Memories come flooding back as Mary returns to the 70's for a retro dinner party. Duck a l'orange anybody?
My sister Annie and her husband Doug are staying with us for a few days and their arrival coincided with their 38th wedding anniversary. As they were married in 1970 (wearing matching white Levi jeans) I thought I'd recreate the sort of dinner party we would have had then.
We kicked off with a nice chilled bottle of Mateus rose (not as bad as I remembered, but slightly fizzy with a flavour that reminded me of fruit pastilles), served with cheese and pineapple on sticks stuck into a foil covered half grapefruit.
As my sister's son Seth and his wife were too young to really understand the joke they refused to eat this and thought the combo totally disgusting. We loved it, even with the tinned pineapple.
Next up was prawn cocktail, naturally. I bottled out of serving marie rose sauce with the prawns, which I never liked and instead made my own version of salad cream, made by whisking a lightly boiled egg yolk with lemon juice, mustard, olive oil and cream.
The main course was tricky to choose, but I ended up cooking Duck a l'orange which was on every sophisticated restaurant menu in the 70's, usually served with a twist of orange and a great bouquet of watercress on the side. I slow roasted duck legs, and the sauce was based on a recipe from the Balthazar French bistro Balthazar French bistro in New York (a brilliant cookbook, by the way).
This dish has certainly stood the test of time and not a scrap was left for our ever hopeful dog Lily. As the candles flickered in the wicker Chianti bottles we rounded off the evening with yummy little black forest gateaux. So, if you were to cook a 70's dinner party what would you have on your menu?