There used to be a time in Australia when we used to ask people "did you watch Eurovision" and they didn't know what the hell we were talking about. Times have changed. These days we also make sure not to watch any commercial TV or listen to the radio on the day because the results are announced the minute they find out from Europe. So as not to spoil our "tradition" we stay away from it all.
I learned the hard way when two years ago I heard that Serbia had taken it out that year before it was televised. I put up a brave face going along with our usual antics throughout the song contest knowing the winner the whole time. Fortunately the others didn't know. The sting was particularly bad for me given my Balkan roots and the absolute joy I would have felt with the narrow win as Ukraine and Serbia battled it out for first place. Thank you Channel seven news, I have not forgiven you and I never will!
Last night I chose Germany to win (what the hell was I thinking), Mitch and Nikka chose Ukraine and Issy chose Portugal. Norway was for all of us in the top five but there you go, they took it out. Alexander (the guy from Norway) was as cute as a button; he reminded me of a little creature from the woodlands; big bright eyes; gorgeous features and he moved with such agility. Not sure about Issy but none of us begrudge him for the win. Well done Norway.
Upon reflection I wish I had gone with the acts that touched me the most and quite frankly they were firstly Russia (so powerful), Denmark (a bit cheesy but really catchy) then Iceland.
Nikka really liked Estonia, (the leading girl had the most exquisite face I have ever seen), and hubby and Issy also really like Bosnia. Mitch chose Norway for second followed by Deutschland, Bosnia and Iceland. There you have it. Our Eurovision analysis for 2009. See you in Oslo.
For my menu today I have chosen a little mixture from Europe. Since I really, really, really liked Russia I decided to use a very popular ingredient in their homeland and that is beetroot. Also one of my favourite veggies. Toss in a little yoghurt and mint and you add some Turkish and Greek. A splash of balsamic vinegar (where the hell were the Italians) and some continental parsley and olive oil and you virtually encapsulate the entire Mediterranean. Pita bread reflects much of the middle east and dukkah from Egypt (let's just pretend they were there, okay).
Beetroot Dip with Dukkah Coated Pita Crisps
150gm roasted beetroot
1 clove garlic, crushed
1tbsp chopped continental parsley
1tsp chopped mint
2tsp extra virgin olive oil
1tsp balsamic vinegar
2 heaped tbsps thick Greek style yoghurt
cracked pepper & sea salt
Coarsely grate the beetroot; place in bowl with garlic, parsley, mint, olive oil & vinegar. Mix thoroughly.
Stir through yoghurt & season to taste.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow flavours to meld.
Brush pita bread lightly with olive oil; scatter generously with dukkah.
Cut the pita into wedges; bake in a preheated oven for only about 10 minutes. Watch closely as it does not take too long to brown. Excess pita crisps keep really well stored in an airtight container.
Grab your favourite vino and "Salute" to Eurovision!