Europe, are you ready to party?!
We know that all of you are not going to be in Stockholm for this year’s Eurovision and that many of you will be going to Eurovision Parties. If you’re anything like me you will have been to many Eurovision parties over the years and will have had to bring a dish from your favourite/nominated/designated country. If that’s the case for you this year, then look no further, every Friday we’ve got you covered with some party recipes from across the continent and because you enjoyed my Christmas wine article, some more drinks choices too…
This week: Central Europe
I am so very fortunate to have a very talented chef in my brother, he lives and works in a gorgeous little restaurant in Prague, so I asked him for a typical Czech dish that would be good for Eurovision Parties. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the ultimate Czech style potato pancake…
6 large potatoes, pealed
5 cloves of garlic, grated
1/4 cup of milk (warmed)
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 Tsp of dried marjoram
4 rashers of bacon, chopped and fried
pinch of salt and pepper
about 4 Tbs of oil
Here’s a bit of Czech rock from 2007 while you cook…
Grate the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the milk, garlic, egg, salt and pepper, marjoram and mix it all together. Gradually mix in the flour and lastly the fried bacon pieces, make sure everything is well combined. Ladle a portion of the mix onto a hot and well-oiled frying pan, you can decide the thickness and size of the pancakes depending on how you like them! Fry each side of the pancake until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Serve with ketchup or mayonnaise to dip.
Are you feeling brave? Black Absinth from Czech republic is amazing (if you like that sort of thing!) It contains wormwood and is essentially a poison with a high alcohol content! When diluted in water with a touch of sugar though it’s absolutely wonderful stuff. People have long associated Absinthe – note the ‘e’ in the French spelling – with Paris, but the Czech’s have there own style of Absinth, and there’s a brand called Euphoria, very Eurovision!
If you think Paris is the place to go for chic cafe’s and beautiful patisserie then you just have to go to Vienna where the streets are lined with amazing coffee houses and bakeries that put Paris to shame. Vienna’s most famous cake is the Sachertorte, I came up with a ‘cupcake’ version, great for Eurovision parties (well any party really!)
140g/5oz plain chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
115g/4oz caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
5 free-range eggs, separated
85g/3oz ground almonds
55g/2oz plain flour, sieved
6 tbsp apricot jam
140g/5oz plain chocolate
200ml/7fl oz double cream
And while you cook, here is Austria’s Trackshittaz from 2012, complete with pole dancers!
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place large cupcake cases into a 12 hole tray.
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until really soft, light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and the vanilla extract and keep beating. Add the egg yolks, then fold in the ground almonds and flour. The mixture should be quite thick and slightly hard to mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Add about a third of the egg white to the chocolate mixture and stir in vigorously. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Divide the mixture into the cases, making sure they are at least 2/3 full.
Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until well risen and the cake springs back when pressed gently with your finger. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack.
When the cakes are cool heat the apricot jam in a small pan and then put a teaspoon full on the top of each cupcake. Leave to cool. While the jam is cooling break the chocolate into pieces and place is a large bowl. Heat the cream until piping hot, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then cool till it’s the consistency of buttercream. Pipe (or spoon) a large twist of chocolate icing on the top, and decorate howe
Austria is a serious player in the wine industry, it’s very own grape is Grüner Veltliner, trust me if you like crisp, fresh white wine you need to start looking out for Austrian Grüner!
I love the food of this region, to be honest I’ve been looking forward to putting these recipes together for you more than any! Here’s a great little party dish from Bavaria – it’s designed for a slow cooker, but if you don’t have one then just pop it in the oven on a very low heat for 4 hours.
12 fluid ounces tomato-based chili sauce
1 (16 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
27 ounce jar sauerkraut, undrained
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup packed brown sugar
1lb package frozen meatballs (or make your own if you’re feeling creative!)
Here’s Germany’s Ann Sophie with Black Smoke from 2015 – hoping you don’t have black smoke in your kitchen at any point!
In a mixing bowl, combine chili sauce, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, pineapple juice, and brown sugar. Mix well. Pour sauce and meatballs in a slow cooker (or into a deep roasting pan for the oven) and give it a stir to make sure all the meatballs are covered. Cook, covered, at a medium temperature for 4 hours. Stir occasionally to coat meatballs.
Picture is from allrecipes.com, I’ve made them a tonne of times but never photographed them!
Wine or beer, when it comes to Germany it’s hard to choose, but being a wine bod I’m going down that road. Now the thing with Germany is you tend to only be able to buy the best German affordable wine in Germany, so if’ you’re there visiting stock up. Look for Riesling from the Rhine region or for an earthy red look for the word Spätburgunder (which means late Burgundian i.e. Pinot Noir).
Let us know if you make any of these dishes and share some of your Eurovision party favourites with us in the comments section. Next week, it’s Europe’s Eastern Frontier…
Author (and Chef!): Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland