Category Archives: Uncategorized

Belgium- Waffles

I thought they might do it, I really did.

Belgium have looked absolutely brilliant throughout the tournament, with Kevin De Bruyne running the show from midfield, and Romelu Lukaku banging in the goals up front, but alas it was not to be for the Red Devils, as they met France in today’s first Semi Final.

France edged out the Belgians 1-0 with a pretty slick display that must have them as clear favourites to take the big prize on Sunday.

For my Belgian World Cup dinner last time round I made Moules Frites which you can check out here:

https://worldcupdinners.com/2014/07/07/belgium-moules-frites/

This time around I had some help for a World Cup Breakfast rather than dinner with some tasty waffles made by my wife!

Belgium-Waffles001.jpg

We got a new Breville Toastie machine recently, and noticed that they just released detachable waffle plates for it, so ordered some up for this dish.

The recipe is for ‘Classic Waffles’  taken from the little booklet that comes with the machine.

Perfect breakfast fare for a busy World Cup Schedule!

Ingredients (makes 12 waffles):

  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 425ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 125g butter, melted

Method:

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.
  2. Whisk the milk, vanilla extract and eggs in a separate bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture along with the butter. Whisk together until barely combined, the batter will still be slightly lumpy. Don’t over-mix. For best results, leave the batter to rest for a few minutes.
  4. Pre-heat your sandwich toaster until the ready-to-cook light comes on.
  5. Grease both the waffle plates with a little oil-based cooking spray, then pour about 75ml of the batter mix evenly into the centre of each grid of the waffle plate.
  6. Lower the lid but don’t clip the latch shut. Cook for about 7 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, chopped nuts and bananas.

Belgium-Waffles002

Proost!

ENGLAND- Scouse

After a traditional English last 16 penalty shootout- this time with a different result, its time to mark the occasion with an English World Cup Dinner!

For this dinner, I decided to go for something a little more unusual that the regular dishes you would associate with the home of the Three Lions.

Inspired by England legend Steven Gerrard’s arrival in Scottish football to take over the manager’s role at my favourite team Rangers, I decided to go with that most Liverpudlian of dishes- Scouse!

ENGLAND-Scouse-001

Scouse, a stew of meat, potatoes and root vegetables originates from ‘Lobscouse’ a dish commonly eaten in sailing ports throughout Europe including Liverpool where it is a staple dish and even gives the people of the city their nickname of ‘Scousers’ due to their love for the meal!

It was really tasty, especially with the pickled cabbage and beetroot on the side, and of course the rest of the ale left over from cooking to wash it all down!

Ingredients (serves four):

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 500g diced chuck steak
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 400g onion- cut into 1cm pieces
  • 300g swede- cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 300g carrots- cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 400g new potatoes- leave skin on, but cut into quarters.
  • 300ml bitter ale- I went for ‘Courage Best Bitter’ which went really well!
  • 500ml beef stock

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat- then add the diced beef, stirring until brown.
  2. Season beef with salt and pepper.
  3. Add onions, and continue cooking until soft.
  4. Add the bitter, and continue to cook on the hob until the liquid reduces to around half the original amount.
  5.  Add the carrots, swede, potatoes, bay leaves and thyme.
  6. Add beef stock, bring to boil, then turn down, cover the pot, and simmer for around 1.5-2 hours.
  7. Check the mix occasionally- add some water if its drying out, but you are aiming for a nice thick gravy.

ENGLAND-Scouse-002

To serve:

  1. Scouse is traditionally served with pickled cabbage, pickled beetroot, and plenty of bread and butter on the side!

Cheers!

MEXICO- Jorge Campos’ Green Chicken Pozole!

And so we bid ‘Adios!’ to Mexico, who have made their customary last 16 exit against Brazil; ‘El Tri’ have gone out at this stage of the World Cup for the seventh time in a row!

I’ve always liked Mexico since their stunning appearance at my favourite ever World Cup- USA’94 with the colourful Jorge Campos dazzling in goals with his outlandish Aztec inspired kit.

JorgeCamposPozole

I’m also a huge fan of Mexican food- it’s one of the cuisines I cook most often at home from Chilli Con Carne, to Tacos, and Fajitas.

It’s great for me that I have a local Mexican delicatessen just along the road- Lupe Pintos on Great Western Road, which is a tiny treasure trove of all those hard to get ingredients, and my favourite hot sauces which I put on practically everything, Mexican or not. It’s a really great place to get some of the more unusual ingredients in this recipe like tomatillos and hominy.

For my Mexican World Cup Dinner I was keen to try something new, and found a great recipe for Green Chicken Pozole- a sort of spicy stew-come-soup.

Mexico- Green Chicken Pozole- 001

Like my previous World Cup Dinners of Spanish Tortilla, or Italian Margherita Pizza, one of the main features of this dish is its patriotic colours which resemble the Mexican National Flag with super bright green, white and red ingredients, which makes it really appropriate to make during this feast of football.

¡Salud!

INGREDIENTS (Serves Four):

Chicken:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 tsp salt.

Green Chilli Sauce:

  • 50g green pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano fresh leaves (or 1 tsp dry)
  • 2 green jalapeño chillies
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 Cup rocket
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large can tomatillos (green tomatoes) drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g can hominy ( a large type of corn)

Garnish:

  • 4-5 Thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 sliced jalepeno chilli- seeds left in.
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce.
  • 1 green onion cut into thin slices.
  • Lime wedges.

Mexico- Green Chicken Pozole- 002

Method:

  1. Bring large pan of water to the boil, turn down to a simmer, then add the chicken bouquet garni and salt. Cook for around 30 minutes.
  2. Once chicken is poached, remove from pan, chop into bite sized chunks, and set aside to cool. Keep the poaching water for later.
  3. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan until they start to pop- be careful not to burn them.
  4. Blend the toasted seeds along with the oregano, jalepenos, clove, rocket, fennel seeds, garlic, tomatillos and half of the hominy.
  5. Once you’ve blended the chili paste add around 250ml of the poaching water to give the mix the consistency of a runny sauce.
  6. Put the sauce into a pan and add the rest of the drained hominy and cook for about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the chicken, and cook for a few minutes til it’s cooked through.
  8. Dish up between bowls and top with the radishes, jalepeno slices, shredded lettuce and onion.

I served this with some freshly made corn tortillas, but it would also would be great with rice or corn chips.

ICELAND- Bakaour Porskur

“More food mama, give us more food mama
Give us prawn ring mama, give us anything mama
Thank god,……my mum has gone to Iceland.”

So said obscure 90s brit-pop pseudo-legends Bennet, though it is debatable whether they were singing about the far-northern Scandinavian country who have just sadly exited the Russia 2018 World Cup, or the chain of cleverly named British freezer shops.

ICELAND- Bakaour Porskur-001

Iceland (the country, not the shop) were making their debut at World Cup finals this year, having never managed to qualify before! Their emergence on the world football stage has been led by players such as Everton’s  Gylfi Siggurosson, and forward Alfreo Finnbogsaon.

Their footballing rise has coincided with a culinary ‘golden generation’ of chefs from the world’s northernmost capital Reykjavik. Spearheaded by Gunnar Karl Gislason in his Michelin starred Dill restaurant where he marries nouvelle cuisine techniques with traditional Icelandic ingredients.

For my Icelandic World Cup Dinner I decided to keep it simple for a mid-week meal, with a recipe I found on the Iceland Tourist board website. It’s a baked cod dish which focusses on simple cooking of tasty ingredients.

ICELAND- Bakaour Porskur-002

 Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cod fish fillets
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 slice emmenthaler cheese ripped into bits.
  • 1 tsps mustard
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°
  2. Pour olive oil into a baking dish.
  3. Put the fillets into the baking dish.
  4. Season the fillets with salt, pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  5. Cover the fish with shredded cheese.
  6. Mix mustard with cream and pour it over fish fillets.
  7. Cover with breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake the fillets for 30 minutes.
  9. Serve with new or mashed potatoes

 

POLAND- Kutlet Schabowy

Poland tasted bitter defeat this evening with a whacking 3-0 loss against a rampant Columbian team who have really bounced back after the disappointment of their shock defeat to Japan in their opening Group H match.

The Bialo-czerwoni are now out of the tournament with one match remaining, so the Polish fans may need some comfort food like tonight’s fried World Cup Dinner to softern the blow!

Originally I had planned on making ‘Bigos’ for my Polish World Cup Dinner. It’s a hearty Hunter’s Stew, which sounds really tasty, but I thought it sounded a bit heavy, so instead decided to go with a more everyday meal Kotlet Schabowy, a breaded pork cutlet which is found in almost all Polish Restaurants.

POLAND-Kotlet Scabowy-002

It’s super tasty, and probably my favourite World Cup Dinner so far, though I really love Eastern European food, so always happy to try some out.

I got a lot of the ingredients at the See Woo supermarket up at Saracen Street in Glasgow, which has a really great Polish section with great stuff like polish bread and pates.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup golden bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Method

  1. Pound the pork flat, about until they are around 0.5cm thick
  2. Season the flattened chops with salt and pepper
  3. Set up three plates- plain flour in the first, beaten eggs in the second, and breadcrumbs in the third.
  4. Cover pork cultet with flour, then dip both sides in egg, then bread crumbs
  5. Repeat with the remaining cutlets
  6. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat
  7. Add cutlets to the pan.
  8. Cook about 5 minutes and then turn to cook the other side

POLAND-Kotlet Scabowy-001Serve with potato salad, sauerkraut and a wedge of lemon.

 

 

SWEDEN- Brolin Balls & Dahlin Gravy

This is a super exciting day for my here at World Cup Dinners towers- I will be making an amazing Swedish Meatball Recipe which has been specially created by ‘the Bowler‘ himself- the incredible Jez Felwick– star of the UK food truck scene, and author of The Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook.

Inspired by Sweden’s amazing 3rd placed (yes, you read that right, 3rd!) showing at USA ’94 these balls are named after the Blågult’s dynamic duo at that tournament Tomas Brolin and Martin Dahlin!

I started the day by heading off to that most Swedish of stores- IKEA, to pick up a new dining table for the flat, and also some Lingonberry Jam for this recipe!

SWEDEN- Meatballs-001

After the stale soccer served up at Italia ’90, USA ’94 presented a feast of football over an amazing American summer, and is definitely my top ever World Cup.

Sweden went in to the tournament with a bunch of outstanding players from the erratic Thomas Ravelli in goal and striker Kennett Anderson, but it was Thomas Brolin and Martin Dahlin who really made them tick.

Qualifying second in a tough group which contained Brazil, Russia, and Cameroon, they defeated Saudi Arabia 3-1 in the next round, before going on to defeat Romania on penalties in the quarter finals. The swedes eventually lost out against their group stage opponents Brazil, the schedule of games, and heat of the American summer proving too much as they went down 1-0 to a goal from Romario in the semi-final.

One match remained though, the third place playoff, where they signed off with a storming 4-0 victory against a brilliant Romania side with Brolin opening the scoring.

You can read a more indepth article on Sweden’s exploits at USA ’94 in this excellent article by Lawrence Ostlere:

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup/world-cup-usa-94-sweden-thomas-brolin-kennet-andersson-henrik-larsson-martin-dahlin-a8403776.html

Another dynamic duo are Jez’s Swedish godsons Sammy & Noel, who this recipe is dedicated to.

Jez says “I have great friends in Sweden so am lucky enough to regularly go to one of the meatball capitals of the World. There is a lot of discussion about what makes a traditional Swedish ‘köttbullar’. This recipe contains a gravy made with a slug of Swedish beer, so you can enjoy the rest as you watch the match!”

 

SWEDEN- Meatballs-002

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4-6)

 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 300g minced beef
  • 300g minced pork
  • 100g dried breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon Swedish Beer (Eriksberg is good) https://carlsberggroup.com/products/eriksberg/eriksberg-original/
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons salt

 

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF), Gas Mark 7 and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onion and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. At this stage, I would always add a few pinches of salt and grinds of pepper so the onions are seasoned from the start, meaning that you don’t have to add so much later.
  3. Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the minced beef and pork, onion, the breadcrumbs, milk, ale, allspice, ground nutmeg, ginger, pepper and salt and mix with your hands until well combined.
  4. Heat a small frying pan over a high heat. Break off a small amount of the mixture, flatten between your fingers and fry until cooked. Taste to check the seasoning and add more if necessary. Form the mixture into about 18 balls each 5cm in diameter, packing each one firmly, and place them on the prepared baking tray.
  5. Bake for 18–20 minutes, turning the tray halfway through – the balls should begin to brown on the top. Keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t get burnt underneath. Let them rest for 2 minutes and they are good to go. Alternatively, brown the balls in olive oil or butter over a high heat for 8–10 minutes, then drop them into a pan of simmering Dahlin Gravyto finish cooking.

Traditionally, Swedish meatballs are served with boiled or mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam (if you can’t get hold of lingonberry, use cranberry), cream sauce, sliced pickled cucumber and fresh dill, but they taste great with almost anything.

 

Dahlin’s Gravy  (Serves 4–6)

This is my take on the Swedish cream sauce that like the namesake goes particularly well with the Brolin’s  Balls.

It uses a basic roux – a thickening agent made by combining flour and butter. You can make a batch and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, so it’s on hand for dropping into gravies and sauces.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 100ml Swedish Ale (or local equivalent)
  • 1 tablespoon lingonberry jam, or cranberry jam (optional)
  • 120ml double cream, or soured cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Heat the butter in a large heavy-based pan, then add the flour and stir for 2 minutes to cook out the raw flour flavour, making a roux. Turn up the heat and add the lemon juice and the stock gradually, stirring constantly as you go, so the roux gets incorporated.
  2. Stir in the jam (if using), which will make the sauce go a creamy orange colour.
  3. Once the liquid reaches boiling point, turn the heat down and add the cream. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, uncovered, to reduce it until it thickens and will coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Add the chilled Brolin Balls to the sauce and cook with a lid on for 20 minutes, turning them until warmed through. If the sauce gets a little too thick, add more stock.
  5. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

SERBIA- Pljeskavica & Prebranac

Serbia take place in only their second World Cup finals as an independent nation following the break up of the former Yugoslavia. Although they played with Montenegro at the 1998 tournament, they actually made their solo bow at South Africa 2010.

Their first ever goal scorer at a finals therefore was the wing wizard Milan Jovanovic, who was surprisingly declared ‘one of the best players in the world’ in the Australian soap opera Neighbours! A good winger for sure, but I think one of the Neighbours script writers must have been a big Serbia fanatic!

SERBIA-Pljeskavica-001For my Serbian World Cup Dinner, I must admit I was rather tentative…….the national dish of the young nationa is Pljeskavica which is effectively a burger pattie, accompanied by Prebranac (baked beans) and chips. It had some connotations of an underwhelming childhood midweek dinner!

But as an intrepid World Cup cuisine explorer, I decided to give it my best go…..

Pljeskavica (Burger)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • 150g minced beef
  • 150g minced pork
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for frying.

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix minced beef and pork, salt, paprika, black pepper.
  2. Form into patties- try to get them as thin as possible- around 5mm is ideal.
  3. Coat with sea salt each side before frying- this will give a nice ‘crust’.
  4. Grill or fry your patties for about 3-4 minutes per side til its cooked medium.

Prebranac (Beans)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • 1 white onion roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cans of haricot beans
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 cloves of garlic finely chopped.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200ml water.
  • Salt & pepper to taste.

Method:

  1. Drain and rinse the beans and add to a casserole dish.
  2. Top with garlic, onions, paprika, and bay leaf.
  3. Pour oil over the mix, and then top up the casserole dish with water, til it reach top of the beans.
  4. Bake in oven at 200C for around 45 minutes.
  5. Spoon out beans with a slotted spoon.

SERBIA-Pljeskavica-002

To Serve:

Serve with chips, and sliced raw onion. I enjoyed this along with a nice green chili sauce as I felt it was a bit ‘bland’. But a nice mayo would be good too.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT- WCD X The BOWLER

EVENT POSTER

I’m super excited to announce a very special event for this year’s World Cup Dinners.

Tomorrow for the Sweden vs. Germany match, I will be making an amazing Swedish Meatball Recipe which has been specially created by ‘the Bowler‘ himself- the incredible Jez Felwick– star of the UK food truck scene, and author of The Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook.

Jez has created a special World Cup inspired Swedish meatball recipe, and I will be making it for the very first time for tomorrow’s dinner, so be sure to check it out!

Skål!

FRANCE- Champagne et Fromage

France are one of the tastiest looking teams at Russia 2018 with an abundance of young talent and strength with their dynamic team containing talents such as Pogba, Greizmann, Mbappe.

They are my pick to win the World Cup, so it will be interesting to see how Les Blues fare during the tournament.

In 2014, I went out for a French meal rather than cooking something specific, so this year I had to make amends with two ultimate forms of French indulgence- Champagne and Cheese.

FRANCE-Champagne et Fromage001

When visiting London last year we discovered a cracking place- Champagne et Fromage  http://www.champagneplusfromage.co.uk.

It is a small Bistro at 22 Wellington Street in Covent Garden which specialises in authentic French food. When we were there, we had a baked Camembert with Garlic & Herbs, which we washed down with a couple of glasses of Champagne.

It was absolutely fantastic, so for this World Cup Dinner, I decided to re-create it at home.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole bulbs garlic with tops sliced off.
  • 20g butter
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tsps Rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250g camembert

FRANCE-Champagne et Fromage002

To serve:

  • 1 French baguette warmed in the oven then cut into slices.
  • 6 sticks celery washed and trimmed.
  • Red & Green Grapes
  • Peppery salad leaves
  • Cornichons
  • Cocktail Onions

Champagne:

I went for a couple of glasses of Taittinger which we were given recently as a wedding present- yum! What will you have with yours? Let me know in the comments.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/ Gas 6
  2. Place the garlic cut side down in a baking tray lined with foil. Add the butter, bay leaves and salt and pepper to the tray. Drizzle the olive oil over the garlics and put in the over for 40 minutes.
  3. With 10 minutes to go make a cross in the top of the camembert, sprinkle with rosemary and add to the oven.
  4. With 5 minutes to go, rub the French baguette with water and bake in oven.
  5. Remove everything from the oven and serve on a platter along with the other bits.

Have a lovely big dollop of camembert on the bread, celery or leaves, and then a onion, cornichon or sip of champagne to cleanse the palate!

Bon Appetit!

FRANCE-Champagne et Fromage003

SaveSaveSaveSave

THROWBACK- Uruguay- Chivito

After a subdued opening match where a last minute winner from Gimenez snacked a victory for the Uruguayans, will they rediscover their bite today in this afternoons match against the toothless looking Saudi Arabia?

For today’s World Cup Dinner I am going to re-create one of my favourites from the 2014 tournament the Chivito sandwich.

20140711-231727-83847495.jpgFully loaded with sliced steak, mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise, black olives, bacon, fried eggs tomatoes, lettuce, and ham, even Luis Suarez might struggle to get his gnashers round it!

https://worldcupdinners.com/2014/07/11/uruguay-chivito/

Highly Recommended to try at home!

 

THROWBACK- Columbia- Bandeja Paisa

Oooft! The shocks keep on coming!

Columbia became the first South American nation to lose an asian side at the World Cup, going down to Japan in a upset which saw them a get off to a chaotic start, finding themselves a goal and a man down inside six minutes.

Today’s World Cup dinner is a THROWBACK to one of my favourite Dinners of the 2014 tournament, the fantastic Bandeja Paisa- a platter containing a selection of famous Columbian specialities including polvo (powdered beef) , frijolespaisa, and arepa.

20140705-231426-83666471.jpg

Pretty different, check it out here:

https://worldcupdinners.com/2014/07/05/columbia-bandeja-paisa/ 

ENGLAND- Fish & Chips

England- Fish&Chips- 001After a bit of a wait England finally made their Russia 2018 debut tonight with a last gasp 2-1 win in their opening Group G match against Tunisia in Volgograd.

With a squad of largely new players making their World Cup debuts England may be less inhibited this time around than their previous ‘Golden Generation’ who were held back by having tasted defeat on too many occasions.

In 2014- I made Shepherd’s Pie in honour of their star striker Gary Lineker, which you can see here:

https://worldcupdinners.com/2014/06/24/england-shepherds-pie/

This time around when deciding on a World Cup Dinner for England, I decided to mix things up a little. Thinking that the quintessentially English dish of Fish and Chips might be a good option, I was interested to see that it shares a common origin with the Football Association- both first appeared in 1863!

The Football Association was formed at a meeting to establish the rules of football at The Freemason’s Tavern of Great Queen Street London on 26 October 1863, while it is believed that a northern entrepreneur called John Lees was selling the original fish and chips in his stall at Mossley Market in Lancashire. Who could imagine England without football or chips?!

Rather than attempt a home made Fish & Chips meal, I thought I would take a visit to a local Chippy. Although there were a few good options near me, I decided the place to try was ‘Prego’ on St George’s Road- where better for England right?

England- Fish&Chips- 002We got a tasty fish supper, mushy peas and pickled onions.

I washed it all down with a glass of ‘Sleeping Lemons Export’, a tasty lemon flavoured beer from English brewer the Wild Beer Co. that I picked up earlier at Valhallas Goat at Kelvin Bridge. It went perfectly with the Fish & Chips!

England- Fish&Chips- 003.jpg

Cheers!

THROWBACK- BRAZIL- Feijoada

It’s throwback time again today, and this time we are going waaaay back to where it all began with the Brazilian national dish of Feijoada!

This was my first ever World Cup Dinner for the 2014 tournament, and I must admit, it is one of my favourites. Nice and savoury with a bit of citrussy flavour coming through.

Why not try making it today to accompany Brazil as they get their tournament off to a start against Switzerland.

https://worldcupdinners.com/2014/06/12/brazil-feijoada/

20140612-203517-74117234.jpg

Peru- Lomo Saltado

World Cup fever is boiling away in Peru, with ‘Los Incas’ qualifying for the tournament for the first time in 36 years. Their last outing was in Spain ’82, where they got knocked out in the first round, despite a memorable draw with eventual champions Italy.

I shared the Peruvian excitement in qualifying as I recently had one of the all-times best meals of my life in a Peruvian restaurant in London, and this offered the perfect opportunity to make some of their dishes.

Lima Peru (https://www.limalondongroup.com/fitzrovia) is the Michelin star awarded restaurant of world-renowned chef Virgilio Martinez where contemporary and gastronomic Peruvian cuisine is the order of the day.

When I went there I tried some dishes such as Sea Bream Ceviche, Corn Hot Ceviche, and Lamb Seco from the Lunch Menu which you can view here:

https://my.propcom.co.uk/data/media/pdf/A3%20Lunch%20Menu.pdf?zoom=fit

It was amazing- the Seafood Ceviche was my first thought for the World Cup Dinner, but it’s a pretty complex dish, so rather than mimic the Lima Peru meal I decided to go down a simpler, beefier, route with Lomo Saltado which is a popular traditional Peruvian stir-fry typically consisting of marinated strips of steak, chips, onions, tomatoes and chillis.

Some recipes call for home made fries, but it seems to be more ‘authentic’ to go with premade McCain type chips fried at home, so I thought I would go for that too.

PERU-Lomo Saltado-001

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the marinade:

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vingar
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • salt and black pepper to taste

For the Lomo Saltado:

  • 1 fillet steak/ per person cut into 1cm thick, long strips.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 large red onion cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 vine tomatoes cut into 8 wedges each
  • 2 red chilli cut into slices
  • 240g fries (60g portionper person)

For Garnish:

  • Some fresh coriander and parsley finely chopped.

Method:

  1. For the marinade, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with two tablespoons of water until well combined.
  2. Add the meat to the bowl and mix so that it is well covered in the marinade. Put in a ziplock back and leave as long as possible, at least 2 hours.
  3. Cook the chips in the oven per instructions on the chip pack.
  4. Also put the tomato and onion wedges in the oven with a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper.
  5. When the fries are ready remove from oven and add to a frying pan with 2 tbsp of oil to ‘finish’ them with a nice crispy coating.
  6. Remove fries, but keep the oil in the pan.
  7. Dry the fries on some kitchen roll.
  8. Remove fries from pan, and add marinated steak. Cook for around 3 minutes, then add the sliced chillis and cook for a further minute.

 

To serve:

Dish up white rice on each plate, then portion the steak, chips, onions and tomatoes.

Garnish with the parsley & coriander.

PERU-Lomo Saltado-002

 

SaveSave

Russia 1982 Retro Shirt!

Just got this amazing retro shirt through from Danny and the team at 3Retro!

IMG_4150

It’s a rather splendid looking version of the  Russian shirt which was famously worn by Oleg Blokhin at the 1982 World Cup.

aa0e5a4a118990b246746cdb4daeec8e

The shirt is made by Score Draw who do all sorts of retro shirts for international teams and club sides.

The quality is really amazing with heavy cotton and the CCCP emblazoned across the front in stitched lettering, so if you fancy getting kitted out for the World Cup in some retro style be sure to check out their range online!

Throwback! Australia- Aussie Burgers

Good morning World Cup Dinners fans.

I’m mega excited by the mouth watering weekend of football action that lies ahead with the big guns of Argentina, Germany, and Brazil all making their debuts in the tournament!

What better way to kick off your World Cup weekend than with some real deal Australian style burgers topped with pineapple, beetroot and egg to accompany the Socceroos match against a pretty tasty looking French team!

Check out this 2014 throwback recipe here:

https://worldcupdinners.com/2014/07/03/australia-ridgy-didge-aussie-burgers/

20140703-235337-86017428

 

Tagged

EGYPT- Kushari

Wow! What a sensational match with Ronaldo scoring an amazing free kick to seal his hat-trick and clinch a draw against Spain- what a guy!

If you are feeling like a Spanish meal after that- you should check out my recommended Spanish Tortilla recipe from the 2014 World Cup Dinners here:

Spanish Tortilla

For today’s World Cup Dinner however, I head to the African nation of Egypt to celebrate the Pharaohs’ match with Uruguay which ended disappointingly for them with a late defeat.

Even thought their star man Mo Salah was missing due to injury, the Egyptians seemed to be the better team, though there was a sting in the tail when Gimenez scored a late winner for the South Americans.

This is the Egypt’s first appearance at the World Cup since Italia ’90, and to celebrate I made their national dish Koshari- a pretty crazy concoction consisting of Rice, Macaroni and Vermicelli topped with a spicy tomato sauce, chickpeas and crispy onions!

The immensely popular street-food dish has found some international recognition recently as the hyped-up Egyptian king of foods, making a grand entrance in the super popular London eatery Koshari Street.

I enjoyed the meal, though it is mega carb-y, so not one to have too late at night.

Enjoy!

Egypt-Koshari-001

Ingredients (Serves 4): 

  • 1 cup small macaroni
  • 1 cup broken up vermicelli (or spaghetti)
  • 1 cup medium grain rice, soaked (I used basmati).
  • 1 cup brown lentils (I used a micro pack of Puy Lentils)
  • 1000ml chicken stock

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 can unseasoned tomato sauce.
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • Spice blend ( ½ teaspoon of cumin, black pepper, coriander, clove, cardamom, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg)
  • Salt to taste

For the Garnish:

  • Crispy onions
  • 1 Can Chickpeas (boiled)

Method:

Kusahri:

  • Boil the rice in the chicken stock, as per instructions on pack.
  • Boil the macaroni in salted water till cooked al dente.
  • Cook the vermicelli by adding boiled water for 2 minutes.
  • Microwave the brown lentils.
  • Once cooked, fry the rice and lentils in a pan with a tablespoon of oil.

Tomato Sauce:

  • Heat 1 tbsp cooking oil, add the garlic and spice blend, and cook briefly, being careful not to burn. 30-45 seconds should do it.
  • Add tomato sauce to the pan and cook for a further 15 minutes or so to thicken the sauce.
  • Stir in the juice of 2 lemons, and some salt to taste.

To serve:

  • Fluff the rice and lentils with a fork, then transfer to your serving platter.
  • Top with the vermicelli, and then the macaroni.
  • Top that with the tomato sauce.
  • Finally add the crispy onions and chickpeas.

Enjoy with a nice green salad and glass of mint tea!

Egypt-Koshari-002

SaveSave

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.

Nostrovia!

WCD-Russia-Borscht-001

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

Method:

  • 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!

WCD-Russia-Borscht-002

Tagged , ,

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

WORLD CUP FINAL- German Bonus Post

Congratulations to Germany in winning the 2014 World Cup- a great performance by the exciting young Die Mannschaft side.

To mark their victory I’ve done a bonus German Flag fruit platter of black grapes, strawberries and pineapple for tonight’s dessert!

20140713-234800-85680003.jpg

ARGENTINA- Gaucho Steak, with Chimichurri Sauce

20140713-232233-84153898.jpg
“Little cosmic kite, which planet did you come from, to leave so many Englishmen behind, so that the country becomes a clenched fist crying for Argentina? Argentina 2, England 0! Die-goal, Die-goal, Diego Armando Maradona! Thank you, God, for football, for Maradona”
Victor Hugo Morales- Commentator, 1986

One of the things that really interested me when beginning my World Cup Dinners project was the way we understand and experience nations through different aspects of their culture. For me, watching football and eating food have always been two of the main ways of doing this, and making 32 meals from the 32 countries competing at this year’s tournament in Brazil has been an amazing journey in cooking, and a brilliant way to learn more about each nation. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it too!

The emergence of contrasting styles in football as ways of expressing national identity are really interesting to me- from Brazilian Samba, to Italian Catenaccio, Dutch Totaalvoetbal, and Spanish Tiki Taka, each represents and conjures ideas, and associations about an entire nation’s collective attitude.

Football was introduced to Argentina in the late 19th century when an influx of British immigrants arrived to work on the construction of the country’s railway network. The Brits established a number of football clubs, which would dominate the Argentine game, basing their play on the ‘English style’ which had a ‘gentlemanly’ philosophy grounded on physical fitness, collective discipline, common effort, and a machine like repetitive efficiency. However, as locals became interested in the game, and established their own clubs, they also developed their own approach – the Criollo (Creole) style.

Criollo, due to the Latin influence, was exactly the opposite of the English style- wandering, undisciplined, agile, skilful, and most importantly of all, it placed creativity of the individual at the centre of the play. Criollo is at it’s most effective when a team includes a ‘Pibe’, which literally translates as kid or young boy, but which takes on mythical status of a natural genius who emerges to lead his team to victory.

Diego Maradona remains the Pibe de Oro (the Golden Kid) of Argentinian football, and his greatest moment came it at Mexico ’86 where he captained La Albicelestes to victory. His defining moment of individual brilliance came in the quarter final match with England on 22 June 1986. In a match where tensions between the nations were already running high (they had been at war over the Falkland Islands just four years earlier), Argentina took the lead in the infamous ‘Hand of God’ incident where, without the referee spotting it, Maradona punched the ball over England’s goalkeeper Peter Shilton and into the net. What happened next was remarkable though, Maradona picked up the ball in midfield, and proceeded to slalom his way through the English team- it took him 11 touches and 10.6 seconds to beat six opponents—Beardsley, Reid, Butcher (twice), Fenwick, and Shilton to slot home ‘The Goal of the Century’.

This year Argentina have another pibe in the form of Lionel Messi, and while he has yet to reach the meteoric heights of Maradona, the scene is set for him to stake his claim as an all time great of World football. For the final I’m kitted out in one of my favourite international shirts of all time- the Argentina 1974 shirt- you can pick one up from the excellent range at Toffs!

I’ve saved my Argentinian World Cup Dinner for the final, and will be having a meal that conjures up romantic ideas of the Argentinian plains- Gaucho style Steak with Chimichurri sauce.

20140713-232141-84101265.jpg
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
Steak:
2 Fillet Steaks – around 4-5cm thick
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chimichurri:
1 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh coriander
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves crushed
Large pinch chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:
To create a great Gaucho style charred steak there are a few important steps to follow-
Steak:
1. First, take steak from fridge and pat dry with kitchen roll- this helps to give a nice charred crust when cooking.
2. Season with plenty of salt to further dry the surface.
3. Leave steak to reach room temperature for at least 1 hour.
4. When ready, heat the olive oil in a griddle pan till it’s medium-hot.
5. Cook steak on one side for 5 minutes, then flip and cook opposite side for a further 5 minutes.
6. For the final stage, turn the steak every 30 seconds for two turns both sides.
7. By now the steak will be perfect- charred on the outside, but nice and pink and succulent in the middle.
8. Let steak rest for 5 full minutes.
9. Slice into thick sections.

Chimichurri:
Puree all ingredients in processor. Transfer to bowl. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

Serve the steak with a good covering of Chimichurri, fries and some tasty Malbec!

It’s been a great culinary adventure for me, and I hope you have enjoyed it too- it’s been one of the greatest World a Cups ever, and making meals, and finding out all about the nations taking part has been great fun.

Until next time World Cup Dinners fans, Cheers!

20140713-232037-84037919.jpg

NETHERLANDS- Stamppot Boerenkool

20140712-231336-83616628.jpg
Tonight marks my penultimate World Cup Dinner, and I’ve saved the Dutch meal of Stamppot Boerenkool to mark their third place playoff match with hosts Brazil. I’ve even dressed for the occasion with a fantastic replica of the 1978 Netherlands shirt from the brilliant range at Toffs, a UK company specialising in replicas of historic kits!

The Netherlands are probably the greatest footballing nation to have never won the World Cup, having reached the final on three occasions, in 2010, 1978, and with perhaps their best side of all in 1974.

That tournament, held in West Germany, was when Dutch coach Reinus Michels introduced his revolutionary Totaalvoetbal, or Total Football, to the international stage. The tactical system which relied on his players interchanging positions, fluid movement, and spatial awareness, had led his club side Ajax to three consecutive European Cup triumphs in 1971, 1972, and 1973.

The Oranje, led by talismanic Johann Cruyff, proceeded to the final of the tournament in Munich, where they would face hosts West Germany. They got off to a flying start too- Cruyff kicked off, and the Dutch passed the ball thirteen times with no German reply, before winning a penalty which midfielder Johan Neeskens converted to send his side ahead after only 2 minutes. It seemed like the Dutch were about to fulfil their footballing destiny, but the Germans rallied, stifling Cruyff’s playmaking influence with tight marking, which allowed them back into the game, and an eventual 2-1 win thanks to a penalty and Gerd Muller goal.

Stamppot is the generic term for a traditional Dutch dish made with mashed potatoes, cabbage, onions and bacon, and in the version I’m making- Boerenkool- smoked sausage. The smoked sausage and bacon add a really nice savoury flavour that goes brilliantly with the creamy mash!

20140712-230856-83336569.jpg

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
5-6 medium potatoes- variety suitable for mashing
1/2 cabbage, rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 slices thick bacon, cut into cubes
1 onion
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 smoked sausage
1 tbs olive oil
50ml milk
2 tbs butter

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Peel and quarter the potatoes.
2. Add the potatoes and bay leaf to a large pan of boiling water. Add a pinch of salt.
3. Cover pan and boil for 25 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
4. Drain half the water from the potatoes and remove the bay leaves.
5. Add the cabbage, and smoked sausage (kept in its plastic seal)
6. Cover pan again, and boil the mix for a further 8 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the bacon and onions and fry until they begin to brown.
9. Remove the pot with vegetables from heat, remove sausage, and drain.
10. Add the bacon and onion, milk, butter, and a good measure of salt and pepper to taste.
11. Mash until creamy texture is achieved.

Serve with sliced smoked sausage on top of the mash.

20140712-231511-83711174.jpg

CHIMICHURRI CHALLENGE

20140712-103427-38067900.jpg
Over the course of this year’s tournament I’ve challenged myself to make a meal from each of the competing nations, but now I have a challenge for you, World Cup Dinners fans- a CHIMICHURRI CHALLENGE!

For the Final on Sunday I’ll be having Argentinian style steak with the traditional herby Chimichurri sauce, and this time I’m asking you to join me for dinner by making the same meal! I’ve posted the recipe ahead so you can buy all the ingredients, just in time for your own Argentinian footballing feast!

Anyone who makes the meal, and sends a photo of their efforts, by twitter, facebook or email to graeme@worldcupdinners.co, will then have the chance to win a very special ‘World Cup Dinners’ prize!

I’ll post a selection of the best efforts on the blog too!

Choose your own steak (I’ll probably go for a nice fat fillet) and whip up a batch of chimichurri sauce as follows:

INGREDIENTS (makes enough for 2 steaks)
1 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh coriander
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves crushed
Large pinch chilli powder flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Plenty of salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Blend all ingredients in a food processor, and then leave to settle for a couple of hours then drizzle over your steak!

URUGUAY- Chivito

20140711-231608-83768512.jpg
They did things differently in Brazil in 1950. The winner of the World Cup was decided by who finished top of a mini league, consisting of the top four teams from the previous group stages, rather than the normal format of knockout stages we are used to today.

At that tournament Brazil, as hosts, appeared preordained to win their maiden World Cup. Heading into their last match in the iconic Maracanã stadium 1 point ahead of Uruguay, they required only a draw to secure the championship. The Brazilians got off to a perfect start, taking an early lead through Friaca, but things turned when La Celeste scored back through Schiaffino, sending the teams in level at half time.

With 11 minutes left of the match, and Brazil still on track, Alcides Ghiggia hit a winner for Uruguay, sealing on of the greatest upsets in World Cup history. The match has entered folklore, earning the name ‘The Maracanazo’.

Ghiggia was the toast of Montevideo, the town where toasted Chivito sandwiches are an obsession!

This Uruguayan dish was one of the dishes, along with the South Korean Bulgogi, that I was most anticipating from the very beginning of the project!

The list of ingredients alone leave my mind boggling, and mouth watering!
A ‘standard’ Chivito consists of a bun filled with thin sliced steak, mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise, black olives, bacon, fried eggs and ham. If you’re feeling adventurous you might also add other ingredients such as sliced beetroot, garden peas, red peppers, cucumber, and so on, and so forth! You get the idea- its a whole lot of sandwich that even Luis Suarez might struggle to get his gnashers around!

INGREDIENTS (per Chivito)
Minute steak 1 slice
2 smoked bacon medallions
1 medium egg
1/2 tbsp chile powder
1 tsp garlic puree
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil for cooking
Mayonnaise
1 bread roll (my favourite is a brioche)
red onion, sliced thin
tomatoes, sliced thin
2 sweet gem lettuce leaves
Mozzarella
Black olives, halved

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Combine the chile, garlic, paprika and salt and pepper into a spice mix.
2. Rub the mix into the frying steak and leave to settle for 20-30 minutes.
3. Heat the oil in a grill pan to a medium heat.
4. Cook the steak beef for 1-2 minutes each side- its best cooked medium for this dish in my opinion.
5. Remove beef from the heatand rest for 5-10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, fry the smoked bacon and an egg.
7. Prepare the vegetables, and other accompaniments.
8. Assemble sandwich thus: Bottom half roll, layer of mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce, steak slices, mozzarella, black olives, bacon, top half roll.

Serve with fries and a cold beer!

20140711-231727-83847495.jpg

ECUADOR- Encocado de Pescado Ecuatoriano

20140710-223626-81386104.jpg
I have to thank my Ecuadorian friend Robert Castillo for this recipe, as this was one of the nations I was struggling to find an inspiring meal for!

I met Roberto back in 2003 when we were both studying in the United States, and he recommended this as one of his favourite national dishes. It’s easy to see why- with zingy sweet and sour flavours, it’s the perfect summer meal, going especially well with meaty fish, prawns or chicken.

Ecuador have also enjoyed a good Summer, reaching their third World Cup finals with a game based on attacking flair devised by their Colombian manager Reinaldo Rueda. Under his guidance La Tri actually out qualified much-fancied Uruguay on their way to the tournament proper. Their young squad will be hoping to do even better in four years time!

20140710-223658-81418882.jpg
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
400g Tuna ( or any meaty fish, prawns, or chicken if you fancy) cut into bite size chunks
1 can of coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 orange
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 peppers (one red, one yellow) diced
1 tomato diced
Bunch Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Add the lime juice, orange juice, garlic, cumin, paprika and coriander to a bowl and mix.
2. Add the tuna chunks, set aside, and leave to marinade, for a few hours preferably, to let the flavours develop.
3. Add the oil to a large sauce pan and bring to a medium heat.
4. Add the diced onion and peppers and cook until soft, then add the tomatoes and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Add plenty of salt to counterbalance any sharpness from the tomatoes.
5. Add the coconut milk to the pan give a good stir to mix the sauce, then turn down to a low heat for around 10 minutes.
6. Add the tuna mix to the pan, and cook for a further 25 minutes, reducing the mix to a thick-soup consistency.

Serve with white rice, fresh orange slices, fried plantains(I left these out- I have plantains coming out of my ears!) and a sprinkle of the fresh coriander.

20140710-223721-81441706.jpg

RADIO SCOTLAND INTERVIEW

20140710-224830-82110124.jpg
Big thanks to Fred MacAulay and the team at MacAulay and Co. for inviting me into the studio today to talk about my World Cup Dinners on Radio Scotland. It was lots of fun, and great to get the chance to tell everyone about my project!

If you missed it, you can catch my interview HERE
(79 minutes onwards)

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA- Cevapcici

20140709-215529-78929699.jpg
When German referee Felix Zwayer blew his whistle for full time in the match between Lithuania and Bosnia-Herzegovina on 15 October 2013, he also brought to an end 20 years of footballing struggle.

The 1-0 win for the Dragons set them on their way to Brazil ’14-  their first major tournament qualification, and the only debutants at this summer’s World Cup. Following the fledgling nation’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1992, they were granted FIFA membership in July 1996, and after a slow start, they came close for the 2010 finals, only missing out to Portugal in the playoffs.

Cevapici, derived from the Persian word ‘kebab’, is a food a lot of us are already familiar with, and having sampled a good few after nights-on-the-town, I was keen to try my hand at making one from scratch! These delicious little ‘skinless sausages’ are full of flavour thanks to all the herbs and spices in the mix, and are dead easy to make. This is a recipe I’ll definitely be making often after the tournament finishes!

20140709-215652-79012677.jpg

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
Cevapcici:
100g lean steak mince
100g pork mince
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste 

Yoghurt sauce:
Cucumber (around 5cm), chopped into small cubes
75g natural yoghurt
1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Squirt of lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Before starting soak your wooden skewers in cold water- this will prevent them burning when under the grill.
2. Place the mince in a mixing bowl along with the chopped mint, garlic, paprika, cayenne, as well as salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands until it reaches a ‘pastey’ consistency.
3. Mould the mixture into four sausage shapes, about 10cm in length.
4. Thread the kebabs on skewers.
5. Cook under a pre-heated grill for around 15 minutes turning frequently, until cooked through.

Yoghurt Sauce:
1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl, then mix thoroughly.

Serve with flatbread and fresh salad.

20140709-215734-79054346.jpg

CAMEROON- Ndole

20140708-212840-77320864.jpg
‘Old age is when you begin to say, I’ve never felt so young.’
Jules Renard

1990, and with the World Cup finals in Italy looming, the Cameroon national side were in trouble. Divisions between the Russian manager, Valeri Nepomniachi, and first team squad led to a dismal series of results, to such a degree that President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, made a call to former national hero, the 38 year old Roger Milla, pleading with him to come out of retirement and answer his country’s call. He couldn’t refuse.

Cameroon, with Milla, were the real shock troops at the tournament, defeating defending champions Argentina, and much fancied Columbia on their way to a quarter final encounter with England, where they led by a single goal until 7 minutes from time, when two Gary Lineker penalties were just enough to see them head home.

One of the most iconic scenes of any World Cup was delivered by the Indomitable Lions’ Roger Milla, as he danced the ‘Makossa’ around the corner flag following each of his four goals at Italia ’90.

Ndole is the Cameroonian national dish- a spicy stew-come-soup made with a pretty unusual ingredient- bitter-leaves- which I managed to pick up at Solly’s African Supermarket on Great Western Road. It has a strong tea-like scent and adds a distinct bitter taste, that is offset by peanuts. Definitely something different!

20140708-212652-77212444.jpg
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
400g steak sliced into strips (can also be made with prawns, or other meats)
1 cup of dried bitterleaf (needs to be presoaked for a couple of hours)
2 cups collard greens chopped into strips
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp peanut butter- crunchy preferably
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 can tomatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup of water
Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Soak the bitterleaf for at least a couple of hours.
2. Boil the chopped collard greens for around for five minutes.
3. Brown off the steak in a pan with some of the oil over a medium heat, do not over cook as it will go tough. Set aside when done.
3. Saute the garlic, chopped onions, and grated ginger with the oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
4. Add the tomatoes, and water, then cook for a while on low heat for three minutes.
5. Add the steak, collards and cook for another five minutes.
6. Then, add the peanut butter it’s good to soften up by stirring first) and give a good stir to get everthing coated.
8. Add the bitterleaf in small quantities
9. Cook for about 20 minutes to reduce to a stew.

I’m serving the Ndole with white rice, but fried plantain chips are a good traditional accompaniment to have too.

BELGIUM- Moules Frites

BELGIUM- Moule Frites

20140707-222147-80507532.jpg

Paulo likes mussels and french chips , without chips and without mayooo’
Paulo likes mussels and french chips, without chips and without mayooo’
Yo yo yo, yo yo yooo
Yo yo yo, yo yo yooo
Moules Frites by Stromae (Belgium’s Top Rapper)

I thought Brazil ’14 looked like it might just be the tournament when the Belgians would come out of their shells, and finally stop being the perennial World Cup dark horses.

The powerful side were riding the crest of a wave, having gone from 54th to a record place of 5th in the FIFA ratings under boss Marc Wilmots, who also happens to be the nation’s record scorer at World Cup finals with five goals.

After scaling the heights in topping Group H with a 100% record it seemed to be going swimmingly too for de Rode Duivels, however the Argentina proved to be too strong, knocking the Belgians out at the Quarter finals.

My Belgian World Cup dinner had to be Moules Frites (mussels and chips), a meal as intrinsically Belgian, as fish and chips are English, or hamburgers are American. The taste combination is almost perfect, and is really set off with a nice blonde Belgian beer and some mayo!

20140707-222147-80507770.jpg
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
Moules:
500g fresh mussels
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
10g butter
Small bunch of parsley
1 sprig thyme
2 bay leaves
60ml white wine
60ml double cream

Frites:
2 large baking potatoes
Cooking spray
Salt and pepper to taste

20140707-222148-80508012.jpg

INSTRUCTIONS
Moules:
1. Rinse the mussels well under cold water, removing any beards with a small knife as you go. Discard any of the little blighters that are open, but that don’t close when you give them a little tap, or with broken shells, as they are bad! One last rinse and you’re good to go.
2. Sauté the garlic and spring onions in the butter in a pan big enough to hold all the mussels.
3. Add the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves
4. Add the mussels and white wine, and turn the heat up to medium.
5. Cover the pan with a lid to let the mussels steam for around 4 minutes until they begin to open.
6. Give the pan a good shake.
7. Add the cream and remove from the heat. Give it a good shake to mix all the juices, then let it rest for a minute.
8. Serve up in a large bowl, or in the pan itself.

Frites:
1. Scrub and de-eye two large baking potatoes- leave skin on for some extra flavour.
2. Slice into thin fries.
3. Pre- heat oven to 220C.
4. Place frites on a baking tray lined with baking paper, give a good spray with cooking spray, then season with salt and pepper.
5. Cook in oven for 25 minutes, turning at least once midway.

To serve- serve with mayo, wedge of lemon, and a glass of cold beer!

IRAN- Sobhaneh (Persian Breakfast)

20140706-182611-66371760.jpg
Originally I was planning to make Chelo Kebabs for the Iranian World Cup Dinner, but as I started doing some more research into Persian cuisine I found myself drawn towards the traditional breakfast of Nan e Barbari (barbari bread) which is served with feta cheese, whipped cream, honey, and a variety of fruit jams, and spreads.

My most memorable match involving Iran at the World Cup is definitely their 1998 encounter with the United States. When the draw was made for the finals in France it set up one of the most politically charged matches of all time, placing the USA and Iran together in Group F. The 1979 Iranian revolution had ousted the pro-American regime nineteen years earlier, leaving relations between the two countries hostile. Concerned about the potential fallout arising from the symbolism of even the smallest details surrounding the match, FIFA had to make special arrangements including changing the method of shaking hands, and appointing a Swiss referee, Urs Meier in an attempt to eliminate political overtones from the match.

In the end the match passed peacefully with Iran winning 2-1 at the end of a good natured encounter.

For my Iranian breakfast I’m doing a bit of baking again to make the Barbari breads, and serving them with a nice selection of jams, honey, cheese and tea, all of which I picked from the excellent selection at Roots & Fruits Deli on Great Western Road. I’d recommend going there to pick up the bits if you fancy making this meal, which was up there with the best ones of the whole project!

20140706-182911-66551382.jpg

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
Barbari Bread (makes 2):
3/4tsp yeast
360g strong white flour
200ml water
3/4 tsp salt
Sprinkle of nigella seeds (black onion seeds)
Sprinkle of sesame seeds

Accompaniments:
100g feta cheese
Selection of jams- I went for quince, fig relish, and strawberry
Dates
Honey- I got some really nice Thyme Honey by Bevelini which went perfectly
Sliced peach
Black cherries

20140706-183045-66645037.jpg
INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Mix Barbari bread ingredients into breadmaker- set to ‘Pizza dough’ programme.
2. After programme completes, cut dough in half and form into 2 flat breads- barbari have quite a distinct shape- sort of square and ‘scored’ into inch wide bands.
3. Prove in oven for around 40 minutes at 40C.
3. Take bases from oven and brush with a little flour and water mixed to make a glaze, then sprinkle on some nigella seeds, and sesame seeds.
4. Put back in oven at 200C for around 20 minutes.

Serve warm with accompaniments and a large pot of rose tea.

20140706-182859-66539398.jpg

SUNDAY POST- World Cup Dinners Article!

20140706-133515-48915889.jpg
Wow so excited to be featured in the Sunday Post today! Can’t believe I’m in the same paper as Oor Wullie and the Broons- the article is on page 37 of the paper for everyone who has a copy.

You can also read the article HERE!

COLUMBIA- Bandeja Paisa

20140705-231426-83666471.jpg
One of my favourite stars from previous World Cups is Carlos Valderrama, the mad-haired midfield maestro from Santa Marta- generally considered Columbia’s greatest ever player. El Pibe (The Kid) captained Los Cafeteros at Italia ’90 with a series of commanding displays including scoring an excellent solo goal in their 2-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates. He would go on to make the killer pass for team mate Rincon to score against West Germany, ensuring Colombia went passed the group phase in the tournament for the first time in their history. Despite a good performance against Cameroon, Colombia lost out 2-1 after a mistake by goalkeeper Rene Higuita (he of scorpion kick fame)
Blonde afro-ed Valderama remains a worldwide footballing icon.

Bandeja Paisa, a platter incorporating a delicious selection of pretty much all of the most common Colombian foods and ingredients on one massive platter, originates from the Paisa region at the foot of the Andes.

This was one of the meals I was most looking forward to from the very beginning of the project- the mix of ingredients and layout of the dish had me really excited, as well as the chance to try a few things I’d never come across before like carne en polvo (powdered beef) , frijolespaisa, and arepa.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
Frijoles Paisa:
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed.
1/4 smoked sausage ( Mattesson’s or similar)
1 tbsp Tomato purée
1 tbsp BBQ sauce
150ml ham stock, from cube

Carne en Polvo:
5-6 slices cooked roast beef.
Salt and pepper to taste

Arepa (flat breads):
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil for frying

Others:
1 ripe plantains- cut into thin strips
1/2 smoke sausage
200g white rice

To serve:
Lime wedges
½ Avocado cut into quarters (dress with lemon juice to prevent browning)

20140705-232619-84379963.jpg
INSTRUCTIONS:
Frijoles Paisa:
1. Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan over a medium heat and stir well.
2. Cook for around 15 minutes to reduce liquid to a thick consistency

Carne en polvo:
1. Add roast beef to blender , season, and blend until beef is powdered.
2. Add to a frying pan over medium heat and cook through for 5-6 minutes.

Arepa:
1. Add ingredients to bowl and mix well until it reaches a thigh doughy mix.
2. Split mix into 4 small balls.
3. Heat oil in frying pan over a medium heat .
4. Flatten balls into thick rounds, then add to pan.
5. Cook for around ten minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown.

Others:
1. Prepare white rice, sliced avocado, smoked sausage.
2. Fry plantain chips in a frying pan with a little oil until golden brown.

Serve on a large platter and make sure you’re hungry as there is a lot of eating! Provecho!

HONDURAS- Super Special Baleadas

20140704-213042-77442402.jpg
Edgar Alvarez was one of the stars of Honduras’ 2010 World Cup squad, their first appearance since Spain ’82 and only second ever.

Earning 53 caps for Los Catrachos, Alvarez was a right wing back with balance, and searing pace, who played the majority of his career in Italy, including spells with Bari and Roma

The the secret of Alvarez’ success? He claimed in an interview that his speed on the ball was down to a steady diet of Baleadas as a child…..

Baleadas, one of the most popular meals originating from Honduras, is a dish consisting of folded tortillas filled with refried beans, and other fillings- the build up depending whether they are ‘regular’, ‘special’, or ‘super special’!

Simple: refried beans, sour cream, and grated cheese.
Special: refried beans, sour cream, grated cheese, and eggs
Super special: refried beans, sour cream, grated cheese, eggs, avocado, and grilled chicken, meat, or sausage.

For this Friday World Cup Dinner, I’m going for Super Special Baleadas of course!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
4 flour tortillas
1 can refried beans
4 medium eggs
30g grated cheese
sour cream
Avocado sliced into thin strips and dressed with lime juice
4 slices chorizo sausage – cut into strips
1 lime quartered
Hot sauce

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Warm the flour tortillas in an oven at 80-100C for around 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, fry 4 eggs, sunny side up (or scrambled), and the chorizo in a frying pan.
3. At the same time heat the refried beans in a small saucepan till piping hot.
4. Prepare the other ingredients.
5. When ready compile thus: flour tortilla, spread a thick coating of the refried beans, place fried egg in the middle, then the avocado strips, cheese, sour cream, and chorizo.
6. Top with a squirt of lime juice and some hot sauce.
7. Fold over in half and serve.

Enjoy!

20140704-213135-77495065.jpg

AUSTRALIA- Ridgy-Didge Aussie Burgers

20140703-235337-86017428
Tonight’s dinner is one that I’ve really been looking forward to- a true blue, ridgy-didge Aussie Burger just like I used to have when I lived down under for a year back in 2002.

Despite sharing the same DNA as the American burger, it’s the toppings that really make an Aussie burger so special- bacon, cheese, fried egg, pineapple, and last but not least beetroot……yip, that’s right all on the SAME burger!!

Australia are relative latecomers to the World Cup, only qualifying for the first time in 1974, and that year their stand-out performer was Jim Scane, not a player but a super-fan! Jim was one of a handful of Socceroos fans to make the journey to West Germany, and he managed to cause a stir wearing a green and yellow track suit embroidered with the name of the players, and opponents they played en route to the finals. Pride of place however was given to the slogan emblazoned on the back- “Advance Australia Fair”

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

Toppings – The ‘Full Works’
1 pineapple ringside
1 large slice pickled beetroot
1/4 onion sliced
1 slice vine ripened tomato
1 smoked bacon medallion
Sweet gem lettuce leaf
To serve – Ketchup, mayo
3tsp olive oil

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 with 1tsp olive oil until they soften, but stop before they brown. Put to one side. This sweetens the flavor of the onion.
4. Fry the smoked bacon medallions and pineapple rings in the pan with 1 tsp olive oil until bacon is cooked and pineapple caramelises a little, take out and put to the side also.
6. Fry an egg- sunny side up til cooked, but I enjoy the yolk left runny! Put on the side with the other toppings.
7. Fry the patty in a griddle pan over a medium heat. Cook to personal taste.
8. When burger is done as you like it, take it off the heat and let it rest for a minute.
9. Meanwhile prepare the lettuce leaves, tomato slices and pickled beetroot- I normally dab them all with kitchen roll to get them as dry as possible.
10. Lightly toast the brioche under the grill (I actually use the griddle pan)
11. Compile thus: bottom half bun, mayo & ketchup, lettuce, beetroot, tomato, burger, cheese, onions, bacon, pineapple, top half bun.

Bonza!

20140703-235522-86122926.jpg

IVORY COAST- Kedjenou

20140702-210814-76094921.jpg
‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.’
– Bill Shankly

Ivory Coast are an unlucky lot. Despite a ‘golden generation’ of players including the combined talents of Didier Drogba, Didier Zokora, Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Eboué, Cheik Tioté, Gervinho, and the Touré brothers they have failed to get beyond the first round in their previous three World Cup finals. In 2006 the Elephants were drawn in a ‘group of death’ with Argentina, the Netherlands, and Serbia-Montenegro, where they lost their first two games, and were out before playing their third. Four years later, in another ‘group of death’ they lost out to Brazil and Portugal, finishing third in Group G, which also featured North Korea.

2006 is remembered for other reasons however, as the qualification of the Ivory Coast for the tournament in Germany was actually the catalyst for a temporary peace agreement during the First Ivorian Civil War, with the nation uniting behind the team.

My Ivorian World Cup Dinner is Kedjenou- a spicy chicken stew, normally served with attieke, a dish made from grated cassava (but we’re having it with cous cous!)

20140702-210848-76128231.jpg

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken thighs
1 medium onion chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 green pepper chopped
200g chopped tomatoes
250ml beef stock (from cube)
1/2 tbsp ginger paste
1/2 tbsp garlic puree
2 bay leaves
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1-2 whole scotch bonnet peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
Cous cous to serve

20140702-211101-76261967.jpg
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Add oil to a pan and brown the chicken thighs, turning, for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. Add the vegetables and soften for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, tomatoes, herbs, and seasoning.
3. Add the chicken thighs to a slow cooker and top with the vegetable mix. Add the chilli pepper and stock so that the meat and vegetables are just covered. Cook on high for 5-6 hours.
(alternatively cook in a casserole dish in the oven at 190C for 2 hours)

Serve with 70g cous cous per person.

PORTUGAL- Piri Piri Chicken with Spicy Peas, and Sunshine Salad

20140701-211324-76404242.jpg
Ok, World Cup Dinners fans, I admit it, I got it wrong!

I was certain we would see Portugal in the final of the World Cup this year, and had been holding this recipe back to the later stages in anticipation. I had flawless logic too- low expectations would take the pressure off the players, the fact that Brazil is a former colony meaning the language and culture should suit, having Christiano Ronaldo the ‘best player in the world’™ and, not least, because I’m going to Lisbon on my summer holiday!

However, after finishing third in a tough group also including Germany, USA, and Ghana, they failed to even make the knock out stages. It’s not the first World Cup Portugal have gone into with the top player in World football, in 1966 they had Eusebio da Silva Ferreira starring up front as they reached the semi- finals before going out to eventual winners England.

Eusebio is rightly considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, notching up a total of 790 goals in his career, including 41 for the national side. The ‘Black Pearl’ was born in Mozambique to an Angolan father, but since both countries were overseas territories he was only able to play for the ‘Selecao das Quinas’.

Piri-piri is another Portuguese icon which has its roots in Africa. Piri-piri itself is a very hot sauce made with red chilli peppers- practically the only Portuguese dish containing chilli, and which tastes delicious with barbecued chicken.

20140701-211422-76462876.jpg

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

2 chicken breasts, butterflied
2 medium pitta breads, toasted, with one long end cut off

Piri piri Marinade:
4 red bird’s eye chilies (or jalapeños if none available)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
60ml port (brandy and whisky also work)

Spicy peas:
100g frozen peas
1 birds eye chilli finely chopped
2 large mint leaves finely chopped
1 dash lemon juice
Pinch salt

To serve: ‘sunshine salad’ of yellow peppers, grated carrot, lettuce, orange and lemon wedges.

INSTRUCTIONS
Marinade:
1. Add all ingredients to a food processor, and blend until it has a smooth consistency.

Chicken:
1. Butterfly the chicken breasts, then cover with marinade in a shallow bowl and put in fridge for around 1 hour.
2. Cook chicken on hot griddle pan (I’m using my George Foreman grill instead) for around 4 minutes each side until cooked through and some light charring occurs.
3. Compile chicken breast on pitta with some of the sunshine salad and a good squirt of lemon juice. Add some chilli sauce if you are feeling brave!

Peas:
1. Add peas to pan of boiling water and cook as per guidelines on pack.
2. Meanwhile finely chop the mint and chilli.
3. When cooked add the peas to a bowl, stir in the chili and mint, as well as lemon juice and salt.
4. Stir well, and then lightly ‘mash’ the peas with the back of a fork until they are a little juicy.

KOREA REPUBLIC- Bulgogi

20140630-225816-82696577.jpg
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!

20140630-225943-82783013.jpg
INGREDIENTS (Serves 2)
Bulgogi:
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.

INSTRUCTIONS
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.

20140630-230634-83194051.jpg

MEXICO- Frozen Margarita

20140629-221910-80350122.jpg
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.

20140629-221731-80251657.jpg
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

INSTRUCTIONS
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

20140629-213612-77772936.jpg
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.

20140629-213619-77779160.jpg

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.

INSTRUCTIONS
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)

20140628-143504-52504566.jpg
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.

 

20140628-143606-52566159.jpg
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

4 Weißwurst

2 Pretzels

Sweet Bavarian Mustard

Large bottle of Bavarian white beer

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  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.

20140628-143642-52602727.jpg

Tagged , , ,

ITALY- Pizza Margherita

20140627-232249-84169435.jpg
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.

20140627-232334-84214207.jpg

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

Toppings:
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

INSTRUCTIONS
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!

20140627-232510-84310617.jpg

GHANA- Fish Stew and Fufu

20140626-222846-80926565.jpg
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.

20140626-222922-80962857.jpg
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

INSTRUCTIONS
Stew:
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.
FuFu:
1. Instant fufu- make per instructions on pack.

FRANCE- Croissant and Espresso

20140625-234453-85493810.jpg
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.

20140625-234823-85703062.jpg

20140625-234837-85717935.jpg

20140625-234848-85728309.jpg

20140625-235104-85864199.jpg

ENGLAND- BONUS POST- Strawberries & Cream

20140624-212314-76994273.jpg
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

20140624-202144-73304061.jpg
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!

20140624-201553-72953952.jpg
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!)

INSTRUCTIONS

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

20140623-210006-75606383.jpg
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.

20140623-210006-75606621.jpg

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

INSTRUCTIONS
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

20140622-210116-75676789.jpg
“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.

20140622-210147-75707053.jpg

INGREDIENTS (Serves 2)
Blinis
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

INSTRUCTIONS
Blinis:
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.

20140622-210303-75783847.jpg

NIGERIA- Jollof Rice and fried Plantains

20140621-232212-84132201.jpg
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).

20140621-232308-84188252.jpg

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

INSTRUCTIONS
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.

COSTA RICA- Casado

20140620-205504-75304409.jpg
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.

20140620-205536-75336742.jpg

INGREDIENTS (Serves 2)
CHICKEN
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

RICE & BEANS
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

INSTRUCTIONS
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.

%d bloggers like this: