Saturday, February 27, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - Slovenia

What is Slovenian for we have arrived at the final country for Semi Final Two in Chow Down to Eurovision 2015?

Well according to google translate this is:

Kaj je slovenska ker smo prispeli v državo končnega za polfinale dva v Chow navzdol na Evrovizijo 2015 ?
I'm sure my Slovenian friend will let me know how well it did.

So if you are still unsure we are "in" Slovenia with a pretty easy tray bake of almond squares.

These dense almond morsels will always be Here For You when you need something full bodied and not too sweet that go perfectly with a strong coffee.

Slovenian Almond Squares
  • 70g butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. almond essence
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 100g icing sugar + dusting
  • 100g almond meal
  • 50g chocolate chips (the type that hold their shape when baked)
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan)
  • Line a 20cm square cake tin (shallow)
  • Melt butter
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs till thick and fluffy
  • Add cooled butter and almond essence to eggs
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl
  • Fold into eggs mixture
  • Pour into lined cake tin
  • Even the batter out with a spoon, it will look lumpy but will spread
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes (the top will still look bumpy)
  • Flip onto a wire rack to cool
  • Dust with icing sugar
  • Cut into 2-3cm squares
  • On a serving plate pile into a replica of Mount Triglav...Slovenia's highest peak   (optional)

Maraaya made up of married couple Marjetka and Aleš "Raay" Vovk represented Slovenia in Vienna and placed a respectable 14th in the final.  They came 5th in their semi final but scored 1st performance position in the final so it was always going to be an up hill battle, even with a futuristic air violinist...

I was very happy that the hop on hop off bus in Dusseldorf had joined the Maraaya trend!

Previous Chow Down to Eurovision Slovenia:

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - Poland

Dobry wieczór we have arrived at the penultimate country for Chow Down to Eurovision 2015, Poland.

I'm a big fan of mushrooms so always happy to add mushroom recipes into the Chow Down, sadly AB isn't a fan but does suffer through bravely. 

When I heard about Zapiekanka I thought AB likes toast and cheese so 2 out of 3 aint bad and it was on it's way to represent Eurovision food for Poland.

I also had a moment of delight when I was listening to Reckoning* by Magda Szubanski & there was a passage about her queuing for hours for hot dogs in Poland only to get to the front of the line to be given mushrooms in a bun and I thought I know this dish!  

Magda also suggested the dish for Chow Down to Eurovision 2014 so it felt strangely right there an unknowing connection this year. 

*I use affiliate links to products I have purchased myself and enjoyed

Zapiekanka -Mushroom cheese toast
  • 1 baguette about 30cm 
  • 4-5 large mushrooms
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 rasher bacon (optional)
  • 2 handfuls grated cheese
  • Tomato sauce or sriracha
  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Roughly chop mushrooms
  • Finely chop onion
  • Thinly slice bacon rasher
  • Saute mushrooms, onions and bacon in a fry pan till golden and softened
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Cut the baguette in half and place on lined baking tray
  • Butter baguette and cover with mushrooms mix
  • Cover with cheese and bake for 10 minutes
  • Serve with tomato sauce or sriracha for the bearded hipsters in the group

This year's Eurovision was the most inclusive for people with disabilities and now that the "magic bridge" has been crossed I hope it leads to further participation in the future.
Monika Kuszyńska sang In The Name Of Love for Poland and after coming 8th in semifinal 2 finished 23rd in the final.

Previous Chow Down to Eurovision Poland:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - Cyprus

Good evening Nicosia, may we have your dish please?
Just like Eurovision voting this wonderful dish from Cyprus should be done in about 5 hours!
Inspired by a recipe I found on SBS food, today's dish is as simple as cutting a potato and putting some lamb in the oven. 

So in memory of the late Terry Wogan I'm going to just get on with it!

Slow Roasted Lamb and Potatoes
  • 1.5-2kg butterfly lamb (I think it was a leg or may have been a shoulder....I know it was lamb)
  • 1kg potatoes (of your choice)
  • 2 whole heads of garlic
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 large sprigs rosemary
  • 2 large sprigs oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Cut potatoes into quarters and add to a large baking dish with lid
  • Add lamb on top of the potatoes
  • Drizzle lamb with olive oil
  • Season the lamb with salt and pepper
  • Add the whole garlic to the baking dish
  • Use a vegetable peeler to cut long strips of lemon zest
  • Add the juice of the lemons over the lamb
  • Add the herbs
  • Bake at 150°C for 4.5 hours with the lid on and a further 30 minutes lid off
  • Serve chucks (it's too soft to slice) of lamb with some roasted garlic and potatoes.....and serviettes and it is gonna get sticky!

The sticky meaty garlicky goodness comes flooding back to me every time I see this picture, though if I'm honest my preference would be for a crunchy potato

John (Giannis) Karayiannis sang beautifully for Cyprus and my judgment is not influenced at all by the fact that he said I was cool for having a Eurovision tattoo. 
(I could be his father and I'm cool, I am totally hip with the young peoples!)

When you leave your beard balm at home!

Cyprus came 6th in the semifinal and 22nd in the final.

Previous Cyprus Chow Down to Eurovision:

2014 did not participate