Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Mad Men Party: The Food

Well, I promised you a photo about the food from my Mad Men party... and here it is!

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.

Martini Olives
Chip 'n' Dip: French Onion Dip with Chips
Cheese and Grapes on Toothpicks
Party Canapés
Devilled Eggs
Shrimp Cocktail
Mini-Chicken Kievs
Mini-Beef Wellingtons with Mustard-Cream Sauce
Meatballs with Chutney

Grasshopper Pie

Let's go through the items one by one...

Martini Olives

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
The title says it all, really.  I don't quite know why these fell out of fashion - they taste great!

Party Canapés: Cream Cheese and Chives piped onto Ritz Crackers
These little swirly babies were from one of Mum's old books: The Big Book of Cold Buffet Cookery (or something to that effect).  Written in the 80's (anachronistic, I know, but sooo perfect), and translated from the original German, this gem of a book includes recipes such as party eggs, salmon mousse, Spring vegetables in aspic and tongue salad.  You know you want to.  For these canapés, I mixed cream cheese with paprika and chopped chives, and piped them onto Ritz Crackers.  I topped them alternately with cucumber and smoked salmon.  A word of warning: these can't be prepared too far in advance - I piped these as people were arriving, and by the end of the evening, the crackers had started to go soggy.

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
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!

Shrimp Cocktail
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!

Mini-Beef Balls with Chutney
And now, dessert.  Both of these were made the night before.
Grasshopper Pie, Grasshopper Cocktail
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!


At Anna's kitchen table said...

Wow! Well done you! All that lovely food...

Sarah said...

Thanks Anna! I was so tired afterwards though!

xox Sarah

Jackie said...

Go you! Sounds like it was a swinging party. And happy birthday!

I'm so glad someone else likes French onion dip!! Secret shame no more.

Agnes said...

You throw such awesome parties! Love it :) Do we get to see your gold dress properly?

Sarah said...

Jackie - Thanks! I haven't eaten it in aaages, but it was really compulsive!

Agnes - Thanks so much! I think I'm a little addicted to throwing parties, lol.

xox Sarah

Gemma said...

The food looks great! I finally started watching Mad Men in the last few months and have just started season 3 - loving it, don't know why I waited so long!

Adrian in Food Rehab said...

Such a great party and a host to boot! I'm still thinking of your Grasshopper Pie...O.M.G!

thanh7580 said...

What a party. Great looking food and love the theme as I love Mad Men too.

mel said...

Awesome! Just found your blog through a google search for what to serve at my MadMen party coming up. Whenever they announce the date for Season 5!!
Thanks for the tips,