Eurovision is a ritualistic time for me. My most important ritual is obviously food related. Every year I make three elaborate meals, one for each night of Eurovision. For the two semi-finals, I pick a country that’s competing that night and make food from that country. For the final, I always cook food from the host nation. Why do I do this? Bad question. Is it a great thing to do? Sure is!
Semi-final 1 – Czech Republic
I chose the Czech Republic for my first cooking adventure because hands down my favourite song this year is the Czech Republic’s entry ‘Lie to Me’ by Mikolas Josef. I have listened to this song approximately 50 times on repeat while writing this post. Here are some reasons why this is the best entry and it should definitely win (it won’t win):
- It is a delightfully stupid song with a lot of trumpet;
- The video clip has a magnificent camel in it for no reason;
- Not only does Mikolas wear a backpack during the performance, he seems to just wear a backpack all the time;
- During the first rehearsal he landed a backflip very badly and hurt himself quite a lot and almost had to withdraw so when anyone criticises him I just shout “HE HAS A BACK INJURY!” because he’s doing his best;
- I love him and won’t hear a word against him.
Anyway, here is what I cooked!
This is basically meatloaf. Which seemed like a bit of a cop out when I decided to make it because like… it’s just meatloaf. But ho boy do the Czech know how to make a meatloaf. This was honestly amazing. Meatloaf is often kinda dry and boring? But this was so moist and tasty and good.
I used this recipe which Google translated from Czech for me. But because the translation was pretty dodgy, I also referred to this recipe. I left out the onions because my housemate can’t eat onions. Also I’ve started buying streaky bacon since we got some accidentally delivered with our online shopping and it is very good.
There’s a couple of tricks with this I think. The herbs and salt are important (I used marjoram and oregano). Also the recipe says to mix it all together really well with your hands, so the meat sort of breaks down. This can tend to make the meat a bit dense but here it just made a really solid loaf of meat.
So with the eggs, it says to add one whole egg and a yolk, then reserve the white from the second egg. You brush the remaining white onto the formed loaf to kind of seal it? And also use it to glue on the bacon. This seemed sort of weird but it was magic. The bacon stuck perfectly and the combination of bacon and egg wash kept all the moisture in while it cooked which made this so juicy and good. I endorse this meatloaf.
These are basically potato croquettes? Or, in even simpler terms, they are fried balls of mashed potato. Again, I used a combination of an English recipe and one translated from Czech. Partly because the English recipe had something called Farina hot cereals and I couldn’t for the life of me work out what an Australian equivalent was.
They were pretty good. But are they good enough to justify the amount of work? Like… probably not. They’re fiddly and involve frying which I hate doing. What I would recommend however, is buying an op shop mouli for $2 and using it to mash your potatoes. This is the first time I’ve used mine and the mash it makes is next level. It’s actually infuriating because I do not have time to mouli potatoes whenever I want mash, honestly.
At the last minute I Googled recipes for cabbage because I had some cabbage. I used this recipe. Basically you braise the cabbage and then cook it slowly in stock/water. Very easy but game changing. I quite like cabbage but turns out I didn’t know anything about cabbage until I ate this. Very delicious and good cabbage. Excellent for when Woolies randomly sends you an extra cabbage and you don’t know what to do with it (true story).
You have to make this because it’s called a “bubble cake” which is delightful. I used this recipe because SBS Food recipes are very good. To make this cake you make a thick batter and then fold egg whites into it. It takes a little bit of care but it’s still very easy and the ingredients are super basic.
This was amazing. The cake is like a proper sponge – it’s so light and soft. But compared to the process of actually making a sponge this was so easy. I am terrible at making sponges – they always collapse because I am a terrible baker who guesses measurements and throws things together. I left this sitting on the bench for a couple of hours before cooking it and was like “oops might not be a good idea”. But it was fine! This cake is very patient and tolerant! Very good cake, A+.
How good is the Czech Republic! They make basic foods but do them really well! I hope they win at Eurovision (cannot stress enough – they for sure won’t win).