Whilst watching the Spain vs Portgual match at a friends house on Wednesday night, we were discussing the ideal circumstances in which to view important matches.
At home could always be a risk, if you’re by yourself and it’s an epic game you don’t have anyone to share the highs and lows with, to listen to your comments or argue over a particular players form.
Watching in Public can be a dangerous decision if you care about the outcome of a match. Sometimes it can be fantastic, there are no worries over unshared emotions, but then that’s also the problem, you have to put up with other peoples inane comments, unnecessary chanting, lack of space, expensive food and drinks and worst of all no comfy chair on which to lay your behind.
So where does that leave us? Well undoubtedly the perfect place to watch a European final has got to be at home with your friends.
I realised the way I have started this blog might come as a bit of a shock to some of my readers – European Football finals and female food blogs don’t tend to go together, but here is the awesome part, it doesn’t matter because stereotypes are often wrong. For the most part I really enjoy watching football (if it’s a good game or an important match), especially having spent the fair amount of the last decade hanging out with Monsieur From Scratch who is ‘fairly’ passionate about most sports. I have grown to find my own pleasure in watching sports matches. The real clincher though, I live in a house with two men, and have quite a few male friends so I have little choice over the matter if I want to be sociable on Sunday.
This is the secret then, even if you don’t love football and don’t really care about the match, having a Euro gathering is a great way to see your friends, eat some delicious food and have a bit of a chat. So whilst they think it’s all about the football – and of course it is (wink wink, nudge nudge… you see what I am getting at here), you have the joy of putting something great together for your friends and eating some yummy food . Win – Win – Win (very unlike England – cheap, but necessary shot!)
Now we have dealt with the elephant in the room let’s get down to the details. Here is my vision for the night.
For me it’s all about lots of colour, maybe have some flags, patterned plates, bright straws and lots of fairy lights.
Old Football posters from previous tournaments will make great decorations for the walls and maybe start some reminiscent conversations about great tournaments of the past.
Fancy making some new coasters to avoid beer stained rings marking your tables? Why not get your hands on some old football cards, laminate them and hey presto problem solved. In addition you can use these to play some old fashioned top trumps during half time. Hristo Stoichkov, ’94 Golden Boot winner, makes a particularly good table protector.
One thing to note: Always remember whatever you do the football needs to take pride of place so for once your TV is supposed to be at the centre of this social event, don’t try and change this, it is meant to be! Just enjoy the fact that if your decorations go a bit wrong no one will notice!
Food – now here we get to the good stuff!
I think snacks are always the way to go, people don’t really want to bother with big meals, knives and forks and general paraphernalia. Also whilst you may need to get the hoover out snacks tend to mean you don’t get rogue sauce splodges littering your carpet.
My Menu for the evening
- Chilli and Garlic Edamame Beans – Simple, delicious and almost healthy
- Red Pepper Hummus and Crudités – A nice twist on a classic ( again, nearly healthy)
- Chilli and Lime Popcorn – a slightly more interesting alternative to crisps
- Toffee Popcorn – For me ( I will share but – the only reason I am making it is because I like it)
- Homemade chips served in cones – Having a cone makes it feel that little bit special and means you don’t have to worry about even portions
- Pizza bread covered in Mediterranean vegetables, garlic and basil – This is one of those lovely ‘shove nice things all on one plate and enjoy’ dishes. It also adds some substance to your snacking
Then Drinks – as a non drinker I will probably prep the house with some beers but other than that the focus is always on my non alcoholic delicious concoctions
So for this event I am going to go with my current favourite Limeade with Mint. Like a mojito but better!
Chilli and Garlic Edamame Beans
Red Pepper Hummus and Crudités
400g Chick Peas ( either in a tin or soaked in water then drained)
2 cloves Garlic
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
drizzle of olive oil
- Place chick peas, garlic, lemon juice and red pepper in a food processor and blitz
- Look at the constancy, then if desired add a drizzle of olive oil whislt processor is still turn until you reach your desired constancy ( the red pepper can make this quite watery so you shouldn’t need a lot of oil)
- Remove and place in a bowl, Chop up your crudités and serve
Chilli and Lime Popcorn
1/4 bag of Popping Corn (sorry I can’t be exact, I didn’t measure and the bag is now in the bin!)
1 1/2 tsp Cayene Chilli Powder
1 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
Salt to taste
Zest 1 Lime
2 Lime wedges
- If you have microwave you can pop the corn following the packet instructions, if you don’t like me heat a pan on the hob and place 4 tbsp of oil in
- Place 4 piece of corn in and place a sieve over the top of your pan, heat the pan until all the pop corn pops
- Remove the Pan from the heat and pour the rest of your corn in, swirl around for 30 seconds and then place back on the heat
- The popcorn should then start to pop fairly soon,swirl the pan occasionally and until the popping dies down, remove from the heat
- Meanwhile in a bowl place the cayenne chilli powder, ground cumin and lime zest in a bowl, when the popcorn is ready place in the bowl, grind over some salt, and swirl around to mix the spices in
- Drizzle some lime juice over and serve with another wedge of lime
225g Soft Brown Sugar
4tbsp Golden Syrup
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Pop the same way as you did for Chilli and Lime popcorn but when all is popped place in a greaseproof paper lined baking tray
- Preheat oven to 120C
- In a pan melt butter, then add sugar, golden syrup and salt, heat until it reaches the boil stirring continuously
- Once it has reached the boil leave for 4 mins to boil without stirring
- Remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate soda and vanilla extract
- Pour over the popcorn in baking tray and stir so all the popcorn is covered
- Place in the oven and bake for 40 mins, stirring every 15 mins
- Then remove from oven and leave to cool, once cooled you can break it up and serve in a bowl
Homemade chips served in cones
5 Potatoes ( or roughly one per person)
4 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Peel and chop potatoes into batons
- Par boil for 5 mins
- Preheat oven to 180C, place a baking tray inside with Olive Oil in
- Drain Potatoes and transfer to baking tray ( they should sizzle as they hit the pan)
- Season with salt and Pepper and then bake for 35-40 mins, tossing them occasionally
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper
- Serve in colourful cones!
Pizza bread covered in Mediterranean vegetables, garlic and basil
500g White Bread Flour
1/2 tbsp Salt
1 packet Dried Yeast
1/2 tbsp Caster Sugar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
320ml Luke Warm Water
1 Yellow Pepper
Handful of Baby tomatoes
1/2 Courgette julienned
Handful of Basil
1/2 Red Pepper
1 Clove Garlic
Sprinkle of Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil to Drizzle
- For the dough, place flour and salt, sugar, yeast ( being careful to place in a different part of bowl to sugar and salt) and olive oil into a bowl/ food processor
- If working in a bowl make a well in the centre and slowly pour the water in. If working in food processor turn mixer on and slowly pour water in , mix until you have a dough
- Remove from bowl, place the dough on a floured work surface and knead for 10 mins until smooth. (the dough should spring back when pressed in by a finger)
- Place in a oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size ( about an hour)
- Once it has doubled knock back the dough and split into two balls. You can either use both now or wrap one in cling film and place in the freezer to use at a later date
- Roll out your dough ball on a flour surface until its slightly less than a centre meter thick
- Place on an oiled baking sheet ( leave for about 15 mins)
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Chop up all of the vegetables and herbs for the topping and place on the dough, drizzle some olive oil and season with salt and pepper
- Place in the oven and cook for approx 25 mins ( do check back after about 15 as the pizza might need turning, need more oil or even be ready)
- Remove from the oven, cut into pieces and serve
Limeade with Mint
8-10 tbsp Sugar ( this really depends on how sweet you like your drinks)
6 Glasses worth Cold Water
5 Sprigs of Mint
Method ( it’s best to make this recipe a bit earlier on in the day and leave it covered in the fridge so the mint can really work its flavour magic)