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July 8th is my birthday. I generally don’t make a big fuss over it – no specific reason, just… I dunno. As time goes by, you start caring less about those things. I’m perfectly happy with spending some normal time with friends on that day, no frills.

On the other hand, I also very much like to do something special for my friends’ birthdays. I function by inspiration – if an idea strikes me, I’ll use it, but I won’t really scrub my brains to find one if it doesn’t come naturally. Same way with gifts. If you don’t have a gift idea that’s a little bit special and personal, better not to offer anything, you know?

Anyways. As it happens, my Monday culinary ventures had given me a vague desire to try and do something sci-fi themed, just for the crack. But as I kept having ideas about what to cook, I quickly realised doing this for only 3 people was a bit of a waste – too much material available. Maybe I should make a special evening out of it? A party of sorts? But what occasion would justify this?

Funnily enough, my friend Sean’s birthday is on the 9th of July. Now there was a happy coincidence! mrgreen So, in full cooperation with the interested’s wife Kim, I set about putting together a sci-fi menu for about 15-20 people.

Let’s start with a view of the buffet table at the start of the party – it’s only missing the two hot food items I’ll describe later, and the special gift from Kim to Sean. Fully nerded folks among you might want to stop reading here and try to recognise as many of the foodstuff as possible – the little flags might help there.

Full table

Got them all, didja? cool  

 

After thinking about it for a while, putting our heads together and sorting through what was possible and what wasn’t, Kim and I settled for food from the following movies/series:

  • Firefly
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Dune
  • Futurama
  • Soylent Green
  • The Lord of the Rings (I know, that’s fantasy, not sci-fi.)
  • And of course, Aliens! mrgreen

Okay, so let’s start from the left, with a bit of Firefly:

Blue Sun boxes

Firefly actually came late in the brainstorming, as I could not remember any food really specific to the series – aside from fried tomatoes, protein-rich chocolate cakes and the general Chinese feel of the series. Then 3 things hit in short succession: first off, Kim remembered that line in Our Mrs Reynolds – Wash asking of Saffron: “Did she really make fresh Bao??” Now, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser alone, since I don’t know how to cook Chinese and you can’t find Bao in Ireland. Fortunately, her Kimitude is a bloody amazing cook, and she tackled that particular bit with gusto and impressive skill. I regret that there weren’t any pics taken of the BBQ Pork Bao she made, by the time they came onto the table the party was in full “inebriated-guitar-plucking” mode (they’re all musicians, the silly buggers!) and this was sadly overlooked. In any case, as good-looking as they were, no picture could do the taste – or the gorgeous smell as we were cooking that afternoon – any semblance of justice…

Anyway. Once the Bao idea came up, we realized that if our guests were a tad hungry, we’d need something more than finger foods to satiate them. Adding a few store-bought spring rolls and other Chinese munchies could pad our buffet – and would fit in an idea I’d been toying with but had not finalized yet, suggested by LSKIV from the Aliens Legacy boards: get some of those ubiquitous (at least in the US – I had to order them online) Chinese take away boxes and decorate them with logos from Firefly, Blade Runner or the 5th Element.

So, only Firefly made it through the final cut, and we didn’t make any of the store bought munchies at all. Still, the savvy among you will have recognised the Blue Sun logo – simple sticker made from an internet-sourced file (http://xaonon.dyndns.org/logos/ thanks Ripper).

As for the third thing, you can see it in front of the boxes: took me ages to find a suitable wooden box, but that was simply too good – and specific to Firefly – to pass up. The strawberries were also the only thing on the table to be polished off before the end of the party! No wonder either – look at the gorgeous little things:

Oh, Grand-Pa...

Oh, Grand-Pa… mrgreen

 

Moving away from Firefly we go to Star Trek territory. Starting, of course, with Klingon Gagh:

GAGH!

My friend Rob had slaved a fair portion of the day to build us a system that would make the Gagh squirm – a small motor at the bottom of a dish. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out, which is kind of a pity in a way but might have been a blessing – Kim was already having problems with the very idea of Gagh, if it had moved I could have lost my partner in crime there! twisted

Anyways, the Gagh was a simple panfull of Chinese noodles boiled with red food colouring and a sprinkled with soy sauce to give taste and a little ‘tan’ to the original pinkish colour. Worked out well enough, didn’t taste nearly as horrible as it looked, and was cheap enough that wasting it wasn’t a problem.

The other Star Trek dish was Hasperat Sandwiches, a Bajoran delicacy (approximated, of course!) that also happened to be vegan-friendly. And, I must say, quite tasty as well. It’s basically a tortilla with a spread of hummus, filled with grated carrots and sliced cucumber marinated in soy sauce and rice vinegar, and a layer of baby spinach. I added a few Jalapenos to give it some kick rather than use tabasco, which can sometimes kick through a brick wall… For the full recipe, go check the original creator’s site: http://veganyumyum.com/2008/02/hasperat/ because, no, I didn’t make it up myself. This is what mine looked like:

Hasperat Sandwich

Moving on we reach the buckets at the back. First one is our only offering from Star Wars: Aunt Beru’s blue milk (Thanks Sarge!), party version (Warning: not suitable for breakfast, or for children at any time! You have been warned!). 1.5 parts vodka, 1 part Blue Curacao, 2.5 parts milk. Tasty, and surprisingly mild – also sneaky as a Bothan trader. A few people were moaning about the blue milk for a couple of days! twisted  

Next to it is one of the Dune offerings: Spice Beer. Made with Fuller’s Honeydew and a liberal dose of cinammon powder (as we couldn’t find cinammon oil), it worked out pretty well. Advice if you want to try it: beer+cinammon=lots and lots of foam. Keep that in mind as you pour!

I’ll take this opportunity to talk about the other Dune dish: Spice Sticks. Simple cinammon fingers biscuity type things (recipe to follow – tasty little buggers, made by Kim) presented in a wax-sealed wooden box with the (adapted) Atreides coat of arms:

Atreides

The box was one of Kim’s presents to her husband – a Victorian antique with mother-of-pearls inlay and satin padding inside. Beautiful thing. The sticks idea comes from David Lynch’s version – Paul munches on a spice stick after arriving in Arrakis, I think, and that triggers one of his first visions. Easy enough idea, tasty sweet dish, and the proper box and wax seal gave it an official appearance that went well with the intention. Unfortunately, as this was kept for last and offered as a special gift and all, we sort of forgot to take a picture. Ah well. No biggy.

Next on the table we have a couple of Futurama offerings:

Slurm!

Slurm was replicated in this case using the following proportions: for a 2 litres pitcher, 30 cl vodka, 20 cl Creme de Menthe, 20 cl apple juice, then top it up with soda water (or, if like me you run out of soda water, Sprite…). It’s called a Russian Spring, and it was almost as effective at taking people by surprise as the blue milk was. It also comes out in a colour that is pretty accurate for Slurm – and yes, it is strangely addictive!

Right in front was a little bit of trickery: simple bowls of peanuts with Bachelor Chow stickers. It kinda kept the ‘dry food’ imagery, and fortunately no one tried to put them in a bowl and add water or milk. razz

Bachelor Chow

Next we have a couple of plates of Soylent Green:

Soylent Green

These were savoury short bread with green food colouring. I’ll dig up the recipe at some point, it’s one of Kim’s. She did a damn good job on those as well – they were tasty and lreally looked the part. Maybe too much actually – people tried them, found them good, but pretty much everyone (including herself!) chose not to get more. I guess the green colour wasn’t to everyone’s taste. Or maybe the fact that a couple of people who had been invited never showed up might have made people wonder about exactly WHAT was in those crackers. twisted

Next to that was our only foray into fantasy, with some Elvish bread wrapped in Mallorn leaves: Lembas!

Lembas

Recipe to come (found online as usual). The Lembas was made by our friend Yasmine, who kindly offered to help us when she arrived at the party and saw us a tiny bit behind schedule. She did good, and saved our bacon on that one, and the Lembas was well received by everyone – very tasty.

As for the leaves, they’re simple green card paper with a Mallorn template printed on, then cut, folded around the Lembas and held with twine, for that authentic feeling. Surprisingly efficient. I found the template there along with one recipe – there are a few others floating around. I’m not sure which one we used, that was Kim’s area of responsibility.

Now for the final two items, coming from my personal favourite: Aliens!

I guess she don't like corn bread either... 

Starting with corn bread, from a recipe given to me by 101Radioman from the A.L boards (Thanks!). Now, I’d never made, eaten or even seen cornbread outside of that movie, so I was sort of expecting something flattish, hard and probably nasty to a civilian’s tastebuds – but that may have just been the military version. Because what I took out of the oven was fluffy, beautifully golden, and tasty as hell. Definitely something I’ll make again!

For presentation, well, I happen to own a certain item of headgear that seemed rather perfect for the job, so… bread in a helmet. Ain’t that pretty? mrgreen

And finally we come to the last bit, my pride and joy! At some point while researching this whole project I came across this page (probably on the advice of someone in the AL chatroom). And it was easy to make, looked tasty, and above all I immediately saw the potential for adapting it to my favorite universe!

So, I procured a pork tenderloin, some Parma ham (why did every single supermarket in town suddenly stop carrying Spanish Serrano?? Parma is twice as expensive!), and got to work. All the extra I needed was a small piece of pork cut, shaped and stuck between the ‘jaws’ of the roast, and:

Roasted Chestburster

Voila! Roasted Chestburster ‘a la Coloniale’! Big hit with the crowd for the disgusting aspect, the uber-nerdness of the idea, and the fact that it was basically a nice bit of roasted meat, when all’s said and done. Yum!

Bit of a close up on the jaw. Pictures aren’t perfect because Kim declined to photograph that one (Her exact words were something like: “OhGodUrgh…”), and the man who stepped forward to do it for her had already sampled the blue milk quite a bit! lol

Jaw close-up

 

And that was our sci-fi dinner party! It was tremendous fun (and a fair bit of stress) to organise and cook, and turned into a nice music-filled night, although that had nothing to do with the food itself I suppose! I’m pretty sure it was a success with most people who were there, and it certainly earned Kim and myself some MAJOR Geek points! mrgreen

On that subject, and for the record, I’d like to state first that Kim was outstanding in this collaboration, and did a fantastic job of getting everything ready on that day, not to mention refining my ideas and coming up with a couple extra ones – her Bao was nothing short of amazing. I made the sad mistake of not trusting her as I should have, and she proved me wrong in superb fashion, and forgave me for it too. There, folks, is a good friend. My public apologies to you, Kim. It won’t happen again.

And also, still about Kim but on a much more professional level: the lady cooks like a devil, but she’s not selling her products yet. On the other hand, she’s also pretty impressive with a camera in her hands, and that is her job. So since she took those lovely pictures of the evening just so I could fill my blog with something vaguely interesting to say and show, the least I can do is direct anyone with a taste for photography to the following adresses:

  • http://music.lightholder.com/blog/ is the site where she collects and showcases the many pictures she takes of the incredibly active music scene in Athlone. She has an eye for the life, the vibrancy, the emotions of a live gig – maybe because she’s a musician herself.
  • www.kimotay.com is another blog, temporarily on hold, where she has other, non-music related photographs on display.
  • www.kimotay.com\photography is the sub-gallery where she puts whole series rather than choice examples.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimotay is her Flicker page.

Give he a try, she’s that good.

 

Anyways. That be all for today. I’ll post those recipes soon for anyone interested. In the meantime, sweet dreams, Qapla!, no power in the verse, etc… And I’ll leave you with a couple extra pictures of our table!

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2

3

 

42 Responses to “Sci-Fi dinner party”

  1. on 21 Jul 2008 at 3:59 pm Rob

    It was an awesome party, lots of hard work went into it by yourself and Kim.
    friggen love Slurm, it’s highly addictive… gotta make some more D !!

  2. on 17 Mar 2010 at 4:22 pm Josh

    Very cool. I came across it while working on an article on food in science fiction movies.

  3. on 26 Jun 2010 at 1:18 am Elyse

    Hey, you got tweeted by SyFy!

    @Syfy Amazing sci-fi dinner party creations. Love the chestburster made out of pork tenderloin (you read that correctly) http://bit.ly/5Tvs7D

  4. on 26 Jun 2010 at 1:26 am sdf

    food porn – i dont get it

  5. on 26 Jun 2010 at 1:28 am Lynn Crain

    How fun!

    It certainly looks interesting. I know when I write, I think a lot about the food. LOL!

    Thanks for the pictures and the explanations. You gave me some wonderful ideas.

    Lynn

  6. on 26 Jun 2010 at 2:18 am Mistress Koloth

    This is excellent! I am always looking for sci fi type foods and I am also the consuite director for Timegate (http://www.timegatecon.org) and I’m thinking for next year a sci fi theme!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. on 26 Jun 2010 at 6:59 am Weclock

    No curry? For SHAME!
    Go watch Red Dwarf, you smeg head.

  8. on 26 Jun 2010 at 7:32 pm hugh

    that. that is awesome. especially that last one, I think could pass as a Goa’uld from Stargate as well! I hope Sigourney Weaver was at your party. props!

  9. on 01 Jul 2010 at 3:02 pm Grumpy Frenchman

    o_0 Whoa! The post rises from the grave! What on Earth just happened here?!

    Oh! Twitter?! Cool! Well, that explains it. Cheers, SyFy!

    Thanks for the kind comments, everyone. If I gave people ideas, then the post served its purpose, frozen blog or not. ^_^

    (And Red Dwarf’s not just curry – it’s VINDALOO. I like my taste buds NOT on fire, thank you very much!)

  10. on 03 Jul 2010 at 7:56 pm lincoln

    recipes plzzzzzz! everything looked wonderful and disgusting and fun!

  11. on 03 Jul 2010 at 10:25 pm Axion

    Ooo should have used Bamboo or banana leaves for the elven bread!

  12. on 04 Jul 2010 at 7:36 am pG

    Really great. But just one question.
    Why no Fruity-oaty bars?

  13. on 04 Jul 2010 at 4:38 pm The Creeeping Spleen

    Thud! *falls off chair laughing*:D

    Brilliant idea, and very well executed.

    Major kudos all round.

  14. on 04 Jul 2010 at 5:34 pm xxxevilgrinxxx

    that chestburster is made of AWESOME!

  15. on 04 Jul 2010 at 5:38 pm Albert Art

    Great photos! Great idea! What are you going to do for your b-day this year?

  16. on 04 Jul 2010 at 6:24 pm Tiffany

    That is one amazingly geeky spread. You should have made blood pudding also (klingon) but I wish I had been there.

    Also a brilliant addition would have been a “the cake is not a lie” cake, but I’d be likely to do a WoW themed food spread using cooking recipes from the game also.

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. on 04 Jul 2010 at 6:29 pm Tiffany

    Also would like to mention, your blog post here is STILL floating around on twitter. The powers that be have used the geek force to spread this around. If you want to see any amazing “the cake is not a lie” cakes look up Gamer Wedding or Geek Wedding for some amazing cakes.

  18. on 04 Jul 2010 at 6:32 pm Kiloseven

    Strawberry box? Go to a cee-gar bar and sift their discarded cee-gar boxen.

  19. on 04 Jul 2010 at 6:34 pm Michael Buckbee

    With respect to cornbread, if you can get hold of it try “Jiffy Cornbread Mix”.

    I like it best with a bunch of shredded jalapenos in it and then sliced jalapenos on top of each piece.

    Great work on the dinner, it looked awesome.

  20. on 04 Jul 2010 at 7:20 pm Diane O'Bannon

    A great effort and wonderful results. I hope you don’t mind that I linked to your site on Dan O’Bannon’s facebook page. Oh, and BTW, happy birthday.

  21. on 04 Jul 2010 at 7:39 pm Trained Chimp

    Just saw this on BoingBoing.net. I have one suggestion for the Lembas, instead of using card paper I would recommend banana leaves (if you can find them).

  22. on 04 Jul 2010 at 11:14 pm Tom

    Cool, but too bad your PhotoBucket bandwidth is exceeded -(

  23. on 05 Jul 2010 at 1:29 am Benjie

    Nice work! Another fun Futurama dish: Popplers! (Fried shrimp or chicken nuggets work well…)

  24. on 05 Jul 2010 at 3:26 am Lazarus Lupin

    wonderful I can’t think of a better meal, shame your companion in crime is a little squeamish or I’d suggest a zombie banquet next time. Brrraaaainnns…. hehe.

    Lazarus Lupin
    http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/
    Arts and Reviews

  25. on 05 Jul 2010 at 3:33 am Josh

    You’ve been slashdotted by boinboing.net

  26. on 05 Jul 2010 at 4:23 am missmonkey

    You’ve been linked at boingboing.net, which is how I found you. I can see only one picture, the one of the Alien chestburster, but holy crap! It’s a great picture! What a good idea for a party. Thanks for the recipes for Slurm and Beru’s Blue Milk amd for your post.

  27. on 05 Jul 2010 at 4:28 am Tomb

    I want to see the images.

  28. on 05 Jul 2010 at 4:38 am Cameron

    no romulan ale? I am disappoint.

  29. on 05 Jul 2010 at 1:38 pm L.Hall

    This is one of the most awesome things I’ve heard of in a while.. Thank you so much, you’ve just given me the inspiration for my 13 year old sci fi geek’s birthday party!

  30. on 05 Jul 2010 at 9:49 pm Liz D-M

    That was totally inspired! You were very lucky that you didn’t find cinnamon oil – cinnamon oil burns.

  31. on 06 Jul 2010 at 12:49 am Cenobyte

    Yeah and nerdcore.de – any chance to still see the pictures? Photobucket says, the bandwidth is exceeded. (

  32. on 06 Jul 2010 at 2:40 am ObsidianBlade27

    When will we see recipes???

  33. on 06 Jul 2010 at 3:08 am Marc Felion

    I followed all these links- Buzzfeed to Neatorama to Nercdore to Reddit to finally arrive at your site!

    What a journey!

  34. on 06 Jul 2010 at 12:51 pm Anonymous

    Badwidth exceeded…
    UPGRADE to photoshop today.
    Next time, when you have a website, host your own pictures, please.

  35. on 06 Jul 2010 at 1:56 pm Klappstuhl

    Next time, you could bring some LOST Beer to the table.

    http://maxpictures.com/weblog/2010/05/19/lost-beer/

  36. on 06 Jul 2010 at 6:10 pm adnohr

    You forgot Flarn from Babylon 5. Swedish meatballs, if I recall correctly.

  37. on 09 Jul 2010 at 1:53 am person

    Any way you can update the picture links? It’s all bandwidth exceeded (

  38. on 10 Jul 2010 at 12:46 am patkenpo

    FYI, this page was recommended on aol today, so you may see a few more hits. ) Sounds like a great time with *fantastic* foods!

  39. on 10 Jul 2010 at 7:03 pm Lorelei

    aaaw, I can’t see any pics! ( can you show them again please????

  40. on 19 Jul 2010 at 10:44 pm Grumpy Frenchman

    Holy frak… They’re still coming!!

    Wow. Erm. Ok, so, let’s start with my apologies for the bandwidth thing, folks. Understand that even in its “heyday” this blog was never intended to be read by more than a few friends and the occasional lost wanderer. Never expected to be featured on large sites or anything!

    Anyway, the bandwidth has reset with the end of the month period, and I also purchased a pro account for photobucket. Couldn’t be bothered with re-hosting and re-doing all the links! :p And it’s only fair to all the people who bothered to come and have a look.

    Now, to respond to some of the comments:
    - THANK YOU, all, for reading, commenting, and generally speaking appreciating. It does feel pretty good I must say! ^_^
    - Recipes… Ok, I will TRY and dig up the ones I never put up, once i’m back from England. No promises – there’s been a major move from Ireland to France since this party, some things may have gotten lost.
    - Banana leaves are hard to come by in small Irish towns!
    - To all the “why not XXX?” questions: well, some I never heard off myself, others would have been to hard to make, still others would have been redundant (Romulan Ale is blue – we already had the blue milk and that was the only Star Wars item…) And of course, it wasn’t a banquet for 300 – we couldn’t make EVERYTHING! D
    - Finally, to Diane O’Bannon: thank you. You don’t know how honoured I feel by this – I always admired the work of Dan O’Bannon, am a big fan of Alien (obviously…); I’ll never get to meet him now, but this is a bit like it I suppose. *bow*

    Right. Once again, thanks – and I’ll do my best to get some recipes here.

  41. on 23 Sep 2012 at 8:30 pm Judy

    OK – 2 years down the road – but am getting ready for my 50th Birthday and am having a Science Fiction party. -) This is providing excellent ideas and things I had not thought of – but should have. Looking forward to sharing some of this with my friends! It’s awesome! And thanks so much for sharing!

  42. on 27 Sep 2012 at 10:00 pm Grumpy Frenchman

    You are most welcome. )

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