Janelle Noonan from catering company Savour the Flavour says more people are wanting healthy food options at parties and events.
Janelle Noonan from catering company Savour the Flavour says more people are wanting healthy food options at parties and events. Luka Kauzlaric

Easy ways to plan a New Year's Eve party at home

WHAT better way to recover from your Christmas gluttony than an equally hedonistic New Year's celebration in your own home?

Although organising a party yourself for New Year's Eve might seem intimidating, it's easier than you'd think.

We rounded up expert advice to help you get your food and beverages sorted, so at the very least your guests' stomachs will be satisfied by the end of the night.

And don't forget to check out the tips for quirky ideas to make the night memorable.

Surviving wild times is all about preparation, and Dan Murphy's Gladstone in Clinton has offered up a list of its top picks for bringing in the new year, including five champagne suggestions that would be perfect to toast with.

Dan Murphy's online party planning service recommends using a big name champagne for toasts and a more cost-effective but great tasting sparkling wine for further drinking.

The Gladstone store recommends people try Sieur d'Arques Premiére Bulle Brut 750mL at $18.90 as it has a luscious light floral and fruity scent.

Your ultimate festive drinks menu may also include a crisp vodka spirit as a foundation to a cocktail or martini.

Try Ketel One vodka 700ml for $39.95 for a quality spirit that maintains the traditions of its Dutch heritage, or the much-loved Pimm's No 1 cup (700ml) for $34.90 (containing quinine and a secret mixture of herbs), which is the perfect summer party drink.

Lisa Williams

Organisation and food safety the key to getting the food right

One of the most important parts when it comes to picking alcohol is matching it to the food you will serve it with.

Janelle Noonan from catering company Savour the Flavour says organisation and keeping in mind the importance of food safety is paramount to creating the perfect New Year menu.

Ms Noonan suggests hosts have a constant stream of finger food rather than a sit down dinner, as not only does it create a more social atmosphere but it is beneficial if guests are drinking throughout the evening.

"Dried fruit and nuts are good to have on hand for those that may not be big eaters, so they can line their stomachs," she said.

Janelle said mini hamburgers and quesadillas were always a favourite when they were offered at Savour the Flavour-catered events.

Other easy options she noted are hotdogs, sausage rolls, party pies and platters.

"There is a lot more swing towards healthy options, as well as a swing towards more gluten-free and lactose-free options," she said.

She notes that having platters - item ideas include cheese, kabana, dips, fruit or dried fruit - on platters was also a good option as they are something that can be arranged before the event starts.

"Prepare as much as you can do beforehand so if you have a drink yourself then it's not an issue," she said. "You don't want to be stuck in the kitchen."

The other benefit of small courses of food is that it will not be left out of the fridge or oven too long.

Keeping food at the correct temperature is an important part of food safety.
Keeping food at the correct temperature is an important part of food safety. Luka Kauzlaric

Ms Noonan said that as a general rule food should not be eaten if it had been out for more than two hours.

"If it's warm to touch don't use it," she said.

Her sage advice is timely with a national Newspoll Survey, commissioned by the Food Safety Information Council, showing too few Australians are taking notice of vital food safety on labels and taking risks by not using insulated bags or coolers to transport refrigerated food.

As the shops have different opening hours over the festive period, Ms Noonan said planning was an important aspect of organising food and ensuring its integrity for an event.

"For me the most important thing is stocking fridges properly," she said, explaining the dangers of food contamination and that fridges risk dropping in temperature when overstocked.

"If you are doing different shopping trips make sure you label the food with the time you bought it so you can keep track."

She said sealing food properly, reheating it quickly and reheating it only once were dead fast rules.

Food safety:

Summer is a time for spending quality time with family and friends enjoying special summer treats, but unfortunately at this time of year there are spikes in food poisoning. Here are some food safety tips:

  • Food-poisoning bacteria grow and multiply fastest in the temperature danger zone between 5 °C and 60 °C. It is important to keep cold food at 5 °C or below, frozen food at minus 5 °C and hot food at 60 °C or above.
  • Store raw foods below cooked foods.
  • Store food in suitable, covered containers.
  • Check and observe the use-by dates on food products.
  • Take special care with high-risk foods.


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