Goedenavond, Bonsoir, Guten Abend, this is Belgium one of the original Eurovision countries calling.
In 1956, when it all began, Belgium presented 2 songs Le plus beau jour de ma vie sung by Mony Marc and Messieurs les noyés de la Seine sung by Fud Leclerc. In that year each of the 7 competing nations could enter 2 songs, could you imagine if we had 80 songs competing in this year's Eurovision!!
I have chosen not to harp on the fact that no one recorded the first contest and just skip a year to bring you today's Eurovision classic.
1957 saw Bobbejaan Schoepen sing in Dutch Straatdeuntje (streetcar), well I say sing but there was quite a large portion of whistling. Bobbejaan scored 5 points and placed 8th tying with Lys Assisa, back for Switzerland. (I bet he was wishing he had tied with her the year before!)
Our Eurovision dish today is a dish so obviously Belgium I'd avoided it for 2 years, so as not to be cliché.
I think it is time that we all embrace the mussels from Brussels.
And just in case you got a little too excited and were thinking muscles....I have prepared a simple guide to help you with your mussel/muscle appreciation.
I could no longer put this dish off because I am lucky enough to have access to the most amazing mussels at the farmers market. Mussels are a staple dinner every 3rd Saturday of the month (the week the mussel man makes an appearance) that they had to make their way into the Chow Down to Eurovision.
When I head to Belgium this year there will be no relaxing with a large beer and a plate of moules frites, I will be working very hard studying the dish.
I may even need to study it two or three times and perhaps analyse some Belgian chocolate while I am at it, that's just how dedicated and hard working I am!!
There are a few sauces that have been known to accompany this dish but after I read about a blue cheese sauce, that was the only way to go.
Moules Frites (mussels and chips) aka Game On Moules!
Ingredients for 2 people
- 1kg mussels
- Knob of butter
- Splash of olive oil
- 1 leek chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Handful of chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, chives, tarragon)
- 6 Kipfler potatoes
- 150g blue cheese
- 30ml olive oil
- 1/2 cup seasoned flour
- Oil for frying
For the moules (mussels)
- Clean and de-beard the mussels (I just pull the beard out and discard any mussels with broken shells)
- In a heavy based pot with lid add the splash of oil and knob of butter
- Add the leek and garlic and stir over a medium to high heat
- When the leek is soft add the white wine, mussels and put the lid on
- Cook until the mussels have opened (about 5 minutes)
- Stir through herbs and serve with chips and blue cheese dip
For frites (chips) (or buy some chips)
- In a saucepan of cold water bring the potatoes to the boil and cook till just tender
- Cool and keep in the fridge overnight
- Cut the potatoes into wedges or chips
- Coat in seasoned flour
- Cook in small batch in very hot oil till crisp
For blue cheese sauce
It is probably more of a dip than a sauce.
- With a fork mix the blue cheese and oil together until combined
That little orange morsel of sea sweetness and the blue cheese is a serious flavour experience "a party in your mouth" as they say!
Belgium will be represented in Vienna by Loïc Nottet who will perform Rhythm Inside.
I am looking forward to seeing what Belgium can come up with for a stadium presentation.
Will Loïc set the audience and juries hearts a rapppabab-ing or is Rhythm Inside more of that "really cool quirky theme tune from the latest hipster HBO series"?
Past Belgium Chow Down to Eurovision: