Michelle Grady creates an Oscars feast inspired by this year’s nominees…
The Oscars may be taking place across the pond but it’s easy as pie now to tune in live (if you have Sky) both through your TV and online. Whether you’re getting together for a full-on Oscars party or fancy some nibbles while you watch the highlights, we’ve got just the ticket with these Oscars-inspired edibles.
Pinterest has an abundance of fun foodie ideas for those hosting an Oscars bash – strawberries in tuxedoes, popcorn cupcakes, three-tiered golden cakes – but we thought we’d take it even further (some might say too far) and theme our Oscars party spread around a few of the nominated films. We’ll probably make the strawberries in tuxedoes too though, obviously.
Gone Girl Savoury Crêpe Bites
Is Amy Dunne a loving wife living in fear of her husband, or is she hiding something behind her cool-girl facade? Well, one thing is for sure: she makes a darn good pancake. On the morning of her mysterious disappearance, she whips up crêpes for her hubby as a special anniversary treat – we won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say things go rather downhill after that. We guarantee, however, the same won’t be the case for your Oscars-themed evening if you decide to serve these delicious savoury crêpe bites up for your guests.
Butternut Squash & Goat’s Cheese Crêpe Bites
For the pancakes
2 cups self-raising flour
2 cups milk
1 pinch of salt
For the filling
250g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes
100g vegetarian goat’s cheese, crumbled
Handful pumpkin seeds
A small non-stick frying pan (this will be the size of your crêpes)
Makes around 10-20, depending on the size of the crêpes
Lego Movie Tacos
While many feel The Lego Movie was unfairly snubbed in the Best Animated Feature category this year, we still think it deserves a spot on our Oscars menu – we’ll try our best not to refer to its infuriatingly catchy theme song nominated for an award (it’s already in your head, isn’t it?). Although the Oscars ceremony takes place on a Sunday, we think it’s always a good time to celebrate Taco Tuesdays. These tacos are sure to make your evening awesome. These ingenious Lego sandwiches and Lego marshmallow pops merit a mention too.
Beef Taco Tuesdays
For the tacos
1 onion, diced
2 peppers, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
500g minced beef
250ml beef stock
12 corn taco shells
Grated cheese and lettuce
For the guacamole
Bunch of coriander, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 ripe avocadoes
For the salsa
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Heat up olive oil in a large pan over a low heat and fry the onion and peppers until soft. Add the garlic, paprika and cumin and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the beef and stir until it has browned. Pour in the stock, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.
2. To make the guacamole, grind the coriander, tomatoes, onion and a pinch of salt to a fine paste using a pestle and mortar. Add a splash of water and the juice of half a lime, and mash the avocadoes into the mixture. To make the salsa, simply mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.
3. Put the taco shells on a baking tray and pop into the oven for around 4 minutes. When they are ready and your meat filling is cooked, load up the taco shells with the lettuce, meat, salsa, guacamole and grated cheese.
Eggs Benedict (Cumberbatch)
The Imitation Game is based on the fascinating life of Second World War code-breaking genius, Alan Turing, and we’ve decided to pay homage to its star, Benedict Cumberbatch – who is up for the Best Actor title – with these eggs Benedict bites. Because this brunch staple was named after him, right?
Mini eggs Benedict
Ingredients (makes 12)
12 free-range quail eggs
Good-quality ham slices
Ready-made Hollandaise (or make your own using this recipe)
Bread (a brioche loaf if possible)
A handful of chives
1. To poach the eggs, fill a medium-sized frying pan with water to a depth of approximately 1.5 in (4 cm) and heat to a gentle simmer. Break the eggs, five or six at a time, into the simmering water and let them cook, uncovered, for two minutes. Once the eggs are done, use a draining spoon and transfer them to a bowl of ice-cold water until you are ready to use them.
2. In the meantime (making sure you keep an eye on the eggs, of course) toast the bread slices, then, using a round cutter, cut out 12 bread circles. Using the same cutter, cut out 12 circles of ham from the slices. Finely chop the chives.
3. To assemble your egg Benedict bites, put a piece of ham on top of each toast circle, pop a perfectly poached egg on top, drizzle on some Hollandaise sauce and sprinkle on the chopped chives.
Pastry Treats from The Grand Budapest Hotel
If you made it through The Grand Budapest Hotel without drooling over Mendl’s delectable courtesan au chocolat whenever it was on screen, then you’re a stronger person than I. Its closely guarded secret recipe has since been disclosed on that fount of all list articles, Buzzfeed, but if you want to try a slightly simpler version, why not make the dessert that inspired Mendl’s creation, the classic religieuse pastry.
60g butter, cubed
75g plain flour
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
For the creme patissiere filling
500ml full-fat milk
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
6 medium free-range egg yolks
75g caster cugar
25g plain flour
For the chocolate ganache icing
150ml double cream
200g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
For the cream collar
150ml double cream
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and draw on eight 5cm-wide circles, and another eight circles that are 2.5cm wide.
2. Put the butter in a heavy-based saucepan with 150ml of water, and warm over a medium heat until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to the boil and then immediately remove. Tip in the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball. Cook this over a low heat for around 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove and leave to cool slightly.
3. Add the eggs, beating well to create a smooth, shiny paste, and spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain nozzle. Pipe discs onto the baking tray into the marked circles, and smooth the top of each disc with your finger. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the resulting choux buns from the oven and pierce each one with a skewer to let out the steam, before popping them back in the oven for a few minutes to dry out. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
4. To make the creme patissiere filling, add the milk and vanilla seeds into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool for around 30 seconds. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar, then whisk in the cornflour and plain flour. Whisk the vanilla-infused milk into the eggs, pour back into the pan and bring to the boil, whisking all the time over a medium heat for one minute. Pour the creme patissiere into a bowl, cover with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool, before transferring to the fridge to chill.
5. To make the chocolate ganache icing, bring the cream to the boil in a small pan, then remove from the heat. Put back onto a low heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted and shiny (and try not to eat it). Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool, then transfer to the fridge to chill until it has thickened to a nice spreadable consistency.
6. Now it’s (finally) time to assemble the religieuse. Spoon the cold creme patissiere into a piping bag fitted with a thin nozzle, and fill the choux buns. Dip the filled buns into the chocolate ganache to coat halfway, then sit the little buns on top of the larger ones. To make the little collars, whip the cream in a mixing bowl until it forms soft peaks, spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle, and pipe lines of cream around the join. Tuck in, and just you try not to get cream and chocolate all over your face (it’s impossible).
The Theory of Everything Cambridge Burnt Cream
Adapted from Jane Wilde Hawking’s memoir, The Theory of Everything focuses on her relationship with famous physicist Stephen Hawking. The pair met while studying at Cambridge University, so a delicious Cambridge burnt cream dessert seems an apt way to pay tribute to the film.
Cambridge Burnt Cream
Ingredients (serves 6)
150ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped
3 egg yolks
40g sugar, plus extra for the topping
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2. Put the cream, milk, vanilla pod and seeds in a small pan and gently simmer over a low heat. In the meantime, beat together the egg yolks and sugar. Discard the vanilla pod from the cream mixture, then slowly pour into the yolk mixture, stirring well.
2. Pour the custard into six ovenproof dishes or ramekins, or even cute teacups. Place your chosen vessels in a deep roasting tray and fill the tray with warm water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the custards have set, then remove from the oven, leave to cool, and chill until needed.
3. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle each dish with a little extra sugar and use a blowtorch to caramelise it. If you don’t happen to have a blowtorch lying around your kitchen, you can instead place the custards under a hot grill, keeping an eye on them to ensure the sugar doesn’t burn – the crusts should be a lovely golden colour. Once they are coloured evenly, allow the sugar to cool until hard, then serve them up to your appreciative guests.
While becoming an expert mixologist probably wasn’t high on Matthew McConaughey’s character’s list of priorities in the film, what with him being tasked with saving everyone on the planet, the movie’s space theme does lend itself rather nicely to cocktails. As we all know, any self-respecting celebrity bash needs an (inter)stellar drinks list, so shake up these aptly named Starseeker and Moonwalker cocktails to get your party going.
25ml orange juice
1tsp grenadine syrup
120ml tonic water
1 cup ice cubes
Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, pour all of the ingredients into the glass, stir well and garnish with the lemon wedge.
30ml fresh grapefruit juice
30ml Grand Marnier orange liqueur
2-3 drops of rose water
Champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup ice cubes
Combine the grapefruit juice, orange liqueur, and rose water in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a Champagne flute; top with Champagne or sparkling wine.