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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Happy Chip Week! McCain's 35th Anniversary Press Dinner at The Haymarket Hotel

Forget London Fashion Week, last week was also Chip Week, which filled me with child-like joy and wonderment - being one rather partial to the act of eating.

Although I loathe convenience food with a vengeance and am a great advocate of fine holistic fayre involving wilted kale and raw almond butter, oven chips I do adore.

Yes of course chopping your own spuds and frying them in oil (coconut of course dahlings) taste better and leave you emanating in a substantial dose of smug satisfaction, but I'm sure many of you will agree...

you better believe it!

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for cooking your own food from scratch and believe many wholesome meals can be made in just a few minutes, yet potato peeling, chopping, frying, dodging random flying oil attacks aimed towards your eyeball - this takes time...and a heck of a lot of patience.

So, on the odd occasion when I get home after a long, tiring day or when I feel the need for a second dinner at 1 am, I have been known to shove a tray of McCain Rustic Chips in the oven, which I usually nom with a frivolously fried egg or two.

I especially adore these vegan-friendly oven chips as they are only 3% fat, contain two ingredients - (potatoes and a dash of sunflower oil) and are made with the fiber-rich, vitamin C-packed potato skins left on. Oh the wholesome joy of it all...

To show my support of such a worthy chip I even attended McCain's 35th anniversary dinner party, held at the elegant Haymarket Hotel in Mayfair.

I must confess that my evening had a rather naughty start as I somehow ended up at the wrong event within the same hotel, drinking a rogue glass of champagne that was meant for associates of a rubber band company (don't ask).

Eventually I made it down to McCain's chiptastic (sorry) shindig which began in the Haymarket Hotel's famous pool side bar - a shimmering scene of eye candy shrouded in seductive, pink-hued lighting.

Just smile until the chips arrive ladies...

Whilst sipping retro Harvey Wallbanger cocktails, I mingled with lovely McCain PR's and fellow food-loving journalists, including seasonal dinner party guru Liz O' Keefe who develops seriously sumptuous recipes for The Good Food Channel, and Delicious Magazine's talented food stylist Rosie Ramsden, who along with her food writer husband, sadly no longer gets invited to dinner parties. This clearly being the unfortunate consequence of their profound food judging skills.

Feeling merry and fueled by our grumbling tums, we made our way to the private dining room where we were greeted by a fabulous table decorated with 1970's style adornments - similar to the sort of kitsch nick knacks that grace the coffee tables of charming grandmothers up in Hull.

I reveled in the hearty menu, which featured 70's classics such as prawn cocktail and chicken Kiev - which I later discovered upon glancing at a guest's plate (whilst battling a sudden case of food envy), appeared to be the biggest chicken Kiev in the world.

I opted for an enticing, slightly more modern version of cheese and pineapple on a stick as my starter and ploughed  down with glee on a hefty sirloin steak accompanied by watercress, a peppery cream sauce and a pleasing mountain of McCain oven chips.

Come to mamma...

Admittedly, it did feel rather odd to be served oven chips in such plush (non-homely) surroundings, yet as I chomped away on these surprisingly delicious golden nuggets of potato goodness, I felt a sense of gastronomic comfort. Although I was wearing my finest Reiss dress and highest patent heels, surrounded by the stylish splendor of a 5 star London hotel, I felt that same comfy feeling I get when I'm curled up at home on my beloved sofa with my second dinner nestled on my lap.

Now, that's my kind of dinner party...

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