May 31, 2008

Our "World Food" Evenings

The last two World Food evenings have definitely deviated from the original theme.
But in a good way.

Last month's theme was a Manhattan Cocktail Party and this month's was a very lively Evening at the Races, complete with genuine horse racing.
Not exactly along the same lines as the past cuisine themes which have included Southeast Asian, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Italian, Turkish, BBQ and South African.
We'll be back on track next month with an Indonesian Food Feast.

The Manhattan Cocktail Party involved platters and plates of finger food and a half a dozen bottles of spirits and mixers. I made tangy Lemon Drops, which, being seriously cocktail deprived in the south of France, I thoroughly enjoyed. Other refreshment options included Mojitos, Caiphrinias and Margaritas.

The eight of us crammed ourselves into our tiny living room (this was a cocktail party, no fair sitting politely around a table) and grazed our way through an array of food that was amusing, diverse and delicious. There were Italian meats and cheeses, Chinese scallion pancakes with spicy dipping sauce, smoked salmon and crème fraîche on blinis, devils on horseback, very retro pigs in a blanket, a tomato tart and little roasted thyme potatoes to dip in warm Camembert.

May's An Evening at the Races theme was hatched after our friends bought Escalado, an English table horse racing game from the 1920's. We all brought a dish that related to famous horse races around the world; the Kentucky Derby, le Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the Melbourne Cup, the Grand National and the Dubai World Cup.

they're in the gate...

and they're off!

We started the evening with a glass of Pimms Cup and some little cucumber and smoked salmon finger sandwiches, crusts cut off of course. After the betting system was sorted out, we played a few games, and an embarrassing amount of yelling and screaming ensued. Just when our voices were becoming hoarse (no pun intended), we took a break and sat down to dinner which included fried chicken, horse meat kabobs (I politely declined) and couscous.

Pimm's Cup

More racing, more screaming, and more money being won and lost. Mind you, the maximum we were allowed to bet was 1€, so not much could be won and lost!

Dessert was one of my favorites, Tarte Tatin with chantilly, with a glass of local Muscat St. Jean de Minervois to wash it down.

So, back to the games. This is where it got very silly. We started racing objects around the kitchen against the horses and against each other.
It was hilarious!

Wallace and Gromit, a coin and a donkey compete with the horses - the coin won

a corkscrew, a pencil, a tampon, a cork, a coin and an alligator nutcracker compete - the heaviest object, the alligator, won!

I didn't take photos of all the races, but we continued to come up with imaginative combinations.

Yes, this is how we manage to amuse ourselves out here in the country in the south of France! Pin It


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

What an absolutely "FUN" night...Friends, fun and food!!! and tasty cocktails...yummy

nola said...

What a fun evening!! That Pimm's Cup looks inviting.

b said...

How fun!! These themes are great and add variety to a dinner party. It sounds like a fun bunch of friends. And the food sounds incredible!

I would think the tampon would have fared well in a race, given its aerodynamic shape! :)

Loulou said...

The lemon drops were divine!
It was a great evening with great friends.

our friend makes a mean Pimm's Cup. Full of fruit and cucumber. Very refreshing on a hot summer day!

The food was, and is always, great. We all really get into the themes and have a blast. There is often dancing involved. :)
I thought the tampon would win too! The corkscrew came second to the alligator. I think the tampon came in third.

Linda said...

That looks like fun. Nothing better than an evening with friends, good drinks and good food. I wonder why the French never really get into mixed drinks? I served margaritas once and they really liked them.

L Vanel said...

Oooh oooh! Did you wear big hats?

Loulou said...

I'm not sure. Our French friends love margaritas too.
We ordered cocktails at one of the local bars one summer - they have a big painted sign advertising them - and they were the most horrific concoctions I've ever tasted in my life. I think they just threw a bunch of colored alcohol in a glass and served it. It was like drinking battery acid!

Yes, we did! :)

La Belette Rouge said...

The alligators size made him appear to be the clear front runner!
Looks like a lot of fun and delicious food. I could snarf down that Pimm's cup right now.

Loulou said...

la belette
we thought the lightweight items would go faster but it was exactly the opposite; the heaviest items did

Those Pimms are delicious and go down far too easily. They sneak up on you!

The Late Bloomer said...

These dinners from around the world sound like SO much FUN! I would love to do this kind of thing here in the région parisienne... I bet you guys and gals must have a real blast!

Loulou said...

late bloomer
We do have a blast! They are a wonderful group of friends.