Friday night brought out the Welsh fighting spirit in us. I have to say that I am not a sports fanatic but I do like an event – Olympics; Wimbledon; World Cup etc. When it comes to supporting Wales – I am usually a supporter of the team with the egg-shaped ball (Always thinking of my stomach!); However our little nation appears to be doing so well in the Euro 2016 I have been drawn to a bit of footie. I have been impressed at how well-behaved the Welsh fans have been and how modest the team members are. The coverage on social media has shown friendship; families and good sportsmanship of all concerned, it has been impossible not to get caught up in the infectious enthusiasm of the nation. Once more I am proud to be Welsh. So Friday night, the OH and I put out the shout to friends that there would be Football; Beer and snacks at ours.
Wales were playing Belgium so that was the beer sorted! I toyed with Moule Frites but thought that trying to eat that whilst shouting for the boys was a disaster waiting to happen – it couldn’t be anything needing attention as I didn’t want to miss the footie. We needed something that could go on the coffee table and last the match for people to pick at. So I wheeled out the old favourite of a large wooden board containing salami; chorizo and Parma ham with an Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip and olive bread sliced thinly into bite size pieces; a smaller board containing a soft French log of goats cheese which was rich and creamy with a slight lemony aftertaste; A slab of Manchego and thin, crispy, rye flavoured crackers; bowls of olives; beans and sun blushed tomatoes snatched from the local supermarket to scoop up with tortilla chips The show stopper was a platter of a colourful salad that was enjoyed by all and shared the colours of the Welsh and the Belgian’s to help the celebrations.
It’s slightly embarrassing suggesting that this is a recipe. It is in fact just a few minutes of slicing and then assembling! For the amount seen in the picture I used the following:
Half a red cabbage.
A bunch of spring onions.
Half a red; yellow and orange pepper.
A large bunch of coriander.
Half a pomegranate.
Half a red chilli.
2 cloves of garlic.
Juice of half a lemon and a whole lime.
Thinly slice the cabbage; spring onions; and peppers; chop the coriander (stalks very finely – you can be a bit more random with the soft leaves); I added all these to a bowl; covered and popped it in the fridge so I wouldn’t miss any of the action later. In a jam jar I popped in a finely chopped chilli; crushed in the garlic (I like to crush it to a paste with the side of a knife and sea salt but if you have a garlic crusher I am sure this will do). Add a few glugs of olive oil; and the citrus juices (half a teaspoon of sugar to settle the ying & yang!). Lid on give it a good shake and taste – it needs to be quite sharp, zingy and have a kick about it – just like Gareth Bale! Pop that in the fridge until needed.
When you are ready to serve mix the salad and lay out onto a platter; pour over the dressing and give a quick toss; season. Hold the pomegranate cut side down in your hand and thwack it with a wooden spoon and watch in wonderment as the little red jewels scatter on top of your platter of vibrant coloured goodness and know that they will add a little pop of excitement in your mouth with every forkful.
I am a firm believer that you eat with your eyes and often make use of oversized platters; boards and bowls. Even if it’s just a matter of hastily opening packets from the supermarket if you then lay them out on your vessel of choice and sprinkle with sea salt or olive oil etc. your friends and family think you have gone all out. In fact once it’s done and on the coffee table – you can instruct them to help themselves to food and sort out their own beer as you have the footie to watch!
Did I mention we won three one? Come on the boys – The semi-final looms!!