I’ve always found New Year’s Day to be a bit odd. It always begins with one voice in my head telling me to spend the day getting over the festivities of the night before (i.e., playing Skyrim, drinking copious amounts of peppermint tea and looking at the contents of my fridge with a mixture of longing and loathing), another is telling me to get the year off to a productive start. Needless to say, the first voice nearly always wins.
This year I chose to make a change. This decision was motivated by what was undoubtedly, one of the worst journeys from England to Paris I’ve ever experienced which left me both mentally and financially drained: Our plane took off from Southampton at 6:30pm on the 29th December, circled around Paris for half an hour, then returned to England due to exceptionally thick fog, at first, to a different airport in London before the pilot decided it would be possible to land in Southampton. Upon returning to Southampton, we were told we would be given accommodation, but were told to wait for an announcement as to where that would be and then we were put on a flight for the next morning. After an hour of waiting to be told where we would be staying, we decided to go back home, I stayed at my mum’s house, and then when we returned the next day for take two.
The fog had become much worse overnight, so after waiting for two hours after our plane should have taken off, my friend and I decided to get our luggage back, and get the train to London and take a Eurostar to Gare du Nord. The train to London was full to bursting, we decided not to bother with the tube and jumped in a taxi to St. Pancras (turns out a 23kg suitcase is really quite heavy). We queued twice (don’t get me started), to get a last minute ticket, which was eye-wateringly expensive, so by the time we got on the train we practically burst into tears with the relief of finally getting home.
When I finally got home, unsurprisingly I didn’t quite feel like running around Paris the next day in an attempt to have the most epic Parisian New Year’s Eve of all time, and neither did Loums, so we decided to invite a few friends over for Raclette, board games and mulled wine. It was a wonderful evening.
Had everything gone to plan and my plane had indeed arrived on the 29th, Loums and I were going to celebrate our Christmas together on the 30th, as I was in England with my family for Christmas this year, and he with his. So, we instead decided to do it on New Year’s Day, and my goal of being productive worked out a treat.
We started the day with coffee, Mauritian tea, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs (it’s a good trick to add some chopped chives and a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce to give it a little bit of a kick), and a homemade smoothie for which I will not write the recipe, as it was truly terrible and should never be repeated.
During the day, we opened presents (the PS4 is going to feel very loved over the next few months), cracked open a bottle of bubbly which I’d been saving for the occasion, and chilled out until about five, when I started to run riot in the kitchen.
I knew I wanted to cook a roast duck for our main, as I’d never done it before and it seemed to be as good a time as any to do so. When it came to the starter, I wanted to do something light and flavoursome, and I just so happened to stumble upon a recipe for a pear and beetroot salad which seemed to fit the bill perfectly. We had lots leftover which has sorted us out for dinner the next day and lunch for me for another three days, so feel free to halve the amounts if so desired:
– 3 Williams pear, diced
– 2 large beetroots, peeled and diced
– 150g fresh spinach
– 125g crumbled feta
For the dressing:
– Juice of one lemon
– 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1tsp mustard
– 1tbsp walnut vinegar
– Freshly ground salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together before drizzling the dressing on top, toss together and serve.
Bon appetit, and Happy New Year!