Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chow Down to Eurovision 2013 - Belgium

We have arrived safe and sound in beautiful Belgium but let me tell you we had a bit of an adventure getting here. This recipe involved having to go to Rome and almost every bottle shop in Melbourne, ok it's a bit of a stretch but work with me I'm building the drama. So lets begin, 16th January 2009 10.35am flight from Heathrow to Fiumicino.........maybe I should just do the condensed version??
When I decided to do the Chow Down to Eurovision 2013 I put a call out for recipes and ideas to my friends from various European nations. We were all connected through our time studying in Roma. It is amazing how people can bond through a shared experience of overcoming adversity, ours was Italian grammar e i verbi, la gramatica non è perfetta. My favourite experience with this group was when the school tried to replace the teacher we all adored, Sylvia, for one we couldn't stand. (All I have to say is Talk Show and the memories will come flooding back to those in the class reading this) So as a group we all stormed into the Director's office and demanded that the change not occur, this happened in about 8 different languages, lots of nervous angry facial contortions and hands gestures but in the end Sylvia stayed with us. Yay for people power, but to be honest I think they just gave in so they didn't have to endure trying to speak with us again. There was almost a complete semi final of Eurovision amongst the class, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, and Ukraine who referred to me only as "Australia" so I referred to her as "Ukraine", I'm not sure if we actually know each others names.

So the call out for Belgium was answered by Virginie who gave me this website of Flanders recipes for ideas. Grazie mille Virginie, sei sempre gentile.

Of course I decided on the beer soup, so our adventure continues. The recipe called for Rodenbach beer which with a little help from the peeps on twitter I found a store that had it, great. Only hitch by the time I got there they had sold out, as had every other store that stocked it I tried. I finally saw a bottle shop with the sign "hundreds of beers in store" what they failed to mention was the sign referred to the empty cans on display and not the 1 fridge of 6 packs. I held out hope till yesterday but I still couldn't get it so you know how I love a plan B.

I thought I'd substitute a beer of similar flavour, this involved me standing and starring at the store beer fridge till they thought I was possibly a performance art statue. I eventually found one that mentioned caramel toffee and biscuit flavour in the description, how could I lose and well transaction complete.

Before I get to the soup, today's Eurovision morsel is Belgium's 1986 winner Sandra Kim. The clip I've included is a remake of her J'aime La Vie video 25 years later. Watch out as she swaps the ice-cream of her youth for a juice, personally I would have stuck with the ice-cream.
Beer Soup
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 sections of lamb neck
  • 660ml Rodenbach or Black beer
  • 2 cups beef stock (or water and 2 cubes)
  • 150ml cream
  • chives to garnish
  • Chop the leek and celery into 3 cm pieces
  • Add the oil to a large boiler on high heat
  • Brown the lamb necks
  • Add the leek and celery and coat with oil
  • Add the beer, stock and reduce the heat to a simmer
  • Simmer for about 1 hour till the lamb is tender and soup has reduced slightly
  • Remove the lamb and break up meat, discard the bones
  • Blend the vegetables with the stock
  • Add the cream and stir through
  • Add the meat back to the soup
  • Serve and sprinkle with some chives (garnish is love)
  • Don't drink the beer before it hits the soup!

It may not taste anything like the original beer but this soup was so delicious I could eat a keg of the stuff!
This year Belgium will find out if Love Kills from Roberto Bellarosa can bring home another win.
goei chance!

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