Thursday, 22 July 2010

The 2010 World Cup Final

For the final match of the tournament, the tall bloke agreed that as we were supporting the Spaniards, we should again eat from their cuisine. I had no idea what an incredible spread of tapas dishes was to arrive on the dinner table - all my favourite "platos" were served, some made from scratch and others from the unearthed selection at Waitrose.

We enjoyed:
White bean tapas with Manchego, chorizo in mojo pepper sauce, Pork meat balls in chipotle sauce which all came from the unearthed range and potatas bravas, tortilla and a green salad which the tall bloke made from scratch. We also enjoyed a selection of cold Spanish meats such as jamon serrano, olives and fried courgettes. It was a veritable Spanish feast and it was a worthy final meal for our World Cup Food diary.

We hope you've enjoyed reading our food blog and try some of the recipes - happy eating!

Germany 0 - Spain 1

The last of the semi-final matches and the choice of countries who's cuisines to cook from are seriously limiting now. Tall bloke put together one of my favourite rustic Spanish dishes: arroz al horno or rice in the oven. This recipe came from a book I bought for the tall bloke last Christmas called Cook Simple by Diana Henry. Here goes:

Serves 6
8 tbsp olive oil
salt n pepper
12 chicken thighs
2 red peppers de-seeded and sliced
250gms chorizo cut in small chunks
1 large onion roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves crushed
3 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp of chilli flakes
1.3 litres of chicken stock
375gms of Spanish rice (paella rice)
2 tbsp of chopped flat leaf parsley
Juice of a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan, season and brown the chicken thighs on all sides. Take chicken out of pan and set aside. Add peppers and chorizo to the same pan and saute on medium heat until all is softened. Throw in the onion and garlic, then cook until soft. Stir in the paprika and chilli and cook for a minute. Add the chicken stock, return the chicken, cover, simmer on a gentle heat for 15 minutes. Transfer chicken, veg and stock to big, oven-proof dish. Pour the rice around the chicken and season well. Place in the preheated oven on 180degrees. Cook for 20 minutes until stock has absorbed and top is golden. When cooked, cover the dish with foil, leave for 5 minutes, scatter with parsley, lemon juice and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with lemon segments.

Uruguay 2 - Netherlands 3

With the arrival of the tall bloke's sister to the house hold for a week, whilst she and her fellow, newly graduated, visual arts degree course mates, did their final show at London's Truman Brewery (see her amazing work here), it called for a special meal to be served at the World Cup cafe! As the Netherlands soldiered past Uruguay, the tall bloke served Gegratineerde aardappelen met ham - potatoes-au-gratin with ham and meat balls. I wasn't lucky enough to get the recipe for the meat balls, but I can say that this dish was another triumph and it worked as a good welcome-to-our-home for his sister.

Argentina 0 - Germany 4

Saturday night saw a surprise crash out for Diego Maradona's Argentinian side from the tournament, as Germany soldier on to the semi-final, with a decisive 4-nil win. The tall bloke thought this was going to be a good match to watch, so we enjoyed a simple (aka quick to prepare) meal of hot dogs - or rather Frankfurters. We do enjoy this meal together a couple of times a month - it is not the most nutritious, but the fried onions and smear of mustard with extra ketchup, is particularly yummy.

Uruguay 1 - Ghana 1

For our Friday evening meal, the tall bloke elected to cook from the Uruguayan cuisine. Whilst another penalty shoot out decided the match (4:2) to give Uruguay the win, the tall bloke prepared Chivito al plato, which apparently is an extremely popular and widely eaten dish in the country. It consisted of eggs, bacon, steak, chips, tomatoes, cheese and mayonnaise, amongst other things, so it wasn't the lightest of bites. However! may that not cast dispersions over this dish - I can imagine that it would instantly clear even the heaviest of hang-overs!

Paraguay 0 - Japan 0

Tonight's menu was from the South American state of Paraguay, which we enjoyed as they drew with Japan, but went on to win 5:3 on penalty shoot out. Always a harsh way to leave a competition, but better than the old fashioned way of simply tossing a coin I suppose.

I couldn't believe it when the tall bloke pulled SO'O KU'I - a Paraguayan pie filled with mince - out of the oven. He even made the pie dough himself; he couldn't quite mask his own surprise that the dish turned out so well, on the first try. There is no photograph on the recipe he found on-line, but took a good one before serving me a large slice.

This meal is worthy of special praise and I urge you all to try it. It was seriously impressive and a really delicious, hearty meal - kind of like a South American version of a Cornish Pasty. Top marks tall man.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Chile 0 - Brazil 9

Chile played valiantly, but the only criticism of the Brazil team by the ITV pundits was the size of their goalie's shorts. For tonight's dinner the tall bloke prepared a meal from the cuisine of Chile. For our starter, he had made empanada pastry from scratch and filled it with cheese, onion, garlic and nutmeg.

Here is the recipe for the dough, tall bloke said he made the "con queso" filling from another recipe: soften the onions in butter and add the garlic, then allow to cool. When cooled, spoon inside the onion mix with the cheese and nutmeg, into the rolled out dough. Form into small pasty shapes and bake in oven for 10 mins or until brown.

I made a salsa from onions, tomatoes, red chilli, cucumber, a squeezed lime, salt and pepper, which was a lovely accompaniment to the hot empanada.

For our main dish, the tall bloke prepared a Chilean rice and chicken in "caldo". Caldo is the Spanish word for a meat gravy, only don't imagine it is the same as the British brown version, this is an almost translucent juice, but it is highly delicious and a really lovely change.

I highly recommend these dishes. I loved the empanada (anything with pastry or bread!) and tall bloke said that he would repeat these, but add different fillings, such as tomato and ground beef.