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Sparticans Hold Match Teas Cooking Challenge

25th January 2021

By Simon Fitch & the Sparticans squad

The Sparticans’ first victory of the year came, rather unexpectedly, in the kitchen rather than on the pitch as no fewer than 15 of the squad answered curator-in-chief Fitchy in his challenge to prepare a dish in honour of the Surbiton kitchen, whose match teas we so miss.

Most of the team woke up to find the first entry already submitted, by original Spartican Chris down under (as per the photo, they have sun there!) – Chris’s crustacean cornucopia set a high bar, which team members young and old reached and exceeded in our cooking competition.

Dish after dish was submitted, taking into account a wide range of tea times, and sent to our esteemed judges for their assessment on two grounds – 1) hockey tea-ability i.e. would you want this after a game, and 2) overall attractiveness. We are particularly grateful to the team behind @hockeymatchteas – one of our favourite twitter feeds, Ann – SHC Supremo, and our own Gaffer, Richard Curtis for taking the time to mark entries which ranged from the simple but effective (a fully loaded baked potato drizzled in HP sauce) to the altogether more extravagant – Scottish salmon marinated in garlic, ginger and lemongrass, roasted on a bed of sweet potato dauphinoise, infused with Kaffir Lime leaves and finished with a coconut milk, red chili and coriander jus. Truly, the team interpreted their brief in differing ways, including a dessert and cheese course…

A number of entries were deemed worthy of particular mention, including:

  • Best International Entry – the aforementioned Chris Baker
  • Best eating equipment – Andrew Bell’s chopsticks
  • Dessert Delight – Lee Creaser’s bread and butter pudding, mixed with panettone
  • Most colourful description – Matthew Anderson (see above) and Mike Street (see below)
  • Most realistic incarnation of an away tea – Adam Langford’s cheese and biscuits
  • Most aspirational – Kevin Grant’s steak

In the final reckoning, Oliver Fitch was awarded the Young Masterchef prize for his delicious salmon pad thai, with the team relieved that he had inherited yet more from his mother not father.  Overall third prize was awarded to Steve Iffland for his chorizo infused bangers, chunky wedges, grilled peppers with a garnish of petit pois (and a castle lager).

And in dramatic scenes, first prize was shared. Mike Street won overall attractiveness (of the dish, to be clear) for his Pan seared medium rare rump steak, with a cajun spiced dry rub, diced iberico chorizo, on a bed of long stem borroli, kale and peas cooked with minted butter and seasoned to finish. Check out the recipe below!

And finally, James Warren also won first prize, and hockey tea-ability for his sumptuous Pork Pibil Nachos.  As a final touch, Ann has confirmed that some point in the future, this dish will inspire one of the club’s delicious match teas, so you’ve not seen the last of James’s nachos.

Thanks to all who participated – the Sparticans look forward to seeing other teams’ challenges to our new crown as culinary champions at Surbiton HC…

Recipe: Pan seared medium rare rump steak with a Cajun spiced dry rub, diced iberico chorizo, on a bed of long stem broccoli, kale and peas cooked with minted butter

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 400g rump steak stripes
  • 160g of diced chorizo 
  • Cajun dry rub (Waitrose do a good one)
  • Long stem broccoli 
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Mint leaf
  • Butter 
  • Salt pepper


  1. Season the steak and rub in the Cajun spices, just so it’s covered
  2. Pour a small amount of olive oil over the meat 
  3. Heat the pan until it’s smoking, and then throw in the steak and chorizo. Should only need 5-7 mins for medium rare
  4. Boil a pan of water and steam the kale and broccoli. After 4 mins, put the peas in the water to cook
  5. Chop the mint leaf and melt some butter in a pan and mix in the mint leaf 
  6. Once all the veg is cooked, pour over the butter and mix in 
  7. Plate up the veg, then put the steak and chorizo on top, making sure to drizzle the oil from the pan over the top