Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Night to Remember

One hundred years ago, at 11:40 p.m., the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the north Atlantic on its maiden voyage from Southhampton, England, to New York City.   Two hours and 40 minutes later, this state -of-the-art, "practically unsinkable" vessel, and the pride of the White Star Line, split in two and sank to the ocean floor.  The exact number of people who lost their lives is not precisely known.  In an era before computers, passenger manifests of the time were prone to inaccuracies, omissions, and errors.  As with any great tragedy, and in the words of Rudy Giuliani when he was asked to estimate the number of deaths on 9-11, "it is likely more than we can bear."

The following menu commemorates the 100th anniversary of this fateful night.  It isn't the entire menu, which was 11 courses, but instead it has been pared down so that normal humans might actually eat and enjoy it.  It is a menu that is mindful of the deaths, but yet fully celebrates their lives.  The last meal in the first class dining room of the Titanic, was a culinary extravagance, where the rich and privileged "ate and drank with abandon."  The food was heavy and fatty, each course "accompanied with wine and liquor in sufficient variety and quantity to yield magnificent hangovers."  It was meal symbolic of the Edwardian age - opulent, elegant, and completely oblivious of the tragedy just around the corner - either the iceberg looming below the surface, or the slaughter that would be World War I.  

First Abridged Course

Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce and Cucumbers

For the mousseline sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Place the salmon in a shallow, ovenproof dish. Top each salmon steak with the sliced onion and carrots then season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Pour over the fish stock and add the bay leaf, chopped parsley and bring to the boil.
  4. Remove from the heat, cover, then place in the oven for eight to ten minutes.
  5. While the salmon is poaching make the mousseline sauce. Place the egg yolks, mustard and white wine vinegar in a blender and process until well-mixed.
  6. With the blender on constantly, gradually pour in the melted butter.
  7. Mix in the tarragon, fold in the whipped cream and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  8. Once the salmon has cooked remove the steaks from the stock. Peel off the skin.
  9. Garnish each piece of salmon with the cooked onion, carrot, sliced cucmber, and a little of the fish stock. Serve at once with the mousseline sauce on the side.
Second Abridged Course
Oh Come on, nothing says "Titantic" like Kate Winslet

Punch Romaine
Servings Size
  • 6 cups crushed ice
  • 2 cups champagne or 2 cups sparkling wine
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white rum (optional)
  • orange peel, slivered (optional)

Simple Syrup (use 1 cup)

  1. Simple Syrup:  In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute or until syrup is clear. Remove from the heat and cool. Makes 2 cups-Syrup can be stored in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
  2.  In a blender combine the crushed ice, 1 cup simple syrup, champagne, white wine, orange juice, and lemon juice. Blend until mixture is well combined.
  3. Spoon the mixture into individual dessert cups. Drizzle with rum, if desired, and garnish with a sliver of orange peel. Serve immediately.

Main Course

 Vegetable Marrow Farci

Since vegetable marrows are available for only a few weeks each year, feel free to substitute two large zucchini (courgettes). Before the Second World War, the stuffing would have been made with short-grain rice, which is now difficult to find. Unless you are a stickler for Titanic accuracy, sushi rice or long-grain rice makes perfectly acceptable substitutes.
1 vegetable marrow or 2 large zucchini
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1½ cups button mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
? cooked rice
¼ tsp. each salt and pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Fresh basil
  • Halve marrow lengthwise; scoop out flesh with spoon leaving ¼-inch shell. Discard large seeds.
  • Chop scooped flesh into small dice; reserve.
  • In skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 7 to 8 minutes or until softened and lightly browned.
  • Stir in basil, oregano, reserved marrow, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  • increase heat to high and add mushrooms.
  • Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until vegetables are well browned; stir in vinegar.
  • Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Stir in rice, salt, pepper, and 3 tbsp. of the cheese.
  • Spoon into hollowed vegetables, packing lightly with back of spoon.
  • Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs and remaining cheese; drizzle with butter.
  • Place in greased baking dish in 350?F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until marrow is fork tender and topping is well browned.
  • To serve, slice marrow diagonally in 3-inch slices. Garnish with fresh basil.
Makes 6 servings.

Potatoes Parmentier & Boiled Potatoes


Parmentier Potatoes

1. Peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces, about 1cm (1/2 in) square.
2. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat.
3.  Increase heat to medium, and add potatoes;  cook until tender and slightly browned.
4.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley

Boiled New Potatoes

1.                  Boil potatoes for approximately 10 minute in enough water to cover.
2.                  Before serving, add lemon zest, butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Lamb with Mint Sauce

  • 3 8-chop racks of lamb, trimmed
  • 6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Fresh mint sprigs
Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on each side of each lamb rack. Mix breadcrumbs and mint in medium bowl. Press breadcrumb mixture onto lamb, coating completely.
Arrange lamb, meat side up, on large baking sheet with rim. Roast lamb 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast until thermometer inserted into lamb registers 130°F. for medium-rare, about 20 minutes longer.
Transfer lamb to work surface. Tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes. Cut lamb racks between bones into chops. Arrange chops on plates. Garnish with mint sprigs; pass Mint Sauce separately.

Mint Sauce
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup canned beef broth
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Combine 1 cup mint, broth, shallots, vinegar and sugar in heavy small non-aluminum saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 2 hours.
Strain sauce into large glass measuring cup. Place cornstarch in same saucepan. Gradually whisk in sauce. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir until sauce thickens slightly and turns translucent, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) Stir in remaining 2 tablespoon mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 1 cup.

Fourth Abridged Course

Asparagus with Vinaigrette

  • 32 spears of asparagus, steamed until just tender;  chill
  • Serve with vinaigrette as follows:


    3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1 shallot, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Blend together the first eight ingredients either in a blender or
using an immersion blender.   Then, while still blending/whisking,
slowly add in the olive oil until you have a good emulsion.   You can
make a few hours ahead, no problem, and just chill it.

Fifth Abridged Course

Waldorf Pudding

Of the many authentic Edwardian recipes we researched for this book, Waldorf Pudding was one that eluded us. The recipe here is a modern invention based on three of the essential ingredients in the famous Waldorf salad‑walnuts, raisins, and apples.

  • 2 large tart apples such as granny smith, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sultana (golden raisins)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • Pinch finely ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract‑1/4 cup toasted walnuts, halved

Chop the apples into a small 1.5 cm sq dice.  Stir in raisins, lemon juice, and ginger. In skillet, melt butter over high heat; add apple mixture and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 2 Tbsp. of the sugar. Cook stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the apples are lightly caramelized.  Scrape apple mixture and syrup into 10‑inch round glass baking dish or individual creme brule dishes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk just until bubbles form around edges. Whisking constantly, add some of the milk to eggs; whisk until well incorporated; add the remaining milk, nutmeg, and vanilla, and mix well. Pour over apple mixture.

Set baking dish inside large roasting pan; pour enough boiling water in roasting pan to come halfway up sides of baking dish. Place in 325 F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until custard is set but still jiggly. If using individual  creme brule dishes, lower the  temperature to 250 degrees and shorten the cooking time to 20 minutes.  Be careful that water bath doesn’t dry out. 

NOTE - cooking time can be hard to judge, check often.  Carefully remove baking dish to cooling rack; sprinkle with walnuts. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Makes 8 servings 


  1. Does this go in The Book? ;)

  2. How did the dinner go? I was thinking about you this weekend, wondering if people showed up in wonderful clothes for a magnificent dinner.


  3. Although I wish that we had dressed to the nines, it was pretty much "business casual." I should add, however, that it was "business casual" with elasticized waist bands--the meal was to die for (forgive the pun).