Classic 60's Cocktail Party - Cheese & Pineapple on Sticks & Flower Power Stacks

Introduction: Classic 60's Cocktail Party - Cheese & Pineapple on Sticks & Flower Power Stacks

About: I live in a forest garden by the sea in an old Celtic longhouse in the Baie de Mont Saint Michel, France. Before I escaped and became a happy peasant, I had three jobs and one half day a week in which to be cr…

The Sixties was about youth. Couture and cuisine came not from designers and chefs but from the street. Food and fabrics were noisy and boisterous, juxtaposing clashing colours and big bold patterns. The Sixties was a decade that followed the dictates of the young just like the Twenties and hence the return of the flapper dress and the cocktail. As has often been written of that previous period; 'the party was in full swing and everyone who had been invited had arrived.'

I was actually around in the Sixties, though too young to drink cocktails, I remember these bright pink and yellow appetisers at children's parties.

As I live in France, home to over 1000 different varieties of cheese, I couldn't enter a cheese contest with just one variety so here's my second choice, goat cheese stacks with vegetables cut into flowers.

So shake the moths out of your miniskirt and let's get creating.

Step 1: Ingredients - 25 Cheese & Pineapple Sticks

All my ingredients are organic and so, instead of the classic 60's artificially bright pink ham, I'm using toned-down ham braised in cider but in keeping with the spirit of the age I've accompanied them with some long retro pink flamingo skewers!

For a real authentic 60's look, the sticks should be served by pressing them into a half grapefruit or water melon, in the manner of porcupine quills. if you want to do this then add these two items to the following ingredients:

For the Marinade

1 teaspoon of whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Szechuan or black pepper (freshly ground)

For the Sticks

Cocktail Sticks

Around 6½oz - 180g of Gruyère or similar hard waxy cheese

Enough Ham to make 25 small cubes, the best way to do this is to get your butcher to sell you the last bit of ham that will not fit on the slicer, I can get this at my local organic shop for half the usual price and as it is usually around 1" - 2cm thick, this single piece will make all my sticks.

Mix and Match was a big 60's thing so as long as it's brightly coloured a selection from the following:

10 Cherry Tomatoes

1 Cucumber - cubed

15 Black Olives

1 Red Bell Pepper - sliced

A fresh pineapple cut into cubes - I found this Togolese 'sugarloaf' pineapple, apart from being delicious, really great for making into cubes

Step 2: Assembly - Cheese & Pineapple Sticks

Make up the marinade by combining all the ingredients together and mixing well.

Cut the Gruyère into cubes and pour over the marinade. Make sure each cube is well coated.

Cover and marinate the cheese for around 2 hours. This gives a great mustard taste but obviously you can experiment with a longer marinating period if you wish.

Thread a cube of marinated Gruyère onto each stick and then add the other ingredients in a fiendishly studied but seemingly haphazard way. Mix in some longer sticks, preferably with something colourful attached like my flamingos! Do not have too much symmetry.

Step 3: Flower Power Stacks - Ingredients

I'm using a bûche de chèvre, which is basically a log-shaped goat cheese and a speciality from the Poitou-Charentes and which comes in a very handy size to make stacks. This is a very quick and easy appetiser to put together. The beauty is in growing small, delicious and perfectly lovely Chioggia aka Candy Cane beetroot, of which I am inordinately proud.

INGREDIENTS

(makes 20)

1 bûche de chèvre

20 slices of cucumber

10 black olives

1 small Chioggia beetroot

1 dessert spoon apple cider vinegar

2 dessert spoons olive oil

½ teaspoon of whole grain mustard

Flower and star-shaped cookie cutters.

Step 4: Assembly - Flower Power Stacks

Cut the cucumber slices into flowers with a medium sized cutter.

Use the smallest of the star cutters to create shapes from the sliced beetroot.

Slice the goats' cheese into twenty and place a slice of cucumber onto each.

Alternate with toppings of black olive or Chioggia stars. Mix the oil, vinegar and mustard to form a vinaigrette and add a little of each to the beetroot to resemble stamens.

Serve chilled. These are simple easy and refreshingly delicious and if you've never eaten raw beetroot before you are in for a treat. I always use a mustard vinaigrette with raw beetroot because they compliment each other so well.

Enjoy!

All that needs to be said now is Bon Appėtit!

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