The ultimate New Year’s Eve canape menu (even if you’re going to be celebrating on the couch)

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The ultimate New Year's Eve canape menu (even if you're going to be celebrating on the couch)

Whether you’re a fan of New Year’s Eve or not, we can all agree that there’s a good reason to say goodbye to 2020. And there’s no denying New Years is going to be a little different this year, so whether you’re going to have a small celebration with your immediate family or usher in the new year on the couch, here are some ideas to make it delicious nonetheless.

Things on (or in) bread

Chances are, the first bready thing that came to your mind was bruschetta. While bruschetta will always be a great canapé idea, there are some other (cooler) dishes you can make instead. Sliders, or slow-cooked meat in mini rolls, make great snacks that also fill people up, plus you can cook the meat the day before. The recipe below uses pork shoulder, but you could use any slow-cooked meat of your choice. Lamb shoulder or beef brisket would work well, too. And while we’re on the subject of sandwiching things, you could even forgo the bread entirely and use lettuce cups for a lighter, crunchier take. Stuff them with pulled pork, or serve with smoked trout and avo – the crisp lettuce is perfect for one-handed eating.
Spicy BBQ pork shoulder sliders
Get the recipe for spicy BBQ pork shoulder sliders here.

Get the recipe for lettuce wraps with smoked trout and avo here.

Fried things

Fried foods and drinks parties go hand in hand, that much is obvious. And while they’re certainly more fiddly to serve, as you’ve got to get your timing right, the effort is well worth it if you choose the right recipe. This chilli bite recipe is genius not only because it works every time, but because you can make the batter slightly ahead of when you want to start frying. Meaning you can get organised and churn them out just as your guests begin to arrive (and you can re-fry any leftovers to crisp them back up!). Tempura vegetables are also wildly popular and deceptively easy to make. Pick up a bag of tempura flour, follow the instructions and you’ll have crispy veg in no time. The recipe below uses sweet potato, but the choices are endless here – use Tenderstem broccoli, julienne carrots or baby corn, too.
Get the recipe for chilli bites here.

Get the recipe for Japanese tempura sweet potato here.

Raw things

The best kind of cooking for a crowd is no cooking, let’s be honest. To take the pressure off, make sure your menu has something that you can toss together at the last minute and forget about. Consider something impressive such as a ceviche as you can do all the prep in the morning and finish it off just before people arrive. Make the dressing and slice the fish beforehand, and the final flourish will take all of five minutes. Pop them into small bowls, surrounded by corn chips and let people help themselves. A crudité plate is also a crowd-pleaser for a reason, and you can even buy all the crudités prepped and ready to go. All you’ve got to do whip up a batch of hummus or a quick bean dip – and hey presto!

Get the recipe for ceviche with avocado and home-made tortilla chips here.

Get the recipe for braaied crudité plate here.

DIY things

Put your guests to work by ensuring you’ve got some dishes they can help themselves to. A cheeseboard, for example, is the best way to put things out and leave people to their own devices. Building the perfect cheeseboard is pretty easy, provided you’re starting with a good variety of cheeses. The general rule of thumb is to include 3–5 different types of cheeses, and you want a nice mix. There are the usual suspects, such as the soft varieties (like Brie or Camembert), as well as proper aged Cheddar or Gouda. Firmer cheeses, such as Manchego, also deserve a spot on your platter, as do stronger cheeses like Gorgonzola or Stilton. These are guidelines, but the idea here is to have a mix of textures and flavours. Once you’ve got your cheese sorted, make sure you’re giving them a platform to shine with good accompaniments. Make your own onion marmalade or quince jam to serve with it, and put out a nice selection of crackers. For extra points, you could even make your own. Add a few bowls of olives and you’ve got the perfect grazing board for guests to help themselves.

Get the recipe for quince jam here.

Jess Spiro Article by: Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a freelance food writer, chef and restaurant critic based in Cape Town, who can often be found in search of the next great plate of food. Follow her on Instagram @jess_spiro to see what she's eating.

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