Prawn vol-au-vent, anyone?

70s Dinner Party by Anna Pallai (Square Peg, £9.99)

If you remember the Smash aliens or the Ready Brek glow then, like me, you'll almost certainly remember coming downstairs on a 1970s Sunday morning to the smell of stale cigarette smoke in the dining room, waterlogged towers of mushroom vol-au-vents and the whey-faced ruins of a cheesecake. And if you do then this book is all your teatimes come at once.

Harking back to a time when foreign food was 'très ex-ot-ique' and curry involved sultanas and desiccated coconut, it presents tinned asparagus, marinated courgette and eggs in aspic as the height of dinner party elegance.

Choose from Fishfingers à la King, Zulu Beef Stew - strips of beef and red pepper topped with fresh sliced banana, Cauliflower Surprise or the Hawaiian Frankfurter Platter. Beefburger pancakes were my speciality at university in the 80s and I thought I'd invented them. My mistake.

'If it's ticked,' the author Anna Pallai states on her Twitter feed, 'my mum's cooked it.' The scary thing is - so has mine.

This little book is a box of delights that hauled me by the elasticated waistband of my sulphur-yellow, ship's-wheel-patterned flares back to a time of three-day weeks, power cuts, strikes and shortages when a new British cuisine was struggling to break away from Brown Windsor soup and dripping and a ready meal meant a Vesta chow mein.

Eat your heart out, Beverley Moss.

#AnnaPallai #70sDinnerParty #FishfingersàlaKing #abookthisbedtime #TheBookThisBedtime

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