Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Unofficial World Cup of Food 2010 - England v USA

After all the build up, all the talking, all the hype and all the bravado, the FIFA World Cup 2010 is now upon us. It is time for the players and the coaches who are in South Africa as you read this to put up, or shut up. On Sunday, 11th July, 2010, one of thirty-two national captains will lift the biggest prize in sport: the FIFA World Cup.

It is to food, pleasure and partying, however, that the Unofficial World Cup of Food 2010 is dedicated. Whatever takes place on the pitch is beyond our control. It is now my greatest pleasure to introduce you to those who represent their countries on the first contributary day of The Unofficial World Cup of Food 2010 and I hope very much that you will take the time to view the efforts of both ladies, from whichever side of the Atlantic divide you happen to originate. They have both put in considerable effort, for which I am eternally grateful. If you like what the ladies have shared with you, please take the time to let them know via the links provided to their own websites. If - for whichever unimaginable reason, you don't - you can contact me via the comments option at the bottom of this post. The fault will undoubtedly be a technical one on my part...

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to introduce to you, Marie Rayner and The Thrillbilly Gourmet, cooking for England and the United States of America, respectively. The order in which they are featured is simply that by which FIFA have billed the match.

Cooking for England: Marie Rayner

When Gordon asked me to participate in this fabulous cookery event , being held in association with the World Cup, I was quite chuffed to say the least!! The World Cup is one of the most popular set of football matches here in England, and with it being held in South Africa this time around, that makes it even more special. The whole neighbourhood where I live is one huge testimony to the loyalty of England football fans, with every house being festooned with England Flags and bric a brac! Although I am originally from Canada, I am just as up for this big match as anyone else. I absolutely love this adopted country of mine, and it’s people . . . and I especially love the food here. I put a lot of thought into this dish which I think represents some of the best of what England has to offer in both food and tradition. This is what I aim to achieve each day on my own page, The English Kitchen, where I am debunking the myths of English Cookery, one recipe at a time. This dish is a wonderful meat fest of gargantuan proportions . . . salt marsh lamb (if you can get it), meaty pork sausages, bacon chops and beautiful British rump steaks . . . all grilled to perfection and placed inside individual plate sized traditional Yorkshire puddings, with a tasty garnish of grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. With true English Roasties on the side as well as some tasty cabbage, leeks and peas, this is a dish fit for a king, or at least a group of hungry Footie fans! Go England!!

*Pundit Pudding*
Serves 4

The best of England, served up in your very own Yorkshire pudding bowl! Do plan ahead as the batter for the puddings needs to sit out for an hour at room temperature before baking!

4 Lamb chops, trimmed
4 Small rump Steaks
4 small bacon chops
4 thick and meaty Butcher’s pork and leek sausages
Butter, melted
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 Large Tomatoes
4 Large Mushrooms
For the Pudding:
2 large free range eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp salt
1/2 pint milk, at room temperature (1 1/3 cup)
140g plain flour (1 cup)
a little oil or dripping

Make sure all your ingredients for the pudding are at room temperature before beginning. Beat your eggs together in a large measuring jug until very light. Whisk in the milk. Sift the flour into a bowl along with the salt. Make a well in the middle and add the wet ingredients all at once, pouring them into the well, and then whisk them in, slowly incorporating the dry mixture from the sides until you have a smooth batter. Now, this is the important bit . . . COVER IT AND LET IT SIT ON THE SIDEBOARD FOR ONE HOUR.

Preheat your oven to 230*C/450*F. Place a small amount of oil or dripping into each of four medium sized pie tins. (You will want ones with a six inch base) Place the tins on two baking trays and then put them into the hot oven to heat up until the fat is hot and sizzling. Remove from the oven and quickly divide the batter amongst each muffin cup, filling them about 2/3 full. (You may not use it all.) Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until well risen, browned and crispy, reducing the oven temperature by 10 degrees every five minutes.

While your puddings are baking cook your meats. Preheat the grill to it’s hottest. Brush the steaks and chops with some melted butter and sprinkle with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the sausages on a rack in a grill pan and grill for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning frequently. Add the lamb chops and the rump steaks. Continue to grill for another 5 to 7 minutes, allowing 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove to a heated plate and keep warm. Now grill the bacon chops, allowing 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to the heated plate and keep warm.

Slice the tomatoes in half and brush each half with some melted butter, along with the mushrooms. Place all beneath the grill and grill for about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and season to taste.
Remove the crisp and fluffy puddings from the oven and tip out of the pie tins. Place each one on a heated plate, right side up. (So that it looks like a bowl) Place inside each: one lamb chop, one sausage, one bacon chop and one piece of rump steak. Garnish each with half a grilled tomato and a grilled mushroom.
Serve immediately with some crisp roasted potatoes and a green vegetable on the side. (I used lightly sautéed Savoy cabbage and leek mixed with some tender spring peas.)

Bisto Gravy and Brown Sauce are completely optional!

Cooking for the United States of America: The Thrillbilly Gourmet

The Thrillbilly Gourmet (aka Dixie Mockingbird) has presented her recipe in the form of a video, with the ingredients and instructions following in textual form.

For the brine -
1 qt of buttermilk, preferably whole milk buttermilk but any will do
cut up chicken - I use packages of legs - 12 at a time, or breasts, or both, even a whole cut up chicken
kosher salt

For the sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise - don't worry about homemade, by the time you've cooked with it, it won't matter
2/3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl lemon juice
1 tsp salt
4-5 cranks freshly cracked black pepper
cayenne pepper to taste - the mayonnaise cuts the heat a lot, so I use 2 tsp, or even more

1. Mix all ingredients for the sauce well, and refrigerate. I try to do this several hours ahead so the sauce marries and mellows, but even twenty minutes is good. Before you use it, save some for dipping at the table. You'll only need about half for saucing on the grill.
2. Place the chicken in a large container, and cover with buttermilk. Make sure it's submerged, and refrigerate. Up to over night is good, but try for at least four hours.
3. A couple of hours before you barbecue, drain the chicken and place it on a baking sheet or over a rack and allow it to air dry for a while. You don't want to lose the buttermilk, but you do want the chicken skin as dry as possible so it will crisp.
4. Remove the chicken from the fridge while you preheat your grill. Crank it up - high as it will go. You want lots of heat in there.
5. Salt the chicken on all sides well with the kosher salt. Turn the grill to low, or if using charcoal, find the 'cool' spot. For breasts, the total cook time is 30 minutes. For legs and thighs, the time is 20 minutes - with that said the interior temp with the grill lid shut should stay at just over 400F. You also want to turn the chicken so the skin crisps well on all sides.
6. Once the chicken is nearly done - just a few minutes to go - apply the white sauce with a brush. Keep the lid closed as much as possible so that the sauce adheres well in the heat. I usually douse one side, close the lid for 3-4 minutes, flip it over, coat the second side and repeat. The sauce will burn easily, so be careful.
7. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 5 minutes - 10 if you can wait long enough, and you're good!

England v USA - The Football (Soccer) Match

England and the USA have met in the Group Stages of the World Cup before, back in 1950, in Brazil. At that time, England were the favourites to win the trophy and expected to not only beat the USA, but to do so extremely convincingly. Soccer then was probably even less popular in the USA than it is now and the USA were quoted at an incredible 500/1 to win the tournament. The result?

England 0, USA 1

I hope that these two magnificent recipes have inspired you to cook in advance of the match tonight and to enjoy it to the full. Whoever wins on the pitch tonight, there can be little doubt that both of the above recipes are winners and that the Unofficial World Cup of Food has certainly started in style...


  1. Great post. I think our Mixed Grill knocks the spots of Chicken In White Sauce. I only hope our guys knock spots off the USA tonight. Of course being a dual citizen of both countries now, I can't lose, but I am still rooting for my homeland.

  2. Fab post. As much as I like this mayo-based grilled chicken, I am going to have to go for the mixed grill. What is not to like? Looks wonderful Marie!

    I think I would have went with good old-fashioned buttermilk fried chicken for the US, with homemade buttermilk biscuits, mashed potatoes with cream gravy and some slow-cooked green beans - then peach cobbler to top it off. Served with plenty of sweet tea and a big napkin - now your'e eatin' in style!

  3. This is great Gordon, and so much fun to participate! Love the looks of the chicken. What a great video! In any case Go England!! Whoop!! Whoop!! Whoop!!!

  4. Great post. I opted to do England v USA in a dessert and saving the meat dish for Argentina v Nigeria. Recipes at

  5. Wow. Love both of these recipes. Couldn't possibly choose between them! Glad to see both teams qualified for second stages. Might we see these ladies again some time? I hope so!