I drew inspiration directly from the TV show (hence the mini chicken kievs, beef wellingtons and chip'n'dip), but also from the period more generally. For me, it was about evoking a retro vibe, rather than slavishly choosing dishes that have been featured in the show. Importantly, I wanted food that was not only tasty, but also easy to make, and could be prepared (reasonably) in advance.
Chip 'n' Dip: French Onion Dip with Chips
Cheese and Grapes on Toothpicks
Mini-Beef Wellingtons with Mustard-Cream Sauce
Meatballs with Chutney
Let's go through the items one by one...
A Nigella recipe, from Nigella Express. To make this, you simply macerate pimento-stuffed olives (so popular in the 60s!) in gin, vermouth and a little chilli oil. Oddly compulsive.
|Chip 'n' Dip: French Onion Dip with Chips|
I actually got this chip'n'dip plate for Christmas last year, and it's been waiting in my cupboard for just such an occasion. (No, I didn't exchange it for a BB gun - oh Pete Campbell, you scoundrel.) I just used store bought French onion dip, sprinkled with some fresh chopped chives, and served it with corn chips.
|Cheese and Grapes on Toothpicks|
|Party Canapés: Cream Cheese and Chives piped onto Ritz Crackers|
In the background, you can (just) see the mini chicken kievs - I actually just bought these from the supermarket, where they're sold as "chicken and garlic balls". After all that season four innuendo, I couldn't not include some squirty chicken kievs!
Devilled eggs: mash up hardboiled egg yolks with a little cream cheese, paprika, salt and pepper. Pipe back into eggs, and garnish with curly parsley. Some of my friends remember their mums making these at parties when they were little!
I admit that this dish was mainly an assembly job: I sliced up an iceberg lettuce, poached some peeled prawns, and opened a jar of Maille cocktail sauce. TA-DAH!
The next two savoury dishes were ones I actually cooked from scratch. Both the beef wellingtons and meatballs were made earlier in the week, then frozen. It was easy enough to bake both of them from frozen during the party.
|Mini-Beef Wellingtons with Mustard-Cream Sauce|
With these, I actually made the pastry from scratch (using the Tartine Bakery recipe for flaky pastry dough), and the filling as well. I'll blog it in detail later on, because I was quite proud of myself for making these! Hehe. There was too much filling for the pastry, so I made meatballs with the remaining filling, and served it with (bought) chutney. Bonus extra dish!
The grasshopper pie comes from Nigella's Kitchen (recipe here, but seriously, shell out for the book!), and was frikkin delicious! Just like choc-mint ice-cream, in pie form. You can see it above (with my gold dress in the background), with its namesake cocktail. The grasshopper was the most popular cocktail of the night!
And finally: mini cheesecakes. Inspired by that infamous Mad Men episode where Don feeds his boss oysters, martinis and cheesecakes, then climb a zillion flights of stairs to get him back for hitting on Betty.
These are again, a Nigella recipe, this time from her At My Table column in the New York Times. The last time I made these was five (!) years ago, when on holiday in Cambridge!
It's just a standard vanilla baked cheesecake recipe, made in mini muffin tins. It's a pain to line the little muffin trays with crushed biscuits, but so worth it! Canapé desserts are always a hit at parties.
And that was the food. Phew!