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.
Christmas eve dinner party 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have not actually had baked Christmas ham before from our kitchen and this is a revelation.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
It was a suprisingly sober evening despite the delicious food, amazing music and company. And we feasted on some delicious leftovers for breakfast.
Recipes from Christmas eve dinner party 2011
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.
- 24 large cooked prawns, de-veined and shelled, leaving heads and tails on
- Small bunch of chives, sliced finely
- 1 jar of salmon roe
- 2 bunches baby cos lettuce or iceberg lettuce, finely sliced
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, mustard, lemon juice and tomato ketchup for 2 minutes and add EVOO in a slow and steady stream till soft and fluffy.
2. Wash and dry baby cos lettuce and cut into quarters.
3. To assemble, place cos lettuce on plate, lean four prawns on lettuce, pour 1 tablespoon of sauce and sprinkle some sliced chives and salmon roe.
Serves 6 – 8 people
This is a classic 1970’s recipe that is best served cold in the heat of summer.
French beans salad
- 500gms of French beans
- 2 tablespoon of lemon verbena vinegar
- 6 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Half cup of roasted almond flakes
- Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Steam French beans in steamer for approximately 10 minutes until soft then immediately cool in ice cold water to stop cooking.
2. Drain off excess water, plate then drizzle with lemon verbena vinegar, EVOO, salt and black pepper to taste.
3. Sprinkle with roasted almond flakes and serve immediately.
This is a recipe that can be served cold as a refreshing summer salad.
Fig and brandy glazed Christmas ham
- Half leg ham
- 1 cup fig jam
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- Handful whole cloves
1. Remove rind from the ham by using fingers to separate the rind from the fat and score diamond pattern on the fat layer with sharp knife.
2. Stud the middle of each diamond pattern with a whole clove.
3. Warm fig jam with brandy to form a glaze and then brush it all over the leg ham.
4. Place in baking tray and bake in 180 degree Celsius oven for approximately 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes until the leg ham is golden brown on the outside.
5. Remove from oven and rest the meat for about 1 hour before serving.
As the ham has already been cooked, make sure the oven is hot before putting the meat in to avoid “stewing”.
Chicken a la king
- 700kg chicken breast or tenderloin (do not use thigh or drumstick meat if you like the long white slivers of chicken meat as texture)
- 1 leek, white portion only and diced finely
- 1 largebrown onion, diced finely
- Half cup peas
- 7 – 8 white mushroom, sliced finely
- 300ml of light cream
- 5 tablespoon dry white wine
- 4 – 5 tablespoon cornflour (depending on your preference of sauce thickness and consistency)
- 3 cups of jasmin rice, steamed
- 3 – 4 knobs of unsalted butter
1. Heat up 500ml water and gently poached chicken pieces until thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken from the stock, let cool then hand tear into small bite sized pieces and set aside.
2. Heat EVOO in large cooking pot until slightly smoking then add onions and leek and sautee until slightly soft
3. Add 2 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of white pepper into the leek and onion.
4. Add chicken piece to the vegetable and stir in the light cream and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
5. Then add white wine, white mushroom and peas and stir well.
6. Turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Then gently stir in approximately 2 – 3 tablespoon of cornflour until the sauce is slightly thick. Add more cornflour depending on your preference of sauce thickness.
7. Add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste and serve with steamed buttered rice.
Serves 6 – 8 people
This is a classic recipe that I love in the colder months of winter.
- 5 egg whites
- 350 grams caster sugar
- 1 litre good quality vanilla ice cream
- 1 litre raspberry ice cream
- 1 500 grams store bought chocolate swiss roll
- 4 tablespoon brandy
- 1 punnet raspberries
1. Line a deep baking bowl with cling wrap, leaving additional 5cm around the rim.
2. Cut swiss roll into 1cm thick slices and line the bowl with the sliced cake in a circular motion, cutting small pieces to fill the gaps between the slices.
3. Scoop softened vanilla ice cream to fill one third of the bowl evenly, then add raspberry ice cream to fill another third and finish with vanilla ice cream to fill the last layer.
4. Finish the top layer with the sliced swiss roll, cutting small pieces to fill the gaps and cover with the overlaying cling wrap and place a plate on top and chill in the freezer overnight.
5. Beat 5 egg whites with an electric beater, adding 2 tablespoons of caster sugar at a time till the mixture is stiff and glossy to make a swiss meringue.
6. Remove the chilled ice cream and cake dome and invert onto a cake serving plate. Cover the dome completely with the swiss meringue using a spatula, leaving no gaps. Using the thumb and second finger, pinch the meringue to form spikes.
7. Pour brandy over the meringue slowly and light the bombe alaska with a blow torch to flambe. You can also bake the bombe alaska in a 180 degree C oven for 5 minutes till golden brown.
8. Serve immediately with tart raspberries.
Serves 6 – 8 people
We hope you will enjoy these iconic recipes for your next retro dinner party.
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
Tel: +61 3 5965 2271
Click here to read more about Australia’s Noble One, Botrytis Semillon.