Archive for the ‘Football Snacks’ Category

Sausage RollsWe are back from Hawaii with many adventures to share and food to write about, just give me a day or two to settle back in to real life! I wanted to put a quick repost in honor of tonight’s start of the NFL season. I now have 16 weeks of Sundays where J. will barely communicate ahead of me but we both love the game and of course the food that comes with it.

It is also finals time for Aussie Rules and NRL back home in Australia so it is fitting for my wonderful Aussie followers also.

So here is a favorite recipe and favorite footy food from Australia – the sausage roll! A delicious savory treat with ketchup, relish or bbq sauce on the side and of course the prerequisite beer.

Check out the original entry here – Aussie Footy Food!

Enjoy the recipe and the football – whatever code or team you might follow!


Muffin Tin Meat Pies.jpgWe reached a milestone this week… we have over 2500 followers now! To celebrate this great milestone I thought I would revisit a recipe from the early days of the blog.

Also, I have been craving a taste from home and what better way to taste Australia than through meat pies.

These were tasty little treats I made for J. and I during NFL season last year. A nice little snack for watching footy. We did an entire series of Football Food posts last year and with the NFL season only 3 weeks away, I am going to have to prepare some more great snack ideas.

These pies were very easy to make, especially since I cheated and bought the pastry instead of making it myself. You could also try all different kinds of fillings but we stayed with the traditional beef and added some spice and chili! You could also make them into a full size pie but these were the perfect size for a tv snack. Beer and a pie – a completely Australian way to watch the football.

So take a trip down memory lane, across the Pacific to Australia with me…. here.

Saturday night marked my first opportunity to cook for friends here in Phoenix. I had hijacked a group of J’s mates to come over for dinner after the boys had all gone motorbike riding that afternoon.

I spent time during the week leading up to the night planning a menu to suit their tastes. They aren’t the most adventurous eaters and most importantly I couldn’t put the tiniest bit of spice in anything… without profuse sweating and cursing for our mates.

So after some consultation with J. we came up with a menu. First course was really just going to be finger food to keep them happy when they got back from riding so I went with Cheesy Bacon Bites with Plumb BBQ Sauce.

These are ridiculously easy to make but taste so good. Nothing tastes quite as good as bacon and cheese so I was really in no doubt that these would be a hit.

For 20 bites I used 1 sheet of puff pastry rolled out a little thinner than usual. I then cut the sheet in half length ways. On each of the halves I crumbled crispy bacon down the centre. I had cooked and cooled the bacon earlier.

Once the bacon was evenly placed down the middle I added the grated cheese. Any cheese would be tasty with this and I just used some 3 cheese grated mix we had in the fridge.

Then it is just a matter of carefully rolling the pastry over. I use a little water along the edge to seal it. I then just cut into bite size pieces and placed them on a greased cookie sheet. Be careful that you don’t loose all the filling because it falls out very easily. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg.

These went into a 400F degree oven for 15 minutes, until they were golden brown.

While these were cooking I made up the dipping sauce. Usually this sauce would have some Thai sweet chilli sauce in it but I steered away from that. I mixed together 2 tablespoons of ketchup, 2 tablespoons of smokey BBQ sauce, and 1/4 cup of plum sauce. That’s it! If you want the spice add 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce as well.

They came out of the oven just as the boys got home from riding and they disappeared within 5 minutes!! Quick, easy and delicious. You can’t go wrong with bacon and cheese! That glorious magical animal called the pig has given us so much!

Sunday, another day of watching football again so another idea was needed for snacks. I thought I would have a go at making pizza for the first time in about 12 years. When we were growing up, before we had the option of Dominos, Pizza Hut or whatever, my mum used to make pizza at home all the time. Mum being Italian and the fact that I grew up in a very small town made buying takeout pizza not an option until I was about 14.

J. had never made pizza from scratch before so I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do together, or for him to at least assist me a little. He makes a great assistant in the kitchen, especially since his knife skills are far better than mine. We had bought a range of ingredients to make 2 different types of pizza. The 2 we were making were a proscuitto, mozzarella, tomato and basil pizza and then a spicy salami, caramelized onion, mozzarella and basil pizza.

While we were cooking our breakfast I decided to prep all the toppings so we wouldn’t be dragged away from the footy for too long when we were ready to eat. First I mixed together the ingredients for the tomato sauce. In a bowl I mixed 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of water and then a teaspoon of dried oregano, basil, thyme and garlic salt. I stirred all of this together until it was a good consistency and would be easily spread on the bases.

Next I caramelized the red onion. We had just cooked bacon from breakfast so we used a little of the bacon fat to carmelize the onion. This tasted amazing and I think all onion should be caramelized in bacon fat… not healthy but incredibly delicious.

I then started to prep the dough. In a small bowl I put 1 cup of luke warm water and mixed in 1 teaspoon of sugar. I added 2 teaspoons of dry yeast to the top of the water so it just floated. This just then got put aside for 5 minutes until it started to foam and was ready to add to the dry ingredients.

Meanwhile I sifted 3 cups of plain flour into a large bowl and 1 teaspoon of salt. I mixed these together and created a well in the center. Once the yeast was foaming I added it to the well and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. J. then came in and stirred all of this until it started to come together. I then dove in with my hands and kneaded it together until it had formed a ball.

On the floured kitchen counter I turned out the dough and started kneading. This was my Sunday morning workout. I kneaded the dough quite thoroughly for around 5 minutes until it had formed a smooth, stretchy dough. I put the dough in a bowl, covered with a tea towel and placed it in a warm, dry spot to proof for 30 minutes. The dough should at least double in size.

I preheated the oven to 220C degrees. I cut the dough in half and rolled them out on the floured kitchen counter. I rolled them to fit our pizza pans but because we like them crispy I rolled them quite thin. They ended up being about 5mm thick. Now for the fun part, J. and I got to top them.

We started with the tomato sauce and spread in evenly across both of the bases. For the onion and prosciutto pizzawe placed the toppings in this order. First was the caramelized red onion and then thick slices of fresh mozzarella, next we put super thin slices of prosciutto and then lastly a few strips of fresh basil. You could add the basil after it has cooked but I don’t mind the crunch you can get with the cooked basil.

The tomato and salami one was put together with mozzarella first, then salami, tomato and basil leaves. This one looked so pretty I was ready to eat it right then and there. We slipped both of these into the oven. In a gas oven or a really hot oven with pizza stones I would normally cook these for around 10 minutes. Our oven here is a little slow and we wanted crispy bases so we left the pizzas in for 16 minutes and then for put each of them under the broiler for about 1 minute to make sure the cheese was nice and bubbly.

The smell in the house when these came out was fantastic! We cut them up, piled our plates high and headed back to the football. J. was really happy. He like the salami one the best but also enjoyed the pop of the tomato on the prosciutto pizza. I loved the caramelized onion, which gave a really unique taste. Overall I think this was a great attempt after more than a decade between attempts! It certainly beat the cheap and easy option of ordering pizza, I think I can definitely give them a run for their money!

Even back when I would get dragged by my parents to watch my brother play football my food of choice at a game has been a pie, a meat pie! There are so many variations on the traditional meat pie now and even a whole chain of franchises built on selling meat pies to hungry Australians. However, I am a traditionalist. I like my pies simple, beefy and sometimes with a splash of tomato sauce (ketchup to all the Americans reading this). I gave J. a choice for his football food this weekend, he could choose homemade pizza or homemade meat pies, like a good little faux-Aussie he went with the pies.

After some deliberation I decided to make mini beef & bacon pies that the boys could eat relatively neatly in front of the games. The main issue with this was what to use as the pie dishes? I had no little aluminium pie containers like back home so I thought I would just use our muffin tins and make them nice and small. Am I an ideas woman or what?!

I like to watch the football too so to make life a little easier on Sunday I prepared the pie filling Saturday night. In a large pot I heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then threw in 2 cloves of garlic, 2 large shallots (both garlic & shallots finely diced), 2 small chillies (this is optional but as you know J. likes his spicy food) and 4 rashers of bacon (diced). As the bacon was cooking I sprinkled in some rosemary, probably around a tablespoon.

As this was all cooking in a large bowl I put a cup of flour, a teaspoon of salt and a good amount of cracked black pepper. I just stirred this quickly together before placing my beef (I bought pre-cubed beef that is usually used for stews or kebabs) in and dredging it through the flour. I used around 3 pounds of beef for this recipe. When thinly coated in flour I added the beef to the garlic and bacon and browned it. Once browned add 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 cup of beef stock so that the beef is just covered. I also add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1/2 cup of red wine. We also add a lot of ground black pepper for a little bite.

I like to let my beef mixture simmer down and thicken over a couple of hours and then put it in the fridge overnight. This way Sunday when I need it for the pies it is nice and thick and really full of flavour.

Sunday morning I grease our muffin tins. I am just using frozen puff pastry from the supermarket because it is yummy and far easier than making pastry myself. I put some flour down on the bench and roll out the puff pastry. I use the rolling pin just to roll it out a little more. I want it to be nice and thin and flaky. Using a small plate I cut out circles for the base of the pies. The pastry should come up a little higher than the tins around the edges. I use a fork to prick the edges and base before scooping in the beef filling.

Each muffin tin is filled almost to the top. I use a mug to cut the circles for the lids of the pies and then gently put them on the top. Using my fingers I wet the edge and pinch together the top and the base to they are firmly closed around the edge. With a very sharp knife I make a small X incision on the lid for steam to escape. Last thing I have to do is brush the lids with an egg wash. I want the crispiest lid I can get.

The great thing about these is that the inside is already cooked so it only takes 20 minutes to cook the pastry and then they are ready!

These turned out great and are just the right size for a snack during the football. J. said that they were dangerous and he could eat 8!! He hasn’t yet but the day is still young. The filling was rich beefy, tomato flavor with just a hint of chilli and pepper and the crust was flaky and crispy. I am really happy with these and will definitely be making them again soon, perhaps with a different filling.

Back to the football now. GO BEARS!!

Ok, so this isn’t really an Aussie football favourite but it is a nibble my mum used to make for parties and I thought it would be a great one for a day of NFL watching on Sunday. The challenge with this recipe was to first find plum sauce which is fairly common in Australia but proved a little difficult here in AZ. We went to Lee Lee’s our local Asian grocery and went up and down the aisles looking for this necessary ingredient. We finally found two different types, one in the Thailand aisle and one in the Japanese aisle. We ended up getting both just in case and though neither was exactly what I was looking for I decided a combination of both would make a close approximation.

This recipe suggests chicken drumsticks, though I have also used chicken wings, this time around I used chicken thighs. I used 8 chicken thighs and cut deep slits in them to let the marinade really soak in.
8 chicken drumsticks. In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup of plum sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, 4 spring onions chopped finely, a tablespoon of olive oil and chillies to taste. I added 6 small thai chillies finely chopped because we like it hot.

I added the chicken to the bowl and turned to coat in marinade. I covered and refrigerated overnight. I actually turned the chicken a few times during the marinating process.

On Sunday morning before the games I brought out the chicken and placed it in a line a baking dish. I actually sprayed the foil with oil as well since this gets very sticky. Put the chicken into a preheated 200C oven for around 1 hour or if you are using wings until cooked.

I poured the remaining marinade into a saucepan, brought it to the boil and let it simmer and reduce for about 30 minutes to use as a dipping sauce.

When cooked I let them cool a little so they could be eaten with our fingers and served with a bowl of the dipping sauce. They were messy, sticky and juicy but very good. They were are really great snack for our Sunday of football watching and will probably be made again!

With the NFL season starting this week I thought I would bring a touch of Aussie footy food to our Sunday of watching games. This is the first time I have tried to make my own sausage rolls from scratch and have pinched a friend’s recipe that I have always enjoyed eating.

In a large bowl combine 1 small onion and 1 small carrot, both finely grated, 4 gloves of crushed garlic, 3/4 cup of tasty cheddar cheese, 3 pinches of thyme and black pepper to your own taste. I made my own breadcrumbs in the food processor and added 3/4 cup to the mixture. In the food processor I placed 600 grams of ground pork and chopped it until it was super fine before adding it to the rest of the mixture. Finally add 1 beaten egg and mix everything together until completely combined.

Cut 2 sheets of puff pastry in half so that you get 4 long pieces. Dividing the mixture into four place it down the centre of each piece of puff pastry in a cylindrical sausage shape. Fold the sides of the pastry around the mixture and close using a little water so they form a roll. Place them on a greased baking tray and then glaze with a mixture of a beaten egg and a little milk.

Place in a preheated oven of 180 C and cook for around 30 minutes or until golden brown. I move the rolls around in the oven half way through to make sure they are cooking evenly throughout.

This will make 16 small or 8 large sausage rolls. Eat with a good tomato sauce (ketchup) or chutney and a cold beer!

With 16 more weeks of Sundays spent watching NFL I am sure there will be more Australian inspired football snacks ahead. Back to the game now!