Spain vs Russia

June 27, 2008

Garlic chicken

The Spanish Plate
Chicken in garlic sauce with baked potatoes


little m
4.5 stars

Spain is the new black. Italy is out, and Spain is in. It is fast becoming one of my favourite cuisines. So here’s to getting through to the finals! Another winning dish – it just needed another veg side to make it a perfect score. The baked potatoes are always a crowd pleaser, and the chicken was surprisingly not too garlicky. Just right.

Big M
4.5 stars (plate)

A night off on the drinking.

Another Spanish winner. You are supposed to use sherry in the dish but we substituted it with Rosso vermouth! It worked for us as the chicken is very tender after only 20 minutes of simmering. The potatoes were a simple par boil then mix in with olive oil and salt and into the oven 220 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes.

Spain vs Italy

June 25, 2008



The Spanish Cup




The Spanish Plate

Bocadillas – Iberian ham, Manchego cheese and marinated capsicum on bread roll
Cordero al limon – Lamb with Lemon
Patatas bravas – Potatoes in Tomato Sauce
Pisto manchego – Courgette, Tomato and Capsicum Stew

Chocolate and chestnut cake


little m
4.5 stars(cup)
4.5 stars(plate)

Holy what a huge Spanish fiesta! Luckily it was a Sunday and no one is playing tomorrow so we can recover from this big day in the kitchen. (Sorry the big cook off has meant we are a little behind in posting).

The sangria is a tried and true drink.

The bocadillas were great and we had these for lunch. Actually they would want to be good as the spanish ham cost $15 and so did the cheese! Worth it, as a once a year treat.

The tapas was also very good – we tried to make it a balanced meal with one meat, one vegetable and potatoes for the carb (my favourite).  This worked very well and there were plenty more tapas dishes I’d like to try. We bought the clay pots especially – I had wanted them when we were in Barcelona but couldn’t justify carrying them back home. You need to cure them before use by soaking in water overnight. They made a really strange sizzling noise, which I’m guessing was the air escaping!?!

To top off the very indulgent day we finished on chocolate chestnut cake.  I had seen tins of chestnut puree in the delis and always wanted to give it a try. It’s really thick, a bit like fine peanut butter without all the oil…. sort of. I actually used macadamias instead of the hazelnuts, although you could easily leave out the nuts altogether, as I think they are there to just add texture.

Fingers crossed Italy makes it through, because we haven’t eaten it yet!

Big M
3 stars (cup)
5 stars (plate)

Ambar was a nice malty lager, nothing special however. The Sangria was a good mix of red wine, freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice, contreau, plymouth gin, sugar and orange and lemon slices. Kept in the fridge for the next day is even better!
3 and half stars.

5 stars – I did not think we could make it! Bocadillas was the best sandwich I have ever eaten. The ingredients work together well and the Iberian ‘plack pig’ jamon is why the 5th star come out. The lamb is not slow cooked but cooked on low temperature in the oven for 15 minutes. We did not use the absolute most lean cut of lamb and payed the price. Patatas bravas is my Spanish version of chips with mushy peas – they just work. I can’t see us topping this effort.
5 stars.

Russia vs Sweden

June 19, 2008

salmon and potato salad

The Russian Plate
Salmon and potato salad


little m
2.5 stars

A simple dish which I’m tempted to call a Russian Caesar salad. OK maybe that’s going a bit far – as a salad it’s quite good. Throw together in a bowl – salmon, boiled potatoes and eggs, (cooked) red onions, and then garnished with mayo and parsley. Serve cold and it’s all too easy.

The potato may be humble but I’m starting to miss having rice based dishes for dinner.

Big M
N/A (cup)
3 stars (plate)

Again we have had to miss the cup out. I thought that Dan Murphy’s would sell something Russian other than vodka but to no avail. Please send in your Russian drinks.

I would be happy to eat this salad for lunch but it’s not quite fancy enough for dinner. I took a leaf out of the Swedish book and again poached the salmon in wine, which was good.
3 stars.

France vs Italy

June 18, 2008

e.guigal 2003

The French Cup
E.guigal Cotes du Rhone 2003

coq au vin

The French Plate
Coq au vin and boulangere potatoes


little m
3 and half stars

I loved the crunchy tops of the potato side dish. The chicken was also good. It was just missing a bit of omph to rate it any higher. Am I being too hard? Perhaps. For a Tuesday night dish, when we both work full-time I really can’t complain. There’s also left overs for lunch which will hands down beat anything edible within a block of work. Next time, I’d probably add some honey carrots?

Big M
2 and half stars (cup)
3 stars (plate)

The Guigal was a little dissapointing. I do drink french wine quite often and have had better bottles than this. Of course Guigal has $50 and $75 bottles from the same region so at $24 this was probably the cheap stuff!
2 and half stars.

The Coq au Vin also did not work out, a bit like the French football team at the Euro finals. The hint of red wine through the chicken is a nice, however did not improve the tenderness of the meat. The boulangere potatoes were a winner with nice contrast between crisp and soft potato. I like pommes Anna better though!
3 stars.

Sweden vs Greece

June 11, 2008

swedish cup

The Swedish Cup
Absolut Vodka

swedish plate

The Swedish Plate
Poached freshwater salmon in a sour cream sauce, with dilled potato salad


little m
3 stars
Interesting flavours which worked well together, but not something I’d be rushing to have again. I didn’t care for the sour cream sauce. The potato salad was great with the fresh herbs.

Big M
N/A (cup)
3 stars (plate)

The Absolut we did not drink as again like with Romania we struggled to find a cup. The photo is just for decoration! So, again let us know a Swedish drink that you know of through the comments link.

The plate was nice but not the one that needs to grab us and we rave on about. The poaching in wine is a nice idea and I will use this method again. The sauce however I will leave alone as I am not big on dairy sauces. I do think though that plenty of people would like it. The potato salad was basic but did match the fish.
3 stars.