You know, Eurovision is really quite taxing when one is doing a pantry challenge. I’m running awfully low on things like sugar and flour, and am uneasily aware that I also have to make cakes for a fundraising morning tea next week. I suspect that Thursday’s cakes will be the last round of sweet baking I do this month, because I’m going to be pretty much out of baking ingredients at that point.
Fortunately, though, I still have *lots* of edible glitter and a wide range of dreadful, lurid liqueurs, which is really what Eurovision desserts are all about.
Also fortunately, I now have a copy of Practically Raw Desserts, by Amber Shea Crawley, which means that I got to give my sugar and flour the day off today, while I played with (and ran myself out of) coconut butter, coconut flour, cacao butter, cacao powder, almond butter and agave nectar…
For breakfast this morning, we celebrated the end of the dreaded fruitbread with Johanna’s glorious rhubarb and berry focaccia, which rises overnight and is going to become part of my weekend breakfast repertoire. This used bread flour, olive oil, and sugar (fortunately not very much of it!) from the pantry.
Lunch was a bit of a disaster – I entirely forgot to photograph it, and I did actually have to buy bread rolls, even though I technically could have made them myself, if I had been totally insane, but today was busy enough! It was those sausages which got accidentally de-frosted and then couldn’t be wasted, with bread and onions. Unexciting but tasty.
Dinner… look, I had these Great Plans for a Swedish-themed series of Eurovision dinners, but with fluctuating numbers of guests and dwindling supplies of key pantry ingredients, as well as a disinclination to miss Eurovision by being in the kitchen, I decided to go with a chicken and tomato tagine. The tagine used up the last of my saffron, sesame seeds, and fresh pistachios, and also involved honey. I served it with black rice, which turned out to be an amazing find – Andrew bought it by accident a while back, and I’ve never used it, but it has this intriguing smoked flavour which, by a happy accident, complemented the tagine beautifully. There was also a side-dish involving zucchini with ricotta, mint and basil.
And then there was dessert.
My initial plan was to make tonight my healthy dessert night, since tomorrow is when Elise and I go all out to make the most lurid Eurovision desserts ever, so I decided to start with some of my new raw dessert recipes. The tahini caramels looked pretty fascinating, and used both tahini and coconut flour, as well as honey, though they were perhaps a trifle sophisticated and tasteful for Eurovision. I decorated them with a single silver cachou, and rather wish I had thought to add a few drops of orange flower water to the mix – they were rather halva-like, and very pleasing.
Then I made a raw chocolate tart, because I have cocoa butter approaching its expiry date, as well as cacao powder and coconut butter. In fact, I chose this tart because it fitted my pantry requirements so well – I also got to use up some coconut, almond meal, and agave nectar. That looked way too sophisticated too, so I went at it with colourful star sprinkles. And creme de cacao, which kind of ruined the shiny look, but tasted great – sort of like alcoholic, gourmet chocolate crackles…
This was clearly not enough dessert, and besides, I wanted to play with more cocoa butter, so I made Amber Shea Crawley’s beautiful raw white chocolate and vanilla truffles, involving almond butter, cocoa butter, agave nectar and vanilla bean. And then I spoiled the entire healthy effect by mixing together bright pink and bright purple sugar crystals and rolling the truffles in them.
Now *that’s* a Eurovision dessert. Really delicious, too, though I honestly couldn’t tell you just what they tasted like – not white chocolate, at least not to my mind, but creamy, with a hint of praline.
Elise retaliated by making a whole lot of Adriano Zumbo macarons and putting them on ice-cream cones on a stick with lollies. She definitely gets the Eurovision lurid prize for tonight. I’ll have to up my game tomorrow…
(fortunately, my pantry, while depleted, still had the entire ingredients list for making alcoholic agar jellies. My turn will come…)
As for Eurovision itself, what can I say? There certainly are some fabulous entries this year, though sadly, Europe persists in failing to understand that Eurovision is *supposed* to be tacky. I was sad to see that Montenegro‘s astronauts, Croatia‘s beautiful uniformed Klapa singers, Serbia‘s cracktastic what-were-they-thinking-and-can-we-watch-it-again song and Slovenia‘s dancing Ned Kellys failed to get through the first semi. And tonight – oh, how could they not put through Latvia, who were like Jedward only with more sequins and better singing? Not to mention Bulgaria‘s amazing drum duels (lots of drums this year. Lots of goddess arms, too…), and Macedonia, which was another ‘what were they thinking’ moment, with the two singers apparently doing two entirely separate songs in completely unrelated keys…
Still, if we couldn’t have Serbia, we still had Finland filling the all-important tacky costumes and lesbian not-at-all-subtext slot. And we had Romania (who was dressed as a cross-dressing Ken cake and had a rather spectacular counter-tenor voice!). Greece was just plain fun, and Azerbaijan‘s shadow dance with the box was just beautiful, as was the singer – really a gorgeous performance. And I liked Ireland‘s drummers, though I didn’t see much point in the singer. And Belarus certainly understands what a Eurovision song is meant to be about – silly dancing and lots of tassels. Denmark had a penny whistle and drummers and surprisingly enjoyable music. And Ukraine gets an honorable mention for the giant carrying in the maiden at the start, as does Moldova, for that dress. I’m also glad that *someone* with science fiction hair got through, since Montenegro didn’t. And, good grief, the Netherlands fielded a rather wonderful alto, and she actually got through to the finals!
Not too many songs I actually want to sing this year, I must say. Usually I get a few stuck in my head, but not this time. Except for “Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol is free!”, but I don’t think that counts. Ah well. At least I still have a few horses in the race – remember Europe, this is Eurovision! Vote for costume reveals, silly dancers and sequins! We here in Australia are relying on you!
~~~~~~~~~One year ago: Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, other cookers? Two years ago: Recipe: Three Roasted Vegetable Soups