For those who don’t know, May 25 is Towel Day, when devotees of the late Douglas Adams carry towels in his honour. Just in case they need one for intergalactic hitchhiking. It’s a good day for a Towel Day Stress Free Dinner Party.
Bearing in mind that we’re making this dinner at home for friends, we’ll once again be keeping it simple.
The Hitchhiker’s books provide an interesting selection of food stuffs, partly as actual food and partly for other stuff like fuel. We’ll focus on the eating things.
Again lots of drinks, including some that people who haven’t heard of Douglas Adams will have heard of like water, beer, wine, whisky, tea and coffee.
Tricky one here, so let’s pretend we are at Milliways, the restaurant at the end of the universe, a five-star restaurant where we can watch the end of the universe, followed by dessert. We’ll need a white tablecloth, napkins, silver cutlery, fine white china dishes and crystal glasses. Or simulacrums.
I expect a five-star restaurant would demand black tie, but if you don’t want to go that far, you could go cocktail or lounge. Then again, we are hitchhiking, so perhaps pyjamas and dressing gown. But whatever you do, don’t forget your Towel Day towel.
As always, six guests invited to arrive 6.30 for 7.00pm. But as it’s a weeknight, we’ll shorten the course service to 45 minutes instead of an hour, and take advantage of prepared produce where possible. You could also combine the apéritif and entrée, and/or the dessert and digestif and revert to the hour per course.
6:30 Apéritif: Beer and Peanuts
Beer as a muscle relaxant and the nuts for their salt and protein – must be prepared for electronic thumb transport!
7.00 Entrée: Pate with Tzjin-anthony-ks
As tzjin-anthony-ks are in fact lethal, we’ll go with the earth version of gin and tonic. Get some good rich pate (or terrine) and serve on a bed of mixed salad leaf with a couple of crisp pieces of toast.
7.45 Main: Ameglian Major Filet Mignon, Roasted Vegetables and Cabernet Sauvignon
Ah, Ameglian Major Cow, the meat that wants to be eaten…
Beef: get a fillet about 2″ (5 cm) for each person. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap 1 or 2 slices of streaky bacon around the circumference and fix in place with toothpicks. Allow the meat about 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before cooking over high heat on the barbeque or grill pan for 5 minutes each side ( for medium rare) up to 7 each side for well done. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Vegetables: You can buy prepared vegetables ready to roast – try to get a Mediterranean style mix. Or preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C). Cut 20 – 30 button mushrooms, a large red or yellow pepper (capsicum), a medium Japanese (Lebanese) eggplant, medium zucchini, medium onion, into 1″ (2.5 cm) pieces and toss with 3 grated cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped rosemary, salt, pepper and a slosh of extra virgin olive oil, then pour into a baking tray. Roast for about 35 minutes or until done. Use the cooking juices as a dressing.
8.30 Dessert: Total Perspective Vortex Fairy Cake with Tawny Port
I’m inclined to think baking fairy cakes is a lot of effort after work, so buy two or three mini cupcakes per person on your way home. Serve with vanilla ice cream or Chantilly cream (whip a container of full cream milk with a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar).
9.00 Digestif: “tastes like” Whisky and soda, Coffee, Fruit and Cheese. Tea if you are not worried about crashing any computers.
This is an occasion for a single lump of good cheese, one that matches both the port and the whisky. An old and hard cheese like manchego, parmesan, or perhaps something nuttier like Gruyère or Comte. If you’re game, a strong blue. Serve with a couple of crisp apples or pears and some crackers.
I hope you enjoy this meal, so Happy Towel Day, one and all.