Czech Republic (or Czechia?!)
Knowing Czechia was on the horizon, I took advice from my Czech friend as to what to cook. “Hmmm…. not known for it’s good food. Beer is good though!” was her response. She steered me in the direction of Svíčková served with Knedlíky.
Svíčková seems like possibly the only truely Czech dish, uninfluenced by it’s European neighbours. It’s made from sirlion steak, marinated with pork fat, butter, all spice, vinegar and vegetables and then cooked. The vegetables are then blended to make a sauce with added cream and it’s served with Knedlíky (bread dumplings) and cranberry sauce.
I didn’t realise we were out of allspice when I put the meat in to marinade so had to add its constituent parts. I left the meat in the fridge for 2 days, marinading in a box.
I cooked the meat and vegetables in the oven for about an hour and then set the meat aside, blended the vegetables and added double cream to make a smooth sauce. It was creamy but quite acidic from all of the red wine vinegar.
The bread dumplings were pretty cool. I mixed 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp bicarb, 1tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 3 eggs, 1 cup of milk and 4 cups of breadcrumbs all in the blender. I left it to kneed for a while then dumped it on some muslin, rolled it up, loosely tied the ends and boiled the sausage for 45 mins. They tasted good but were pretty heavy!
I copied all the pictures off google images in terms of how to serve the meal; I added a dollop of cream and some cranberry sauce. All in all it was a good experience… it tasted authentic like something I’ve had in Czechia before, but not something I’d probably cook again.