Eat Your Way Around Euro 2012

So Euro 2012 has kicked off, with games clogging up the airways for the next few weeks. And whilst football may not be my favourite thing in the world, food definitely is. Trying the food and drink of other countries is a great way to get a flavour (pun intended) of the place, and any excuse to try a new recipe, right? You can try and make all of these yourself, but equally fun is throwing a Euro 2012 party and enlisting fifteen friends (and you!) to make something from each country to share, enjoy and discover. Here are a few recipes that I have dug up from the cupboards of the Internet to get you started:

Being English, I know how often we are mocked for our rather bland cuisine. However, there is so much choice for good English goodies to enjoy during the competition (is that even the right word for such a thing? Tournament?). Fish and chips. A proper fried breakfast. Spongy puddings soaked in syrup and covered in custard. But, for a party you can’t beat a mini toad in the hole served with a caramelised onion chutney. Ah.mah.zing.

For France, there can only be one option. Baked Camembert. The king of the cheeses. Delicious, melty goodness with crusty bread and red grapes to cut through the goopiness and give a burst of flavour. Lorraine Pascale has a good recipe for baked Camembert and roasted garlic which I would definitely recommend.

At work each table is taking on one Euro 2012 team to support, and our team is Portugal. I don’t know that much about the team, but I do know that I love Nandos! And even more than that, I know that I have always wanted to try their little custard tarts but am always too full from chicken and halloumi to give it a go. So I’m making my own using this recipe from BBC Good Food for Pasteis de Nata to take to work on Friday. Don’t they look delicious? Jamie Oliver has a version that is super easy as well!

You think Spain, you think tapas right? There are far too many options for delicious tapas than I can list here and I’m sure that you already have your favourites. But Delia’s Half Time Tapas combines all of my favourite things – prawns, cheese, garlic, fancy ham and crusty bread!

Russia is of course renowned for it’s love of vodka, of course. And you have plenty of options there! Whilst it’s not technically food, a White (or Black) Russian is a brilliant way to get the party going! Either that, or you can try your hand at a Stroganoff.

I’ve been meaning to try this recipe inspired by Republic of Ireland for a long time, because  how delicious does this chocolate Guinness cake sound? The Guinness is supposed to make the cake dense and delicious, with the slight bitterness off set by the creamy icing. Rather than making a whole cake, you can divide the mixture into 24 cupcake cases for easier sharing – perfect for your Euro 2012 party. And if you’re still in the party spirit, you can try making Baby Guinnesses too!

You are once again spoilt for choice if you look to Greece for inspiration. Moussaka, Greek yoghurt and honey, halloumi (my favourite!), anything with feta and olives in, Greek salad (of course!). If you’re having a party, why not try making your own hummus? A few crudites and some warm pittas, your guests will not be disappointed! (although you can find delicious flavours in the shop if you’re too busy quaffing beers in front of the game!)

This adorable blog full of recipes from the Czech Republic recommends Palacinka (a Czech Crepes Suzette) which I’m sure would go down well, and because I can’t resist anything that says Fried Cheese on it, I would love for someone to make me some Syr Smezany!

I’m hoping to go to Croatia for my holidays, and I’d certainly be pleased if I encountered some Krafne (Croatian doughnuts) on my travels. These black pepper cookies sound interesting too.

When it comes to German cuisine, sausages are often the order of the day (cue jokes about Bratwurst!) But, why not try making your own pretzels? Warm and dusted with cinammon, or cold and flavoured with rosemary and sea salt. The possibilities, as they say, are endless. (Plus, dipping sauces!)

In order to honour our hosts, Ukraine why not give these bublyky (bagels) a go? Making your own bread makes the house smell amazing and is super satisfying. These potato varenyky would be great finger food for a party, too. And if you’re looking for something sweet, this Ukrainian Royal Torte is perfect,

I’ve been wanting to go the Netherlands for a long time, and even more so now I’ve seen lots of recipe for apple cake! But, if you want something traditionally Dutch, why not try Oliebollen doughnuts? Or maybe a cheeky brownie!

These Rogale Marcinskie (St Martin’s Day croissants) are actually more like sweet bread, and seem a perfect way to celebrate Poland, our other hosts. If you fancy something a little more savoury, these potato pancakes can be eaten with a range of dips, and Nigel Slater recommends these Polish cornish-pasty style treats, Sauerkraut and Mushroom Pierogi.

Denmark is the home of Danish bacon – and although I am not a fan of bacon (I know, shock horror!) I’m sure you all already have your own favourite bacon recipes (vegetarians notwithstanding) so if you are feeling adventurous, you can try out making your own Danish pastries as well.

When we get to Italy, we are once again drowning in choice. It’s my favourite cuisine, with pasta and pizza, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, lemon, mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh fish abounding in endless flavour combinations. If you’re entertaining, try a simple bruschetta? Chop up tomotoes, garlic and basil and mix with olive oil, and place on some little toasted slices of baguette. Beautiful. Alternatively, you can buy out the deli counter of your local supermarket (or deli!) and make anti pasti to die for. Or, of course, you can always go for some creamy gelato…

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about Sweden! Meatballs is what springs to mind immediately but why not give Kanelbullar, Swedish cinnamon rolls a go? If you haven’t already stuffed yourself full with Danishes that is! And if you’re feeling merry, give Glogg a go!

So many of these countries celebrate beautiful meat and fish in their cuisine, so I’m sure you can find something that you want to eat! And if that’s not enough for you, why not check out Food Down Under, a site dedicated to recipes from all around the world.

Have you ever tried any of these recipes? What are your favourites to celebrate the Euro 2012 with? 

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