Whether it is grapes in Spain, pomegranate in Turkey, Sauerkraut in Germany, lentils in Italy or fish in many parts of Asia, every country it seems has its own favorite food designed to bring in luck for the new year ahead.
Here we take a look at some of those propitious foods, while wondering what would happen to our blessings if we picked more than one food to ring in the New Year.
Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
2 tbsp sour cream
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp pomegranate juice
1/2 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups arugula or other lettuce, washed and patted dry
1 sweet apple, thinly sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, apple cider vinegar, pomegranate juice, molasses and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Put arugula, apples and almonds in a serving bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Divide among 4 serving bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan shavings and pomegranate seeds.
Soup with Sauerkraut
A drizzle olive or vegetable oil
125g lean, smoked meat, chopped
330g beef steak, diced into 2cm
2 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large fresh bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock
800g sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
One 420g can white or red kidney beans
Salt and pepper
Handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish
Rye or sourdough bread, to pass
Heat the oil in soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the meat and brown. Remove the meat, and reserve. Add the beef and brown, then remove and reserve. Melt in the butter, and add the garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots and bay leaf. Partially cover and cook to soften, 10 minutes. Add the stock, 2 cups water, the reserved meat and beef, the sauerkraut and beans, and simmer until potatoes are cooked and soup flavor combines, 15 minutes more.
Season with salt and pepper; cool completely and store for a make-ahead meal.
To serve, reheat over medium heat. Add the parsley just before serving and pass bread at the table.
Haddock and chive hash
12 new baby potatoes 2
200g smoked haddock fillet
1 large onion
Small bunch of chives
A knob of butter and slug of oil
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Sprinkle the haddock with salt, pepper and a little oil and wrap in foil to create a sealed parcel. Bake for 15 minutes, until opaque and just cooked through.
While the haddock is cooking, cover the baby potatoes with cold water in a small saucepan, add a little salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8 - 10 minutes until just cooked. Drain and plunge into cold water to stop them cooking.
Peel and finely slice the onion and heat a large, heavy-based frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the butter and oil and when sizzling, tip in the onions. Cook until just beginning to color, stirring every so often.
Cut potatoes into halves and add to the hot pan with the onions. Turn the heat up a little and cook until the potatoes and onions take on quite a lot of color and are golden and crispy at the edges.
Break the haddock up into large flakes with your fingers, discarding any skin or bones, and add to the pan along with the finely chopped chives. Reduce the heat, stir well and season with pepper.
Push some of the mixture to the sides of the pan to make two little wells in which to fry the eggs. Crack an egg into each and cook over the heat until set.
Braised lentils with onions
3 tbsp olive oil
450g brown or green lentils, rinsed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
4 cups water
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
12 pearl onions, stemmed and peeled
1/4 cup fat
Coat a large high-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat, with the olive oil. Add the lentils, garlic cloves and bay leaves with 4 cups water or just enough to cover. Bring the water to a simmer and lower the heat. Simmer the lentils, uncovered, until they are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
If you need to add more water for the lentils to finish cooking, add a little at a time. Once they are cooked but still somewhat ‘al dente’, set them aside to cool. Remove and discard the garlic cloves and the bay leaves; season with just a touch of salt and pepper.
Add the fat to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt, to taste, and allow them to caramelize.
When you are ready to serve add the lentils to the sautéed onions. Stir to coat the lentils with the fat. Taste and season with salt, if needed. Transfer the lentil mixture to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Quick bite brownie bars
220g unsalted butter
225g plus 170g Hershey's semisweet chocolate chips
80g unsweetened chocolate
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
175g good caramel sauce
2 tsp flaked sea salt,
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Butter and flour a 22 x 30 x 3cm baking pan.
Melt the butter, 225g of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 170g of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it is pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely and cut into bars.