May 18, 2009

Eurovision Night

Well it's come again that crazy time that we know and love as "Eurovision". It hits you like a cyclone and then it's over leaving us to reflect and lick our wounds as none of us (yet again) have chosen the winner. But the usual anticipation, the dissection of each and every act and then our marking from first to fifth before the voting results commence. It's been a tradition of ours ever since the kids have been able to talk and hold a pen. For me it's been a tradition ever since SBS began to telecast the event back in the seventies. We love it.

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!


    1. Hi. I just found your blog while trolling through some sites to find a jam recipe. I was looking for pie melon jam but when I read your post for Lilly Pilly jam.....I was sold. I went out in the rain today to pick the Lilly Pillys and they are in the pan now. Except of course I had to revisit your blog to get the recipe and have now spent ages reading it way back to the beginning. I love some of your recipes.I will definately visit again, Thankyou Well done. Linda

    2. Linda - welcome to another fellow aussie. I am delighted you found my little blog. And even more delighted to hear you are making Lilly Pilly jelly. Good Luck. I believe there are different varieties but I am guessing that yours are pink like the ones I used. I also used a Meyer lemon from our tree and if it is slightly under ripe then you will get a much better pectin to help with the jelling process.

      Gosh I'm excited now and I can't wait to hear how you go.

    3. Your post really made me smile! I love beetroot too, though Sean hates it so it's a bit of a solitary pleasure. I like the idea of scattering the pita with dukkha, so simple and tasty. In summer I sprinkle dukkha over sardines I'm roasting on the grill (I put in a bit in the cavity too) and they taste so good with a squeeze or two of lemon. Mmmm.

    4. Thank you Mariana.....the Lilly Pilly Jam was a great success. So tart and tangy. I love it. I can just imagine it with scones and thick cream. mmmm. I am new to blogging and have to work on the photos because none that I took did it justice. Yours truly did show the jewel like colour. It is sooooo pretty :-)

    5. I would like to say I will be making the beetroot set my tastebuds dancing just reading the recipe!! Thankyou my friend for another gem!

    6. Linda I was so very thrilled to hear the results. Really, truly just thrilled. The whole process took quite a bit of effort so good on you for giving it a go and reaping the rewards. I find things taste that bit better when you pour yourself into it, if you know what I mean.
      Don't worry about the photos; everyone has to start somewhere. When I began my blog I didn't even know how to post a photo and I'm certainly no photographer. But it's fun learning.

      Debora we have something in common - my hubby hates beetroot too so I can well and truly relate to not being able to share the pleasure. Having said that he is more than happy to grow it for me! Can't complain about that. I couldn't help notice how you spell "dukkha". In Australia all the recipes and even the product are spelt as "dukkah". I'm curious about that.

      Hey Gayle - glad I managed to get your tastebuds dancing. And the good news is, you can eat all you like. It is so healthy and easy on the waistline.

    7. I love beets, too, and just made an armenian salad with beets and carrots that I'm going to post. I will have to try your dip as I particularly like them roasted.

    8. Mariana - I've seen dukkah/dukkha spelled both ways here in England. I think it depends how you choose to translate the Arabic characters into English. What I know for certain is that it's unequivocally delicious!

    9. Thanks Debora - I was beginning to think we got it wrong over here in Australia.