To celebrate Gay Christmas (i.e. Eurovision) we’ve decided to go all out and make a song and dance about it, if you’ll pardon the pun. For the week of Eurovision we will be bombarding you with posts celebrating European diversity and cuisine, as well as offering our own unique Eurovision recipes and European-inspired creations. In this post, we offer recipes for French Gougères, Spanish chorizo bites and British bread and butter pudding slices.
If you’re partaking in a bit of a euro-session next Saturday, or for either of the semi-finals on Tuesday and Thursday, then we have the perfect party food for you. Everything is finger food or hand-held sized and great for sharing if you’re having some friends over like we are.
Eurovision is a bit of a tradition amongst our group of friends and every year we congregate and celebrate the Eurovision final together. This year will be our first not living in Ireland, so to honour tradition a couple of friends from home are visiting this weekend and helping us to cheer on the various entrants into this year’s competition. It’s a bit of fun, a bit silly and well worth mindlessly getting into, if at least to watch while you’re tucking into the below grub.
First up, we’ve got little bite-size balls of deliciousness, these are called gougères. We got the recipe for these directly from Rachel Khoo, within her Little Paris Kitchen cookbook. Gougères are savoury choux buns, baked as pop-in-your-mouth sized pieces and flavoured with mature French cheese.
We made ours flavoured with Comté, which is one of our favourites from France, and we topped some with more cheese and others with poppy seeds. We had never made choux before, but after making it and realising how easy it is we can’t wait to make another batch – maybe next time we’ll try the more famous, sweetened versions of these, which are cutely called choucettes.
Rachel has some really useful tips for choux on her website, but doesn’t have the recipe online, if you’re lucky enough to own her book, the recipe is on p.87. If you don’t, David Lebovitz has a great recipe for them on his blog which makes a nice and even 30 little morsels.
Chorizo and Potato Bites
Next up is something just as moreish – chorizo and potato bites. We’re dashing down to Espana and celebrating one of the most obvious, but also most amazing, products Spain has given us – chorizo. These little bite-size chorizo and potato skewers are perfect finger food, and you can bet they are all equally packed with flavour. Chorizo is one of the few ingredients that even when cut in tiny pieces is still bursting with the flavours of chilli and garlic.
These really have to be served stabbed with mini skewers, cocktail sticks, or whatever you have handy, as the chorizo leaks it’s deliciously bright and golden oil when cooking, and may stain fingers when eating too, if gobbled by hand. Here’s how we done it. We cut the chorizo sausages into pound coin-sized rounds and fried them in a dry, hot pan, turning the heat down to medium-hot once the pan has been slicked with the chorizo juices.
Turn the rounds at least once, ensuring they get crispy and deepen in colour. Drain them on some kitchen paper, but reserve as much of the leached oil as possible, as you can then pan-fry the potato cubes (cut in a similar size) in it. When cooked through, you can then crispen them up in a piping hot oven if you wish, but try not to overcook as you don’t want the potato to fall apart, once pierced with the cocktail sticks. Serve hot or cold, and make sure you have at least three of four per person; these will go quickly!
We’re back in merry olde Englande and we’re celebrating the cup of tea and the comforting, nourishing and cheap as chips dessert – bread and butter pudding. The delicate vanilla custard is permeated with a backnote of earl grey and the slices make a great party food for any gathering, with a new and unique way to enjoy this iconic pudding. You can, of course, serve this in bowls with extra custard or cream if you wish.
Earl Grey Bread and Butter Slices
- 500ml milk
- 1.5 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 4 large egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 earl grey tea bags (we like both the Waitrose and M&S varieties)
- 1 whole sliced pan of crusty bread (best a day old and left out on the counter, we got ours in the reduced section of the supermarket too)
- lashings of butter
- 200-300g raisins (depending on taste)
1. Warm the milk, with the tea bags immersed, in a saucepan on a medium heat until steam begins to emerge and little bubbles appear on the bottom of the pan while stirring. Take the tea bags out at this point.
2. Meanwhile, soak the raisins. You can soak them in hot water, a little tipple of your choice or in some pre-made hot tea. If you prefer the taste of a less pungent and powerful tea, by all means change to your preferred brand/flavour.
3. Incorporate the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla in a pyrex bowl until gloopy and combined.
4. Acting quickly, vigorously stir the egg mixture as the hot milk is poured in. Once all in the same bowl, put the mixture quickly back in the pan, turning the heat down to low, and stir continuously with a wooden spoon for about three or four minutes, until the mixture has thickened and now comfortably coats the back of the spoon and a line can be drawn down the middle. Leave to cool slightly.
5. Slather the butter on the bread, choosing to do one side of each or both sides.
6. Cut the top and bottom crust off the slices of bread, leaving the crusts on the sides. Roughly tear up the cut crusts and put to one side – they will form the topping later.
7. Now form layers of bread in a deep baking or casserole dish (depending on what you have, the smaller and deeper the chunkier your slices will be, the more elongated and shallow the thinner your slices will be). Make sure to leave no gaps, especially on the bottom layer as you want slices to hold their own when cut. Sprinkle half of the raisins and pour over a third of the custard, repeat a bread layer, then strew the rest of the raisins, followed by another third of the custard. Finish on another layer of bread (if you have one), the rest of the custard and top with fistfuls of the torn crusts. Leave to absorb for at least twenty minutes, or as long as you can wait.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C S, sprinkle with some demerera or brown sugar and pop into an oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. It will come out golden and crispy on top.
9. Wait until completely cooled to cut into slices, and trust us this will taste better the day after, so by all means make this a day or day and a half in advance.
Check out lots more of our Eurovision recipe ideas here.