The European GP – Interesting food courtesy of “On a Stick” and a boring race!

This weekend was the European GP at Valencia.  It was also my first GP in my new flat!  It’s so good to have all my cooking equipment again!  The European grand prix is unusual in that it travels around but we are part way through Valencia’s 7 year term for hosting it.  Rather than try and create one dish which summed up European cuisine, I decided to make several from different countries.

Not long after arriving abroad I received a copy of the cookbook “On a Stick”, by Matt Armendariz, which contains 80 different recipes each involving, as you may have guessed, food on a stick.  The book is split into two sections, savoury and sweet, and contains recipes from all around the world.  I picked a few European ones to make.

The dishes I decided to cook were: Souvlaki, Pinchos de Gambas, Suppli and Sangria Pops.  2 Spanish, 1 Italian and 1 Greek – Not quite the European Song Contest but a fair spread I think.

My on a stick fare

On a stick food served up

The first thing I needed to get one with was my Sangria pops as these would need several hours to freeze.  The book gives recipes for both red and white Sangria pops, but I decided to just go for the red.

Ingredients for Sangria on a stick!

I cut up some melon, lime and grapes and placed them into small (rather unlollyish) plastic tubs.  I then poured over a mixture of red wine, orange juice and sugar.  To finish them off they needed a stick. However I had not been able to find lollypop sticks in the shop and so resorted to plastic spoons placed in at jaunty angles.  I hope Matt will forgive me for this transgression.    The whole lot then went into the freezer.

Making the Sangria Pops

We ate these later on after everything else.  They may have looked a little unusual due to my choice of equipment, but they tasted great.  By this point we had eaten quite a lot, however the sangria pops were light and not overly sweet – just very refreshing.

The next thing I had to start preparing was my Suppli which are Italian fried risotto balls.

Ingredients for making Suppli

To make these I started by cooking a basic chicken stock risotto.  This then went into the fridge for a couple of hours to chill and set.  Once it was cold and hard I could handle the risotto and start to make the balls in a very similar fashion to making scotch eggs, gently easing the rice around the filling. The filling recommended was just mozzarella cheese, however I added some sundried tomato paste to jazz them up a little.

I had used up all the risotto I had 11 balls.  These were then floured, egged and bread crumbed (well crumbled brioche toast again!) before being deep fried for a couple of minutes.

Making the Suppli

Off all the dishes I cooked these were my least favourite.  There was nothing overly wrong with them, and I think if I had had them by themselves I would have thought they were okay. But in comparison to the other dishes they tasted quite bland and they really needed some extra flavour as what was there was very mild.

The third dish I started to prepare was the souvlaki.  The recipe called for lamb, however I had to settle for pork as that was all that was available.  They still tasted great though.

The ingredients for Souvlaki

The pork was cubed and, together with some tomato halves, marinated in oregano, thyme, lemon, garlic and shallot.  I also made a sauce to go with the dish consisting of Greek yoghurt, mint, lemon, cumin, honey and paprika.

Making the Souvlaki

When the pork was sufficiently marinated it went onto the skewers and then into the griddle pan.  The meat took about 5/6 minutes to cook and was very moist.  I served the meat off the skewers in wraps topped with the sauce, a bit like a kebab or gyros.  The flavours worked well despite the change of meat and the sauce was delicious.  I think with some more vegetables or maybe some lettuce this would be a great lunch or evening meal.

The final dish I cooked was my Pinchos de Gambas, wonderful big juicy prawns coated in a sweet paprika marinade (sweet paprika, lime, cumin and garlic).  I added a little cayenne pepper to my marinade mike to give a little heat and this worked really well with the sweet smokiness of the Spanish paprika.  The prawns sat in the marinade for an hour or so before going onto the sticks.  The cooked in minutes and were extremely morish!

The ingredients for Pinchos de Gambas

Making the Pinchos de Gambas

“On a Stick” is a really interesting book, and there is a lot in there that I still want to try.  It’s a good range from the usual stick fare of corn dogs and chicken satay through to the slightly wacky fish and chips or spaghetti and meatballs on a stick.  Matt is clearly a person who has a passion and it shows through.  Personally I feel that the savoury section is a lot stronger than the sweet, there was far more that caught my eye.  I did find some of the recipes a little lazy as well such as the cinnamon rolls which involves putting ready to bake cinnamon rolls on a stick, however others were a lot more complex with everything being made from scratch.

The race itself was very boring.  Vettel won again and other than that not much happened.  The most exciting part of the race was when four cars had a scrap over 13th place, but that didn’t last for long.  All in all I’m glad I had some food to distract me!

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2 Responses to “The European GP – Interesting food courtesy of “On a Stick” and a boring race!”

  1. Corina Says:

    I love the sound of the souvlaki and risotto balls, but maybe with a strong spicy sauce with them.

  2. Janice Says:

    That looks like a lot of fun.

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