Sunday, 9 September 2012

Olympic Food Challenge - The home straight

As the torch is extinguished for the last time in the Olympic Stadium in London, so we see the end of the Olympic Food Challenge.  I set this challenge back in April, thinking that it would add an other dimension to the summer of sport.  I didn't know then that our Olympic and Paralympic athletes would steal the hearts of the nation and truly be an inspiration to us all.

The Olympic Food Challenge has also been an inspiration to me.  In April I had an idea, it was quite far fetched and, looking back on it, it was also a bit over ambitious.  Cooking food from all 204 National Olympic Committees was always going to be hard.  I realised early on that I would need help to complete the challenge and he fact that 14 complete strangers from 11 food blogs decided to help me carry out this momentous task is an inspiration in its self.

Sadly we failed in our original goal of completing the challenge by the end of the Olympic Games*.  We moved the goal posts* and, with the remaining countries distributed, we started to cook our way towards the closing ceremony of the Paralympics.

Since 12th August we have cooked recipes from: Armenia, Belarus, Bermuda, Botswana, Cayman Islands, Djibouti, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, Gambia, Haiti, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.  There are still one or two blog posts to be written up by the team, they will be posted on the National Olympic Committees page as soon as possible.

So that's it, between us we have researched and eaten recipes from around the world.  We have picked up some wonderful cooking techniques (boiling chicken, braising, making noodles and dumplings to name a few), tried new ingredients (breadfruit, ducks tongues, goat) and found out the odd fact that will be useful in future pub quizzes (Gambia gained independence from Great Britain in 1965).

Thank you to Catherine, Clare, Dan, Dave, a couple of Garys, Jo(e), Rachel, three Rebeccas, Sam and Steph.  With out your hard work none of this would have been possible.  You are my inspiration to continue to come up with daft and far fetched ideas.  I doubt I will try anything on this scale again, but I will keep pushing my boundaries and each time I do I'll remember the 2012 Olympics and the Olympic Food Challenge.


*Real life has a habit of getting in the way of daft ideas. 
*something that would be frowned upon by most in the world of sport.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Olympic Food Challenge - The final push

As I mentioned in the last post, we unfortunately fell short of eating food from all 204 nations that were competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games.  We really tried, 160 meals were cooked and consumed in only 19 days.  In my book that's great going.  But my book needs a final chapter and a happy ending.

The Olympic cauldron may have been extinguished, but the Olympic spirit lives on in the hearts of the Paralympians who are days away from swelling their nations pride.  Between now and the end of the Paralympic Games we will cook and blog about the remaining 44 nations from our list.

"But what are the remaining countries and who are the adventurous bloggers who will be joining you in the task?" I hear you cry.  Below is the list of the countries and a link to each of the participants blogs.

Armenia - Tonight's Menu
Belarus - Tonight's Menu
Bermuda - 366 Recipe Challenge
Botswana - 366 Recipe Challenge
Cambodia - 750 Miles
Cayman Islands - Tonight's Menu
Comoros - 750 Miles
Djibouti - Soup Tuesday
Dominica - Tonight's Menu
Egypt - 750 Miles
Equitorial Guinea - 366 Recipe Challenge
Finland - Exploits of a Food Nut
Gambia - The Food I Eat
Georgia - 750 Miles
Hungry - Geek Leeds
Iraq - Tonight's Menu
Israel - Exploits of a Food Nut
Jordan - Really Nice Food
Kazakhstan - 366 Recipe Challenge
Kyrgyzstan - Tonight's Menu
Laos - Feast and Glory
Latvia - Exploits of a Food Nut
Liberia - Exploits of a Food Nut
Libia - Tonight's Menu
Mauritania - Exploits of a Food Nut
Mexico - 750 Miles
Monaco - Soup Tuesday
Montenegro - Feast and Glory
Pakistan - Tonight's Menu
Palestine - Tonight's Menu
Papua New Guinea - Tonight's Menu
Peru - Geek Leeds
Poland - 750 Miles
Qatar - Tonight's Menu
Seychelles - 750 Miles
Sierra Leone - 366 Recipe Challenge
Somalia - The Food I Eat
Spain - Geek Leeds
Switzerland - 750 Miles
Tajikistan - 366 Recipe Challenge
Timor-Leste - Really Nice Food
Trinidad and Tobago - Exploits of a Food Nut
United States of America - 750 Miles
Vanuatu - Tonight's Menu

With a dash of luck and a favourable wind we will have cooked, photographed and blogged about a dish from each of these countries by Sunday 9th September.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

An update

Phew, what a couple of weeks that was!  We only have a brief break before the Paralympics start and the country once again goes mad for the achievements of Team GB.  The one downside to all of this success is that the Olympic Food Challenge has not been completed.

Since the closing ceremony we have seen food from Cote D'Ivoire, DR Congo, Italy, Micronesia, Myanmar, North Korea, Singapore and Uruguay, cooked and written about*.  There are still some blog posts to come in, but even then we will be short of the finishing line.

The good news is that this is not an officially sanctioned Olympic Sport and therefore has no rules and regulations.  Between now and the end of the Paralympics I, along with help from some of the Olympic Food Challenge team, will be cooking our way through to the finish.  If you are interested in helping please drop me a line.

*I'll let you into a little secret, one of my favourites is in amongst that lot.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Day 19

Well that's all folks.  Over the last 19 days our team have battled illness, injury, work, family life, and pregnancy to bring you the food of the 204 nations competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games.  Sadly we have not managed the full 204 in the time but that is mainly due to getting the blogs written.

Team GB didn't didn't let us down.  We ended the games with a staggering 29 gold medals with Anthony Joshua adding the final gold with the final punch of the final round in the Super-Heavyweight boxing.

Our blogging heavyweights have also been stepping up to the occasion.  Today we have seen food from Bolivia, Denmark, Ghana, Great Britain, Guinea, Norway, Panama, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Swaziland, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

Like Charles van Commenee, I feel that I have set a target that has not been achieved, however I will not be standing down as the Head Coach of the Olympic Food Challenge.  I am not going to rest until all 204 golds have been won.  Keep an eye out for future blog posts from the team and for a fitting montage of the best bits from the Olympic Food Challenge.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Day 18

After another golden day I don't think I want London 2012 to end.  Team GB had the best possible start when Ed McKeever picked up gold in the 200m kayak sprint.  Tom Daley realised his Olympic dream by winning bronze in the 10m dive off, and Mo Farah out olympiced every one by adding the 5,000m gold to the 10,000m gold he won last week.

London 2012 comes to an end tomorrow and, along with it, so does the Olympic Food Challenge.  There are plenty more countries to be eaten but today we have seen recipes from Czech RepublicGabon, Hong KongLebanon and Nepal. We're on the home straight now!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Day 17

Today has seen Team GB continue to add to their impressive medal total for London 2012.  No golds today but a pair of silvers from Weymouth and a couple of bronzes in Taekwondo and Boxing.  I don't know about you, but I'm loving all of this sport coverage.  It makes such a great change from wall to wall football.  Hopefully a greater appreciation of sport will be the legacy of London 2012.

If the Olympic Food Challenge has a legacy, hopefully it will be that we are less blinkered about world cuisine.  Perhaps today's recipes from Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, JapanMongolia, Nauru, OmanSan Marino and Yeman will provide the impetus to get into the kitchen.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Day 16

Team GB have returned to their golden ways today.  We are now best at team and individual prancing horses and I for one wouldn't mess with a British woman*.  The other big Olympic news was Usain Bolt proclaiming himself a legend following his 4th Olympic gold medal.

Legends come and go and food tastes change year in and year out.  Some dishes do stand the test of time and become family favourites.  With recipes from; Barbados, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Estonia, Guam, Indonesia, Moldova, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, Togo, Tunisia and Ukraine there might be a new food legend waiting for you to discover it.

*not that I would have anyway.