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It’s New Years Eve!!!!! Are we ready to party? It’s hard to believe how 2016 flew by and once again we’re making plans to usher in a brand new year. Whilst most will be celebrating out, others will be celebrating at home with friends and family and it’s one of those occasions that should be plain sailing as we are all in a party mood, including the host. Nobody needs to be slogging and slaving before the clock strikes midnight, so let me introduce my painless drink and dessert plans for this anticipated affair.

We all have high hopes for our NYE celebrations but with the demanding festivities surrounding the past week, it’s a night that comes at a moment when we need all the help we can get. I for one have no intention of going berserk so I’ve put together a few drink ideas to accompany just one great dessert, and I’m happier than a girl holding a martini on New Years Eve.

I started out with these Rasberry & Rose Cocktails that I blogged about in my previous post. I love these cocktails because they’re so easy to make and don’t need to be made at the eleventh hour. If you’re having many guests, they can be made in a large pitcher and refrigerated. Simplicity at it’s finest.

cocktailsI’m not so sure about Italy but in South Africa, NYE celebrations are considered unaccomplished without a good shooter. Can I put a feather in my cap just this once, since I did come up with this creation all by lonesome and I’m throughly excited about it. I really don’t know if it’s been done before, I can’t say for sure, but personally I haven’t seen it. I’m calling it Eton Mess Shooters. I presume by now we all know what Eton Mess is, for me it’s a dessert that brings back some sweet memories with my family – battling it out over the last bit of strawberries at a birthday lunch I held for my sister, years ago.

Back to present day and how it all came to be, was an act of kindness gone awry. I had been sitting with an unopened bottle of Strawberry Liqueur that I bought for my other sister and completely forgot to send. It’s a unique one because it’s not just strawberry flavoured, it has tiny strawberries marinating in the bottle, a type that grow only in the mountainous areas in Italy. It’s wonderfully sweet by strawberry standards and the Italians call it Fragolina di Bosco (little mountain strawberries). By trying to make space in the kitchen cupboard recently, I came upon the neglected bottle and immediately saw it featuring in my NYE future. The wee strawberries drowning in the liqueur, light bulbed me into this awesome shooter moment. To make it, all it takes is one shot of strawberry liqueur, fresh berries of your choice for tartness, top with whipped cream and a petite meringue. To rejoice with this, you will need good company, a steady hand to down your shot and a sweet tooth to finish with the meringue. You can thank me later. 🙂

img_5004I don’t know about you but I love snacking on meringues, (if they are done well) and not a few people I know take the same pleasure. In my book it’s an act of sainthood to place surplus meringues in a pretty bowl and share it with friends, if I can resist devouring them all. These are bakery made because I simply did not have the time but moreso because I do love the way this particular patisserie makes these. Its not typically like a meringue, it’s gooey on the inside like a pavlova – they might as well be putting cocaine in it, it’s that addictive.

I suppose a celebration that is reflective of the rebirth that we anticipate for the coming year with all our best hopes and dreams pinned on it, is worthy of Champagne and so I felt inclined to make a gorgeous Pink Champagne Granita. It’s subtle in both appearance and taste and why not? It’s the last day of the year and we all deserve to splurge a little and indulge in a splash of luxury. For this easy to make granita I used a bottle of Pink Bubbly, combined with 250ml medium simple syrup, and placed it in the freezer. I only had to scrape the mixture twice on the hour to get a good texture, the alcohol in it naturally prevents it from freezing solid. Except for drinking the Champagne straight out of the bottle, what could be easier? I spooned these out in old fashioned champagne coupes, added a rose petal here and there, and voila – a Gatsby-esque moment with a modern day spin, rightfully deserved before we prepare for another 365 days!

img_4968Who doesn’t love chocolate? While we all love chocolate desserts we sometimes underestimate the sheer appreciation of a good box chocolates, enjoyed (as is) at a party. It’s a time saver and crowd pleaser in a box, never failing to cheer our sweet tooth. I believe in chocolate, that belief is strong so if you find a box you love and an stylish way to present them, a box of chocolates are still fair game.

Finally, a dessert that has never let me down, Raspberry Trifle. I have yet to meet someone in my circle who doesn’t love it. At Christmas Eve lunch when the trifle was brought to the table I literally got an applause from the family – an embarrassing but memorable moment which still made me smile. They loved it so much that my Aunt Sylvia wrote me later to ask me about it so she could “discuss” it with her sister. I promised her the recipe which will be on my next post, so if you’re interested I hope you’ll stay posted. Trifle is one of those desserts that has it all, a splash of alcohol, soft cake, tangy fruit, sweet custard, cream of course and with my addition of raspberry meringues, it ticks all the right boxes.

img_4988And that rounds it up for 2016 fine people! See all you next year. I wish each and every one you the best celebration tonight, paint the town red, live it up or a live a little – whatever you choose, have a fabulous New Year!

Much Love and Best Wishes……….Auguri!

To my Family, You all are here with me and I am there with You and for that reason Love has overcome the distance.

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