Friday, April 29, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - Austria












Good Evening Europe, this is Melbourne airport calling....
Now we have finally arrived at the ultimate country in the Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 #Building Brunches!......I know it's only taken a year...I have been a tad busy!

So as I write this from the lounge, waiting to board my flight to Stockholm and Eurovision 2016 #MrSauceatESC (official hashtag) I will not get on the plane until this is finished.
I hear them calling me...they keep calling, cal-al-al-ing! (see what I did there)



This potato salad to accompany wiener schnitzel would be the most authentic and researched dish in Chow Down to Eurovision. Following a market tour of Vienna Naschmarkt this dish was created on location in Vienna, in an apartment walking distance from the stadhallen....it couldn't have soaked up more essence of Eurovision if Conchita had peeled the potatoes herself!







Potato Salad with Wiener Schnitzel
Ingredients
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 white onion
  • 1-2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or pumpkin seed)
Method
  • Boil potatoes
  • Roughly slice/dice potatoes
  • Slice onion
  • Combine potato and onion and dress with vinegar and oil
  • Season with salt and white pepper

Now while the dish was well researched it was thrown together on my last night in Vienna!

Some readers may be shocked to know I didn't bake the bread for the crumb on the schnitzel....though in actual fact I didn't make the schnitzel at all....in actual fact I didn't even buy the schnitzel as AB did go down to the take away under the apartment and bought the schnitzel while I made the potato salad! Bless him!

Far from the comfort of  Don't Boil The Sauce! HQ there is always a way to get the job done. 



The Makemakes along with Ann Sophie scored 0 points in Vienna which is outragous for a host country, so with 2016 being the year to change the voting systems I have declared Austria and Germany the winners of Chow Down to Eurovision 2015!

Previous Austria Chow Down to Eurovision:



See You In Stockholm!!!!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - France

Bonsoir Europa this is Paris calling for the next installment of our Eurovision food tour....does anyone have a breath mint?

France's entry is a dish that I have wanted to do since the birth of the Chow Down to Eurovision, forty clove garlic chicken because I am garlic obsessed.

I could go on and on about my love of garlic but as this is the second last country I think it's best to....what is French for "just get on with it"?


Forty Clove Garlic Chicken with Creamy Garlic Sauce
Ingredients
  • 40 cloves of garlic (skin on) 
  • 1kg chicken thighs 
  • 1kg chicken legs 
  • .5kg chicken wings 
  • 30mls olive oil 
  • 30g lard 
  • 1 large carrot 
  • 1 leek 
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves 
  • Sprigs of parsley 
  • Sprigs a thyme 
  • Sprigs of tarragon 
  • 250ml white wine 
  • 80ml cream 
Method
  • Cut the carrots into small batons (or just chop) 
  • Roughly chop leek and celery 
  • Add carrots, leek and celery to a large baking dish (one with a lid) 
  • Add a handful of garlic cloves 
  • Chop a couple of sprigs of herbs and add to vegetables 
  • In a deep frypan heat the oil and lard and brown the chicken in batches (be careful this is a spitter) 
  • Arrange the chicken in the baking dish and cover with remaining garlic 
  • Add a few more sprigs of herbs 
  • Pour the wine into the frypan and then pour over the chicken 
  • Bake at 180 °C for 1 hour with the lid on 
  • After 1 hour bake a further 15 minutes at 200°C lid off 
  • Remove chicken and most of the garlic and vegetables from the baking tray onto a serving plate 
  • Pass the liquid and any remaining garlic or vegetable through a sieve into a medium saucepan 
  • Skim some of the fat off the top 
  • Bring to the boil and whisk through 1-2 tablespoons of flour 
  • When thickened add 1/3 cup thick cream 
  • Pass the sauce through a sieve for an extra smooth sauce 
  • Serve with extra sauce, roasted garlic and a crunchy baguette

A delicious base


Browned and ready to go in the oven

Golden and juicy the way chicken should be!


Who doesn't love a glistening thigh?




Lisa Angell delivered an incredible performance for France with one of best uses of video wall the contest has every seen! Yes I heard the people sing and I was ready to raise my banner high, unbelievably France scored just 3 points and come 25th!

I'm not sure what the voters were watching but I don't think it was this??

Past France Chow Down to Eurovision:




Saturday, April 23, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - United Kingdom













Our third to last country in the #BuildingBrunches Eurovision food tour is the United Kingdom.

There are some dishes in The Chow Down to Eurovision that are not only influenced by the competing nation but by the competing song like 2014's Cake to Bake from Latvia. 

The United Kingdom entry Still in Love With You gave us the sound of the 1920's which makes me think Prohibition which really just makes us all think of alcohol.

So.....

Gin and Tonic Ice Cream Party Bombes
Ingredients
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100g sugar
  • 700ml milk
  • 125ml cream
  • 100ml tonic syrup  (I buy Sinkonah tonic not sponsored )
Method
  • In a heavy base saucepan add eggs, milk, sugar, cream and whisk.
  • Keep stirring over a low heat until the custard thickening enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Be careful not to overcook it or it will curdle.
  • Add tonic and stir to combine
  • Chill while stiring in a bowl over an ice bath (this will help to make a smoother ice cream)
  • Put into ice cream machine and churn as per manufactures instructions
  • Fill lined Texas muffin pan with ice cream (recipe makes more ice cream than required, winning!)
  • Freeze for a few hours

Lime Gin Jelly
Ingredients
  • 200g sugar
  • 5 limes zest and juice
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml gin
  • 3 gelatin leaves
  • Green food colour if desired
Method
  • Soak gelatin leaves as per packet
  • Add sugar, lime zest, juice and water to a saucepan
  • Simmer over medium heat till the sugar dissolves
  • Remove from the heat
  • Add the gin and gelatin leave as stir to incorporate the gelatin
  • Add a drop of green food colour if desired
  • Pour into a bowl and refrigerate till set

Italian Meringue
Ingredients
  • 4 egg white
  • 200g sugar
  • 100ml water
Method
  • In a saucepan add the sugar and water
  • Dissolve the sugar over low heat and slowly bring up to 120°C
  • Beat the egg white to firm peak
  • Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites while constantly beating till cool (a stand mixer is good for this)
  • Add meringue to a piping bag 
Chocolate crumbs
1/2 packet chocolate biscuits blitzed in a food processor
If I was on Master Chef I'd probably call this a deconstructed biscuit!

To assemble
  • Scoop a well into the middle of the bombes
  • Fill the cavity with lime jelly (a piping bag helps)
  • Cover with over the hole with ice cream and freeze for 1 hour
  • Remove bombes from muffin tin and remove lining
  • Cover with chocolate soil
  • Pipe with Italian meringue to decorate 
  • Serve before melting



Traditionally a G&T doesn't have chocolate but isn't everything better with chocolate

If when you go to blowtorch the meringue find you have run out of gas, just leave them white and say that's how they are meant to be!

G&T and yes still in love with you...

One of the highlights for me in Vienna was the pleasure of meeting the lovely Electro Velvet and Bianca announcing she had seen my video with Carly Findlay about disability and Eurovision, to my obvious shock.....someone watches my videos???

For anyone concerned I do believe that Bianca's handbag did survive our meeting, but it was a close call for a moment there!

I'm sorry Alex I didn't get you anything but you are always welcome to pop in for a G&T anytime you're in town.

Electro Velvet brought a fun change of pace to the Eurovision final with the 1920's inspired I'm still in Love With You which placed 24th.

As I sing along to Eurovision on my daily commute I'm no stranger to be bit of self praise....
"Sounding good Sugar!"

Previous United Kingdom Chow Down to Eurovision:


It does look like I basically made the same dish 2 years in a row but that's really nothing new in Eurovision is it??

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - Spain

Hola, and well as the song goes...Oh I'm (we're) off to sunny Spain! 

Which in a random piece of Eurovision trivia, was sung by Swedish singer Sylia who twice tried at Melodifestivalen to represent Sweden (2002, 2013) though imagine if Sweden had selected Y Via Espana to represent them in 1974 we could all be saying ABBA who?




So onto our Spanish entry in our Eurovision food passport and it couldn't be easier. 

I discovered this recipe while flipping through cookbooks in a library....Libraries are basically bookshops but you can peruse through the books and no one yells "you gonna buy that mister? This aint a library!" 

When I saw a soup that was basically old bread I thought we have a winner as I usually have a lot of bread needing a home!

This recipe is the perfect addition to your Eurovision menu as its so quick you can have it done before the first votes spokesperson have gotten through how much they really really really enjoyed the wonderful show!

The recipe was inspired by the Bread and Garlic Soup with Saffron recipe in the 

MoVida Spanish Culinary Adventures by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish



Garlic and Bread Soup (Sopa Castellana)
  • 4-5 thick slices of few day old sour dough
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Saffron
  • 1.5 litres of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp. cream
  • Sweet paprika

Method
  • Break up the bread and bake in a 150°C oven for about 5-10 minutes, don't let it burn
  • Finely slice the garlic
  • Add a good glug of olive oil a large heavy base saucepan on medium heat
  • Add the garlic to the saucepan but don't let it brown
  • Add the saffron and stir
  • Pour in the stock and let boil
  • Add the bread and stir
  • Add cream 
  • Serve topped with paprika 

You don't have to bake the bread yourselves........I guess we don't all love our families and friends (I'm joking don't write in!)








Edurne placed 21st in the final with Amanecer which is a shame as I really love this song and it would be among my most played of 2015.  

The passion of the Spanish fans I witnessed in the press centre was a true inspiration, hugging, crying, cheering all while completely focused on every second of the rehearsal. 

Many onlookers could call their enthusiasm OTT (not Lepland) Over The Top but I admire just how much they support their artists. 

There are quite a few countries that could take a leaf out of Spain's book when it comes to getting behind your entry!

Previous Spain Chow Down to Eurovision:


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - Germany












Our culinary journey through Eurovision 2015 has taken us to 36 countries (4 to go) and now brings us to Germany. 

After Vienna I did spend a couple of nights in Dusseldorf for research so I have some great ideas for future Chow Down to Eurovision food adventures......though I'm not sure if the poffertjes and chicken nuggets is a traditional German breakfast but it works for me!


This year Germany offers us a sophisticated take on jelly and ice cream with WINE! 

Rote Grutze would be a perfect eurovision party dessert as it needs to rest overnight in the fridge so you can make it add so as not to spend a second in the kitchen while Eurovision is on!


Rote Grutze
Ingredients
  • 250ml cranberry juice
  • 250ml red wine
  • 750ml jar of cherries
  • 230g sugar
  • 250g mixed berries
  • 250g strawberries quartered
  • 50g cornflour (made into a paste with some water)
  • 300ml Pouring cream
Method
  • Add cranberry juice, wine, juice from the cherries and sugar to saucepan
  • Bring to the boil and reduce for about 5 minutes
  • Add cornflour and stir to thicken 
  • Add all the fruit and stir through for a couple of minutes
  • Pour into a bowl and leave in the fridge overnight
  • To serve pour some cream into a bowl and top with a good helping of the rote grutze

While this doesn't look the best, ok a blood clot, the combination of the tart berries and the cleanness of the cream is bliss. 




Not every red carpet moment is a huge success, in my head I planed a "clever" tie into Ann Sophie's song Black Smoke.

The lyrics are "too hard to say three words" so my question was going to be "while its hard to say those three words...what 3 words do you want to hear at Saturday's final could it be Douze Points Germany?".....you can see in the video that is not what come out more like a raving jumble.

I did manage to employ that timeless technique when someone is not understanding you of just repeating the same thing just louder and faster!

My favourite part of the interview is when she turns away and says "I don't understand" which is fair enough she was probably thinking who is this raving bearded chap.....didn't he quite in the German national final?

Some people have said we look alike??

Sadly no one did say Douze Points Germany and along with Austria they became the Zeros of our time.

Previous Germany Chow Down to Eurovision:







Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 - Italy



Ciao tutti siamo arrivo in a Roma!!!!
There is no secret about my love for Italy and how much I wanted Il Volo to win Eurovision 2015. 

Who wouldn't want an Italian hosted Eurovision? The show would go for days with all the talking and 2 weeks in Rome, Florence or any where in Italy...sign me up!!

Being the country I heart the most (after Australia) and with the song Grande Amore it makes perfect sense that the Italian entry for Chow Down to Eurovision is heart.

Ok how many of you have I lost there?

This dish is inspired by coratella the Italian offal dish of pretty much most organs, lungs, kidneys, livers, spleen and heart.

I believe that if we are going to kill an animal for food we should at the very least eat all of it.

So when it comes to any grande amore it really is just all about the heart. 

Grande Amore on toast
Ingredients
  • 2 lamb hearts
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 30ml verjuice 
  • A small handful of mixed herbs chopped, rosemary, parsley and thyme
  • Thick slices of toasted sour dough
Method
  • Trim the hearts of excess fat
  • Cut into small even pieces about 2-3cm
  • Add a good splash of oil to a fry pan on medium heat
  • Add onion and garlic and let soften
  • Add the heart and saute for a couple of minutes
  • Season well with salt and pepper
  • Add the verjuice, butter and herbs, stir through
  • Serve on buttered toasted sourdough and garnish with extra rosemary
When your local farmers market has an amazing lamb farmer you just gotta take heart!


The heart is so tender and flavoursome it is well worth trying it at least once before deciding it's not for you. 


After a stellar performance in Vienna Il Volo won the televote but then finished 3rd when combined with the jury votes......aka robbed! 

Il Volo red carpet Vienna, Piero going the beard grab! 


I think Piero was very kind to say he liked my beard the couple of times I saw him in Vienna as looking back I think I may have been bordering on the wrong side of a hipster Worzel Gummidge!

Don't worry Stockholm I've had a trim...

Previous Italy Chow Down to Eurovision: