New Years Eve day started with a thunderstorm that didn't want to end...
That didn't stop me or my intrepid aunt from going to the Carmel Market for supplies. As you can see, the shoppers stayed home, as did many of the stall keepers. However we, dressed in salopettes and raincoats, wandered around, picking and choosing, tasting and debating the merits of the various olives, cheeses, pickles and other treats that we were buying for our New Years feast.
When we arrived home, laden with goodies, I started cleaning and chopping, mixing and measuring, giving strict instructions to my aunt that she was to rest, relax and enjoy being on vacation.
Having acquired 69 ridiculously over the top cocktail forks, I was determined to make the most of them and serve as many little nibbles as possible without causing my aunt (or myself) to explode.
As befitted New Year's Eve we drank cheap French sparkling wine which, when compared to most expensive Israel fizz, is infinitely drinkable. However, that was as close to traditional as we got. We didn't get dressed up, we didn't have our hearts crushed under the high heels of more rapacious people than we, and we were in bed before Midnight and the singing of Auld Lang Syne. New Year's Eve, in my experience, is usually a huge letdown that involves excessive quantities of bad alcohol, lusts that ignore all sense of decorum or propriety, and a complete denial of common sense...
Now really, who honestly believes that they are going to find Prince Charming weaving amongst all of the plastic wine glasses?
New Year's Eve Menu
Smoked Salmon Rolls with creamed feta cheese swiss chard sweated with shallots, white wine and nutmeg
Taramosalata Salt cured red mullet roe with homemade dill mayonaise served in a carrot cup
Fresh Goat Cheese with Deconstructed Pesto marinated in garlic infused olive oil, with oiled chopped basil and toasted pinenuts
An Abundance of Salmon Roe served in cucumber cups with wasabi mayonaise
Lemon Garlic Shrimp marinated in garlic, flash fried in butter, the pan is deglazed with lemon segmentsChicken Baharat and Rose Buds with a sauce made from reduced pan juices deglazed with sparkling wine and enriched with cream, served with basmatic rice and steamed flat beans
Baby Greens dressed with a light lemon vinaigrette (not shown)Fresh Figs served with Tome, Stilton and Chevre
It was only after I served the cheese course that I realized I had forgotten 2 courses...
Spiced Queen Kalamata Olives with fresh thyme, cracked pepper and orange zest
Dolmades rice and pinenut stuffed vine leaves served warm with savoury lemon custard.
This was understandable, not because there were so many different courses, but because at the beginning of dinner I started to feel lousy. By the time the small small things were finished I was feeling pretty terrible. And by the time dessert was over I had a fever of 39c/102f and was in the throes of my first case of 'flu in 20 years, which kept me in bed for the first week of 2007.
But... I am hoping that the rain and the flu are auspicious signs for the New Year - the rain for an abundance of good things and the 'flu that I shall be healthy for the rest of the year.