Le gateau d'aprés Nöel
Because our Christmas was such a crazy affair, this year we were craving a really low profile New Year's Eve party. These last few years we have been spending that night just the three of us, making a point of setting a proper party ambiance, with a lavish table setting and an appropriate decoration. It's not because one is spending the night in with only close relations that one shouldn't make the effort.
I say making the effort makes it more fun, and turns the night into something special. Your loved ones deserve it, and you deserve it. Just because you're not having friends or family members over, it is no excuse not to pull all the stops. So we always do. Pull all the stops, I mean. We cook up something nice, just small portions of fancy food, or recipes we all love, in small quantities so we can nibble on everything and not over indulge. We sit at the table for quite a while, we talk and laugh and just hang out.
And it's so cool, being able to do that. There's always an entrée, and sometimes the whole meal is entrées, really. There's always dessert, and usually dessert means cake, on that particular evening. See, there's this funny story about New Year's Eve and cake with us...
When we first got married, we decided to spend our first married New Year's Eve at our recently aquired - rented! - home alone, just the two of us. We made ourselves a fancy dinner and sat down later for a marathon of either Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, I can't quite remember. It was a dreadful night, raining non stop since late afternoon, cold and wet and drizzly. Earlier my husband asked if I anted him to go to the bakery and get us some "Bolo Rei" for dessert, or anything of the kind. Seeingthat we were short on cash, and because I am much more a savoury person than a sweets one, and it was really pouring outside, I told him to nevermind.
I should have known better. It was somewhat past midnight that my husband, who had been quite generous with his wine over dinner, and after dinner, and at the midnight toast - neither of us likes champagne!! - decided he needed something sweet. We had some leftover almonds from the torte we had baked for Christmas, and he decided he would go into the kitchen and bake an almond cake. I advised him against it, since I didn't have an almond cake recipe at home, but he said he would make it up. And so he did. Suffice it to say that was the worst cake I ever had in my life. Unedible, really.
So, the moral of this story is do not get in your kitchen and bake a cake if you're slightly drunk. But do take advantage of any leftover ingredients you might have from your Christmas cooking for your New Year's Eve desserts. This cake here was made with leftover compote from our mince pies, so if you happen to cook them, do use the leftover mince to gather this sweet thing up.
You will need:
- 150 gr flour
- 100 gr sugar
- 150 gr unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 eggs
- half a cup o mince meat
- zest and juice of a mandarin
- one peeled mandarin and icing sugar for decorating - optional