Inspired by scenes and quotes from the Mad Men series, this is the menu for a 1960s soiree that stays true to what Betty Draper might have whipped up for her husband Don.
1kg lobster (or crayfish)
3T dry sherry
1 cup cream
3 egg yolks
salt and pepper
a few drops of lemon juice
parsley sprigs, to garnish
Fill a large pot with 4ℓ of water, bring to the boil and add 160g salt. Once boiling rapidly, add one of the lobsters or crayfish (cook one at a time) and simmer for about six to eight minutes, depending on size, timing from the moment the water begins to boil again. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside. Once cooled, remove the meat from the shell and cut into 1.5cm cubes.
Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the shellfish meat and sauté briefly, stirring. Add the sherry and simmer for a short time, then add 50ml of the cream and continue to simmer, stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make a custard, place the egg yolks and remaining cream in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir continuously until it coats the back of a spoon. Add the custard to the shellfish, season with salt and pepper, cayenne and lemon juice, and heat gently, stirring. As soon as the sauce has thickened slightly, spoon it into a warmed serving dish. Surround with the toast points, sprinkle a little paprika over it, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.
3 heads of cos lettuce
2 slices white bread
½ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthways
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 extra-large egg, boiled for 1 minute
3T lemon juice
5–6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Slice the bases off each head of lettuce and remove the dark outer leaves, setting them aside. Separate the paler, yellow-green leaves (about 150g) and rinse well. Spin dry in a salad spinner, arrange in a single layer over a few clean tea towels, roll up and refrigerate until cold and crisp.
Prepare the croutons by removing the crusts from the bread and cutting it into 10 2×2cm cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large pan (big enough to fit the croutons in a single layer). Fry half of the garlic clove over a medium heat until pale golden. Discard the garlic and add the bread cubes, turning until golden on all sides. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
Rub the inside of a salad bowl with the other half of the garlic clove. Pour the extra-virgin olive oil into the salad bowl, add the cold lettuce leaves and season with salt and pepper. Break the egg into a smaller glass bowl, squeeze the lemon juice over it, add a generous splash of Worcestershire sauce and whisk lightly. Tip the dressing over the leaves and toss well to coat. Add the Parmesan and croutons, toss again, and serve with freshly ground black pepper.
3 ice cubes
60ml lime cordial
1 lime wedge to garnish
Pour the vodka into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the ice and lime cordial, stir and decorate with the lime wedge. Serve immediately. Makes 1 cocktail
1 sugar cube
a dash of Angostura bitters
ice n 90ml Canadian rye whisky
1 slice orange
1 maraschino cherry
Place the sugar in a glass tumbler, add the bitters and allow to soak into the sugar. Add just enough water to dissolve the sugar and stir or muddle to dissolve it completely. Half fill the glass with ice, then pour in the whisky and stir well. Add the orange and cherry, and serve immediately. Makes 1 cocktail
140ml chicken broth
160ml can tinned tomato juice
1 onion, chopped
half an English cucumber, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2T vegetable oil
4T red-wine vinegar n salt
Combine the ingredients. Season with salt, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces to taste, and refrigerate overnight.
3T soy sauce
3T tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3T sticky brown sugar
8 chicken livers
8 water chestnuts
8 rashers streaky bacon
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Combine the soy and tomato sauces, vinegar, crushed garlic and sticky brown sugar, and stir well.
Halve the chicken livers and water chestnuts, and halve each bacon rasher widthwise. Combine a piece of chicken liver with half a water chestnut and wrap in a piece of bacon, fastening each one with a toothpick. Place the wrapped chicken livers in the soy mixture and leave to marinate for a few hours.
Drain, arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until the bacon is crisp, turning regularly for even browning. Remove the toothpicks, skewer with fresh toothpicks and serve.
Rare Roast Beef
1.5kg boneless chuck roast (ask your butcher to roll and tie it into one piece)
salt and pepper
2T vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
¼ cup cake flour
generous pinch of white pepper
2 cups of hot beef stock
5 potatoes, peeled and halved
8 baby onions, peeled leaving the pointed tip intact
10 medium carrots, peeled and cut into finger-length pieces
10 celery sticks, cut into finger-length pieces
Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Season the chuck with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and one tablespoon of butter in an ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides (about three to four minutes per side), remove and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of butter to the casserole dish, then cook the onions over medium heat until softened. Add the flour and seasoning, and cook, stirring for a minute or two, or until the flour smells biscuity. Gradually whisk in the hot beef stock. Bring to the boil, return the meat to the casserole dish and replace the lid. Roast in the oven for two hours.
Place the potatoes and baby onions in a large saucepan of cold, salted water, then bring to the boil and simmer, removing the vegetables when they are tender. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil and add the carrots and celery. Allow to simmer, and remove when tender.
Place the roast in the middle of a serving platter and arrange the vegetables around it. Strain the gravy and pour a little over the meat. Serve the rest alongside the dish in a gravy boat.
Originally published in HL October 2012.