Pancakes and Parties
Raucous Raclette Evenings with Family, Friends and Melted Cheese!
I love a good bash, or should I say party; it’s the idea of unbridled eating and drinking with family and friends that is so captivating…….chinking glasses and lots of laughter, sly seconds of that tasty tart and maybe a little slice of that attractive looking cake…..more sausage rolls than can fill a supermarket shopping bag and lots of gorgeous little snacky things. Then there’s the “party” music, usually compilations from some forgotten era……jiving bodies and buxom buttocks vie for position amongst tables that are filled with discarded plates and crumpled napkins – it’s mad, it’s bad and it’s TOTALLY wonderful! It’s even better if you have been invited, no washing up or wine glass collecting, just idle gossip, a buffet the size of Bournemouth and titillating cocktails……and then a sleepy lift home to fluffy pillows and fluffy beds! Well, now that’s all over, let me introduce you to my last party……or parties, as THREE of these raucous Raclette and Pancake parties have taken place recently, the best one being at my sisters, where we needed to add a wallpaper table to accommodate the machine and all the food!
So what exactly is a Raclette? The name “Raclette” refers to a meal and to a type of cheese with the same name. The traditional dish can be described as melted cheese eaten with boiled potatoes, served with small gherkins and pickled onions, as well as assorted charcuterie. Modern electrical appliances that are used to make the dish are called Raclette grills, they are table top machines and most of them have interchangeable tops – such as a stone, a pancake griddle and an individual pancake griddle, and then the essential little “cheese melting pans” that sit underneath the top. The special cheese that is used is also called Raclette, as I mentioned before, and is a semi-firm, cow’s milk cheese – and a very good melting cheese. The word “Raclette” comes from the French racler, “to scrape,” a reference to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped from the unmelted part of the cheese onto the plate. Traditionally the melting happens or happened in front of an open fire with a big piece of cheese facing the heat. One then regularly scrapes off the melting side onto a plate and eats the melted cheese with all the other ingredients.
The machine I have, has EIGHT little cheese melting pans (known as coupelles) that sit underneath, which means you can entertain up to eight people at the table, hence the title of a “raucous raclette party”!
It’s GREAT fun and meat eaters and vegetarians can sit at the same table and enjoy a meal……as I discovered when we had one at my sister’s house last week…….the main components for a raclette meal are as follows:
Ingredients for a Raclette and Pancake Party:
(E = essential and O = optional)
Raclette Cheese (E)
(Or another good melting cheese such as Gruyere, Vacherin, Tomme de Savoie,
Comte, Reblochon, Fontina would all work in place of Raclette.)
Boiled Potatoes (E)
Pickles Onions or Silverskin Onions (E)
Charcuterie (E) such as salami, saucisson, dry cure hams and garlic sausage
Strasbourg sausages (Cocktail Sausages/Frankfurters) (O)
Diced Tomatoes (O)
Diced onions (O)
Bacon or Lardons (O)
Fresh eggs (O)
Pancake batter (E) for Tabletop machines that have a pancake griddle
I also like to have a BIG bowl of salad on the table as well as lots of crusty bread! I am famous for my raclette parties and I am sorry to say that many a party has ended with people staying the night, unbeknown to me until next morning, and molten cheese being soldered to the tablecloth – hence my insistence for paper covers or a proper French oil cloth now, as seen in the photos! You can sit at the table for hours, cooking and chatting, and drinking, and melting cheese…..it’s tactile, it’s unique and it’s a wonderful way to sit down with family and friends rather than slaving over a hot oven – they can all slave over a hot grill instead! You can host themed raclette evenings, I held a fish and seafood one once, with scallops, prawns, small pieces of fresh salmon and smoked salmon on the table, with fresh blini batter……and caviar – it was held on New Year’s Eve and was a fabulous meal…..I had all the appropriate trimmings on the side, and we even scrambled our own eggs on top of the machine too. But for summer, if we have one, take the machine outside and hook it up to an extension lead and offer all the list of ingredients above but with fresh peppers, olives, chunks of feta cheese, halloumi and little cherry tomatoes.
I DID promise you a raclette party post in my Monday Meal Plan, so here it is, at the beginning of the evening……there doesn’t appear to be any photos for later on….. thankfully! And the great thing about a raclette, is there are always LOADS of tasty little leftovers for the next day….so watch out for some leftover recipes too. That’s it for tonight………..tomorrow is a very special day, it will be exactly ONE year since I started my blog, and I am going to try to bake a cake or something special to celebrate, plus, I have some GREAT Giveaways to post too….so stay tuned! Bye for now, Karen. PS: Children LOVE this and it is quite safe too!