Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gets the World Cup party started with his Brazilian nibbles

With the World Cup about to kick off, Bill Granger takes inspiration from host nation Brazil to whip up some fierce cocktails and delectable edibles

I hear football fever is about to take the world by storm. I can't pretend to be a huge fan of the beautiful game myself, but even I am starting to feel the anticipation.

Years ago I watched a match with some Brazilian friends and if what we have to look forward to this month is that same level of unrestrained excitement, then I can't wait! I don't think I've ever come across a nation with the same sense of fun. With their samba beats, fierce cocktails and infectious love for life, it should be a great party.

So, the Havaianas are on, bossa nova is gently playing in the background and I've been working on some Brazilian-inspired salads and snacks to add to my repertoire. Now all I have to do is learn the names of the players in the Aussie team in time for our first match on Friday… Come on Australia!

Passionfruit caipiroska

Thanks to the World Cup, some supermarkets are now stocking cachaça, the Brazilian spirit made from sugar cane. Substitute cachaça for vodka if you'd like to try a passionfruit caipirinha – personally, I still prefer vodka.

Serves 4

6 passionfruits
2 limes
8 tsp caster sugar
200ml vodka
Crushed ice

Divide the pulp from the passionfruits between 4 tumblers. Squeeze the juice of ½ lime into each and top with 2 teaspoons of caster sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Divide the vodka between the glasses and top with crushed ice. Stir well before drinking.

Kale crisps with crushed cashew

Brazilians were enjoying kale long before it became the fashionistas' vegetable of choice and, oven-baked as it is here, you can indulge without restraint – even with bikini season just round the corner.

Serves 4 as a nibble

1 head curly kale
50g cashew nuts, roughly crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Wash the kale and dry thoroughly with kitchen towel. Pull the leaves off the centre ribs in large pieces, and pile on a baking sheet. Discard the ribs.

Kale crisps with crushed cashew Kale crisps with crushed cashew (Tamin Jones)
In a small bowl mix the cashew, oil, chilli and salt. Use your hands to massage this mixture on to the kale leaves until each one is evenly coated. Lay the kale leaves out flat on 2 oven trays. Do not overlap.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp, but still green. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving. If some kale chips are still a little flimsy or damp, remove the crisp chips and place the damp chips back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Ceviche with coconut dressing and crispy sweet potatoes

Before any traditionalists start throwing stones, I know ceviche is a Peruvian dish, but I also know Brazilians love raw fish, coriander and coconut. So much so that I'd happily make this should Gisele Bündchen and her fashion mates ever pop over for a light lunch...

Serves 4

1 corn cob
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 sweet potato, coarsely grated
2 limes
4 tbsp coconut milk
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
300g skinned seabass or seabream fillets, thinly sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Handful coriander leaves
Handful fresh coconut shavings

Heat a griddle pan over a high heat and cook the corn on all sides until cooked through and charred. Once cooled, slice the sweetcorn kernels from the cob and set aside.

Ceviche with coconut dressing and crispy sweet potatoes Ceviche with coconut dressing and crispy sweet potatoes (Tamin Jones)
Heat about 5cm oil in a heavy-based pan; you will know it is hot enough when a cube of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, gently lower the sweet potatoes into the oil and cook until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel.

Grate the zest of 1 lime into a shallow dish. Squeeze in the juice of 1½ limes. Stir in the coconut milk, chilli and ginger and season lightly with salt. Stir well to combine. Add the fish slices, tossing them gently in the marinade. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Soak the red onion slices in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Drain and toss into a bowl with the juice of the remaining ½ lime, garlic and coriander. Gently toss through the corn.

Divide the sliced seabass between 4 plates. Spoon over the dressing, add the corn, onion and coriander salsa and top with coconut shavings and crispy potatoes.

Steak, tomatoes and palm-heart salad

This light, sunny dish can be thrown together in minutes to make quite a filling salad. For a more substantial meal, serve it with crisp garlic-rubbed sourdough toast.

Serves 4

1 tsp toasted coriander seeds, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
1½ tsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green chillies, finely chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
2 x 250g pieces of rib-eye steak
2 shallots, finely chopped
450g mixed small tomatoes, halved, larger ones quartered
410g tin palm hearts, sliced
2 handfuls watercress

Combine the coriander seeds, olive oil, oregano, garlic, chilli, orange and lime. Place the steaks on a plate and pour over half the dressing. Rub it all over the steak and set aside for 15 minutes to marinate. Stir the shallot into the remaining dressing and set aside.

Steak, tomatoes and palm-heart salad Steak, tomatoes and palm-heart salad (Tamin Jones)
Remove the steaks from the marinade and season with salt. Heat a griddle or frying pan over a high heat. Fry the steaks for 1 minute on each side, let them rest for 5 minutes, then slice. Arrange on a platter with the tomatoes, palm hearts and watercress. Drizzle over the shallot dressing and serve.

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, and 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill on Instagram at bill_granger

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