World Cup Final Food

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Photo courtesy of satit_srihin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If you haven’t heard, Monday was the final of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It was Argentina vs Germany and it was an anticipated match. Well, anticipated in my house anyway. I’m sure that with a Dutch background I should have been backing Germany as they are neighbouring counties, but in this household, it’s Argentina all the way. And I think Messi is kinda cute too so that helps as well.
I certainly wasn’t all that much into football/soccer but since I married my hubby, I’ve started to take a greater interest in all things football/soccer. I know some of the players now, I’ve learnt how the off-side rule works and I tend to find the tactics and strategy section of The World Game (SBS’s Soccer TV show) more interesting than I ever thought I would. Huh, who knew I was into sport when it’s the one class at school I was guaranteed to fail year after year?
I can hear you though, out there on your comfy couch, thinking ‘BORING!”. I know you’re here for some interesting thoughts on all things foodie, but don’t worry, I will get to the point in just a moment.
Go Argentina!
Anyway, this brings me to the reason of why I’m posting about the World Cup today. I set myself a challenge, and that challenge was actually pretty easy. On Monday night (the day of the final) I wanted us to eat Argentinean food, no matter the actual result of the match. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be the year that the Argentineans won, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from making a delicious dinner for my hubby.
What is Argentinean food anyway?
Well, after a quick search of Google I came upon a page on the SBS website (no I’m not an advocate for SBS, it’s just a coincidence that I mentioned it twice in this post) about Argentinean food. Thank god for that! I also happened to stumble across a Jamie Oliver Food Tube video on Google+ which had an interesting lady called Felicitas Pizarro. I am assuming she could be Argentinean but her video of Argentinean lamb chops got me interested. She marinates the lamb chops with spices ahead of time and then cooks them on a barbecue and serves them with a quinoa salad. Check out the video.
After watching the video I attempted making the chops, though I used lamb cutlets instead (as that was what I had in the freezer), and I can tell you that it was really easy. The marinade only took me a few minutes to organise and then I just left the cutlets in the fridge for a few hours. I don’t have a barbecue so I just grilled the cutlets in a pan on the stove. They don’t have that lovely smokey barbecue colour or flavour that way, but hey, my husband loved them nonetheless. I also used a curry powder that must have had a lot of tumeric in it because my cutlets turned bright yellow, where as the ones in the video didn’t. I don’t think that really matters though. 
Compared to the ones in the video, what do you think of mine? I think they worked really well and I’d definitely make them again. 
Marinating the cutlets.

I grilled my cutlets in a fry pan on the stove instead of on a barbecue.

Ta dah! The finished Argentinean Lamb Cutlets!
Seeing as you might not be so familiar with Argentinean foods (and I wasn’t until I did some research on it), I thought I might introduce you to a couple of classic Argentinean recipes as well. That great thing is I already knew about these foods, but I never realised they were common Argentinean foods. Go me!  
Ever heard of empanadas? They are little pastry parcels filled with meat and vegetables (see the SBS recipe here). It’s just like samosas, meat pies, pasties and dumplings but it’s the South American equivalent. If you’re in Canberra, check out the empanadas at the Bus Depot Markets in Kingston. They were delicious the last time I tried them, and hopefully they still are. If you’re a Canberran and had one recently, leave me a comment so I know for sure (and so I can grab some next time I’m in town).

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Meat empanadas – photo from SBS Meat Empanadas recipe
http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/meat-empanadas-clasico-argentino
Another common Argentinean food is chimichurri sauce. I hadn’t heard of this one until recently, but then I hadn’t been to any Argentinean restaurants. Chimichurri sauce is a green sauce made from herbs, garlic and oil. It’s a bit like an Italian pesto but without the pinenuts, but it’s more of a sauce or marinade rather than a paste. But it tastes great with beef and can be used for chicken too. 
There are so many recipes out there to try, that sometimes its nice to experiment with a cuisine or country that you’re not so familiar with. The best part about Argentinean food is that while its different, it has a lot of the Mediterranean food influences we are all familiar with because of the Spanish influence (the colonisers of Argentina), and an Italian influence from a large proportion of migrants who also settled in Argentina. 
All in all, I’m really happy with how the recipe worked and that I’ve been exposed to another cuisine. 
Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected of places. Its a pity Argentina didn’t win the World Cup, but I’ve found inspiration and for that I’m grateful.
What’s your most recent inspiration been? Leave me a comment, I’m interested to know. 

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