When one mentions The World Cup, for me, it really evokes memories of the 1990 Italia World Cup, when we qualified under Jack Charlton.
There was much anticipation, we all dreamed the dream that Ireland could lift the World Cup, and as we progressed through from our group with England, Holland and Egypt, the excitement grew. The cities, towns and villages around the country were decked with banners and flags as we proceeded to the next round, with David O’Leary and Packie Bonner becoming Irish legends after the penalty shootout with Romania.
I remember walking through Dublin city that night after the game, with throngs of people descending to sing Olé Olé, and the chipper vans all doing a roaring trade. Unfortunately for us in the next game, Schillaci put an end to Irish dreams. One of my favourite movies is “The Van” with Colm Meaney, it really captures the feeling in the country at that time, from euphoria to reality!
For this World Cup, I will probably have to spend more time closer to home, perhaps in my pub, ‘The Local’, watching the game with the lads. For the ladies, there will be some watermelon caipirinhas on the cocktail list. There will be no chipper van outside, but I will try to recreate the chipper experience by making my beer battered cod with chunky chips.
If that doesn’t whet your appetite and you’d prefer to taste a piece of Brazil, World Cup 2014 hosts, why not try some of my Brazilian-themed recipes. These are perfect for serving before, during or after the game, and great if you have a few of the lads around to help! My Feijoada recipe really is a dish that needs very little input (perfect for concentrating on the game!) – it’s usually a stew of smoked meats, ribs and beans, but I prefer to use a slow cooked silverside or brisket cubed, and serve it with some boiled rice.
At some stage during the competition, I think I will plan a Churrasco evening. In essence, this is a Brazilian-style barbecue, though unlike my Brazilian counterparts, I will not be using long sword-like skewers; the straightforward skewers on a barbecue rack are how I will play it. These will involve beef, pork, lamb and chicken, with at least one of them wrapped in some smoked bacon (perhaps the chicken).
Originally, Brazilian beef was coated in coarse salt and set aside for 30 minutes to absorb the salt. Chicken, pork and lamb were normally marinated, then placed over the fire, although traditionally, the meats were first basted in salted water to keep them moist during cooking. For dessert, try my grilled pineapple with cinnamon and tequila: it’s juicy, sweet and delicious!