Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Menu of the album: Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Dee:  This concept is the result of a chat with fellow food blogger Becky at Cooking with Vinyl: Click here to visit it, who shares our love of food and music.  Becky runs a great blog, with much more music-related content than ours, so if you enjoy a musical accompaniment to your meal times, or are looking for inspiration for something to cook and listen to, be sure to pay it a visit.
Liking the format of Becky’s blog, I asked her to suggest an album that I could base a meal on, and not knowing what was in my music collection, she opted for Fleetwood Mac’s 1970s classic ‘Rumours’.  I know the album very well, as I imagine many more people will, so the ideas for a meal to accompany it starting coming to me pretty much straight away.  Initially I wanted to put together a few transatlantic style dishes, to represent the British-US line-up of the band at the time.  Chicken wings with hot sauce was an initial idea, but I then moved on to wondering what the band would have enjoyed food and drink-wise backstage on tour.  At the time of ‘Rumours’ they were already big stars so would have been able to order in pretty much anything to eat and drink, so I decided to reflect this as best I could with the choice of menu.  Cost was obviously more of a factor for Jay and me than it would have been for the Mac, so there are some compromises which will be obvious as you read through the commentary, but I was quite pleased with what I came up with.  It offers a small window on 1970s luxury dining and was a fine accompaniment to the album which, of course, we listened to as we enjoyed the meal.

Drinks:  Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Grande Reserve
Dee:  It just had to be champagne didn’t it.  We don’t drink it a lot, mainly because of the price, but were pleased to find this one on special offer so went for it. We were both very pleased with how it tasted, surprisingly strong and fruity compared to the sparkling whites that we are used to, and also how it complimented the rest of the meal.  

Starter:  Blinis topped with cream cheese and a choice of Caviar and Chutney

Dee:  I made the blinis using a simplified version of a recipe from ‘Bread’ by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter, the book inspired me to start baking my own bread (a story for a future blog entry perhaps?) and spread them with a layer of shop-bought cream cheese.  Jay isn’t keen on caviar so went for a topping of Christmas Chutney, wheras I topped mine with lumpfish caviar, which is much more readily available than the expensive stuff, and a few trimmed chives from the garden.  To be perfectly honest, it’s completely the wrong time of year to be eating chives from the garden as they were pretty tough and lacking in flavour, but I wanted to use them as a garnish.  The blinis however were delicious.  Nice and light, with just enough flavour from the buckwheat flour to hold their own with the cream cheese and caviar.  Jay reported nice textures from the creamy cheese and acidic chutney, giving a Christmassy flavour.  For anyone interested in the blini recipe, here it is;

50g buckwheat flour
50g white self-raising flour
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
200ml water
1 egg, separated

-Add both types of flour, the salt, pepper, water and egg yolk to a bowl and mix to a smooth batter.
-Whisk the egg white until soft peaks form.
-Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
-Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the batter in tablespoon sized measures.
-Watch the blinis carefully as the texture will change as they cook, becoming drier on the surface.  As soon as this happens, flip them over and cook them on the other side.
-Flip them back over to check that the other side has cooked.

Main:  King Prawns with Cocktail Sauce, salad and coleslaw

Dee:  We originally wanted lobster for the main course, and were motivated to see them advertised for £5 in Iceland (the supermarket), but we were unable to obtain one as they were sold out due to popular demand and we couldn’t find one anywhere else.  But no matter, we pushed on with the plan for a seafood based main course and instead went for king prawns, which we served on a bed of salad with some home- made coleslaw.  Nothing here was particularly complicated.  The salad consisted of shredded iceberg lettuce, quartered radishes and quartered cherry tomatoes, while the coleslaw was made from shredded white cabbage, grated carrot, thinly sliced spring onions and a dressing of mayonnaise, a little white wine vinegar and salt and pepper.
The prawns were topped with Marco Pierre White’s cocktail sauce recipe, a combination of mayonnaise, tomato ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce.

Dessert:  Key Lime Pie

Dee:  We deliberated at length over what the dessert should be.  Initially we were going to buy a Vienetta, but discussions quickly moved on to making something ourselves, resulting in a choice between Lemon Meringue Pie and Key Lime Pie.  Having tried Delia Smith’s Key Lime Pie before and remembering how delicious it was, that was what we settled on.  I remembered the fragility of both base and filling so decided to play it safe and photograph the pie before we took it out of the case, but I should have had more confidence in my abilities as it came out fine.
It tasted just as good as the last time I made it, the crunchiness of the base contrasted beautifully with the creaminess of the filling, laced with just the right amount of lime.

The Out-takes
Dee:  I don’t normally include ideas which fall by the wayside when planning a meal in blog entries, but I thought it might be fun in this instance to offer an insight into the planning which went into this special meal.  It’s just a list of possibilities but might be useful for hosts of similar ‘Rumours’, or 1970s themed meals.

Prawn Cocktail
Waldorf Salad
Herb crusted salmon topped with slices of lemon
Florida Salad
Vol au vents
Pineapple and cheese cubes
Crudites and Dips
Beef Wellington
Spicy chicken wings
Lemon meringue pie
Posh Ice cream/Vienetta
NY Cheesecake

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