is the last hurrah.

Chateau Musar 1999

Master of Malt
For anyone who decides to swap raucous parties for an at-home dinner for two, there is one unarguable upside, should you choose to take it: rather than imbibing warm glasses of questionable white wine and flat fizz, do opt for wine at the finer end of the spectrum to go with the last supper of the decade. Your heads and your taste buds will thank you for it, and since you only need cater for two, it is a more affordable treat. For red drinkers, we recommend this 1999 Cheau Musar, made with a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault grapes. It is at its absolute prime right now, so sit back, pour a glass and toast the new decade to come in the right way. Cheers!


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By Nancy Alsop
December 2019