I consider myself an optimist. I approach everything with the belief that it will work out well and that fun and hilarity will ensue.
Except for New Year's Eve.
That's where I turn into a Christmas Grinch, or more accurately, a New Year's Grinch. This is a day on which my relentless optimism turns into a hibernating bear and growls and grizzles. Bah humbug I say to New Year's Eve. You see I feel the pressure to have a good New Year's Eve and sadly whilst I've had some good ones, I've never really had a truly mindblowingly spectacular one.
Part of the problem is the great expectations.
I could huddle together with like minded friends as we have in the past-we used to have a spectacular view of four sets of fireworks from our apartment but the magic seemed to elude us every single New Year's Eve confounded by high expectations or the crazy times that we should be having-why weren't we wearing crazy glasses and drinking glasses of champagne in the streets when all we wanted to do was eat and sleep? It seemed that while we could always be guaranteed of a wonderful Christmas, NYE joy seemed a little out of our reach.
Perhaps the dullest New Years Eve was the one that had the most pressure associated with it - the year 2000. I had left it to Mr NQN to organise something. This was early on in our relationship and I didn't realise that if left to organise something, he simply will not organise a thing. We ended up watching a single firework display at Manly Beach and Mr NQN was forever relieved of his organising duties (which he was immensely pleased about).
So in honour of New Years Eve balls, allow me to present you with an item that I have been wanting to make for a few years now, ever since I first read about it in Amy Sedaris's book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. She is famous for her cheese balls and cupcakes and this one is her Lil Smoky Cheese Ball! It's toasty, crunchy, creamy, smokey and surprisingly good for an item so steeped in kitschness. Have a very cheese call Christmas my lovelies!
So tell me Dear Reader, what will you be doing this New Year's Eve?
Lil Smokey Cheese Ball
Adapted from I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
200g shredded smoked gouda cheese or smoked Dutch cheese at room temperature
500grams/1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
60grams/1/2 stick butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons steak sauce (Amy uses A1 steak sauce)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts)
Serve with crackers
Step 1 - In the bowl of an electric mixer fixed with a paddle attachment add both the cheeses, butter, milk, steak sauce and chives and beat together until smooth and amalgamated. Tear off a large sheet of cling film and line a bowl with it and fill with the cheese mixture and cover up with the cling film. Refrigerate overnight until firm.
Step 2 - The next day toast the nuts in a frypan on medium heat until they start to become fragrant (about 5-8 minutes). Wait until completely cool and arrange nuts so that they are spread evenly across the bottom of the pan. Have a serving plate ready. Carefully remove the cling film from the cheese ball and roll it in the chopped nuts until all of the sides are covered with chopped nuts. Serve with crackers of chopped vegetables and marvel at how kitsch and fabulous the whole cheese ball idea is.