Who said sports games and great snacks don’t mix?
It’s the business end of the year for some of my favorite sporting codes. Rugby union and rugby league are wrapping up their seasons with some high powered, high energy games that demand your attention! With so much sport around at the moment, it’s wonderful to know that great food and sports games can AND do mix!
The 2010 US Tennis Open has been in the news lately, not just for the great games of tennis that were being thrashed out on centre court, but for some amazing culinary delights that were available in the players cafeteria. Iron Chef Master Masaharu Morimoto has been infamously offering the ultimate sushi combo platter for USD$125….anyone for Californian Lobster roll at USD$39?
It seems that the days of the semi-warm meat pies, greasy chips and tomato sauce are going head to head with gourmet treats and master chef offerings. And why not? We should be able to eat tasty, healthy food with a touch of finesse whether we are at the footy, the racetrack or in the comforting surrounds of our own home.
Recently, 88 and I were invited to attend a NRL game proudly hosted by the St. George Dragons Rugby League Football club. With hunger gnawing away at me after a long hard day’s work, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the stadium’s offerings. As we sat up in the bleachers cheering the mighty Dragons onto another great win, we chomped through a beef and sun-dried tomato wrap, arugula salad and a chocolate brownie.
I wasn’t some much surprised by the quality of the food, as the flavors and combinations could do with a bit of guidance, but more so, the idea that the club can step away from the usual stadium fare and offer the punters something different. St. George’s commitment to families and the game being a fun event for all was evident in the amount of happy kids and smiling parents in the stands.
As a genuine supporter of the game, I love nothing more than the smell of liniment combined with freshly cut grass and the swirl of steam as it cascades off the back of a front rower. But I don’t always have the time to go to the games and have to make do with footy in front of the telly.
To make up for my lack of real time action, I like to tackle our taste-buds and score some points with the family when I serve up some fantastic footy feasts.
Sweetcorn and Whitebait Fritters
These fritters are like sunshine in a bite. The corn is bursting at the seams with sweet juicy flavor and the whitebait gives just enough of a hint of the ocean so as not to over power the juicy corn. The batter is light and lacy and held together with some smoky paprika. Top with fresh avocado, natural yogurt and dried chilli for the perfect hand-held sport watching snack.
1kg freshly shucked and cut from the cob corn kernels ~ 10- 12 whole corn cobs
250g whitebait or silverfish ~ washed under cold running water
5 spring onions/shallots ~ sliced, including green tops
2 1/2 cups of plain flour
4 Tbsp caster sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sweet smoked paprika
2 whole eggs
1 tsp natural sea salt flakes
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 grape-seed oil for frying ~ or any other neutral flavored oil
- Preheat the oven on fan cooking at 180 C/ 350 F with a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
- Into a large bowl, add the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, caster sugar, smoked paprika, sea salt and black pepper.
- Whisk together the eggs and milk and pour over top of the dry ingredients. Whisk well to form a smooth batter.
- Mix in the sweetcorn, spring onions and whitebait and combine well till all mixed through.
- Heat a large frying pan or skillet on medium to high heat with the grape-seed oil until a light haze is coming from the pan.
- Carefully drop in heaped tablespoons full of the batter and shallow fry for 1 1/2 minutes before flipping to continue cooking on the other side for a further 1 1/2 minutes.
- Transfer the fritters to the baking tray in the oven to cook through in the middle and to keep warm whilst you cook the rest of the batter.
- Once all the fritters are cooked, serve finger food style on platters topped with fresh avocado cut into cubes and marinated in a splash of fresh lemon juice, natural yogurt and dried chili ( optional)
Cooking hint: No need to throw out the left over grape-seed oil, once its cooled, strain through a fine sieve and store in a glass jar for use when shallow frying again.