Monday, 27 June 2016

Euro 2016 Cook Off

written by Dee

Not long after the start of the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament, I came up with the idea of cooking a meal for each of the 24 nations taking part.

It took quite a lot of planning, certainly more than I had anticipated, and the shopping lists for the time that I was working on the project were, shall I say…a little longer than usual.  The cooking also took more time than I expected, and I had to be disciplined in sticking to the schedule that I had drawn up.

These aren’t Jay’s or my recipes.  I was under too much pressure time-wise to design, test and write them, though we have given a few of them our own ‘flourishes’ here and there.

The meals weren’t prepared in any particular order.  It was just a case of browsing through recipe books and folders to see what fitted in where, but now that they are all completed, I have sorted them out into groups which corresponding to the groups at the start of the tournament.

Group A

Switzerland:  Bircher Muesli
Breakfast dish of oats mixed with yoghurt and grated apple, garnished with chopped apricots and cranberries.

France:  Chicken and Fennel Gratin
The chicken and fennel were baked in a Bechamel sauce which was enriched with mustard and cayenne pepper. Served with a portion of extra crusty Epi bread and red lettuce, and a nice glass of Chardonnay which was on offer at the offie up the road.

Romania:  Mititei (Little Ones)  
Romanian street food dish of skinless sausages, served with a mustard mayo dipping sauce.

Albania:  Spinach Byrek  
Chopped cooked spinach sandwiched between 20 layers of filo pastry and baked. Served with yoghurt and a salad of tomatoes, cucumber and carrot.

Group B

Wales:  Crempogs
 Small Buttermilk Pancakes served in a stack and drizzled with butter.

Slovakia:  Poppy Seed Roll  
Lovely sweet, seedy and nutty loaf cake

England:  Pan Fried Black Pudding and Apple  
Served on Mustard Mash with Kale on the side and some of our home made Apple Chutney.  The drink is Fizzy Elderflower Cordial.

Russia:  Beef Strogonov  
Served almost the authentic way, though I had to use oven chips rather than matchstick fried potatoes as I was pushed for time.

Group C

Germany:  Bratkartoffeln (German Fries)  
Fried potatoes with ketchup, mayo and mustard. Garlic mushrooms and sliced gherkin on the side.

Poland:  Spicy Pork Meatballs  
Served on a bed of mashed potatoes, with a cream cheese sauce, and Polish beer too.

Northern Ireland:  Ulster Fry  
This fed me for breakfast and lunch

Ukraine:  Yoghurt Drop Scones (Oladky)
Enjoyed these for breakfast, served with yoghurt and apricot jam.

Group D

Croatia:  Jam Pastry Crescents  
These were supposed to have Plum Jam in them but I couldn't find any of that so used strawberry jam instead. Great with a cup of coffee. I didn't eat all the ones in the picture in one go.

Spain:  Pan con Tomate and Tomato & Chorizo Salad 
Two dishes for Spain as they are only small Tapas style bites. Pan con Tomate is toasted bread with garlic and then tomato rubbed into it. The salad combines raw cherry tomatoes with cooked chorizo and a dressing.

Czech Republic:  Czech Lunch time platter  
Featuring: Bread, pickled onions and gherkins, Prague Ham, Liptauer Cheese and of course Czech Lager (This was lunch for two people, not just me).

Turkey:  Imam Bayildi (Swooning Imam)  
Aubergine slow cooked in lots of yummy sweet and spicy tomato sauce. A few black olives and a red chilli on the side.

Group E

Italy:  Penne alla Sorrentina  
A lovely pasta bake made with a cheese and tomato sauce and a crispy topping of parmesan and breadcrumbs.

Republic of Ireland:  Kale and Cashel Blue Cheese Soup  
Served with a soda farl.

Sweden:  Dill and Mustard coated Salmon with Potato Salad and Watercress

Belgium:  Cherry and Almond Cake  
Simple but effective lunch of a slice...ok, a chunk ;-) of fruit cake, some crumbly white cheese and an apple

Group F

Hungary:  Goulash (Gulyas)  
Beef slow cooked in a stew of tomatoes, onions and peppers, seasoned with lots of Paprika.

Iceland:  Fiskibollur (Icelandic Fish Balls) 
Served with a potato, watercress and dill salad and tomato sauce to dip the fish balls in.

Portugal:  Tomato and Garlic Soup (Sopa de alho com tomat) with Cornbread (Broa) 
A Simple lunch prepared with just a few ingredients to produce some great flavours. Served with a bowl of olives on the side.

Austria:  Pork Schnitzel  
Served with Potato, Apple and Celery Salad, accompanied by some excellent Austrian Rose Wine.

So there they are.  All done and completed before the end of the competition, which I was very pleased about.  It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks of planning and cooking, and we now have a freezer full of leftovers which will feed us for at least another week, but it’s been fun.  Would I do this again?  Maybe one for the next World Cup might be fun, but that will have 32 countries taking part so would need a lot more preparation.  Anyway, that’s not until 2018 and I’m bound to have several other projects on the go by then.

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