Recipes - Eating your way through the World Cup, Melissa Rees

PUBLISHED: 12:07 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:14 20 February 2013



Melissa Rees may not know one end of a football pitch from another but when it comes to serving up delicious dishes for World Cup football fans she's got the best recipes, and she's sharing them with us!

Serves 4
I thick slice of white bread
250ml ml milk
2 eggs
1 onion chopped
1 apple chopped
30 g butter
1 tbsp mild curry powder
450 g lamb mince
1 tbsp mango chutney
15 g slivered or flaked almonds
A handful of raisins and chopped
dried apricots
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper

Put bread to soak in milk.
Grease an ovenproof dish and set the oven to 180C.
Brown the mince in a pan.
Gently fry the onion and apple in butter. n Add curry powder.
Mix the meat with onion, apple,
raisins and almonds. Add lemon juice and seasoning.
Squeeze bread and add bread to mixture.
Put in dish and bake for 10 minutes.
Mix milk with eggs. Season and pour on top of mixture and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve with rice and a chunk of bread to push with.

It probably gives you an idea of my footballing knowledge to tell you that when my editor asked me to put together an article on food for the World Cup my mind went into a white spin. Luckily she began to talk about football before I said something completely stupid like, I thought it wasnt until 2012.
Once I had established what sporting event we were discussing I felt I should be equal to the task. After all, I was born in 1966 and even I know what happened that year. Then of course there was 1982. I had no choice other than to watch it because I was staying with a family in France and the teenage boys (there were four of them and I was in love with two) spent the whole fortnight of my stay glued to the box shouting abuse at the Italians and Germans. To relieve my boredom and frustration I developed a guilty habit of going on daily trips to the patisserie and as a result put on half a stone. Whats more my parents invited the wrong brother back to stay. Zut alors!
I dont remember 1986 but the World Cup in 1990 stands out because of the Cameroonians doing their cute dance. I was living with friends in London and we did a lot more smoking and drinking than eating that summer. By 1994 I had found a man who hated football. Reader, I married him.
This year my sport-phobic, but well-informed, husband tells me that the venue for the World Cup is South Africa. I am very pleased about this as it gives me a golden opportunity to sing the praises of Bobotie. If you dont already know, this fantastically tasty dish is a Durban delight of lamb, apricots, almonds and spices with a soft top and a liking for sitting happily in an oven for hours. These qualities make Bobotie ideal World Cup fodder, as after my French experiences, I know that to try to interrupt viewing during play will at best be met with stony silence. Much better to wait for your moment before sticking a plate under a nose and with this dish they can shovel it in with a fork. They will barely need to chew for heavens sake.
So apart from authentic South African dishes what else would go down well? Although I am writing this before the first players have touched down at the airport let alone kicked off, history tells me it might not be a good idea to serve anything Italian or German or Latin American for that matter. Best to keep things English for once and what could be more English than kedgeree? I dont mean the hot number but I am thinking of a chilled version. Although creamy, the end result is light and summery. This makes it ideal eating for a hot World Cup evening with a bottle of cold lager or a large glass of Antipodean white.
If you really feel you want to offer something sweet (and who knows, the fans might just need cheering up) how about this idea? Make a tray of brownies or chocolate chip cookie in a big slab. Slice it down the middle cut it into rectangles. Slap two pieces together with a slice of vanilla ice-cream in the middle and keep in the freezer until you need them. I made these last year to sell at my local community shop in Wistanstow. I called them Smithy Slabs until my daughter, who is dyslexic went in and asked the elderly volunteer how much for a Smithy Slag? and the name rather stuck.
For an even easier English Pud, go to your local fruit farm and buy some strawberries or better still, raspberries. Buy a packet of meringues and a pot of organic double cream and serve Eton mess.
It is quite delicious, particularly if consumed on your own in the garden while everyone else sits in a dark, stuffy room watching a bunch of men kick a ball around.

Chilled Summer Kedgeree
This recipe works very well with left over scraps of salmon, trout or even smoked salmon if you happen to find yourself with some.
Serves 4
500g undyed smoked haddock
300g salmon
175g long-grain rice
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
A couple of handfuls of prawns
Juice and rind of a lemon
200ml single cream
A bunch of parsley, chopped
A small bunch of chives, snipped small
Salt and pepper

Cook the fish by pouring enough boiling water over it to cover and throw in a few parsley stalks and some peppercorns.
Simmer very gently for ten minutes and save the water for cooking the rice. Flake the fish into a bowl and leave to cool. If your prawns are raw rather than pre-cooked you can cook them for five minutes along with the fish then remove the shells when cool enough to handle.
Cook the rice using 600ml of fish water, adding more if necessary. Cool it quickly so as not to let it overcook. Mix together with all the other ingredients and chill.

Eton Mess
Serves 4
300ml double cream
200ml crme fraiche
4 to 6 meringues, crumbled
450g raspberries or strawberries
Caster sugar to taste

Scatter a little caster sugar over the fruit and let it steep for an hour or two. If you are using strawberries then chop them up a bit, keeping a few whole for decoration.Take about a third of the fruit and much it to a pulp and put a good dollop into the bottom of a glass.
Whip the cream and crme fraiche until floppy and fold in some crushed meringue. Lightly fold in the remaining fruit, pile it into the glass and scatter a few berries on the top. Eat as soon as possible.
If you happen to have some dessert wine, framboise or similar you could add this to the fruit pulp at the bottom of the glass for an even more decadent treat.

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