A homage to classic 1960s recipes

Author: Lisa Featherby
Photography: Ben Dearnley

What happened in the '60s doesn't have to stay in the '60s. We're throwing a cocktail party and the canapés run from vol-au-vents to devilled eggs, with the glam likes of Gibsons mixed to match. We're partying like it's 1966.

In 1966, a new era was dawning in Australia. Robert Menzies was succeeded by Harold Holt, the pound was replaced by the dollar, and the first national service conscripts flew to Vietnam. The federal cabinet ruled that non-Europeans could immigrate to the country (albeit on a selective basis), Victoria ended the six o'clock swill, extending pub trading hours to 10pm, and Japan replaced Great Britain as the nation's key trading partner.

Elderflower, Champagne and berry jellies.

In the pop charts, the Rolling Stones duked it out with local heroes The Easybeats and The Seekers for hit singles, and John Lennon told the press that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus (even as Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass were outselling them in the US). Bob Dylan made his first tour of Australia, model Veruschka got racy in cinemas in Blow-Up, while on the small screen, Play School made its début. And in other cultural news, in February The Australian Gourmet made its début. It cost 40 cents, was published bimonthly, and it had big ideas for the future of food in the Lucky Country.

Devilled eggs.

To look at the magazine's earliest issues today is to be struck partly by how dated some of the ideas seem, but also, perhaps as often, to be surprised by the ambition and sophistication of others. A feature in the first issue details the processing, roasting and brewing of coffee, while another shares the joys of The Bronx, The Clover Club and other essential cocktails. Steak Diane and "Mexican macaroni" are here, but so too are vindaloo and a recipe for panini.

Related: Read GT's first-ever issue from 1966

Sunflower-seed dip with crudités.

"The former traditional fare of Australians of fish and chips, stews, pies and the ubiquitous pumpkin and steak and egg is now giving way, slowly but surely, to new dishes, cooked with ingenuity and understanding," wrote the editors. They may well have been onto something.

Recipes from the 1960s

Chicken vol-au-vents

Sunflower-seed dip with crudités

Cream cheese, herb and cucumber tea sandwiches

50/50 Sazerac cocktail

Lobster mousse

Crackers with cheddar and pickles

Devilled eggs

Gibson cocktail

Elderflower, Champagne and berry jellies

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