A 1970’s retro dinner party

Fiona with oysters mornay

Fiona with oysters mornay

“Don’t forget the peas!”, Fiona reminds me.

“It’s those little green suckers that give the food its retro look”, she adds.

Our Christmas Eve dinner last December nostalgically brought us back in time to the 1970s where thick cream, hippy pants and side burns were as popular as vegan and organic diets are today.

Since then, we have been looking to have another retro party to relive those moments.

Retro chic

Retro chic

Mysaucepan dug out some old crockery which have since been buried in our store room for that added effect.

My mum bought these dishes in the ’80s and dated with a little cringe factor as they may be, I just could not let them go at a St Vinnies as they hold so many memories. These crockery saw my siblings and I through high school and university in Sydney, let alone countless meals and parties at home.

"Why were these plates trendy at the time??"

"Why were these plates trendy at the time??"

As Mysaucepan sets the dinner table for our retro party tonight, I have put on a Foxtel recording of a 1970s disco classic, Saturday Night Fever.

Saturday Night Fever, 1977

Saturday Night Fever, 1977

The scene where John Travolta struts down a New York city street with his flare pants and 3-inch disco shoes is serious business and not one bit hilarious as what it now seems.

John Travolta as Tony Manero

John Travolta as Tony Manero

And as the first of our dinner guests arrive, we share some nostalgic memories of food, fashion and seemingly silly things that we used to get up to those days.

"What do you think of my sexy eyes?"

"What do you think of my sexy eyes?"

Fiona is her vibrant self as usual and I needed to put on my pair of aviator-style Ray Bans just to look at her colourful dress, let alone her electric blue-Pretty Woman hairstyle.

Pre-dinner drinks

Pre-dinner drinks

As we sample some icy cold home beer that Eva has brought from her own brewery at home, the Bee Gees are belting out Stayin’ Alive and the mood of the party begins.

Music of the Bee Gees

Music of the Bee Gees

Home brew

Home brew

Tony Manero momentarily distracted

Tony Manero momentarily distracted

What can be more retro that a 1970s setting complete with iconic attire, music and soon to be the classic dishes from that era.

Blast from the past: Mateus Rose from Portugal

Blast from the past: Mateus Rose from Portugal

I made sure that I had a bottle of the Mateus Rose in all its glory – that iconic bottle which I remember many a household used to collect as water tumblers for their fridge.

Better still, the bottle was also a popular single candle-holder where candle wax would drip and harden all over its oval-shaped body and used as a proud decorative item in many living rooms around the world.

Oysters mornay

Oysters mornay

One of my absolute favourites is oysters mornay, where a healthy dallop of cream is mixed with cheddar and parmesan spooned over fresh oysters and grilled until the cheese is golden brown.

Now why don’t more restaurants do oysters in this classic and robust style anymore?? All I ever experience these days is supposedly edgy red wine vinaigrette with shallots or some other sour concoction that would leave me rather having just  a squeeze of lemon juice and Tobasco on my fresh oysters.

Grilled cheese croutons

Grilled cheese croutons

The 1970s is big on cheese and heavy cream, but grilled cheese croutons will never go out of fashion in my humble opinion.

2005 Staete Landt Chardonnay

2005 Staete Landt Chardonnay

A bottle of 2005 Marlborough Chardonnay is truly a beautiful drop with its buttery and oaky flavours.

Grilled cheese croutons and classic French onion soup

Grilled cheese croutons and classic French onion soup

I have to take my hat off to the French for its classic French onion soup. Butter, thyme, dry white wine and a dash of brandy in this soup, with its slithery soft ribbons of onions work wonders with the crispy cheese croutons.

I like my crouton half crispy and half soggy by dipping it into my soup.

Slicing a piece of grilled rib eye

Slicing a piece of grilled rib eye

Another all-time favourite is a good, creamy beef stroganoff. I am told the world is still debating as to its obvious origins from Russia as the name implies but some countries have ideas of their own.

The one thing I never do is to buy strips of beef fillets from the butcher that is ready-made for stroganoff.

I find that cooking the sauce separately and then searing beautiful pieces of rib eye or scotch fillets to medium rare on a BBQ or skillet, resting and then slicing them just before serving sets this dish apart from having chewy strips of beef that has been stewed.

Beef stroganoff with buttered rice

Beef stroganoff with buttered rice

By searing / grilling the beef in a hot pan or a BBQ, the meat can be served medium rare and tender as opposed to a stewed well-done version.

2007 Clonakilla Shiraz

2007 Clonakilla Shiraz

A 2007 Clonakilla Shiraz with its bold and oaky finish becomes a beautiful complement to the beef stroganoff.

Chicken Kiev with French beans and walnut salad

Chicken Kiev with French beans and walnut salad

For the white meat eaters tonight, the classic chicken Kiev holds its own with the crisp and crumbly crust while a herb butter stuffed within oozes its flavours onto the succulent meat.

2010 Temata Estate Chardonnay

2010 Temata Estate Chardonnay

I requested peach melba for dessert not that I would be crying foul if it didn’t happen.

Butter pudding

Butter pudding

I am pleasantly surprised by the combination of Molly’s butter pudding with Mysaucepan‘s poached peaches in cinnamon, star anise and palm sugar with some velvety vanilla ice-cream.

Poached peaches

Poached peaches

I was going to get Berri’s peaches in syrup this afternoon but the fresh peaches poached in the subtle cinnamon and star anise are delightful and tender.

I should have eaten those velvety skins of the peaches when Mysaucepan was peeling them after being poached.

Jasmin flower from Molly

Jasmin flower from Molly

Molly’s jasmine flowers add a beautiful scent to our desserts.

And yes, there are days when I do wish I was back in the good old days of the 1970s.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The Recipes 

Eva and some oysters mornay for the grill

Eva and some oysters mornay for the grill

Be sure to enjoy these oysters with a glass of chilled chardonnay or some icy cold beer.

Peeling brown onions for French onion soup

Peeling brown onions for French onion soup

This is a wonderful soup to cook during the cooler months. It is also a beautiful soup to mop up left-over toasted bread.

Sautee onion slices in butter, olive oil, thyme, white wine and brandy

Sautee onion slices in butter, olive oil, thyme, white wine and brandy

Grilled scotch fillet resting

Grilled scotch fillet resting

This is a beautiful dish especially in winter months.

Chicken Kiev with French beans and walnut salad

Chicken Kiev with French beans and walnut salad

Chicken Kiev is a great dish for non-red meat diets and it can also be accompanied by the stroganoff sauce.

Butter pudding

Butter pudding

Poached peaches

Poached peaches

Mateus Rose

Mateus Rose

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32 Responses to A 1970’s retro dinner party

  1. Fiona Novak says:

    What an awesome night! I’ll gladly bring out the bell sleeves, flared pants and gogo boots anytime. Thank you for hosting an awesome night!!. We had so much fun. What excellent company accompanied by a delightful meal…and yes, all to 70s disco music & John Travolta in his extra tight and high waisted white pants grooving in the background.
    The hosts have proven culinary skills that extend to any decade… but bring it on the 70s again… hmmm yummy!…we were truly spoilt!
    Thank you for a night fill with joy and laughter.

  2. Ahh the 70′s. Fab flavour combos with naff presentation. Looks like a great night :) Im with you on the croutons – half soggy, half crispy

  3. Hotly Spiced says:

    What a fun night! Love how you all got so dressed up. The food looks so good. And what a good idea to cook the beef separately! I love stroganoff but it’s so easy to end up with chewy beef – not good! This is a terrible confession but I have actually not seen Saturday Night Fever! It came out when I was not yet a teenager and I did want to go and see it but my parents were very strict and said I couldn’t because, ‘It’s too rude’. And back then movies didn’t go to video so if you didn’t get to the cinema you missed out altogether. Lovely post! xx

  4. Jaded says:

    Ha! My parents had those plates! Seeing them was definitely a blast from the past for me too!

  5. I loved the 70s and your party looks like a hoot with great food. LOve the blue wig!

  6. Maureen says:

    I love the dinner plates :) I probably still have clothes I wore in the 70s. Somewhere.

    I love these recipes. They might be from the 70s or earlier but they’re famous because they’re good.

  7. Mateus Rose is from Portugal.

    Other than that, I loved your post. The retro party looks like so much fun.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Lauren,

      Thanks for pointing that out. I did think it felt a little strange when I wrote Spain. Correction done. Cheers.

  8. Loving the 70s attire! Oh chicken Kiev something I still enjoy on the odd ocassion.

  9. Hannah says:

    Yay for themed parties!! It worries me that my hair can almost mimic that pink afro in all but colour…

  10. Juliana says:

    You know? More I read your posts and learn how you guys party I must admit that you really know how to have fun…I always enjoy the pictures and the food that you feature…thank you so much for sharing your “world”.
    Awesome dinner party…love the hairdo :)
    Hope you are having a wonderful week!

  11. Dear Chopinand… ahahahahahaa!!! Very well executed! God, I do believe I have seen those dinner plates at my local St Vincent de Paul! LOL…. love it. ‘Ah ha ha ha, stain’ alive……….’

  12. OMG this is awesome!!! Great post. You guys are so cool :) Love the look of the peach melba especially.
    Heidi xo

  13. What a fun dinner party! We had a similar one a few years ago and it was so much fun listening to the music, dressing in the outfits (a leopard kaftan was my outfit) and eating the food. You went a step further with the plates too!

  14. That party looked like a lot of fun! And a great idea using retro crockery too! Thanks for sharing your recipes – the Poached Peaches look absolutely delicious – I might just have to give them a go!

  15. Love the vintage crockery and who can resist Saturday Night Fever?! Or French onion soup :)

  16. Sissi says:

    Fantastic idea and fantastic post! You and your friends have excellent dinner ideas. And for once I don’t know what I like more: the beautiful dress or the food :-)

  17. Carolyn Jung says:

    Love the wigs. And oh my gawd, do they still make Mateus Rose? I think that’s the first wine I ever liked — uh, well, before I was of age. LOL

  18. Ann says:

    What a FUN party! I love the idea of a retro party and I remember Mateuse wine! I chuckled when I saw that! Thanks!

  19. I’ve seen how you party – great friends and great food & drinks! You know how to host a party and be a guest. Come to think of it, I think I enjoy your party posts. Lots of great homemade (mostly) cooked and it looks like you have such wonderful friends! Keep them coming!

  20. Great idea to do a themed dinner party. I must admit the Glam Teens are very fond of chicken Kiev. I’m not sure it’s ever gone out of fashion here, but maybe not for a dinner party. I love the dressing up and I’d completely forgotten the Mateus Rose! GG

  21. babe_kl says:

    Sounds like a really fun party!

  22. That looks like such an awesome night -I love how you all dressed up!

  23. Row says:

    Totally loving the retro party posts! So that’s what oysters mornay is… yum! :)

  24. Looks like a great evening! I love the oysters too, Yummo! We had those same plates in blue, thanks for reminding me of some great family meal memories :)

  25. Baby Sumo says:

    Your friend Fiona looks fab! What a fun looking party.

  26. Kimby says:

    This was such fun to read! Your menu for the evening brought back memories of dinner parties I’d attended (or cooked!) “back in the day.” Glad you kept the dishes — they were perfect for this!

  27. Very cool 70s flair! I especially loved the candlelight atmosphere you had later in the evening. :)

    The ultimate 70s party dish over here would be a cheese hedgehog (Käseigel).

    http://www.hoga-pr.de/wp-content/uploads/K%C3%A4seigel.jpg

    :)

  28. I love the theme and the oysters look so good! Craving some so badly right now after seeing them!

  29. Such a cool event! I love themed parties :) Recipes seem easy to make as well

  30. Dollymic says:

    Yum yum!
    Love your outfit, especially the electric blue wig, so cute.

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