The Eurovision Song Contest takes place this Saturday and if you're having a party to celebrate, why not cook up a treat from one of the countries taking part? From an Azerbaijani-inspired rice dish to Danish pastries, we've got it covered.
Azerbaijan: Lamb plov
Plov is a popular dish in this year's host country. It's flavoured with aromatic cumin, parsley and dried fruits. This version takes only around 30 minutes to cook, so place a bowl on the table and let your guests tuck in. (Serves 4-6)
600g lamb leg steaks, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 small onions, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
100g dried apricots, chopped
100g dried prunes, chopped
450ml beef stock
300g long-grain rice
½ tsp saffron strands
1 beef stock cube
Small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. Brown the lamb pieces in a little olive oil and remove to a plate. Add the garlic, carrots and onions to the pan (you might need a little more oil) and cook until golden.
2. Stir in the cumin, apricots, prunes and stock and add the lamb. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked through and tender.
3. Meanwhile, stir the beef stock cube and the saffron threads into a saucepan of boiling water. Stir in the rice and cook until tender. Drain.
4. Serve the rice on a platter with the lamb mixture on top. Scatter over the parsley and serve while hot.
[Related gallery: 9 quick hangover cures that actually work]
Denmark: Apple and custard danish pastries
Rumour has it that Austrian bakers brought what we now know as the Danish pastry to Denmark. This version takes just minutes to make. (Makes 6).
375g roll of ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with a drop of milk
6 teaspoons ready-made custard
2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
150g icing sugar
Few tablespoons water, from a recently boiled kettle
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Unravel the pastry and cut horizontally across the centre, and then twice vertically, to make 6 rectangles.
2. Lift each pastry rectangle onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and brush with the beaten egg. Dab 1 teaspoon of custard in the centre of each pastry (don't be tempted to add any more) and arrange the apple slices on top. Sprinkle a little of the Demerara sugar over each pastry.
3. Fold over two opposite corners of the pastry to make a diamond shape and brush lightly with more egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Take out and leave to cool completely.
4. Next, mix the icing sugar with the water to make a thick, runny icing. Drizzle over the cooled pastries and leave to dry.
Sweden: Meatballs and gravy
These meatballs make great finger food — make a batch and let people help themselves. (Makes 12-16 large meatballs).
500g pork mince
250g beef mince
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 tsp dried thyme
1 garlic clove, chopped
300ml beef stock
1 tbsp double cream
2 teaspoons plain flour
Cranberry sauce, to serve.
1. In a large bowl, mix together the pork and beef mince, onion, eggs, salt, pepper and thyme. Preheat your oven to 200°C and heat a little oil in a frying pan.
2. With your hands, form the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs and fry in the oil, until browned. Transfer to a roasting dish and bake in the oven, for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In the pan you fried the meatballs, fry the garlic until soft. Stir in the flour and then whisk in the beef stock and the cream. Heat through, seasoning to taste. Serve, with cranberry sauce on the side.
Greece: Spinach and feta pie
A classic Greek dish, this pie can be cut into individual portions. Best served warm.
270g filo pastry (6 sheets)
100g unsalted butter, melted
1 onion, chopped
150g freshly chopped spinach, stalks removed
200g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Salt and black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Cook the onion in a little olive oil until soft and then stir in the spinach. Increase the heat for the last 2 minutes of cooking to evaporate any excess liquid. Leave to cool.
2. In a bowl, beat together the eggs, feta and dill and season with salt and pepper.
3. Brush some melted butter over the base of an ovenproof dish and cut the sheet of pastry in half to fit. Lay over one of the sheets and brush with butter. Add another sheet, brushing with butter, until you have 4-5 layers.
4. Mix the egg and spinach mixtures together and pour on top of the pastry in the dish, spreading evenly. Layer over the remaining sheets of filo, brushing with butter as you go, so you have another 4-5 layers. Brush the final layer well with butter and bake for 30 minutes, until golden and crisp. Leave for 10 minutes, and then cut into slices and serve.