The Chef’s Table: Retro Dishes To Bring Back Memories

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Mark Doe of ‘Just Cooking’ Cookery School in Firies looks at some classic dishes of the 70s and 80s which have disappeared from restaurant menus…

rsz_mark_doe_1I am at a certain age where I can remember some of the classic dishes that not only popped up on restaurant menus during the 70s and 80s, but were also cooked at home.

I asked a question on Facebook about people’s favorites and I got some interesting answers.

Many were convenience foods that became popular during these decades such as Artic roll, smash potato, angel delight and boxes of dried paella and many were the classics that we learnt to love such as blackforest gateau, pineapple upside-down cake, prawn cocktail, egg mayonnaise, vol au vents and chicken Kiev.

So this week we’ll look at some of those retro dishes that for me and many others bring back great childhood memories, even if at the time they didn’t always taste that good!

Continued below…

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Easy Chicken Kiev

Serve with baby potatoes and salad or steamed vegetables

Serves 4


• 2 garlic cloves, peeled

• small bunch flat-leaf parsley

• 100g fresh breadcrumbs

• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

• 4 tbsp garlic & herb soft cheese

• 4 tsp olive oil


Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Whizz together the 2 peeled garlic cloves, parsley and 2 tsp olive oil in a food processor.

Add the breadcrumbs and seasoning before pulsing briefly to mix. Tip onto a plate.

Cut a slit (roughly thumb-length) in the side of each chicken breast, at the plump end.

Spoon ¼ of the soft cheese into each hole and press the edges together to seal. Rub 2 tsp oil over all the chicken breasts before pressing the herby crumbs onto them.

Place the coated chicken in a shallow roasting tin. Scatter round the remaining and drizzle with the rest of the oil. Bake for 20-25 mins until the chicken is cooked and crumbs crisp and golden.

Cheese fondue


• 600 grams chopped or grated gruyere cheese

• 300 mls white wine

• 2 teaspoons cornflour

• 3 tablespoons kirsch

• 1 clove garlic (peeled)

• good grinding of pepper

• good grating of nutmeg

• Cubes of crusty bread to serve


Put the chopped or grated cheese into the fondue pot with the wine and heat until boiling on the hob, by which time the cheese should have melted.

Turn the pot down to a simmer. Slake the cornflour with the Kirsch in a small bowl, and add to the fondue pot along with the garlic clove.

Season with the pepper and nutmeg, stir well and place the fondue pot over a flame at the table.

Prawn cocktail

Serves 4


•  3 Baby gem lettuce, finely shredded

• 400g cooked shrimps (frozen shrimps are fine)

• 4 tbsp mayonnaise

• 1 tbsp tomato ketchup

• 2 tsp lemon juice

• A small dash of Tabasco sauce

• 4 lemon wedges

• Paprika to sprinkle


Mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, lemon juice, and mayonnaise. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Place the lettuce in cocktail glasses. Top with the shrimps and then the sauce. Sprinkle with the paprika.

Serve with brown soda bread and lemon wedges.

Chicken and mushroom vol au vent

Serves 4


• 4 large cooked vol au vent cases

• 4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into a large dice

• 150g mushrooms, sliced

• 1 chicken stock cube

• 350ml milk

• 50ml cream

• 25g butter (melted)

• 25g plain flour

• Salt and pepper

• A good splash of white wine

• 1 clove garlic, finely crushed


First make the sauce.  Melt the butter and beat in the flour until you have a smooth paste.

Bring the milk to the boil and add the stock cube. Reduce to a simmer and gradually whisk in the flour and butter mix.

Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking frequently.

Season with a little salt and pepper. Add the cream and add a little more milk if the sauce is too thick.

Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until golden, Add the garlic andf fry for a further 1 minute.

Add the white wine and allow to evaporate. Add the mushrooms to the sauce. Add the chicken to sauce and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for 5 minutes then pour into the vol au vent cases.

Mini toads in the hole

Makes 12


• 24 uncooked cocktail sausages

• 2 tbsp sunflower oil

• 3 eggs (this will be 150ml)

• 150ml plain flour

• ½ tsp mustard powder (optional)

• 150ml milk

• 12 small rosemary sprigs


Cut the sausages with scissors. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 6. If the sausages are linked, get your child to use a pair of scissors to cut them into single sausages.

Place 2 sausages in each hole of a 12-hole muffin tin and go through all the maths this involves – two times table, counting up in twos etc.

Drizzle each set of sausages with a little oil. Now place the tin in the oven for 20 mins until the sausages have browned, getting a grown-up to turn the sausages halfway through.

Crack the eggs into the bowl. Measure 150ml flour in a measuring jug and tip into a bowl with the mustard powder. Make a well in the centre and beat in the eggs. Measure the milk.

Gradually pour the milk into the batter – get the child to whisk well between each addition – until you have a mix that is the consistency of double cream. Season.

Pour the batter back into the jug. Remove the sausages from the oven, very carefully pour the batter over the sausages and throw a sprig of rosemary into each hole.

Cook in the oven. Leave the batter to cook for 15 mins undisturbed. But if your oven has a clear glass door, let the kids watch the batter rise. Remove the tin from the oven.  Leave to cool for a few mins, then serve with gravy, mash and vegetables.

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