Perfect New Year’s Eve Dinner for 2

Champagne Burst for New Year's Eve

Last New Year’s Eve, Jon and I were jet lagged and tired and in no mood to go out. We drank a great bottle of red wine, ate steak and napped in from of a movie, before making hot chocolate and taking up onto the roof to watch the fireworks from Central Park.

Given that we are flying in from London on precisely the same schedule, odds are, this is the New Years Eve dinner that we will have once again.

Steak is the food that Jon always chooses when he has a significant say in the answer to the question; what’s for dinner? This is our typical anniversary / birthday / celebration meal. To make it New Year’s Eve worthy, I’ll be making a quick version of Diane sauce – essentially, brandy and cream. The brandy gets flamed in the most dramatic fashion, which seems fitting for the occasion.

Usually I serve steak with creamed spinach – but the sauce already has cream in it, so I go with a simple pile of wilted spinach instead.

I’m told that doctors in France are able to prescribe red wine, steak and spinach to people who are depressed, and there may be some science in it – all that iron – but most likely it’s a psychological boost – could there be a more satisfying and ceremonial food?

T-bone steak with spinach

A T-bone steak is perfect for sharing, with its tender fillet on one side and tasty strip on the other.

If your steak is thinner / smaller than my recommended 16 oz dinosaur steak it won’t need as long in the oven – use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, or use the finger test; touch your thumb and first finger together then press the fleshy part of your hand below the thumb, that’s what rare steak feels like. Thumb to second finger = medium, thumb to third = well done.

16 oz (+) T-bone steak at room temperature – take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before you plan on using it
T Bone Steak For New Year's Eve Dinner for TwoVegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
1 garlic clove
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup of brandy or cognac
¼ cup of cream
¼ cup of stock (it should be veal stock, but I usually use chicken stock from a cube)
2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce

  • Preheat the oven to 300 (which is about 160 in the UK)
  • Put a griddle pan (or a frying pan that can go in the oven) on the heat for about five minutes until it is screaming hot
  • Meanwhile, cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut side over both sides of the steak, squeeze a few tsp of lemon juice over the meat, brush with oil and season both sides generously with salt and pepper (I use about a tsp of each)
  • Put the steak in the pan and don’t touch it for 2 minutes
  • Turn it over and don’t touch it for 2 minutes
  • Turn the steak again, and put the knob of butter on top
  • Put in the oven for 15 minutes for a medium rare steak (12 for very rare up to 20 for well done)
  • Use a meat thermometer inserted into the side of the steak. Rare is 140, medium is 150
  • Half way through tip the pane to the side, spoon up the melted butter and baste it back over the steak
  • Take the steak out of the oven and rest on a board covered in foil for 5 minutes
  • Put the pan back on the heat and pour in the stock, the cream and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Turn off the heat, then pour in the brandy and set fire to it with a match (or keep the heat on and let the alcohol bubble off for a minute without the drama
  • Stir in the cream and serve over the steak

Baby Spinach leaves for spinach salad on New Year's EveSpinach

Bag of baby spinach
2tsp butter
Salt and pepper

  • Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in a large pan and dump in the whole bag of spinach
  • Clamp the lid on, shake the pan about a bit for a minute
  • Turn the spinach, clamp the lid on and wait for a minute
  • The spinach should be wilted and deep green
  • Drain the spinach in a sieve, pressing down to take out the excess liquid

Hot chocolate with brandy – for firework watching – (serves 2)

The brandy will be open already for the steak diane, so it seems like the most logical spirit to perk up hot chocolate with. Hot Chocolate for New Year's Eve

1 bar of good quality dark chocolate
1 1/2 cup of milk
1 tsp brown sugar or honey
1 cinnamon stick
2 shots of brandy

  • Heat the milk, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan until nearly boiling then take off the heat
  • Break up the chocolate and drop into the pan
  • Count to 30, then whisk the melted chocolate into the milk (returning to the heat if necessary)
  • Add the brandy, and return to the heat until the hot chocolate is steaming again
  • Drink

Happy New Year!

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