Christmas Eve 2011 – A 1970′s retro dinner party

Iconic dessert from the 70s: Bombe Alaska

Iconic dessert from the 70s: Bombe Alaska

We ought to be thankful for the 1970′s gave the world the iconic music of Michael Jackson, Beatles, The Carpenters, Carole King, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Earth Wind & Fire and The Bee Gees.

And to think this is only the tip of the iceberg of an era where flare pants, platform shoes, tight polyester shirts, Bjorn Borg-hairstyle, smoking pot and jiving to the disco lights and sounds of Saturday Night Fever are part of the hippy lifestyle of the millions of baby-boomers around the world.

This wonderful music and the food from the 1970′s were the inspiration for our Christmas eve dinner party this year.

My thanks also go out to Lizzy of Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things - it is wonderful to have discovered your lovely blog this year, your infectious humour and inspiring tweets. Best of all are your delicious recipes and sharing your love of 1970′s food with me.

To my parents, brother and sister, a very merry Christmas to you and may God bless you and your beautiful families.

Last but certainly not the least to Mysaucepan - you bring joy, love and happiness to my life.

To our friends who spent Christmas eve dinner with us this year – thank you for your kindness. My dedication is a song from one of my all-time favourite singers to re-live the moments of our dinner party.

To Karen Carpenter, your voice never fails to bring a tear or two to my eyes, God bless your soul.

Our Christmas tree, December 2011

Our Christmas tree, December 2011

 Christmas eve dinner party 2011

Dinner table, Christmas eve 2011

Dinner table, Christmas eve 2011

Christmas blooms 2011

Christmas blooms 2011

We only started preparing for our Christmas eve dinner party on day itself.

A quick trip to the supermarket and green grocer is enough to complete the grocery shopping for our 1970′s retro dinner ingredients.

While Mysaucepan prepares flowers and sets the dinner table, I find a quick half an hour to brush up my Christmas carols on the piano.

Over the years, I have found that practising Christmas carols on the piano at the last minute seems to work for me because I have no choice but to play it properly as time is short before the guests arrive.

Table setting, Christmas eve 2011

Table setting, Christmas eve 2011

 

 

 

Looks like Christmas paper wrapping can double up as some rather attractive dinner place mats for a festive season too.

I particularly like the red and green festive motif that Mysaucepan comes up with for our dinner table setting.

I am really looking forward to this retro dinner because the food memory of it all brings me back to my childhood years.

What is your favourite food from your childhood ? 

Mysaucepan has managed to single-handedly put up the Christmas tree this year. We have not spent Christmas in Sydney for a few years and she is adamant to have a tree up way before Christmas.

Our Christmas tree, December 2011

Our Christmas tree, December 2011

Canapes: Rice crackers with smoked salmon, light cream, chives

Canapes: Rice crackers with smoked salmon, light cream, chives

How lovely is it to match the food with your clothes? Susan, perhaps you read our minds about serving rice crackers with smoked salmon as our canapes. Thank you for helping us dish out the canapes and entrees.

First bubbly for the evening: Sparkling shiraz

First bubbly for the evening: Sparkling shiraz

We start off with some bubbly and the cool weather this year is perfect for a sparkling shiraz.

Through the years, I find that white wine, beers and seafood remind me of Australian summers and even though the BBQ has yet to make its debut this summer, I am sure it will get its chance very soon.

This first bottle did not last long as it was done within minutes of the first pop of the evening.

Prawn cocktail with thousand island dressing – can we get anymore 70′s than that but this is definitely one of the classics that have stood the test of time.

Prawn cocktail with cos lettuce, avocado, salmon roe and thousand island dressing

Prawn cocktail with cos lettuce, avocado, salmon roe and thousand island dressing

French beans with lemon verbena dressing and roasted almond flakes

French beans with lemon verbena dressing and roasted almond flakes

 

Even though Mysaucepan grew up in the 1980′s in Singapore, she seems to have a lot of memories of the 1970′s.

The salad for the evening is a simple French beans with lemon verbena dressing and sprinkled with some roasted almond flakes.

I’m not sure if this is really a dish from the 1970′s,

Nevertheless, I love the crunch of the beans with the toasty almond flakes.

 

Fig and brandy glazed ham

Fig and brandy glazed ham

I have not actually had baked Christmas ham before from our kitchen and this is a revelation.

Fig and brandy glazed ham

Fig and brandy glazed ham

Mysaucepan had glazed the ham with a delectable fig and brandy sauce in the afternoon.

Caramelised with a wonderfully sweet complexity that is different from just honey-glazed, the sweetness of the fig jam is a great contrast to the brandy.

Studded with spice aromas from the cloves, this leg of ham is truly a memorable treat this Christmas and it’s not over yet until it gets down to the bone.

And the best part is you can use the leftovers for a myriad of recipes: ham and cheese toast, ham and onion quiche, eggs benedict with ham, ham and pea soup and more.

French beans with fig and brandy glazed ham

French beans with fig and brandy glazed ham

De-glazing the roasting pan with a touch of white wine is a great idea to make a gravy out of the juices from the roast.

Classic from 1970: Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal in Love Story

Classic from 1970: Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal in Love Story

Of course our retro dinner is not complete without a dose of 1970′s movie drama and the iconic music from the era which gave us so many beautiful hits.

Love Story

One of my favourites is Love Story, a movie based on the novel by Erich Segal about a Harvard law student, Oliver Barrett IV (starring Ryan O’Neal) who falls in love with a Ratcliffe music student Jennifer Cavalleri (starring Ali MacGraw).

The movie was nominated for seven Academy awards including best actor, best actress and best supporting actor in 1970. The original score, composed by Francis Lai and made famous by Andy Williams won the only Acadamy award out of the seven for Best Music.

“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach … The Beatles … and me”

Classic from 1970: Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal in Love Story

Classic from 1970: Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal in Love Story

In the scene above, Oliver Barrett finds out from his girlfriend she holds him in high regard alongside Bach, Mozart … and the Beatles. The iconic line from the movie could perhaps also embrace the spirit that is Christmas:

 ”Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Retro chic: Chicken a la king with buttered rice

Retro chic: Chicken a la king with buttered rice

One of my all-time favourites dishes from the 1970′s is Chicken a la king with buttered rice and this was my request for our main course.

"Is there lipstick on this wine glass?"

"Is there lipstick on this wine glass?"

Why do I like this dish so much? I often wonder as I tuck into the creamy sauce ladened with soft slivers of chicken breast and the subtle flavours of leek and onion.

Perhaps it’s comfort food for cold weather or even a great filling for a more contemporary chicken pie with puff pastry?

The buttered rice is fluffy and despite being a light-carb eater by choice, I can devour buttered rice quite easily.

Maybe it has nothing to do with taste but all to do with memories of my childhood.

Jivin' to the Bee Gees' Saturday Night Fever

Jivin' to the Bee Gees' Saturday Night Fever

 

Is it the food or Saturday Night Fever playing alongside Love Story left silent on TV that is getting our dinner guests to start dancing?

I suspect it is the sound of the Bee Gees. How can one resist such iconic hits as Stayin’ Alive, Disco Inferno, Boogy Wonderland, I Love The Nighlife and How Deep Is Your Love?

There were quite a few John Travoltas on the dance floor later on that evening if I may add!

With Paul on his guitar and me on the piano, we had a short jamming session with Christmas carols, 70′s songs and group sing-along to complete the fun filled trip down memory lane.

Iconic dessert from the 70s: Bombe Alaska

Iconic dessert from the 70s: Bombe Alaska and its flaming cognac

After a few dance moves, it was time to have dessert. The Bombe Alaska is Mysaucepan‘s idea and it certainly puts to shame those served in the restaurants in the 1970′s. This is a great summer dish as it is essentially an ice cream based dessert and when flambed on the table, it makes a dessert show stopper.

Mr T brings a bottle of 1994 Noble One Botrytis Semillon. 

From memory, I think I was cheering France in the football World Cup of 1994 held in the USA.

1994 Noble One Botrytis Semillon

1994 Noble One Botrytis Semillon

This wonderful sticky has matured over seventeen years and given a few minutes of air, it soon drank like heavenly nectar, a dark brown hue of sticky sweetness redolent of honey and figs.

Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries

Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries

Christmas present from Mysaucepan

Christmas present from Mysaucepan

Some sweet summer berries soon brought out more flavours from this delectable dessert wine.

I got a little booklet as my Christmas present from Mysaucepan entitled I married Miss Right – I just didn’t know her first name was Always.

I wonder if I should be taking this pressie seriously though.

One thing I know is that I should perhaps read through the entire booklet and take heed of some of the advice such as:

“What is the punishment for bigamy? – Two Mother-in-law.”

 

 

 

Christmas Day  2011 breakfast

Breakfast Christmas Day 2011: Smoked salmon, ham, cheese and sparkling wine

Breakfast Christmas Day 2011: Smoked salmon, ham, cheese and sparkling wine

It was a suprisingly sober evening despite the delicious food, amazing music and company. And we feasted on some delicious leftovers for breakfast.

Christmas aftermath: "Time for pea and ham soup perhaps?"

Christmas aftermath: "Time for pea and ham soup perhaps?"

 ~~~~~~o~~~~~~

Recipes from Christmas eve dinner party 2011

Prawn cocktail with cos lettuce, avocado, tobiko and thousand island dressing

Prawn cocktail with cos lettuce, avocado, tobiko and thousand island dressing

Here are the recipes for our 1970′s retro dinner party above. We hope you will try them out because as dated as they may be, they are certainly tasty classics which have stood the test of time. They are recipes filled with beautiful memories that I am happy to replicate time and again.

This is a classic 1970′s recipe that is best served cold in the heat of summer.

French beans with balsamic dressing and roasted almond flakes

French beans with balsamic dressing and roasted almond flakes

This is a recipe that can be served cold as a refreshing summer salad.

Christmas ham 2011

Christmas ham 2011

As the ham has already been cooked, make sure the oven is hot before putting the meat in to avoid “stewing”.

Ingredients for chicken a la king

Ingredients for chicken a la king

Finely diced leek

Finely diced leek

Simmering chicken, leek, onions, mushrooms and light cream

Simmering chicken, leek, onions, mushrooms and light cream

Add dry white wine to simmering chicken in pot

Add dry white wine to simmering chicken in pot

Memories from the 70s: Creamy chicken a la king with buttered rice

Memories from the 70s: Creamy chicken a la king with buttered rice

Bombe Alaska: Ice cream, pudding and meringue

Bombe Alaska: Ice cream, pudding and meringue

Iconic 1970s: Bombe Alaska

Iconic 1970s: Bombe Alaska

So dear readers, what was your favourite moments from Christmas this year? 

Related post by ChopinandMysaucepan:

De Bortoli Wines
Yarra Valley Winery and Restaurant
Pinnacle Lane, Dixons Creek
Victoria 3775
Tel: +61 3 5965 2271

Click here to read more about Australia’s Noble One, Botrytis Semillon.

Enter your email address to subscribe to chopinandmysaucepan.com

… Delivered by FeedBurner
comments
This entry was posted in Seafood and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Christmas Eve 2011 – A 1970′s retro dinner party

  1. Baby Sumo says:

    What a fabulous looking dinner! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you again :)

  2. I had no clue you were my age. I loved all those artists including Chicago, Jefferson Starship, Carole King and James Taylor amo g others. Loved Love Story but never understood, “love means never having to say you’re sorry” that’s a croc IMO.

    Can’t wait to try your baked Alaska. The best part about the holidays are family and laughter. Worst is not being able to share it with those that I loved that are gone.

    Thank you for bringing me back to the good ole days.

    Wishing you all the best in 2012. So glad to have made friends with you.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Vicki,

      Yes, there are so many great bands from the 70s and Chicago is one of mine too. It is great meeting you and your blog and I look forward to discovering more of your recipes in 2012!

  3. That BombeAlaska looks amazing!! Love a retro dinner party!

  4. msihua says:

    Oh my! That is seriously an epic dinner! I love themed parties, and this retro version sounds delightful!

  5. Carolyn Jung says:

    What a feast! Man, I need to be invited to your Christmas dinner next year. LOL
    From those giant, plump shrimp to that gorgeous hunk of ham to that glam baked Alaska, it all looks amazing. Happy holidays!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Carolyn,

      You’re not short of cooking up a feast as well and perhaps I should sample some of your fabulous recipes too! The prawn cocktail is a favourite of mine next to the chicken. Happy holidays to you too!

  6. That looks fantastic! We had a similar party and it as sooo much fun! I haven’t heard of chicken a la king though! I must get familiar with it :)

  7. Aw Chopinand… I feel so humbled by your kind words! I am grateful to have made contact with you too…. your sense of humour is not unlike mine. Now, to your food, someone please pass me a fork!

  8. JasmyneTea says:

    I have no idea about most of the things you just wrote about, lol. But I do know the ham should have had pineapple rings and glacé cherries toothpicked to it! :P Hope you both have a great new year, and wishing you much happiness for 2012.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Jasmyne Tea,

      I think a lot of these things happened way before you were born. The pineapple and cherries with the glazed ham are quiet classic recipes and we wanted a slight twist to it with the fig and brandy. Wishing you a happy 2012 as well!

  9. Ann says:

    What a terrific Christmas Eve Party! I imagine you had a GREAT time! I liked the music, movies and the food! Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year!

    I was younger in the 70′s and – sadly – my mother was NOT a cook. My favorite thing to eat back then was boxed Rice-A-Roni. I don’t think I’ve had it in 30 years!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Ann,

      Roni and cheese is also one of my favourites too. I think with a little more care, some of these retro recipes can be so delicious!!

  10. Hannah says:

    How incredible! Alas, I was born at the endish of the eighties, so whilst the music is well-known to me as a result of my parents’ tastes, the cuisine is not as ingrained in my psyche. Any decade that involves flaming balls of meringue at the end, and justification for cheese for Christmas dinner, gets my vote though.

    Also, adding butter to rice is ingenious. INGENIOUS I SAY.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Hannah,

      Buttered rice is pretty delicious and such a versatile combo for so many different recipes but need to be careful coz it’s so addictive!

  11. Leanne says:

    Loved your post. Reminds me that I must watch The Love Story again – I learnt to play that tune on the organ (very seventies). Glad to see you found a place for the Noble One at your party too. Cheers!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Leanne,

      The Noble One is my fave sticky although I don’t have a sweet tooth and hence not a big fan of desserts. But I’m a big fan of your wines though :)

      Thanks for dropping by.

  12. Sidney says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    The photos are beautiful, and the menu so varied. This would be great as a New Year’s party as well, for those of us who were late to the party.

    I will be linking to your post for My Exciting New Year’s Weekend post this week; hopefully it will inspire others to entertain their friends as you have. Thank you for sharing this warm time with all of us, Chopin.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Sidney,

      It was a nice party and our guests really enjoyed all the retro recipes that brought back many memories. Hope you have a great new year’s party this weekend!

  13. Baked Alaska and Love Story, how fabulous and totally 70s. I’ve never seen a baked Alaska but yours looks amazing and certainly does justice to it’s legend! GG

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Glamourous Glutton,

      The Bombe Alaska is really ice-cream with Swiss roll but the flambe makes a beautiful spectacle for guests and great for taking pictures! :)

  14. What a fabulous Christmas party… with DELICIOUS foods!!!!!!!!! Love Story was one of my favorite movies and you reminded me that I haven’t seen it at least for 10 years! Never heard of Bombe Alaska, but it’s such an interesting and eye-catching dessert! I need to learn how to make ham…looks yummy! Happy New Year, C & MSP!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Nami,

      At first I thought Bombe Alaska was a difficult recipe but watching Mysaucepan prepare the Swiss roll and ice-cream, I think the skill is more about scooping the ice-cream into the bowl and making it look nice and layered. Happy new year to you too!

  15. Sissi says:

    You have had such an extraordinary Christmas party! Everything looks luscious (I love the glazed ham) and the decoration is beautiful (I suppose both were not obvious in the 70s, so you must have made double efforts). It would be very interesting to compare such retro 70s dinner parties in different countries, on different continents.
    Thank you for this amazing post and have a wonderful New Year’s Eve boat party!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Sissy,

      The ham was definitely not a staple Christmas item when I was growing up in Malaysia. I imagine the retro dishes from different countries would be very interesting because of such diverse cultures.

      I hope you have a great new year and our boat party was quite fantastic, will blog about it soon! :)

  16. What a fancy idea to have a 70s dinner party! And so much delicious foods you’ve had! My personal highlight is the green bean salad with roasted almonds. I want to replicate that one (although with less oil – I can’t go against oily foods). It looks to fresh and easy!

    Have a happy New Year! (And enjoy the leftovers. :D )

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Kath,

      The green beans with roasted almonds is refreshing and it would also be great as a cold dish in summer, I think it’s so easy to make and I’m sure you will enjoy it.

      Have a great new year and best to your research and thesis in 2012.

  17. Happy New Year :) its been such a pleasure reading you blog. Cant wait for more in 2012!! :D x

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Nic,

      Thanks for visiting and your support in 2011. We look forward to reading more of your blog in 2012 as well! :)

      Have a great new year!

  18. Now that’s what I call a retro xmas dinner! Very well planned!

    Dat a big ham and nicely glazed :)

  19. Sarah says:

    LOVE your retro theme! And the Bombe Alaska definitely puts the restaurant versions to shame. It looks like the perfect finish for a Christmas meal!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Sarah,

      The Bombe Alaska was really the central theme of our retro dinner and thankfully we managed to take some nice photos of it.

  20. InTolerant Chef says:

    What a fun themed party, and i agree that some of these recipes well deserve to be bought back into vogue! A very Happy New Year to you both :)

  21. Chopinand says:

    Dear InTolerant Chef,

    Thanks and I have already cooked another meal with the chicken a la king as it is definitely my favourite.

    Have a great new year and all the best for 2012!

  22. That bomb alaska looks like the flaming way to finish off this awesome party – wow it looks awesome :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Rich Sticky Date Pudding w/ Butterscotch Sauce

  23. Pingback: Walking with Dinosaurs movie matched with prehistoric food | Film and food

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>