Spain vs Italy

June 25, 2008

ambar

sangria

The Spanish Cup
Ambar
Sangria

bocadillas

tapas

cake

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

Score

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.


Netherlands vs France

June 14, 2008

grolsch

The Dutch Cup
Grolsch

Dutch beer stew

The Dutch Plate
Beef stew with beer and dumplings, red cabbage and apple on the side

Score

little m
4 and half stars
It was nice to come home on Friday to this hearty beef stew cooking in the oven. The meat was nice and tender and the beer based sauce wasn’t over powering and only faintly hinted at it’s beer origins. The dumplings were also delicious – the only way I can think to make this dish better would be to perhaps throw a few vegetables in the pot next time to make it a bit healthier. This time we had red cabbage and apple to balance the meal, but I’m not sure if that’s authentic or not.

Big M
4 stars (cup)
4 and half stars (plate)

What a cup this is. The bottle is quite classy with the flip top, I will re-use it for my home brew. The lager inside is also classy. As mentioned before I don’t drink lagers often but every time I have a Grolsch I enjoy it.
4 stars.

The plate was even better! I used my own summer ale home brew in this recipe. It is a relatively dark ale, I would also suggest a German wheat ale (Dunkel). The beef had melted into the dish and the bread dumplings were there to soak up the beer gravy. The red cabbage and apple on the side topped off a wonderful meal. Let it be known that I do love a Beef in Guinness with dumplings, so I think I was always going to love this one.
4 and half stars.


Turkey vs Switzerland

June 12, 2008

turkish plate

The Turkish Plate
Savory Turkish Pilaf

Score

little m
2 stars

Once again we struggled to find a Turkish drink to have with dinner. I did think of Turkish coffee, but that would have just kept us awake at completely the wrong time of day for watching 4:30am football! My sleep clock is out of whack as is. I liked the combination of the lamb and the raisins. It was just, well….. nothing special.

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

This dish reminds me of the Greek dish Lamb Youvetsi. I prefer the Greek dish as it has more lamb than this recipe we followed. It was better for lunch the next day 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

Score

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.


Austria vs Croatia

June 9, 2008

trumer pils gosser

The Austrian Cup
Trumer Pils
Gosser beer

weiner schitzel

The Austrian Plate
Wiener schnitzel with potato dumplings

apfelstrudel

Apfelstrudel – Apple strudel

Score

little m
4 stars
The wiener schnitzel was fantastic. The ordinary potato dumplings let the dish down, and next time I would have preferred boiled potatoes with parsely and butter. The apple strudel really was divine and I hope we’ll be cooking this one again soon. Loved the filo pastry. Just perfect – dessert would get 5 stars by itself!

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

The beer was not my style, I would rather a well hopped ale. I did notice the quality in the Trumer Pils however, especially as i just so happened to have a Tooheys Pils in the fridge. In comparison the Tooheys tastes like XXXX! So I recommend Trumer if you like a Pilsner.
3 and half stars.

We read a recipe that demanded the Wiener schnitzel be veal and not be accompanied by anything but lemon juice, apparently it was the German’s who use pork and poured sauce all over it. So we had the schnitzel Austrian style and it was a winner. I used dark breadcrumbs so it does not look photogenic. The potato dumplings were from a packet mix we found at a euro deli, they were OK.

The apfelstrudel was fabulous, I would rather a more hearty pastry than the filo, however it did the job and kept the moist parcel of apple, raisans and cinnamon just scrumptious!
3 and half stars.