Thursday, July 1, 2010

World Cup Food

June 11 came along and I was so, extremely happy that the World Cup was finally here. I could not wait to watch my favorite teams entertain the world with the beautiful game. I was anxious for the Azzurri to defend their title and excited to see a highly talented Spain team go far. Throughout the group phase, I was also very impressed with Argentina. I've always loved the skill and sportsmanship of Messi and am entertained by Maradona playing coach 24 years after his infamous hand of god goal. It's been great to see the new comers do well on the pitch too.

But alas, Italy have made an early exit and I was so depressed. Yes, coming in I knew that the 2010 squad was nothing compared to that of 2006. I knew they had not been playing like the champions they were. But I was still hoping against hope that their brilliance would show against Slovakia. It did, but it came too late. The Azzurri are out and while my expectations were managed, I was still feeling down.

The games show at the worst times for us here in Sydney. One at 9:30 pm, the next one at 12 midnight and the last one at 4:30 am. This schedule, combined with our passion for the game gives us very, very little time to sleep. I had anticipated this so I resolved to at least ensure we had great meals to keep us going. Before this becomes an entry about football (another thing aside from food that I am passionate about), I want to share with you some of the dishes I've cooked up and stocked the fridge with. No matter what time of day either of us is awake and hungry, there is always something satisfying to eat.

The multi-cultural aspect of the World Cup inspired multi-cultural dishes. More to come in later posts but for now, here are the rough steps for:

Moroccan Lamb Stew
Lamb for stewing. You don't need expensive cuts for this.
Sweet Potatoes or Butternut Squash
Canned Tomatoes
Dried Apricots
Fresh Cilantro and Parsley

Rub the lamb with salt, pepper and the first three spices. Allow to marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Finely chop the garlic, onion, celery and carrots.

Dust the lamb in a little bit of flour. Then, in a large saute pan, brown the lamb for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and set aside. In the same pan, quickly brown the sweet potatoes which have been chopped in big pieces, and set aside as well. 

Still in the same pan, saute the chopped vegetables in olive oil until tender. Season each layer as you go. Add the lamb and sweet potatoes back into the pan, pour in the stock and the canned tomatoes. Chop the apricots and stir into the pan. Allow to simmer for about 2 hours until the lamb practically falls off the bone.

Meanwhile, chop the cilantro, parsley and the almonds if they are whole. Toast the almonds for about 3-5 minutes. Finish the lamb stew with these last three ingredients.

Serve with couscous prepared with the same stock, dried cranberries, parsley and cilantro. 


  1. I love stews and braises and slow cooking in general :) This sounds delicious!

    Sorry to hear about Italy! Game times here are at odd hours too...Carlo is also making puyat :)

  2. Hey Joey, thanks! Eek, I got jahe that you are reading our blog because yours is so awesome! haha! This is inspired by a lamb dish my Lita always makes combined with one I saw Jaime Oliver do.

    You're blog super inspires me. Actually, I'm planning to do your Sriracha chicken tonight. : )