Sunday 10 July 2016Portugal v France1-0 (aet)LOSS
All day French feasting!
Pain Perdu (with maple syrup) for breakfast, followed later by anchoïade on toasted goats cheese baguette as a snack, then bœuf en croûte (with pâté and no mushrooms. Bleh.), veg and a peppercorn sauce. Followed by a cherry and blueberry Clafoutis (where I macerated the cherries in cherry brandy and sugar).
Thursday 7 July 2016Germany v France0-2LOSS
Bayerisches Biergulasch and Semmelknoedel with Spargel
I left the biergulasch cooking all day which I can highly recommend. Definitely reduce it down right at the end. I left out the cranberries because I'm not a fruit/meat fan. These were served with an attempt at semmelknoedel, which I have to say, is still a mystery to me. I combined this recipe and another, and it just didn't bind properly enough to steam, so I tried to fry it and it fell apart, so I then got grumpy and Robert saved them by ovening them. After that however they were good!
Wednesday 6 July 2016Portugal v Wales2-0WIN
Sardinhas Assadas, baby octopus, crevettes, with a roasted pepper, red onion, and paprika potato salad
The sun finally came out! Big thanks to The Food Company in Colchester for their seafood. I need to find the rough recipe for the potatoes, but they were basically lightly fried with garlic and paprika, combined with the roasted peppers, red onion, and drizzled with lemon juice.
Sunday 3 July 2016France v Iceland5-2WIN
Coq au vin, gratin dauphinois
I really need to find a way of taking photos in the kitchen that don't come out yellowy. This one doesn't quite convey the niceness of what was possibly my favourite meal to date.
We started prepping this along with yesterday's risotto, following a Raymond Blanc recipe for the chicken. For once we didn't stray too far, apart from the whole 'toasting a tablespoon of flour in the oven for 10 minutes' thing as we were already starving and frankly couldn't be bothered. For the sauce, definitely reduce it down. It was nice when in with the chicken, but became so much better when reduced.
For the potato dauphinoise we used this recipe, but also put a load of thyme in it, and cooked it in little individual pots so used smaller potatoes.
Saturday 2 July 2016Germany v Italy1-1 (6-5 on penalties)LOSS
Risotto al nero di seppia
This was a really good meal. We eat quite a lot of risottos normally, but I'd never done a squid ink one before and I'd definitely do it again.
In terms of ingredients, there are a number of recipes out there and I pretty much followed this one, with a couple of additions. For the method however, I didn't really do what they said. Maybe it works fine, but I wasn't about to start cooking my squid right at the start for half an hour. I did it right at the end for a couple of minutes, and it was perfectly tender. I also used tomato puree and some extra anchovy paste, and kept adding these to taste throughout. We had a parmesan rind that I'd been saving, and this went in throughout for flavour, with a bit of actual parmesan grated in at the end. Finally I added a small amount of chilli in the dish and as garnish for colour.
The praws were marinated in oil, garlic and oregano, and I put some in the risotto when it was almost cooked (they added a great bit of extra flavour), and kept some to fry off at the end to go on top. Likewise the squid tentacles were reserved, fried off and added on top.
Friday 1 July 2016Wales v Belgium3-1LOSS
Steak, frites, sauce andalouse
Oh hey it's Belgian food two days in a row!
Your motivation somewhat drops after you mess up, apparently. We were going to do moules, but we did them last time around. We were going to do 'eels in the green' but couldn't get eels. We ended up with the not very inventive steak (pan fried) et frites (deep fried, garlic and rosemary), with Sauce Andalouse.
Thursday 30 June 2016Poland v Portugal1-1 (3-5 on penalties)LOSS
We messed up.
We somehow thought today was the Belgium game. We cooked Belgian food (stoemp and sausages and black pudding, for what it's worth). We only realised when we turned on the match.
As an act of desperation, I had Polish vodka that had been given to me as a speaker gift by the lovely Front-Trends organisers, which I'd been saving for a special occasion. I'd been introduced to this with apple juice in Warsaw and it's great.
I live in the middle of nowhere and the closest supermarkets were shut, however I went to the local pub, thoroughly confused them, and bought the most expensive carton of apple juice ever. Add cinnamon and ice.
Wednesday 29 June 2016No match played :(
Tuesday 28 June 2016No match played :(
Monday 27 June 2016Italy v Spain2-0WIN
I was in London this day, and as we didn't have too much time we kind of fell back to something that we already eat quite often. I came home to some dough and sauce already made, and we put together the two pizzas - one meaty and chilli, and one tuna/anchovy/olives. No recipe I'm afraid because this changes every time, and we're still trying to perfect the right yeast and Aga combo.
Sunday 26 June 2016Germany v Slovakia3-0WIN
Königsberger Klopse with potatoes, beetroot, and sauerkraut
Slightly hungover and tired from all of the
drinkingČupavci yesterday, we really considered sacking this off. And then we considered just being lazy and doing currywurst. But no! We have come this far! I managed to drag myself to the supermarket to buy things to cook Konigsberger Klopse.
That recipe is for vast quantities, so I tried to use the on-site functionality to cut it down to two people, but it became silly. I ended up making up the quantities to an extent. I just used a single packet of veal mince seeing as we didn't need any more, and it tasted great without the mixture of meats. I used beef stock as I had some that needed using up, and added more wine for the same reason. After cooking I found that the meatballs, whilst lovely tasting, were a weird slimy texture due to the flour on the outside, so I made the call to fry them off separately. I also added more capers, because capers are great. For the sauce, I used low fat cream rather than sour cream because there didn't seem to be consensus across recipes (and the supermarket didn't have low fat sour cream).
The meatballs were preceded by some German meats from a packet, and were served with sauerkraut, boiled potatoes, some lightly pickled beetroot, and assorted beverages of German origin.
Saturday 25 June 2016Croatia v Portugal0-1LOSS
Our first loss! Noooo!
We had 6 people over to stay this night, and decided that it probably wasn't the best time to inflict our first attempt at Croatian cuisine on them, plus we wanted to be able to be nice hosts and not have to sit in the kitchen all night.
The compromise was Čupavci, a kind of Croatian lamington, which were excellent. I'll definitely make these again. They seemed to go down well with everyone too.
Friday 24 June 2016No match played :(
Thursday 23 June 2016No match played :(
Wednesday 22 June 2016Hungary v Portugal3-3DRAW
Chouriço caldo verde with piri piri chicken topping, and Sagres
Tuesday 21 June 2016Czech Republic v Turkey0-2WIN
Lamb köfte, baklali enginar, pitta, muhammara, mint/tahini dip
Things got a bit tricky here. Two matches to go in the Groups, and we have a strangely rather good record going on. As I say in the intro, the aim of this isn't about scores or picking winners, yet at this point we're still yet to cook a losing team. Aiming not to repeat teams as much as possible, I thought it would be best to go for someone who would be heading out, but then we'd likely lose our streak. Thankfully, Turkey didn't let us down!
I'm kind of loathe to post the recipes here seeing as I went off-piste with all of them, but here we go. For the lamb köfte and muhammara I mainly followed the recipe, but added a lot more of the seasoning and spices (including smoked paprika, garlic granules, and extra dried mint), plus a bit of lemon juice to the lamb after frying off a little taster. To anyone who doesn't tend to make burgers, meatballs, or things where you can't taste before cooking - make sure you do cook a little bit or you'll likely end up with a bland end result. I shaped the köftes onto single skewers rather than into balls as the recipe suggested.
For the muhammara my local supermarkets had no pomegranate molasses, so I used some pomegranate juice (not juice drink) and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I thought about blending the sauce but decided to leave it chunky. If I did it again I'd likely add some chilli or tabasco, as other recipes reference that it should have more kick to it.
The baklali enginar (artichoke with broad beans) recipe seemed straightforward until I actually read it. I love artichokes, and eating the leaves is a great pleasure, so it seemed wrong to peel them off and throw them away. I was then meant to leave two layers, and scrape out the hairs in the middle. I have no idea how this is possible whilst still ending up with something resembling a non-squished artichoke. You just can't get at the hairs properly when there are leaves on it! I gave up, took all leaves off, and then cooked some and replaced them on the plate. Everyone on videos just seems to use pre-prepared hearts, so I think being able to leave leaves on is a myth.
The mint/tahini dip can also be found on the lamb köfte page. I added mint and garlic, mostly because I didn't like the pure yoghurty tahini taste - a bit too much like a weird peanut butter mixture for me.
Monday 20 June 2016Russia v Wales0-3WIN
Rarebit, Leek/onion/goats cheese tart, Welsh Cakes
All looking rather beige in the photo, this wasn't one of the healthiest meals but is one that I'd do again in the future. We had a little Rarebit snack whilst the tart was in the oven, and followed that up by quickly making some Welsh Cakes to snack on after the match.
Sunday 19 June 2016Switzerland v France0-0DRAW
Fondue, side salad, spätzli with gruyère and bacon, Lindt
This was another excellent meal. What's not to like about fondue? We did an oil/steak-based one, accompanied with a small side salad, and some spätzli with gruyère and bacon. Afterwards there was some Lindt chocolate.
Saturday 18 June 2016Iceland v Hungary1-1DRAW
Salmon sashimi and Einstök
During tournament time it's always a challenge to do social things but keep the Dinners going. This Saturday was one such challenge, because we were slightly limited by non-repetition of teams, plus we already had a table booked for a family dinner. Luckily it was Waitrose to the rescue with some Icelanding beer, and I'm going to claim sashimi is acceptable Icelandic fare considering I once had some really good sushi in Reykjavik...
Friday 17 June 2016Spain v Turkey3-0WIN
Rioja, chorizo in red wine, Patatas Bravas, and Fabada Asturiana
This was an excellent meal. Rioja and chorizo in red wine (fry with a shallot, chuck in red wine, some vinegar and a small bit of sugar) first, then nibbled on Patatas Bravas until the Fabada Asturiana was done.
Thursday 16 June 2016Ukraine v Northern Ireland0-2WIN
Irish stew, oaten honeycomb
Another double-disher... one more successful than the other I'd say.
To start, we have irish stew. I pretty much followed this recipe (forgot the parsley at the end but it didn't need it with all the thyme), completely contradicting what this one says about being "thick and creamy, not swimming in juice". I disagree - you try eating all of these hearty meals in summer without trying to make them a bit lighter! I really enjoyed the light, flavourful lamby juices - I added a single stock cube but cooked the bones quite a lot and reduced it heavily at the end so it took on a really lovely meaty taste. A success.
Whilst this was boiling down, I also made an 'oaten honeycomb'. I'm a bit of a pudding fiend, so was looking forward to this, however it all got a bit suspicious when prior to putting in the eggs it was pretty much exactly how I'd have some porridge. Post-eggs it looked like more fluffy porridge, and surprise, surprise, after steaming for a couple of hours it came out like set porridge. "...an unusual steamed pudding" states the recipe... yeah... it's just not as good as a proper pudding. It's porridge. However, as I mention on Instagram, I chucked a load of my favourite maple golden syrup on it and ate it anyway.
Wednesday 15 June 2016Romania v Switzerland1-1DRAW
Sarmale with mămăligă
Getting to the point where I could really just go for a salad now, however tonight's meal wasn't too unhealthy in the scheme of things.
Today we have Sarmale - cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice - which are apparently very traditional and seemed to be served on all kinds of special occasions, including at Christmas. It was accompanied by a mămăligă substitute, polenta, which is apparently extremely similar but not exactly the same.
As usual I only loosely followed the recipes, and ended up with something between this, this and this. I added more tomato puree, some of a stock cube, and a dash of worcestershire sauce to my filling, and pre-cooked the mince and rice to save some time. I had meant to include some of my leftover sauerkraut from the other day, but forgot. I also didn't completely submerge the parcels in liquid (I used some vegetable stock) because I wasn't sure how well they'd hold together, but probably would next time. This was tasty, and I'd have it again.
Tuesday 14 June 2016Austria v Hungary0-2WIN
Paprikás csirke and nokedli
A pretty straightforward meal, this one. Paprika chicken on the bone with little noodle dumplings, bread for dipping, and some parsley and sour cream to serve. The only point of note is to push the dough through a large cheese grater over the pan of water - last year we made Spätzle by hand without this and it took a lot longer!
Monday 13 June 2016Ireland v Sweden1-1DRAW
Laxpudding, with a cucumber/red onion/lime salad, and a few bonus marinated anchovies that were bought as a snack. If we'd had more time we would have done pressgurka, but thought that the lime in this quick version that we do sometimes would go nicely, which it did. Apparently laxpudding is often served in a sea of butter, but given the two rather less healthy meals lately we thought we'd leave that out!
Sunday 12 June 2016Poland v Northern Ireland1-0WIN
Pierogi, barszcz, sauerkraut, and garlic/blue cheese spinach (+Tyskie +Paluszki +Cherrissimo)
Day 3. It's a Sunday, and we're rapidly picking up some (probably unsustainable) steam. As you can tell from the over-abundance of photos, I went a bit overboard today after a couple of recent visits to Poland.
For the pierogi dough I used a mix of this recipe and this one. The main debate seems to be around the use of egg and sour cream. As I learnt that UK sour cream isn't the same as Polish, I went for an egg yolk and some white, plus I made sure that I used hot water. Filling-wise, I had some Krakowska dry sausage that I'd brought back from Warsaw, plus one leftover Kabanosy. These went in a pan with some butter, shallots, garlic, bacon, a small bit of leftover chicken, and whilst frying I splashed in some beer.
Barszcz recipes appear to be even more varied. I started off using The Guardian's 'perfect' recipe as a basis, but I halved quantities, left out the potato and cabbage, added more vinegar and beetroot, and decided to strain out all of the bits of vegetable before serving with some grated beetroot added back in.
Everything was accompanied with sour cream, sauerkraut, and a garlic/blue cheese spinach because I'd had some in Warsaw recently and it was filthy tasting and brilliant.
Saturday 11 June 2016England v Russia1-1DRAW
Steak, ale and stilton pie, mash, sticky toffee pudding, local Suffolk beer
Ok, we're back on track. Phew. A very English dinner on a rainy English day.
Beef brisket was diced, dredged in flour, fried off, then slow cooked for hours with red onion, garlic, celery and carrots, tomato puree, bovril, and 1.5 bottles of Old Tom beer. Finished off with some stilton, topped with puff pastry to bake, and served with mustard mash and gravy.
Friday 10 June 2016France v Romania2-1WIN
An exceedingly poor start, the honest truth is that we completely forgot when buying food for the evening despite having planned to do something French. Luckily there was some French wine in the house so all was not lost at the first hurdle. F-. Will do better.