A New Year’s Eve Dinner

Our New Year’s Eve wasn’t full of party revellers, huge crowds and explosive fireworks.  It was celebrated in a very civilised yet casual way of a sit-down dinner party for 10, held at a recently renovated tiny cottage on the mid-NSW coast.

Setting the table

Setting the table

We were in Stuart’s Point for New Year’s Eve and staying in the little renovated cottage.  My friend, Jen, was staying in the cottage her grandfather built about a hundred years ago, that backs onto the property we were staying in.

Getting everything organised

Getting everything organised

Jen told me she had planned a New Year’s Eve dinner and that it was going to be held on our verandah around the bar-be-cue.  There would be an assortment of family, friends and age groups gathered and Jen, being a forward-thinker, had already planned the menu.

But I don’t like to be idle so I said, ‘Okay, well I will set the table.  I have in my suitcase, (that one of my readers is now referring to as my Mary Poppins carpet bag), candles I brought with me from Sydney.  What’s on the menu?’

I just love Alfie's chair

I just love Alfie’s chair

And Jen rattled off everything she was preparing in her kitchen that was in original condition and the size of a linen cupboard.  I said, ‘Jen, you have to let me make something; I’ll do the salads’.  Jen agreed and then I said, ‘And I’ll get some drinks’, and she said, ‘The drinks are sorted’.  (If you have a friend like this, you want to hang on to them).

No one likes to be thirsty

No one likes to be thirsty

So I strolled down to the corner store and looked at the one row of vegetables and wondered what salads I could make.  I can tell you now, decisions are very easy when there’s less than a dozen items to choose from!

I made a potato salad using baby potatoes that were steamed then cut in half.  The dressing was sour cream and whole-egg mayonnaise with capers and chopped baby gherkins.  I did try to use cornichons instead of gherkins as they are a little more sharp in flavour and have better crunch but cornichons are very elusive in Stuart’s Point.  I topped the salad with some chopped organic eggs, chives and mint from Jen’s garden.

Potato salad

Potato salad

The green salad was fairly basic.  I bought a packet of baby spinach leaves and added to it some halved cherry tomatoes, steamed snow peas and toasted slivered almonds.  However, for Christmas, Elsie, (my parents’ dog), had given me a bottle of very special olive oil and a bottle of treasured caramelised balsamic vinegar and I had these in my carpet bag as well.  The salad was taken to new heights.  Jen and I tasted the dressing and agreed, simple foods can go to another dimension if the oil and vinegar are exceptional.

Greend salad

Green salad

Drew attended to the barbie.  He was in charge of the sausages and the eye fillet of beef Jen was able to buy from the local butcher.  He was also in charge of the music box that came with me in my carpet bag.

Happy with his work

Pulling a face

The entire evening was completely relaxed and casual.  We started the meal with a pre-dinner drink together with a cheese and nut platter.

Cheese and nut platter

Cheese and nut platter

The entree was a deconstructed prawn cocktail where you took an iceberg lettuce leaf, filled it with prawns, topped it with Jen’s homemade dressing, then wrapped it up to eat with your hands.

Prawns for the prawn cocktails

Prawns for the prawn cocktails

Then we had oysters served very simply with wedges of lemon.



If you didn’t want oysters there were lamb kofta sticks made by Jen and these were also served with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Lamb kofta sticks with lemon wedges

Lamb kofta sticks with lemon wedges

The main course was the sliced beef with sausages and the salads.

Beef sausages

Beef sausages

There were also prawns that had been coated in a spicy coconut batter then fried and served with a homemade dressing.

Spicy battered prawns

Spicy battered prawns

And then we had dessert.  I don’t know where Jen found the space or the time but she had whipped up a Bombe Alaska.  It came to the table and in spectacular style was set alight while we all reeled back, not wishing to lose an eyebrow.



The Bombe was sliced and served with fresh berries and a glass of French bubbles, Christmas cake I had in my carpet bag and lots of chocolates.

Cutting into the Bombe Alaska

Cutting into the Bombe Alaska

We had a toast to friends old and new, then sat back socialising until 2015 disappeared and the new year began.  From start to finish, our New Year’s Eve was fabulous.  It was simple but relaxing, festive yet intimate, and casual yet elegant.  I hope your New Year’s Eve was equally as good.

Dessert is served

Dessert is served


  1. Sounds lovely and impressive! Jen does sound like a keeper. And I think I would like to have a Mary Poppins carpet bag to take about with me!

  2. Happy New Year! We went to my friend (old boss) Kim’s place because she was also celebrating a benchmark birthday! We had sushi and I made a salad to take over, but your dinner is certainly over the top, it sounds like you guys had a great time. Your carpet bag sounds awesome! And you would be that friend anyone would want to have!

  3. Happy New Year … for a spread like that, the new year should be celebrated monthly.

  4. What a fantastic and wonderfully tasty New Years eve. Perfect in every way.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 xo

  5. Hi Charlie, sounds like the perfect way to celebrate, it does seem like you have a bag of tricks….Have a great week-end!

  6. Happy happy new year Charlie!! Looks like a lovely low-key ring in!

  7. How gorgeous! And deceptive!! Hmm, it may have been in quiet Stuart’s Point but fresh oysters [which cost a mint these days!] and the blessed ‘Widow’ were not in short supply . . . glad you saw the Year in in such suitable fashion!!!

  8. What a perfect meal to welcome the new year! We had NYE in San Fran this year, and this was the first time in living memory we didn’t have a bunch of friends with us. My mum was with us so she minded misses 8 and 10 while the Hungry Dad and I had a lovely, sophisticated meal overlooking the water. Sigh…

  9. Mary Galea says:

    Your party sounds perfect Charlie. Simple ingredients served spectacularly outshines elaborate every time. And caramelised balsamic is divine! I have a treasured bottle too, and it gets used very sparingly…!
    We had a blissful, utterly quiet NYE sitting on our boat, completely alone, on the Glenelg River in Victoria. The joy of only the two of us with the only sounds of nature was indescribable. No internet, no people….just us. Unlike the three times we’ve sat on the boat in Sydney Harbour surrounded by 50,000 other boats and 1,500,000 people, all in awe of the fireworks! They were also amazing experiences, but I do think I prefer the alone time.

  10. What a wonderful way to celebrate New Year’s Charlie! I can’t even imagine how nice it would be to celebrate New Year’s in warm weather but, I do have a taste now from your amazing pictures!

    Thank you so much for sharing…Happy New Year!

  11. Aw that sounds great Charlie. Like you I always feel it best to have a carpet bag of goodies when travelling. Happy New Year xxxx ( again)

  12. It sounds like a perfect celebration. Best wishes for a hotly spiced and very successful 2016!

  13. Looks fabulous Charlie. We always have a quiet nye ourselves. And no resolutions:)

  14. Oh, my gosh, what a feast!!! The PERFECT way to usher in 2016—with dear friends and family! xo

  15. It looks like you all did very well with just one corner store to provide the ingredients! It sounds like a lovely way to welcome in a new year, and yes, Alfie’s chair is excellent 🙂

  16. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Sounds like a perfect evening with fabulous food and friends.

  17. Looks like a totally YUM way to bring in the New Year, I was in bed at 1030am and woke to text messages just after 12 wishing me a great 2016, total party animal this end. Lol!

  18. Oh YUM! Those oysters look great! What a fun night!

  19. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate NYE. And I love that you just happen to carry around candles in your carpet bag! lol

  20. i lost track of how many sausages, pav and drinks I had over christmas, love the food and drink spread!

  21. Your bag IS a Mary Poppins bag! You’ve been pulling so many amazing things out of it. 🙂 This meal is spectacular. 🙂

  22. And here we are already half way into January – time does fly by when you get older 🙂

  23. A perfect way to end the old year and start the new one – with family, good friends and good food. Speaking of good food you sure had a gorgeous and delicious spread. I am not a dessert person but would love a slice of that Bombe Alaska now for breakfast.

  24. Happy New Year, Charlie … it sounds like your New Year’s Eve celebrations were very casual, relaxed and spent with great friends … what more could you want … perfect!

  25. Whoa! Bombe Alaska! I wanted to see how it was served! That sounds like a perfect dessert for a special occasion like NYE! Really cool! Your celebrations always include lots of beautiful and delicious foods and I look forward to your post every occasion. 🙂

  26. What a wonderful way to start the new year. That looks like a really fun and relaxing party with fantastic food and friends. Love the bombe.

  27. We never kick up our heels too much on new year’s eve, so had a similar quiet, pleasant dinner party with dear friends.
    I love the idea of the deconstructed prawn cocktails and will be stealing it for a shared dinner we have coming up with our local fire-fighters!

  28. I can’t believe I missed this post–have been silly busy lately, but glad I found it. This is a perfect New Year’s Celebration to me–casual, yet elegant, and just full of people you care about. Looks lovely!


  1. […] since we enjoyed Bombe Alaska on New Year’s Eve, it’s been on my mind how much I’d like to make one.  This is a theatrical dessert […]

  2. […] since we enjoyed Bombe Alaska on New Year’s Eve, it’s been on my mind how much I’d like to make one.  This is a theatrical dessert […]

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