Who doesn’t love the chance for a tipple with friends? Not this lassie! Nearly any excuse will do, but this time I had a good one.
As soon as Starz announced the date for the return of “Outlander”, the television series based on Diana Gabaldon’s wildly popular* series of novels, I began to make plans. For those of us who share my love for all things associated with the show, the end of Droughtlander (the extended period between when season 1 ended on May 30, 2015 and season 2 began April 9, 2016) was definitely cause for celebration.
I really enjoy entertaining. It gives me an excuse to perk up the decor of my apartment, not to mention evict the dust bunnies with whom I have an understanding (they don’t bother me, I don’t bother them). I’m an event planner by trade, but rarely do I get to be creative, so when I do it on my own time, I go all out. (Some would say “overboard”. Potato-tomato.) The best soirees, in my opinion, have a theme. Since this party was going to be built around the season 2 premiere, the theme, at least, was firmly set. For the menu, I turned to Theresa Carle-Sanders’ blog, Outlander Kitchen. Ms. Carle-Sanders is a classically trained chef who has developed recipes based on the characters, places and traditional foods found in the novels as well as the series**. I first tried my hand at her recipe for Atholl Brose to accompany the episode called, appropriately enough for today’s tale, “The Gathering”, and I added Cornbread Stuffing with Salt Pork to Thanksgiving Dinner last year. The latter, especially, was a big hit.
Most of the recipes I chose for my viewing party were inspired either by season one (“Outlander”) or season 2 (“Dragonfly in Amber”) and their corresponding books. One is inspired by a character in the third book, “Voyager” – in hopes of a third season of the show. Or maybe I just wanted to make a cheese ball.
Since we were all meeting for dinner before the viewing party, I was only planning to do “light” nibblies. To that end, I went for three savories and three sweets, plus cocktails, of course. (Click on the links to be taken to the recipes.)
Murtagh’s Gift to Ellen (Outlander)
Gourges –cheese savories (Dragonfly in Amber)
Mr. Willoughby’s Coral Knob (Voyager)
Black Jack Randall’s Lavender Fudge (Outlander)
Mrs. Graham’s Chocolate Biscuits (Outlander)
Fergus’ Chestnut Tarts (Dragonfly in Amber)
Le Comte St. Germain’s Poison (Dragonfly in Amber)
Atholl Brose (Outlander)
Did I mention I go all out?
I found these place card holders to represent the key to Lallybroch (from which the heroine’s wedding ring is made in season 1) and the second season’s move to Paris (and yes, I realize that the Eiffel Tower was not built until 150 years after the period in which the show is set, but it is iconic.)
After a brief quiz, for which there was a prize,
we settled in to watch. (Thank goodness we had alcohol!)
Two viewings of the episode and some lively discussion later, everyone decamped. The food was a big hit with my guests. Though everyone loved it, they couldn’t polish off two pounds of fudge. My coworkers will be thrilled with the leftovers.
So, how was your weekend? Did you do any entertaining? Do you enjoy having a gathering in your home and all of the preparation that goes with it, or do you prefer to just go out? We’d love to hear from you!
*I was a late-comer to the novels (and my two co-writers have every right to every “I told you so” to which they choose to give voice), so I’m making up for lost time.
**I am in no way connected to either the blog or her forthcoming cookbook. I’m just a big fan.