The summer holiday period is a popular time for entertaining guests.
Christmas and New Year parties and generally getting together with friends for a barbecue is an ever-popular Australian tradition.
With a host of cooking show on television, and creative offerings at restaurants and cafes and cafes it is not surprising that the food served at these events often promises a gourmet experience in the 21st century.
But remember the days when devon wrapped around mash potato, bacon wrapped prunes and prawn cocktails were served at every event. They seemed to be the main go-to in the 1970s and 80s.
This blast from the past takes a closer look at the culinary offerings once served at parties which you may...or may not...want serve at your next party. One thing is certain - toothpicks were an important feature of most platters.
At the very least it will take some readers on a trip down Memory Lane.
Devon wrapped mash
This is so simple. Mashed potato with added finely chopped onion or chives, and pepper and salt for seasoning. The toothpick is important for holding the devon wrap in place. The picture says it all. Of course strategically placed parsley was the perfect garnish. Some more adventurous caterers would also include grated cheese in the mash. I didn't but I wish I had. My memories of this as a snack is far better than the reality. I give this one a 4/10. The parsley, however, was delicious - homegrown and full of flavour!
Devil on horseback
A prune wrapped in bacon. A simple snack that is also enjoyable to eat. This is one that could be kept on entertainment platters in the 21st century. You can also opt for the alternative - Angel on horseback where the bacon is wrapped around an oyster - keep it simple with a smoked oyster. A short time under the grill and serve either option warm on a toothpick. I give this one 9/10 - easy to make and tasty.
I would be surprised if anything featuring prawns has gone out of fashion although this dish has tended to go a little upscale in the 21st century. The way it is presented and the type of lettuce used is the most obvious variation. However, a retro prawn cocktail was nothing without a base of iceberg lettuce, topped with peeled prawns, seafood sauce and a lemon wedge. It still good today. I'd give this 8/10. For the record the iceberg lettuce was quite refreshing.
Bread cup canapes
Slices of bread and a patty cake tin are two key requirements for these great snacks. Cut the crusts of the bread, butter one side and the mold it into the cake tin. Then all you need to do is fill each molded case with a filling of your choice. I still like making this snack when entertaining and it is always popular. I make a salmon mornay sauce complete with a touch of chilli, scooped into each bread case and topped with grated cheese. It is then heated in the oven for about 30 minutes. Yum. This one deserves a 10/10 for flavour.
Pickled onions in a variety of ways
Along with the toothpick, the pickled onion was a mainstay of any worthy entertainment platter in the 1970s and 80s. A pickled onion with a wedge of cheese on a jatz biscuit, held in place with a toothpick, pickled onions (preferably coloured red and green) in the form of a pickled onion kebab on a toothpick, and pickled onions in a bowl were popular options.
Boiled eggs, curry powder and mayo. Now here is a simple recipe for entertaining that's well worth keeping on the menu for summer 2020/21.
All you need is to hard boil the eggs, cut them in half, scoop out the hard yellow yoke to mix with some mayo and curry powder to taste. Then spoon the yoke mix back into the space from which its came. Sprinkle the final product with a little paprika and serve to your hungry guest. I didn't make these for the purpose of this article, so I won't give a rating. However, I have a work colleague who said they were the most popular item on her platter at a recent 70s celebration.
Fondue for the sweet tooth
I went in search of a fondue pot for this one but had no success finding the piece of culinary equipment in the 21st century. I'm sure they are still available...but not where I looked.
Don't despair I still managed to create this popular sweet treat from the past. For the record the cheesy, savoury options were also popular in those years gone by, but we already have enough savoury suggestions on this list.
Now back to the future where this dish still has the potential to please. The dipping sauce can be made with either milk or white chocolate. I melted this in a saucepan with the addition of some cream. This limits the chance of sticking to the pot and ensures that the sauce remains running for the purpose of dipping.
What to dip is the next question. The answer is simple - whatever your sweet tooth desires. However, popular options include marshmallows (for the really sweet tooth) or pieces of fruit such as bananas or strawberries.
Oh and don't forget to have toothpicks nearby for the purpose of dipping with getting chocolate sauce all over your fingers. I give this one a 7/10. I'm not so much a sweet tooth, but it is easy to make, tasty and no doubt a hit with many.
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