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We will be welcoming this New Year as we did the previous one, just the two of us

By Nina Steele 

Happy New Year 2019Growing up, New Year’s Eve was a very big deal. In the Ivory Coast, and by extension the whole of Africa, welcoming the New Year is a far bigger deal than Christmas. As a youngster, I always went to parties, mainly held in neighbours’ houses. And boy, were they great fun! I still remember the very loud music, Michael Jackson songs being among the favourites, alongside music more closer to home. We danced till dawn. New Year’s day itself was a big deal too. My mother would always have a ram killed for the occasion. Yet, as much as I look back at these years with fondness, my party days are well and truly over. Instead, my husband and I choose to welcome the New Year in a quieter fashion.

We may not host or go to parties, but I do make a point of cooking something special for us to enjoy. For this coming New Year’s Eve, I will be cooking kebab. I came across this particular recipe on Facebook and my husband absolutely loves it. It is quite an elaborate meal and so, I only make it for special occasions, including Easter. The main ingredients are lamb mince, with fennel seeds, dried oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic, black pepper and salt for seasoning. As an African, I rarely cook without Maggi cubes, and so, although they are not included in this recipe, I always add them. They add so much flavour to meals that I cannot do without them. For the yogurt sauce, I combine plain yogurt, sour cream, lime juice, garlic, cumin and chopped parsley. I got the recipe for the yogurt sauce on Google.

As we get older, we both like nothing more than to chill in the comfort of our home. It is as well that we both enjoy home cooked food too. The fact that I do love cooking makes things easier for us. And yes, that not eating out on a regular basis has ended up saving us a great deal of money, helps too.

Going back to celebrating the New Year, one other tradition we try our best to uphold, is watching the firework displays at midnight. Mind you, my husband often has to wake me up. Watching the joy on people’s faces is always a reminder that, in spite of the seemingly never ending negative news stories, the world is still a place where joy can be found.

I wish you all the very best for the festive season, wherever in the world you happen to be. May the New Year, when it comes, bring with it peace and joy for yourself and all those dear to you.

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