Hello Sweet ’16!

There are still just under 12 hours left in 2015, but I wanted to get in early with my greetings for a Happy 2016!

I’ve made my resolutions already and I’m busy preparing for a New Year’s Day brunch (as you do- or as I do really).  But mostly, I’m looking forward to 2016 and hope you are too.

Looking back on 2015, it was exactly the year that I needed.  The last 3 years have been full of the highest highs and the lowest low, so 2015 was a great year to just be.  I settled into a new job which I love (not as much as maybe winning the lottery and not working at all but….), visited three new countries that I’d never been to before (yes, I’m counting Dubai despite not leaving the airport), I tried to learn German (that did NOT go as well as I hoped) and kept doing many of the things that I love doing- cooking, pole dancing (despite breaking my toe early in the year), reading (32 books this year- just shy of my goal of 35), and of course, writing.  It was our first full year of marriage and a year that The Runner and I both learned a lot about ourselves- including resilience and patience (for me, more than him- he has the patience of the Saint of Patience).   I even had a surprise visit from The Mom.  Overall, it was a great year!

Tomorrow, we’ll start 2016 exactly how I hope it continues- with food and friends.  We’re hosting a New Year’s Day brunch filled with foods that will bring good luck and good fortune in the New Year (according to the internet!)

So, we’re having:

Whiskey, Marmalade and Mustard Glazed Ham– because in many cultures eating pork on New Year’s Day symbolizes progress, wealth and prosperity.

Manu Fieldel’s Lentil Salad– according to Italian tradition they look like coins and represent wealth.

Kale Salad– in the American tradition eating greens on New Year’s Day guarantees prosperity in the New Year.

Pete Evans’ Fig, basil, buffalo mozzarella, and balsamic salad– Eating many fruits are considered lucky and figs are a symbol of fertility

Dinner:  A Love Story’s Peanut Noodle Salad– Noodles in several Asian cultures represent long life.

Cornbread– its golden colour is said to bring gold (or wealth) in the New Year

Smitten Kitchen’s Tres Leches Cake– Tres leches cake because I’ve always wanted to make one, and a round cake because in many cultures round cakes represent the cyclical nature of life- I’m even going to bake a coin into it for extra good fortune for someone.

Nigella Lawson’s Pomegranate and Prosecco JellyPomegranate’s seeds are meant to signify abundance and prosperity

Smitten Kitchen’s Fairy Tale of New York for after- I made a double batch to take to a 2nd Christmas dinner that we never made it to, so we have a LOT to get through!

So fingers crossed, with this menu, set 2016 to be delicious, abundant, healthy, wealthy and fun!

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

 

Nigella Lawson’s Prosecco and Pomegranate Gelatin

So, even for an event I’m not cooking for, I’m still cooking.  Tomorrow we’re having a Seafood Feast- Seared Tuna with Wasabi, Beer Marinated BBQ prawns, oysters, Barbecue Virgin Scallops– don’t ask, it’s a Luke Mangan recipe from last Sunday’s paper…. and of course salads- Nigella’s Red Salad, a Green Salad with Mandarin and Pomegranate, and a Potato Salad- because my Mom always says to eat your veggies.  So, I have to do a little bit of prep and cooking today to make sure it all comes off tomorrow.  

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So, I’m starting with Nigella’s Prosecco and Pomegranate Gelatin.  When I was home and made the Ginger Ale Salad, again out of Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine, I was reminded of how good Jell-o is…. I mean, it’s practically perfect for summer desserts.  It’s served cold, is low in calories, you can make it in different colours, and you can add alcohol to it..  How have I not jumped back on this bandwagon in my adult life?   

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Well today, I’m putting on my boots and hopping on the Jell-o Train!  

First, I had to buy a Jell-o mould, and sadly it’s not the fun tupperware one of my childhood (I know you had one too, with the flower, star, christmas tree, interchangeable top).  Ok, if you didn’t have one, you seriously missed out, because it was awesome!  Oh well, until my next Tupperware party, I’ll have to make do with the Red one I bought the other day.  Functional and boring!

Anyway, I start by following the directions from Nigella and that came with it to brush a light coating of vegetable oil onto the walls of the mould…. obviously if both directions say it, I should DEFINITELY do it…..

First step is clearly my favourite….Pop open a bottle of Prosecco!  Hurray!!!!!  Stop. Remember it’s only 10:30am and not only do I have to drive later but I have lots to do and haven’t had breakfast yet.  Tell myself to resist the urge to swig it from the bottle (it is warm after all) and pour it all into a saucepan.

I add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and stir until it dissolves, then I turn on the stove and bring it to a boil.  Then I take 4 teaspoons of gelatin and put them into 1 cup of water and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Because I’m going to deviate from Nigella slightly on this one and add fruit to my gelatin (strawberries, a few blueberries and nectarines) this is where I stop to cut them up and also to hope that the recipe still works…. maybe 1 more teaspoon of gelatin would be in order???

The prosecco and sugar needs to boil for 1 minute and then you add vanilla extract and boil for another minute.  I then, according to Nigella, ladle 1 cup of hot prosecco into the same jug as the gelatin and stir it until it’s dissolved.  

Now, here’s where reading ahead would have helped.  Apparently, I’m supposed to pour the jug back into the saucepan and then back into the jug and then into the mould.  Really Nigella????  Really?  Did someone forget to tell me that I needed to use a BIG jug, not just a 2-cup measuring cup??? HONESTLY!  Well, since I don’t have my own cookbook or cooking show, I’m just going to wing it…after a bit of pouring and spooning, I put the unsanctioned fruit into the mould and pour the prosecco on top.  

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Everything is going ok, until I realise the stupid top of the stupid mould is leaking……  argh!!!!!!!!!!  Obviously, this would not happen with Tupperware but there’s not a lot that I can do about it now….. into the fridge with crossed fingers and hopes for the best it goes!