Monthly Archives: June 2014


Korea Republic’s journey at the 2014 World Cup has already come to an end, after they finished bottom of Group H, tasting defeat to Algeria and Belgium, and drawing with Russia in the process.

Rather than the sweet taste of success, the ‘Taeguk Warriors’ were pelted with toffees by disgruntled fans when they arrived back at Incheon International airport- in Korean the term ‘go eat a toffee’ equates roughly with ‘screw you’!

I’m having one of my most anticipated World Cup Dinners tonight, and it’s a rather more savoury affair- the centuries old BBQ dish of Bulgogi.

Bulgogi meaning ‘fire meat’ in Korean, is one of the nation’s most popular dishes. It’s made from thinly sliced, marinated, steak and is served with vegetables wrapped in lettuce leaves, and is absolutely delicious!

250g ribeye steak sliced as thin as possible
30ml soy sauce
30ml sake (rice wine)
30ml lemonade
3 tsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
½ medium onion sliced
3-4 shitake mushrooms
3 garlic cloves chopped finely
Black pepper to taste
To serve:
Cut some slices of peeled raw carrots, cucumbers, onions pepper in to half-inch thick sticks, and a green chili pepper and onion into thin slices.
Wash and dry some large, fresh mixed lettuce leaves for wrapping.

1. In order to get really thinly sliced steak freshly sharpen your knife, and stick the steak in the freezer for around half an hour before cutting to stiffen it up.
2. Meanwhile, add the soy sauce, sake, lemonade, sugar, garlic, black pepper, and 1tbsp of the sesame oil to a blender and puree until mix reaches a smooth consistency.
3. Place mix in a large bowl and combine with the steak, mushrooms, onion, and sesame seeds.
4. Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour (or longer if possible).
5. Heat the other tablespoons sesame oil in a skillet over high heat.
6. Add the marinated beef mix and cook for around 4 to 5 minutes, until edges start to caramelize.
7. To eat- place 1-2 green leaves in your hand and top with some of the beef mix, vegetables and chili sauce, and roll tightly.



MEXICO- Frozen Margarita

A bonus post for Mexico- our favourite frozen Margarita recipe!
The classic citrusy tequila-based cocktail, a perfect combination of sweet, salty, sour and bitter, is thought to have been invented in 1938 by a bartender in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa.

INGREDIENTS (per serving)
45ml tequila
15ml Cointreau
15ml lemon juice
15ml lime juice
Dash of sugar syrup (or 1 tsp sugar)
Cup crushed ice
2 lime wedges

1. Rim a cocktail glass with lime wedge then dip in a saucer of salt.
2. Add crushed ice, tequila, Cointreau, lemon juice, lime juice, and sugar syrup to a blender.
3. Blend until mixture has a shaved ice consistency.
4. Pour into cocktail glass.
5. Garnish with other lime wedge.

MEXICO- Vegetable Fajitas

Being an architect, I’m particularly interested in football stadia, and one of the greatest is the spiritual home of Mexican football- Estadio Azteca.

The Azteca was built in the 1960s to provide Mexico with a flagship venue for the upcoming 1970 World Cup finals, with construction of the 104,000 capacity stadium, designed by the modernist architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, taking a total of 4 years.

It is the only venue ( it will be joined by the Maracana later this summer) to have hosted two World Cup finals, in 1970 where the Brazil side considered to be the greatest ever triumphed 4-1 over Italy, and again in 1986 where Diego Maradona led Argentina to victory over West Germany.

There can be few more intimidating locations for visiting teams, indeed ‘El Tri’, backed by over 100,000 fanatical Mexicans have lost only one World Cup Qualifying match ever in the high altitude venue.

Another institution of Mexican culture is food- and fajitas are one of my favourites- an easy and quick meal of sizzling spicy fillings wrapped in flour tortillas.


INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
2 medium peppers red and green, deseeded and sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 sticks celery sliced
6 medium sized mushrooms sliced
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fajita seasoning mix
6 medium tortilla wraps
Juice of 1/4 lime
Shot of tequila

To serve- Salsa, sliced red and green jalapeños, grated Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, refried beans.

1. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan.
2. Add the peppers, onion, celery, mushrooms and stir fry for around 10 minutes until softened.
3. Add garlic and cook for a further 4 minutes until vegetables begin to brown, but remain crunchy.
4. Add fajita seasoning mix, stir to ensure all veg are coated.
5. Heat and stir for around 30 seconds.
6. Add shot of tequila and lime juice, and stir through mix.
7. Share the mix between the tortillas, along with the salsa, sliced red and green jalapeños, grated Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, refried beans.
8. Wrap tightly.

Best enjoyed with frozen Margaritas! Arriba arriba!

GERMANY- Weißwurst Frühstück (Bavarian White Sausage Breakfast)

When deciding on what to make for my German World Cup Dinner, I got to thinking about the best meals I’ve had when visiting Germany, and I was clear that my absolute favourite was Weisswurst Frühstück- the traditional Bavarian Breakfast of weißwurst (white sausage), with pretzels, and weißbier (white beer).

I first had this when I visited Munich with my German friend Peter in the summer of 2004, and was pretty surprised to have breakfast served with a beer! So, with that in mind I’ve decided to have a go at another World Cup Breakfast.

One place that would be good to pick up some fresh Pretzels is the Bäckerei Klinsmann, the bakery owned by the family of German Football legend Jurgen Klinsmann, and where as a kid he undertook his apprenticeship as baker which he completed in 1982.

He proved more successful at football than making pretzels however, going on to collect 108 caps for the national team scoring 47 goals, including 11 at World Cup Finals. Jurgen’s greatest moment came at Italia ’90 were he captained Die Mannschaft to victory in the final against Argentina, who had defeated them 4 years earlier at Mexico ’86.


INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

4 Weißwurst

2 Pretzels

Sweet Bavarian Mustard

Large bottle of Bavarian white beer



  1. Fill medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil
  2. Take the saucepan off of the heat and place the weisswurst into the water immediately.
  3. Cover the pan with a lid, place for 10 to 15 minutes. Use tongs to remove the weisswurst and serve the sausages immediately.

Serve with pretzels, beer and plenty of mustard.

A few words on sourcing and eating Weißwurst Frühstück. The sausages aren’t so easy to source, but Bratwurst make a good substitute, and are available in most large supermarkets. The mustard is important- it’s not like the mustards you get in the supermarket, it’s much sweeter- so I’d recommend getting some ‘Händlmaier Hausmacher Senf’ online, as it really makes a difference. It has to be accompanied with a white beer too, and I’ve gone for Franzikaner Weissbier.

Next up is how to eat it. The casings aren’t eaten, so there are two techniques.

The first is Zuzeln (Bavarian slang term for sucking), where the ends of the sausage are opened and sucked from the casing.

The second is to split the sausage lengthwise and then remove the meat from the casing.


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ITALY- Pizza Margherita

Is there a more patriotic foodstuff than Pizza Margherita?

Pizza was invented in Naples, Italy in the 16th Century, and at that time referred to any flatbread with topping, but the modern pizza that we know today is reckoned to have originated on the 11 June 1889, when, for the visit of Queen Margherita to the city, neapolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created three different pizzas for her to sample. The Queen’s favourite was the pizza which featured the colours of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella), and it has had the moniker ‘Pizza Margherita’ ever since.

Fabio Cannavaro is another neapolitan legend after captaining ‘The Azzuri’ to World Cup success at Germany ’06. The central defender played every minute of every game in the tournament, marshalling his side impressively. His crowning moment came on 9 July 2006, the night of his 100th cap, when Italy triumphed over France in the penalty shoot-out, in a match best remembered for Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Marco Materazzi.

I make the pizza dough bases in my Panasonic bread maker, and here’s how I go about it.


INGREDIENTS (makes 2x 12″ pizzas)
3/4tsp yeast
360g strong white flour
200ml water
3/4 tsp salt

Medium buffalo mozzarella cut into slices
1/3 jar sundried tomatoes( around 6) chopped into bite size chunks
150ml Louise’s Secret Pizza Sauce™
Fresh basil torn into strips

1. Mix pizza base ingredients into breadmaker- set to ‘Pizza dough’ programme
2. After programme completes, cut dough in half and form into 2x 12″ flat bases- prove in oven for around 40 minutes at 40C.
3. Take bases from oven and top with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and sundried tomatoes.
4. Put back in oven at 200C for 20 minutes.
5. Take out of oven, top with fresh basil leaves and black pepper.

Serve with a nice glass of Chianti! Buon appetito!


GHANA- Fish Stew and Fufu

The Black Stars of Ghana will be hoping to repeat the success of South Africa ’10 in this their third successive World Cup final, where only the infamous handball on the goal-line by perpetual pantomime villain Luis Suarez stopped Dominic Adiyiah from scoring for Ghana in the last minute. Asamoah Gyan subsequently missed the penalty, and Uruguay went on to triumph in the shoot-out to make the World Cup semi finals.

For today’s World Cup dinner I’m making a traditional West African spicy fish stew with Fufu- which is a plantain flour formed into a dough ball- if any Scottish readers have had mince and dough balls before,  it’s a pretty similar texture.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
250g mixed seafood (prawns, squid, cod)
400 g can chopped tomatoes
300ml fish stock (from cube)
2 tsp tomato purée
2 tsp garlic and ginger purée
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 scotch bonnet chilli pepper deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 can new potatoes cut into halves/ quarters
6 fingers of hand okra, with nose and stalk taken off- chopped into thirds
To serve- instant fufu (think dough balls) and fresh coriander

1. Heat oil in a large pan, then sauté onion, potatoes, scotch bonnet, garlic, ginger and okra.
2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add fish stock to pan and bring to boil.
4. Add chopped tomatoes, paprika, coriander stir well.
5. Bring to boil, then turn down heat, place lid on pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
1. Instant fufu- make per instructions on pack.

FRANCE- Croissant and Espresso

I have a confession to make World Cup Dinners fans.

Today’s dinner is for France, but weas are off to the theatre tonight for a bit of non-World Cup culture, we’re going to Le Bistro Beaumartin  on  Hope Street for some French fare!

However, in order to keep on track, I had a ‘World Cup Breakfast’ of Espresso and Croissants instead!

The coffee is from a local roaster- Dear Green, worth trying to pick some up if you get the chance, the croissants were from the bakers, but there’s a good recipe I make with my breadmaker on Panasonic’s site

France have surprised plenty of people at the World Cup so far, having come into the tournament with very low expectations, they have already qualified for the knock-out stages, and virtually assured of top spot in Group E after winning their opening two matches.
If they go on to complete their hat trick this evening it will be the first time they have won all three group games in a major competition since winning the World Cup on home soil in 1998.

At Beumartins’s we ended up going for the pre-theatre deal- £13.95 for two courses and a glass of wine, and though the choices were a bit limited, the food was really tasty. I ended up going  for the classic French Onion soup, followed by ‘Poulet a la Creme et Olives’ – baked chicken with olives and mushrooms, served with rice and a cream sauce.





ENGLAND- BONUS POST- Strawberries & Cream

A little bonus post for you all this evening! This is a dessert I make quite often as it’s really quick and easy, but really tasty…. and besides what could be more English that Strawberries and Cream?

The dish is really simple to make- in a sundae dish (or large wine glass) crumble up a meringue nest into chunks, and layer with strawberries cut into halves or quarters depending on their size. Two or three layers will usually suffice. On top of each layer put a table spoon of double cream (or fat free yoghurt if you are trying to be healthier!)

ENGLAND- Shepherd’s Pie

England are early departers from the World Cup, despite producing arguably better performances this time round than in South Africa ’10. Back-to-back defeats against Italy and Uruguay, in which they have managed only 1 goal in each have left them out of the tournament at the first stage, pointless after 2 group matches, and heading into the final match against a red-hot Costa Rica hoping to salvage some pride for the Three Lions.

Given their withering performances so far, they must be rooting for the halcyon days when they had Gary Winston Lineker in an England shirt.

Lineker was born in Leicester- the very centre of England- the son of a greengrocer, who had a stall in the local market. After a budding start to his career which saw him finish top scorer for Leicester City and Everton in consecutive seasons, he signed for Barcelona in 1985, where he again excelled, cementing his place as England’s first choice striker heading into the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. There Gary helped England to qualify for the knock-out stages by scoring an incredible hat-trick against Poland. Two more followed against Paraguay, to send them into the quarter finals to face Argentina, but their challenge withered when his single goal in that match was cancelled out by two from Diego Maradona. Lineker finished top scorer of the tournament hwoever, notching up six goals, making him the first, and to this date only English player to have won the Golden Boot.

Today in honour of Gary Lineker, I’ll be eating shepherd’s pie for dinner!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

300g potatoes- type suitable for mashing,
(or, alternatively pre-made mash)
1 teaspoons butter
40ml milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to taste
250g Lamb Mince, cooked
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 medium carrot- grated
200ml lamb stock (from cube)
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
30g grated Red Leicester cheese.
¼ pint ale(rest for drinking!)


1. Boil the potatoes until tender.
2. Drain, then return to the pan. Continue heating until dry, then mash the potatoes until smooth and lump free.
3. Mix in butter, milk, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, stir-fry the mince in a very hot frying-pan with half the oil until browned.
5. Add the rest of the oil, onion, carrot and garlic.
6. Continue cooking for around 5 minutes until the vegetables soften.
7. Add the lamb stock, ale, and mixed herbs.
8. Allow to simmer uncovered for around 10 minutes until the meat is cooked and the liquid has been reduced.
9. Add the meat to the bottom of an overproof dish and top with the mashed potato, sprinkle pie with breadcrumbs and cheddar.
10. Place the pie dish under the grill and brown the top of the pie.

Serve with green vegetables and cold beer!

SPAIN- Tortilla

Lacklustre Spain join unenviable recent list of (Italy-2010, France- 2002) defending World Cup champions who have then been knocked out in the group stages of the following World Cup finals.

La Roja have been left with egg on their faces after losing both of their opening matches- 5-1 to the Netherlands, and 2-0 against Chile, and will be scrambling to beat Australia in the final match of the 2014 tournament.

This recipe for Spanish Tortilla, is a dish that I make quite often, and which never fails to impress. If you are only going to attempt one of the World Cup Dinners then I’d recommend this one! The fillings can be varied depending on what you feel like (salmon and asparagus is a favourite), but for this version I am going for a combination inspired by the colours of the Spanish flag.


INGREDIENTS (Serves 4, or a hungry 2!)
1 medium onion
1 can new potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 large eggs
8 cherry tomatoes halves
10-12 red pickled jalepeno slices
2 slices serrano ham cut into strips about 1 inch long.
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Use a frying pan around 20 cm diameter. This is important as the tortilla will be too thin if a larger size pan is used.
2. Cut the onion into thin circular half-moon slices.
3. Drain the new potatoes and cut into rounds around 3mm thick.
4. Dab them dry with kitchen roll.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the frying pan and, when it’s smoking hot, add the potatoes and onions.
6. Sauté the onions and potatoes until tender, but not browned.
7. Add salt and pepper.
8. In the meantime, crack 5 eggs into a large bowl and whisk lightly using a fork.
9. Mix in the serrano ham, red jalepenos, cherry tomatoes.
10. Add plenty of Salt and Pepper.
11. When the onions and potatoes are cooked, add them to the eggs in the bowl, and give a good stir to ensure everything is coated.
12. Return the frying pan back to a medium heat, and add the rest of the oil.
13. Pour the tortilla mix into the frying pan, and turning the heat down to its lowest setting.
14. Leave the mix for 15 minutes to cook slowly, uncovered- patience is a virtue here!
15. Go round the edge from time to time with a palette knife, as this will give it a nice clean edge.
16. After 15 minutes transfer the pan from the hob to under the grill to finish off the top of the tortilla.
17. Place onto a board and cut into wedges- tastes great hot or cold the next day.

I normally eat my tortilla with some salsa and hot sauce. My favourite at the moment is Glasgow Megadeath! A nice glass of Rioja and you’re good to go!

RUSSIA- Blinis with Caviar and Zakuski plates

“Round is the blin, yellow gold and hot like the sun, the symbol of sublime days, rich harvests, harmonious marriages and healthy children.”
– Alexander Kuprin.

Blini are inexpensive, light, buckwheat pancakes which have been served in Russia for over 1000 years, eaten most typically during ‘Butter Week’ a feast celebrating the end of winter and beginning of spring.
Russians won’t be celebrating today, however, following their 1-0 Group H defeat by Belgium earlier.

The Sbornaya must be pining for the days of Lev Yashin, a true icon of Russian football. Reckoned to be the greatest goalkeeper of all time, Yashin was known as ‘the Black Spider’ following his performance in a ‘Rest of the World XI’ against England in due to his distinctive all-black outfit, and the assertion that he must have had 8 arms to perform some of the fantastic saves he made that day. Yashin’s greatest World Cup moment came in 1966 where he marshalled the Soviet team to a fourth place finish, losing out 2-1 to West Germany.

“The joy of seeing Yuri Gagarin flying in space is only superseded by the joy of a good penalty save.”
—Lev Yashin

My Russian World Cup Dinner consists of blinis served with various toppings and zakuski plates (a sort of Russian tapas come smorgasbord) consisting of pickled onion, pickled cucumber, boiled egg with paprika, and a couple of simple vegetable salads of diced potato, carrot and cucumber in mayonnaise.


1.5 tsp dry yeast
1.5 tbsp sugar
250ml warm milk
15g butter softened
150g buckwheat flour
100g plain flour
1 egg separated
1/2 tsp salt
90g sour cream
Butter for frying

1. Place 110ml warm water in a small bowl.
2. Stir in yeast and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
3. Leave to stand in a warm place until the mixture has doubled in volume and is frothing.
4. Stir in half the milk, the rest of the sugar and butter.
5. Add the buckwheat flour stir well for around 10 minutes.
6. Leave to rest for 30 minutes
7. Add the rest of the milk, the plain flour, egg yolks, salt and sour cream and stir until the mix is well blended.
8. Cover and leave for a further hour until the mixture is frothy and has doubled in volume again.
9. Beat the egg whites to a stiff consistency and fold into the blini batter.
10. Coat a frying pan with the butter, and bring to a medium heat.
11. I’m making smaller sized blinis so using around 1tbsp per pancake, but for larger size use around 3tbsp.
12. Fry pancakes- around 1 minute per side, or until golden brown, flipping half way through.
The most famous topping of course is chilled caviar (salmon eggs), and today we are also having smoked salmon, sour cream, and cranberry jelly.

I got the caviar we are having at Fantoosh fish on Great Western Road, which is great for fish if you’re in Glasgow, but a good online alternative I’ve had in the past is Mottra which sells fully sustainable caviar. Best served with sparkling wine, a good option is Tsarine Cuvée Premium Brut Champagne which comes in a bottle inspired by the spirals of St.Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. If you fancy some you can buy it online from the Champagne Company.


NIGERIA- Jollof Rice and fried Plantains

Daniel Amokachi is a legend of Nigerian football.

Riding high after winning the African Cup of Nations, the ‘Super Eagles’ headed to the United States for their debut World Cup appearance in 1994, with 21 year old Amokachi spearheading their attack.
‘The Bull’ scored goals in wins over Bulgaria and Greece in the group stages, before they lost out 2-1 to Italy after extra time in the first knock-out stage. Amokachi would return to the USA 2 years later, leading Nigeria to gold at the Atlanta Olympics.

The current batch of Super Eagles will hope to repeat the success of the ’94 team, but face a stiff test after drawing their opening match with Iran.

Tonight’s World Cup Dinner is the typical West African meal of Jollof Rice with fried plantains (a sort of large, less sweet banana).


INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
For the rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onions, sliced
1 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper, diced
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 bay leaf
300ml vegetable stock (from cube)
120g dry white long-grain rice
salt and pepper to taste

To serve
1 medium plantains, cut into slices and deep fried
crisp green leaf salad

1. Sauté onions in large pan with the olive oil.
2. Add the canned tomatoes, red pepper and tomato purée.
3. Season with salt, pepper
4. Add the chilli powder, curry powder, and bay leaf,
5. Then add 300ml of vegetable stock.
6. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for around 25 minutes.
7. Rinse the rice, then add it to the tomato mixture.
8. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low.
9. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
10. Serve the joffol with fried plantains and a crisp green salad.


If you ask someone for a ‘soda’ in Costa Rica, you won’t get a fizzy drink, you’ll be given directions to the nearest small family-run restaurant, where they specialize in home-style cooking. One of the most popular meals in these sodas is casado, a meal consisting rice and black beans, typically along with meat and salad.

Casado in Spanish means ‘married man’ and the name seems to have its origins in the home-spun nature of the restaurants, where customers would go to feel like they were treated as casados.

There will certainly be a warm homecoming for the current Costa Rican team if they can follow up their surprise opening victory over much fancied Uruguay with another positive result over Italy tonight.


2 skinless chicken breasts
5 spring onions chopped.
2 garlic cloves crushed
10g fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 Scotch Bonnet chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp soft brown sugar
½ tbsp allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Juice of 1 lime
30ml olive oil for cooking

100ml coconut milk
150ml chicken stock
100g long grain white rice
1/2 can black beans- drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the scotch bonnet in half and deseed (wear gloves –they are super hot)
2. Place scotch bonnet in food processor with garlic, half of the spring onions ginger, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and lime juice. Mix to paste.
3. Cover chicken breasts in spice mix and leave in fridge for 1 hour.
4. Bake chicken breasts in oven with the olive oil at 180C for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
5. Pour coconut milk and chicken stock into a pan and bring to the boil.
6. Add the rice, beans, garlic, lime juice and remainder of spring onions.
7. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until rice is tender and stock mix is absorbed.
8. Spoon the rice onto warm plates, and serve with chicken breasts and salad of choice.

BONUS- Greek Yoghurt with Almonds & Honey

Bonus Greek pudding after tonight’s World Cup Dinner- Greek yoghurt with flaked almonds and honey- absolutely delicious and so each to make!


GREECE- Koftas with Tzatziki, Hummus and Pittas

Greece will be hoping to avoid another World Cup tragedy tonight when they face Japan in their second match, after suffering a heavy 3-0 defeat to Columbia in their opening game.

Despite having strong domestic club sides, and actually winning Euro 2004 in Portugal, Greece have a woeful record at the World Cup, qualifying for only the third time in the competition’s history  in 2014, and have only managed 2 goals at the finals.

Tonight’s World Cup Dinner is a simple, but tasty one- Greek Koftas with pittas, hummus, tzatziki and olives


250 g lamb mince
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 lime, juiced
1 red chilli, chopped
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
salt and pepper to taste
3 tsp olive oil, for frying
Flatbreads, hummus, tzatziki, olives, wedge of lemon to serve.
Also required- wooden kebab skewers. ( I got mine from Lakeland in Buchanan Galleries)

1. Mix the mince with the other ingredients, other than the oil, in a bowl.
2. Form the mix into balls (about golf ball sized), and then roll into kofta ‘sausages’. Slide onto skewers.I had some vine tomatoes left over from last night so I ‘kebabed’ them too.
3. Fry the Koftas over a medium heat in a griddle pan with olive oil, turning regularly. They should take around 8 minutes.
4. Serve the cooked koftas with the hummous, tzatziki, and olives.

I bought in the accompaniments ready made, but there’s a great hummus recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall here.



After an opening match defeat to Brazil, Croatia head into their make-or-break second group match with Cameroon tonight, and so it seems like an opportune time to move my World Cup Dinners to the former Yugoslavian republic.

Croatian food tends to be regional, so it was pretty difficult to decide on a dish that represents the country, but in the end I decided to go for Brodet a fish stew from the Dalmatian coast as one of my favourite players from the 90s- Zvonimir Boban- hails from this part of the country. Don’t worry no dogs will be hurt in the making of this dinner!

Hirsute, before it was hip, Boban captained the Croatian squad in their first ever World Cup appearance at France ’98. The Croats had a great tournament, reaching the semi-finals before losing out 2–1 to eventual winners France. Croatia went on to defeat Holland in the third place playoff, with Boban providing the killer pass to Davor Suker for the winning goal.


400g fish pie mix.
30ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying
1/4 lemon- juiced
4 garlic cloves, minced
bunch parsley, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
100g chopped tomatoes
60 ml white wine
salt and pepper to taste
150ml fish stock (from stock cube)
50g prawns
6 cherry tomatoes
To Serve:
100g Polenta
Fresh chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS (serves 2-3)
1. Marinate the fish in the lemon juice, oil, half the garlic, parsley and salt and pepper for a couple of hours in the fridge.
2. Saute onions and the remainder in the garlic in a medium saucepan until lightly coloured (be careful not to overdo as garlic will taste bitter)
3. Add the chopped tomato and cook for a further minute.
4. Add the white wine, fish mix and fish stock to the pan and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.
5. Serve with polenta and chopped parsley garnish

I’ve made the ‘perfect polenta‘ as per Felicity Cloake’s recipe here, but the instant stuff is fine too if you can get it.

ALGERIA- Harissa Lamb and Couscous

Algeria has a history of rule by outsiders- at various points under the control of  the Roman Empire, Muslim Conquistadors, and local tribal dynasties, which ruled up until 1830, when the French invaded and colonised the country. The cuisine of Algeria is also something of a palimpsest, building on the influence of the various nations under whose rule it has fallen, including the Berber’s who first introduced, the national dish of couscous to the country!

The Algerian national football team itself has only existed since 1963, following the nation’s independence from France in 1962. Since then the ‘Fennec Foxes’ have had a pretty good record, having qualified for the World Cup finals in 1982, 1986, 2010 and 2014.

Their greatest moment, so far, came at the 1982 World Cup, when they shocked much fancied West Germany 2-1 in their opening group match. Unfortunately this also led to one of the low points of World Cup history- when in the final game of the group stages, and with Algeria in a position to qualify, Germany and Austria played out a match which has become known as the ‘Disgrace of Gijon’.

With Algeria having played their final match a day earlier, a win by one or two goals for West Germany would mean both them and Austria would qualify at Algeria’s expense. The Germans took a 1-0 lead after 10 minutes, and thereafter the match was played with few scoring chance created, giving the impression that the result was agreed before the match. Although FIFA dismissed Algeria’s protest, in subsequent World Cups all final group stage matches have been played simultaneously.


2 lamb leg steaks
2 tbsp harissa paste
100g dry couscous
Roast veg- red pepper, onion, spring onion, aubergine.
160ml boiling water
Drizzle olive oil

1. Spoon 1 tbsp harissa paste into a jug of boiling water.
2. Pour over the couscous in a large serving bowl.
3. Cover and stand for 5 mins.
4. Chop and roast vegetables for 10 minutes at 200deg with a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Fluff with a fork.
5. Season lamb, then fry for 1 min each side in a frying pan.
6. Spread remaining harissa paste over the lamb.
7. Cook for 2 more minutes on each side, remove from pan and rest for 5minutes.
9. Slice lamb and serve on top of the couscous.

USA- Cheeseburger

When the United States mens international team headed to their 3rd World Cup finals in 1950 after a 16 year absence, things were not looking good for them. With a team comprising part-time players who had lost had lost their last seven international matches by the combined score of 45–2, they were due to play England’s all-star team generally considered the best in the world at that time.

The only goal of the game came in 38 minutes however when Joe Gaetjens, a Haitian, scored for the US with a diving header to deflect a long driven shot past the English keeper.

England’s star player Stanley Matthews who missed the match through injury later stated- “The game was purgatory to watch from the stands, come the final whistle, I thanked my lucky stars I hadn’t been part of it.”

For my US World Cup dinner I’ll be making an American icon which sums up images of the Wild West, drive-in movies and Elvis- the Cheeseburger.
I make burgers to this recipe quite often. I’ve tried all sorts of burger recipes- the ones where you add egg, breadcrumbs, onions, chilli, and so on, and so forth, but none I’ve made have been as good as this simple version.
The key to this burger’s success is the balance of flavours- the meatiness of the burger is offset by the sweetness of the other ingredients, so it’s important to use the correct tomatoes, lettuce, onion, etc, and I find it goes really well with a brioche as opposed to a regular burger bun. I’m having it with a ‘Pabst Blue Ribbon’, my beer of choice when I lived in the States.


INGREDIENTS (per burger)
100g lean steak mince (per burger)
Salt & Pepper to taste

To Serve:
1 slice gruyere cheese
1 Brioche bun toasted
1 slice vine ripened tomato
½ sweet onion sliced
Baby gem lettuce, broken into leaves and washed.
Dill pickle slices
French’s mustard

INSTRUCTIONS (per burger)
1. Put mince into bowl, add plenty of salt and pepper, and then work firmly with hands til the mince is approaching a paste consistency
2. Form mince into a patty- I make mine pretty thin- just less than 1cm thick.
3. Sauté the sliced onions over a low heat until they soften, but stop before they brown. Put to one side. This sweetens the flavor of the onion.
4. Fry the patty in a griddle pan over a medium heat. Cook to personal taste.
5. When burger is done as you like it, take it off the heat and let it rest for a minute.
6. Light toast the brioche under the grill (I actually use the griddle pan)
7. Prepare your bun and appropriate garnishes.
8. Assemble the burger thus- bottom ½ bun, cheese, tomato, dill pickle, ketchup, mustard, mayo, burger, onions, lettuce, and top ½ bun.



A miracle took place in Lausanne on 26 June 1954.

Host nation Switzerland took on Austria in the quarter finals of the World Cup, on a day where the temperature tipped the scale at 40deg- the highest ever recorded in the city- and a partisan home crowd were turning the heat up on the opposition. It was in these extreme conditions that the most extraordinary of matches took place.

The ‘Hitzeschlacht von Lausanne’ (battle in the heat of Lausanne) saw the Swiss storm to an early lead, scoring 3 goals in under 18 minutes, thanks in part to the collapse of the Austrian goalkeeper Kurt Schmied from overheating. He was forced to play on as there were no substitutions permitted, but Austria recovered to counter, scoring FIVE goals, followed by another for Switzerland, before the referee blew for half time with the score at 5-4.

The second half was equally sizzling- the Austrians extended their lead to 6-4, Switzerland pulled one back only for Austria to score again leaving the final score 7-5, the record scoreline in any World Cup Finals match.

The typically Swiss dish of fondue is my World Cup Dinner for today.


INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
250g steamed and pureed cauliflower
60ml milk
1 garlic clove
60ml white wine
30g Gruyère cheese, grated
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

To Serve
Cubes of crusty bread, gammon steak, celery, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, green apple.

1. Place the cauliflower and milk in a food processor; puree until absolutely smooth consistency.
2. Rub a medium saucepan with the garlic.
3. Pour the wine into the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
4. Add the Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted. Make sure not to boil.
5. Stir in the cauliflower purée, and nutmeg.
6. Continue cooking, stirring gently, until smooth and heated through.
7. Transfer to a fondue pot, and serve at once.

JAPAN- Sushi

20140615-000415-255740.jpg“Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”
– Jiro Ono

A few months ago I watched the documentary ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ which gives a fascinating insight into the life and work of 85 year old Japanese sushi master Jiro Ono.

Jiro’s outlook seems analogous to football- mastery of technique through practice and repetition, and like Jiro’s minimalist cuisine- football is often at its most beautiful when at its simplest.

For my Japanese World Cup Dinner, there couldn’t have been any other choice than making sushi. This was my first attempt at making it though….definitely more mastery of skill required, though it tasted great!


200g sushi rice
35ml rice wine vinegar
250ml water

100g sushi grade salmon
100g sushi grade tuna
1/2 avocado sliced into strips
3 roasted seaweed sheets
wasabi paste

pickled ginger
soy sauce

Wash the rice three times, then drain and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Bring one litre/1¾ pints of cold water to the boil and add the kombu (if using) and the rice. Simmer with the lid on for ten minutes, then leave to stand without taking the lid off for another 20 minutes.

Tip into a large wooden bowl, sprinkle on the sushi vinegar and cut through into the rice with a slicing motion with a wooden spatula.

Fan to cool, with a wooden paddle (or an old tablemat), for ten minutes. Turn the rice over, fan for two minutes. Repeat this four times and the rice should be at room temperature and just sticky enough.

Use the rice immediately as it is past its best after a few hours.

Cut your chosen fish carefully into strips.
Take a ball of rice about the size of a walnut, roll it in your hands to form a long sphere.
Place a dot of wasabi on the top.
Place a fish strip on top.
Compress into place with a tapping motion.

Cover bamboo rolling mat in cling film ( to stop rolls sticking).
Cut sheet of roasted seaweed in half.
Cover with rice all over except for the edge facing you, leaving a 2cm border
Press the rice down firmly to give you a thin, even coating.
Line a thin strip of salmon and avocado, or tuna, in the middle.
Roll the mat away from you, catching the filling into the roll. Firm up with the mat.
Unroll, the with your sharpest knife cut into bite-sized pieces.
Serve the nigiri with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.


CHILE- Milcaos


“Good evening. The game you are about to see is the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game.”

– David Coleman, 1962


And so ‘the Battle of Santiago’, the most violent game in the history of the World Cup, was introduced to the British television watching public.

Hosts Chile faced Italy on 2 June 1962 in what should have been a fairly ordinary group match, but with tensions were already running high between the two countries following disparaging remarks about Santiago published in the Italian press, the game quickly descended into a grudge match of epic proportions.

The first tackle took place 12 seconds into the tie, and the first red card followed after 8 minutes, with the Italian player having to be dragged off the pitch by the police. After a series of flying kicks and left hooks- a further two red cards were to follow in a match won 2-0 by Chile, which referee Ken Aston described thus: “I wasn’t reffing a football match, I was acting as an umpire in military manoeuvres.”

In honour of the Battle of Santiago (and as Chile are playing tonight), I am making Chilean ‘Milcaos’ which are simple potato pancakes, served with salsa, sour cream and jalapenos.


INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 1 lbs potatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion grated
  • salsa, sour cream, jalepenos for serving



  1. Peel and boil half the potatoes until tender. (about 40 minutes)
  2. Mash the potatoes with the butter and salt.
  3. Peel the remaining potatoes and finely grate them.
  4. Put the grated potatoes in a kitchen cloth and squeeze out excess liquid.
  5. Combine the mashed and grated potatoes and knead them into a dough.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  7. Saute onions in olive oil over a medium low heat until they start to brown.
  8. Form the potato dough into 4 equal balls.
  9. Hollow out the balls and fill the holes with a teaspoon of onion mixture, and pinch the top closed when done.
  10. Flatten balls into patties.
  11. Fry the patties in a frying pan with 2 tbsps of olive oil until golden.
  12. Place all the milcaos on a baking tray, and bake for 30 minutes flipping halfway through.

Serve with fresh salsa, sour cream and jalepenos.

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BRAZIL- Feijoada


The first World Cup I REALLY remember is USA ‘94.

Sure, I remember bits of Mexico ‘86 (mostly getting a toy of the mascot- Pique, a sort of anthromorphic upside down chilli-pepper with sombrero in a Kinder Egg) and Italia ’90 (Gazza crying, everyone in school singing Nessun Dorma), but it was the year of the ‘Greatest show on Earth’ where my love of the World Cup really took hold. Baggio was the star of the show, and my hero, that year…..but Brazil won in the end thanks to his infamous penalty miss in the shoot-out, after what was a pretty dour final.

So, Brazil were the champions of my first World Cup, and after winning again in 2002, are facing enormous pressure to claim their sixth win this year, in their own back yard!

I thought it seemed appropriate, to get in the mood for the tournament, to kick off the project by making the national meal of the host nation Brazil – Feijoada.

Feijoada (pronounced ”fayzhe-wada”) is a stew consisting black beans, and varied meats, usually sausages, and cuts of smoked pork, but sometimes beef too. (In my version I’ll be using a smoked gammon joint and a Mattesson’s smoked sausage.)


300 g smoked gammon cut into cubes
100 g smoked sausage
2 slices bacon cut into cubes (or lardons)
1 can black beans drained
1 brown onion cut into segments
2 spring onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 ml olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 an orange (cut into quarters)
300 ml ham stock (from stock cube)

200 g collard greens, washed, shredded
10 ml olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

To Serve
100 g Rice
chopped fresh (optional)
chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1 orange sliced

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy, deep pot and stir-fry the onion, garlic, and spring onions until softened.
2. Cut the smoked pork and sausage into chunks about and inch in size.
3. Add the drained beans, sausage, pork, smoked bacon, salt, ground coriander, black pepper, bay leaves, quartered-orange and ham stock. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed to ensure that the beans are completely covered while cooking.

Spring Greens
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan and sauté 1 crushed clove of garlic until soft( careful not to let brown as garlic has an acrid taste when overdone).
2. Add the 2 bunches spring greens, and salt & pepper
3. Stir-fry over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until greens are tender.
4. Serve with sliced oranges, white rice, spring greens.

Getting ready

The bunting is going up, purchasing of ingredients has begun…..pre- tournament preparation going well!