I’m returning with another food related post (-someone help me). In homage of the series I seem to have unintentionally begun on my blog, starting with 25 Korean Dishes, I thought it would only be appropriate to form a list of 20 British Dishes in two parts. British cuisine may be less flavourful or unique as that of foods of oriental or Eastern world origin; nevertheless I am well aware that a large percentage of my readers are not from the UK or Western parts of the globe. Seeing the British for more than just Fish and chips could be intriguing. Before anyone judges me, not that I have received any unpleasant comments, I am aware that some of the mentioned dishes do not entirely derive from the UK and more or less are fusion foods: the majority being of West European and Asian influence. After all the UK’s most popular dishes are Indian chicken tikka masala and Chinese chow mein.
- Roast Dinners – The first and foremost dish resembling the UK aside from fish and chips. Roast dinners are very similar to American and British thanksgiving/christmas dinners, minus a few accompaniments. The ‘most important’ part of the dish is the meat: either beef, chicken or pork chops with apple sauce. On Easter Sunday the usual meats that I just detailed are substituted with minted lamb. The meat is presented with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy.
- Yorkshire puddings – They aren’t actually puddings in the sense of a sweet treat. Relating back to 1737, the Yorkshire Pudding then named ‘dripping pudding’ was invented upon wheat flour becoming into regular use. The recipe became familiar among people when published in a book entitled ‘The Whole Duty of a Woman’ – I know, not exactly equality friendly in that century. Yorkshire’s are simply made from flour, eggs and water or milk and baked in an oven. Heat allows the batter to rise whilst leaving a dip in the centre. The standard size of a pudding is almost the size of your palm, although larger versions exist for putting the other roast dinner ingredients inside. Cheese, baked beans and sausages are also a popular filling for large Yorkshire puds.
- Beef Wellington – It is difficult to determine whether or not this is a French or British dish. The French version is appropriately called ‘boeuf en croûte’ – beef in pastry. Beef fillets are used for this dense baked/roasted parcel, which is cut into thick round slices for each serving. Mushrooms, shallots, red wine, pepper and salt season and tenderise the meat whilst egg or milk wash makes the pastry golden. Buttery mashed potatoes and gravy are a serving suggestion. The french version contains Foie gras pâté between the pastry and beef. Bacon rashers can be used as a foie gras replacement.
- Bubble and Squeak – A recipe intended to minimise food wastage by shallow frying leftover vegetables from roast dinnners into a hash or rosti. Vegetables used include cabbage, peas, carrots, potatoes and brussell sproats. Nowadays famous British chefs and television cooks have been known to combine bubble and squeak with another basic British dish: fried eggs, ham and chips.
- Pie, mash and liquor – Originating from London, pie with mash and liquor has been sold in pie, mash and jellied eels shops (-not the most satisfying of British cuisine) since the 19th century. Thesedays it continues to be a popular choice of ‘pub grub’ (-translation: bar food) in Kent, Essex, East London and my home city – South East London. ‘Liquor’ is actually non-alcoholic; it’s a parsley based sauce poured over a suet pastry beef pie with the much loved mashed potato.
- Lancashire hotpot – A family sized ‘one pot’ meal traced back to Lancashire, North West of England. The bottom layer of the stew includes a mixture of lamb or mutton, onions and sometimes carrots. Sliced potatoes lay on top becoming crispy in the oven. It is suggested that the original recipe came from the time before industrialisation. The lamb or mutton would slowly stew over a fire whilst family members would work from home spinning threads for making cloth. I much prefer the sausage version of this hotpot, where Lancashire pork sausages and gravy are used instead of lamb or mutton.
- Sheppard’s pie – Extremely similar to Lancashire hotpot, with the minced beef used in place of stewed lamb and mashed potato piped in peaks rather than potato slices. Tomato ketchup is a typical condiment.
Desserts/puddings – also called ‘afters’:
- Trifle – My absolute favourite among British desserts! I looked forward to eating my Nan’s sherry trifle every boxing day. A trifle is made up of layers. The bottom layer is usually berries or a fruit cocktail in jelly/jello, followed by sponge cake fingers that have been soaked in alcohol; such as sherry or red wine. On top of the sponge layer is custard – regular or chocolate flavoured if a chocolate trifle is being made (-doesn’t contain fruit). Lastly whipped cream with chocolate shavings or ‘thousands and thousands’ aka sprinkles. Coffee and vanilla versions can easily be found in British supermarkets.
- Bakewell tart – The debate whether this is a cake or biscuit is timeless, just alike jaffa cakes (-please don’t ask there will be mayhem). The bakewell tart or ‘cherry bakewell’ is made with a shortcrust pastry shell. At the base of the pastry shell is a miniscule amount of strawberry jam/jelly. The thickest layer is frangipane – confectionary made from Almond powder and is of a rollable consistency. A glacé cherry pokes out from the top centre of the tartlet. Before healthy eating guidelines were updated numerous times in the UK, these were treats often found in children’s school lunch boxes.
- Spotted dick – A rich suet based pudding containing dried fruits (mainly currents and/or raisins), shaped into a dome. It should be served hot with custard or evaporated milk.