Titanic Dinner-part one

A couple of weeks ago I had a few friends over to try my hand at the Titanic's 1st class Dinner Menu. It happened to be March 31st so Earth hour was going to play a role in my dinner plans but plenty of candles were around to shed some light on it all!
I enlisted the help of my husband to help bring the meal to life. We planned what we were going to make and I'll admit that I did not attempt the full 11 course meal, we did do 7 courses and served 14 people, including ourselves and I think we pulled it off as everyone enjoyed themselves and of course they felt like they were sailing first class! Our mission was accomplished.
Thanks to the big help of Last Dinner on the Titanic Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner by Rick Archbold & Dana McCauley, this book truly was well laid out with all the details to have a flawless dinner party.
The wines were also recommended and of course they worked well with the dishes. This is the menu I put together for the evening.

First Class Menu
April 14, 1912

Canapes a l’Amiral

Potage Saint-Germain (Spring Pea Soup)

Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce

Romaine Punch

Calvados-Glazed Roast Duckling with Applesauce
Chateau Potatoes
Pinot Noir

Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette

Chocolate Painted Eclairs with French Vanilla Cream

Coffee, tea

I made the soup the day before as well as blanched the asparagus to get a step ahead. I made the shrimp butter in the morning so it was ready to serve. I roasted the duck then cut it into serving size pieces before glazing it and finishing roasting it to help with time for serving. We made the french cream for the eclairs ahead and also the eclairs as well earlier in the day so there was time for the chocolate to set. Truly a team effort and I was so glad that everyone was able to make it and enjoy the evening!
I also took photos of the evening and the dishes that I made! I hope you enjoy them and of course enjoy the recipes as well. I've included a few here in my blog just as a taste of what you will find in the book and what you can enjoy for dinner with friends and discover new and wonderful things about the Titanic when talking about your experiences.

Recipes from Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner by Rick Archbold & Dana McCauley Foreward by Walter Lord (Hyperion/Madison Press 1997)

This appetizer from “Last Dinner on the Titanic” was a surefire hit with them all!
Canapés a l’Amiral
½ thin baguette
1 tsp (5 mL) lime juice
10 small shrimp, halved lengthwise and cooked
Fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
2 tbsp (30 mL) flying fish roe

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz (250 g) shrimp in shell
¼ cup (60 mL) brandy
4 oz (125 g) cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, softened
1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
¼ tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
Dash vanilla

SHRIMP BUTTER: In skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add shallot and garlic; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until softened. Increase heat to high, add shrimp and sauté, stirring 3 to 4 minutes or until shells are pink and flesh is opaque. Transfer shrimp and vegetables to bowl of food processor. Return pan to stove and pour in brandy; cook, stirring for 30 seconds or until brandy is reduced to a glaze; scrape into shrimp mixture.
Puree shrimp mixture until finely chopped. Add cream cheese, butter, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and vanilla. Process until smooth. Press shrimp mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over bowl; discard shells.
Slice baguette into 20 thin slices. Place on a baking sheet and toast under broiler for 1 minute per side or until lightly golden. Reserve.
Drizzle lime juice over cooked shrimp halves; stir and reserve. Place shrimp butter in a piping bag fitted with star tube. Pipe shrimp butter onto toasts. (Alternatively, using a table knife, spread shrimp mixture onto toasts.) Top with cooked shrimp half and a parsley leaf. Top each canapé with an equal amount of flying fish roe.
Makes 20 hors d’oeuvre.
Note: we suggest flying fish roe for colour, ecomony and taste. (This may be called tapiko by some fishvendors.) Though crawfish roe may have been used on the Titanic, the more likely choice was sturgeon roe (caviar).

Potage Saint-Germain (Spring Pea Soup)
I decided to change the soup course and instead of using the soup on the first class menu I used a tasty spring soup from the a la carte menu of the Titanic. A little different but it suited the dinner beautifully!
Named after the Comte de Saint-Germain, war minister to Louis XV, this light soup is made from a puree of fresh green peas
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) sliced leek, white part only
¼ tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
pinch granulated sugar
2 cups (500 mL) shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Romaine lettuce
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh chervil or parsley
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken or vegetable stock

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add leaks, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add peas, lettuce, chervil and 1 cup (250 mL) of the stock; cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until peas are tender. Working in batches and adding remaining stock, puree soup in blender or food processor; blend until very smooth. Strain through fine mesh sieve and adjust seasoning if necessary. Return to pan and heat until steaming; skim off any foam. Ladle into serving bowls; garnish with a sprig of chervil or parsley.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Tip: You can make this soup up to 1 day ahead and reheat over medium low heat until steaming.

Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce
I poached the fish the night before and then let it come to room temperature to serve it. I placed it on the stovetop to warm through slightly as the oven was on, it was the perfect temperature. This would be delicious served up for brunch or a special luncheon.
The menu for the last dinner contains only one fish entry, but it is an unbeatable one: lightly pached Atlantic Salmon topped with rich mousseline sauce and garnished with sliced cucumbers. A mousseline sauce is simply a classic hollandaise to which some whipped cream has been added. (The fresh dill we suggest may not be strictly to period but it does enhance the flavor.)
6 cups Basic Court Bouillon (recipe follows)
6 salmon fillets or steaks (8oz/225g each)
30 very thin slices English cucumber
6 sprigs fresh dill (optional)

2/3 cup (150 mL) melted unsalted butter
3 tbsp (45 mL) water
3 egg yolks
¼ tsp (1 mL) each salt and white pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh dill (optional)
¼ cup (60 mL) lightly whipped cream

7 cups (1.625 mL) water
1 carrot, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
6 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
¼ cup (60 mL) parsley stems
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 ¼ cups (300 mL) dry white wine (or ¾ cup/175 mL of white vinegar)
BASIC COURT BOUILLON: In pot, bring water, carrot, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley stems, salt and wine or vinegar to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain. (Keeps, tightly covered in refrigerator, for up to 1 week).
In a large shallow pot, heat court bouillon until just below boiling point. Using slotted spoon or spatula, gently place salmon into bouillon (adding, if necessary, up to 1 cup (250 mL) of boiling water to cover fish completely). Poach fish for 3 to 5 minutes or until opaque in the outside but still coral-coloured in center.
MOUSSELINE SAUCE: Meanwhile, using spoon, skim froth from surface of melted butter and discard. Allow butter to cool slightly. In top of double boiler or heatproof bowl, whisk water and egg yolks together with salt and pepper for 30 seconds or until pale yellow and frothy. Over barely simmering water, whisk mixture for 3 minutes or until it draws a ribbon for 5 seconds. Remove pan from heat; whisk in warm butter, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until sauce begins to thicken. Still whisking, pour remaining butter into sauce in slow steady stream. Stir in lemon juice and dill (if using). Remove from heat; cool slightly. Gently fold in whipped cream. Adjust seasoning to taste. Keep warm by setting over a pot of warm water. Arrange poached salmon on warmed plates, Spoon sauce down the center of each piece of fish so that a border of the flesh remains visible. Garnish each plate with a cucumber fan and sprig of fresh dill (is using) .
Makes 6 servings
Tips: if using salmon steaks, skewer ends together with a toothpick before poaching. To make an east but lovely garnish, bend cucumber slices in half and skewer through centre onto a toothpick. Space evenly to create a ruffle. Enjoy this dish hot or cold.


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