There are a few things essential to an A-grade grand final party: impeccable TV reception, an ice-packed esky and a litany of easy-to-eat snacks. We can’t help with the first two, but we’re all over the last prerequisite.
Whether you’re an AFL supporter or barracking for an NRL team this weekend, the below recipes will ensure you’re not awarded the wooden spoon in the snack league.
Tivoli Road Bakery’s pork, caramelised apple and fennel sausage rolls
Sausage rolls are crucial game-day fare – and these puff pastry-wrapped bangers, from Melbourne’s Tivoli Road Bakery, are a cut above what you’ll get at a stadium. Fennel adds a hint of aniseed-y warmth and apples bring a whisper of sweetness to the heartiness of pork. And while this makes eight large rolls, the recipe is easily adapted for party-sized versions.
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Mark Best’s guacamole
A bowl of guacamole and a bag of corn chips is the bare minimum you can bring to the table for a grand final party. Show you’ve gone to a bit of effort by making top chef Mark Best’s (Marque) take on the avocado-based classic; it’s got a thwack of smokiness, and jalapeno brings the fire. It’s ready in 10 minutes – but Best insists on following one very important rule to ensure the perfect guac.
Chin Chin’s chilli-salt chicken wings
Grand-final finger food is dialled up with Chin Chin’s crispy pan-Asian-inspired take on chicken wings. Extra flavour comes courtesy of a first cook in a master stock, followed by a sprinkling of Sichuan salt and chopped chilli. The final flourish? “Bandit” sauce: a heady combo of lemongrass, multiple chillies, ginger and galangal.
Gordon Ramsay’s cornflake chicken sliders with gochujang mayo
We’re not sure whether British chef Gordon Ramsay is an NRL or AFL fan – but we reckon if he was going to a grand final party, he’d bring these bad boys along. A trifecta of crunch coats the chicken: cornflakes, crispy fried onions and roasted peanuts, and the flavour is turned up to 10 with a punchy gochujang mayo. This is no idiot sandwich.
Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan’s cob loaf
This retro Aussie classic gets a reboot via the addition of natives like saltbush and warrigal greens – but these can be subbed out for other ingredients if you’re finding them tricky to track down. It’s the perfect crowd-pleasing centrepiece to a day of footy … and might trigger nostalgic memories of happier games past if your team loses.
Joel Bennetts’s anchovy toast
Like football, anchovies can be divisive – but if you have lovers of these salty little fish on your team, Sydney chef Joel Bennetts’s (Fish Shop) anchovy toast recipe is a winner. Umami anchovies are levelled out with pickled eschalots and a herbaceous salsa verde; it’s all loaded on toast, making it an ideal handheld snack for when the game’s heating up. And once you’ve pickled the eschalots, the rest of the recipe is quick enough to throw together during half-time.
Dorothy Lee’s salt and vinegar fried oyster mushrooms
Inspired by salt and vinegar chips, these oyster mushrooms are a highbrow take on a junk-food classic – so don’t be surprised if your guests quickly devour them during a particularly stressful play. Lee (Longshore) marinates her oysters in soy sauce, wine and sesame oil, bringing a level of flavour that goes beyond the batter.
Dan Hong’s self-saucing cheeseburger spring rolls
Traditionally, footy snacks have been synonymous with “dude food”. Embrace the tradition with Dan Hong’s Sydney-famous cheeseburger spring rolls, a mainstay on the menu at his mod-Asian eatery Ms G’s. One reason for their success is that they taste bafflingly like a McDonald’s cheeseburger – in fact, we recommend making a double batch, because they’re that scoffable.
Ella Mittas’s zucchini fritters
These mucver, or Turkish-style fritters, are crisp, crunchy and require only one hand to eat, perfect for when you need to shake a fist at the ref mid-snack. Melbourne-based cook and writer Ella Mittas says brilliant red Aleppo pepper adds a bit of fruitiness and cumin-like undertones to the fritters – but if you can’t make it to the Middle Eastern grocer to grab some, you can sub in a mix of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper.
Mitch Orr’s mozzarella in carrozza (mini fried sandwiches)
Mozzarella placed between two slices of Wonder White bread, then deep-fried, sounds like top-tier comfort food to us. We want a plate of these golden-crumbed beauties in front of us to celebrate goals and commiserate losses (and maybe even soak up a bit of the booze that tends to be standard during footy games). Mitch Orr (Kiln) warns that the first bite is going to be hot.