Daily Archives: June 14, 2018

RUSSIA- Borscht

At last the big kick off has arrived for Russia 2018!

One match in and we have already seen the sublime (Russia’s storming 5-0 display) and the ridiculous (Robbie Williams peacocking around in the super short opening ceremony).

I’m really looking forward to the tournament- with some real stars on show. Will it be a last hurrah for Messi or Ronaldo, or will we see the next generation led by Neymar, Dele Alli or Mbappe step up to the plate?

One thing is for sure, the prospect of some top-level international football for the next month is certainly mouth watering.

For my first World Cup Dinner of 2018, where better to start than the host nation of Russia.

Last time out I made some Zakuski Plates, a sort of Russian tapas-come-smorgasborg, which were really tasty, bu this time I thought I would go for something more homely in the shape of the traditional Russian beetroot based soup Borscht.

I noticed a lot of recipes online called for a beef stock, and thin sliced beef in the soup, but I had a really nice bowl of Borscht in Singl-End café here in Glasgow a few months back which had a nice smokey ham flavour, so I thought I would try and replicate that in my recipe.

It turned out really great, and this is one World Cup Dinner I would really recommend you to try at home.



Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 medium-sized beetroot (about 450g/1lb, unpeeled weight), diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 3 new potatos, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1500ml ham stock
  • 4 smoked bacon medallions cut into bite size squares.
  • 2 cups of green cabbage, finely shredded
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Garnish:

  • Dollop of sour cream
  • Heavy sprinkle of finely chopped dill


  • Heat the oil in a large soup pan.
  • Add the beetroot, carrot, celery, potato, onion and garlic, then fry until the vegetables start to soften up.
  • Add in the stock and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for around 15 minutes.
  • Add the chopped bacon and cabbage, then simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  • Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

To serve:

  • Divide the soup between bowls, then add a dollop of soured cream and sprinkle with chopped dill.
  • Serve with sourdough bread and a green salad. A shot of vodka is nice too!


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World Cup Dinners 2018!

Back in 2014, I undertook a project to make 32 meals from each of the 32 countries participating in the World Cup in Brazil over the course of the 32 days of the tournament.

It was a super-successful campaign which included my project being featured on BBC Radio Scotland, in the Sunday Post and Metro newspapers, and also on the football fan-blog Follow Follow.

Now, for the upcoming tournament in Russia 2018, World Cup Dinners is back!

For my second round of World Cup dinners I will be doing things slightly differently with a mixture of new meals for the 10 news teams who didn’t make it last time round, some throwbacks to previous dinners, and also a few special entries for teams from countries with some of my favourite cuisines.

I first thought of the project in the summer of 2006, giddy at the prospect of the impending World Cup finals in Germany, I hatched a plan……for each match day I would eat the cuisine of one of the countries playing a match that day.  My attempts that year faltered somewhat, after fajitas, pizza, and burgers, I ran out of steam…. but the potential was there…..

Every four years since then I have attempted to eat World Cup Dinners for the duration of the tournament,   and this website marks my first attempt to record the process.

Join me here from 14th June 2018 as I kick off this project to go around the world in 32 meals…….

Cartoon Graphic

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