Monthly Archives: April 2016
If you’re ever on holiday in Devon, in the southwest of England, you absolutely have to have a Devonshire cream tea! You get a pot of hot tea (English Breakfast, Earl Grey, whatever kind you want) along with freshly baked scones, jam (usually strawberry but sometimes raspberry and blackcurrant are also offered) and clotted cream. There is nothing else on Earth quite like authentic Devon scones, and for good reason too. These tasty, crumbly scones are not too sweet and not too savoury. They are topped with rich, thick clotted cream and then sweet strawberry jam. Hot tea goes perfectly with them.
Perhaps you’re reading this thinking ‘wait a minute, clotted cream is Cornish, isn’t it? What’s the difference between Devon cream tea and Cornish cream tea?’ Well if you ask someone from Devon or Cornwall they will have very strong opinions that their method is correct! However, the scones and tea are the same – it’s just about how they are prepared, either cream first and then jam, or jam first and then cream. It is much disputed there!
In Devon it’s cream first and then jam because the cream spreads easier on the scones than on the jam. In Cornwall it’s never, ever cream first – the cream goes on top! I suggest you make these scones and try both ways to see which you like best. Eat these scones the day you make them or freeze then thaw for a few hours and refresh them for 10 minutes in a warm oven. Continue reading
We all know that French onion soup is something that probably can’t be beaten or improved on. So you have the beef stock, the onions, white wine, Gruyere, croutons… doesn’t it make your mouth water just to think about it? However, what you might not know is that the Brits have their own version of French onion soup – an onion soup made with cider instead of white wine and which is white or off-white in colour. In the UK cider is always alcoholic, what the Americans call hard cider. If it’s non-alcoholic they simply say apple juice. British cider is flat or sparkling. Any type is fine for making this recipe.
In addition to the cider we are using butter, leeks, onions, apples, potatoes, stock and herbs. Thyme and bay leaves are used to flavour the soup but they are discarded before serving. We like to add Gruyere cheese, thyme and sometimes a little ground nutmeg for garnish. The Gruyere and thyme are ingredients ‘borrowed’ from the typical French onion soup recipe but they go so well with the onions, so be generous with them here!
This soup would be nice for lunch or dinner, or you could serve half-sized portions as a starter recipe. A lot of the alcohol will be ‘cooked off’ but if you really don’t want to use it then simply sub the hard cider for regular cider or apple juice. The recipe will still taste nice. Served with some crusty white bread, this makes a great meal and there is something so satisfying about the combination of flavours. Try it for yourself and see! Continue reading
This tasty English recipe is traditionally made with mashed potatoes and vegetables left over from the Sunday roast dinner. The main ingredients are of course potatoes and vegetables, and you can use any vegetables you wish, with carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and peas being typical ones. These ingredients are combined with some fried onion (this is optional but we love to add onion to ours for extra flavour) and salt and black pepper for an easy side dish. The next time you make a roast dinner, make sure you cook enough to have leftovers, because this is well worth making, I promise you!
We often don’t seem to have leftovers because my husband and I appreciate great food and we have 4 growing boys who seem to be hungry most of the time. So even when I cook ‘enough to feed an army’ the food seems to vanish quickly! However, it’s worth making extra so you can make bubble and squeak. Failing that, you don’t have to use leftovers. You can cook mashed potatoes and veggies just so you can make this yummy side dish.
Some people make one big one and then cut it into wedges but I like to make individual cakes. Dip them in flour before frying so you get a nice crust on them and they can be flipped without breaking into pieces. This was a popular recipe during World War II because it was a simple way of converting leftovers into something yummy when most foods were of course subject to rationing. Try them with ketchup. One of my English friends says she likes to serve these with bacon and fried eggs at breakfast time. Continue reading
British curry? Don’t you mean Indian curry or Thai curry? Nope, this recipe is for British curry, the sweet, thick kind you get from pubs all over the UK. Yes the Brits got the idea from India but they have adapted the flavours to their own palates, which is why British curries tend to be thick, sweet and not too spicy. In a British pub you can order curry with a jacket potato (baked potato), rice or chips (fries) or even half rice and half chips in many places. Expect a mild flavour, but you can ask for hot sauce if you want to liven it up a bit. British pub curries usually tend to be chicken, beef or vegetarian.
In the following recipe we are using potato, carrot, onion, bell peppers, and pineapple as the main ingredients, adding some sultanas or raisins too, and some peas or corn (or both) and coconut milk or cream. Add mild curry powder for flavour, and some salt and black pepper. It is important to simmer this curry very gently because that’s when the flavours blend nicely. Enjoy the delicious exotic smells in the kitchen while this cooks!
Change any ingredients you want, perhaps swapping the potato for an extra carrot or some button mushrooms or spinach. Some people like to add some cashews when they add the peas/corn, while others add a little hot sauce. Get creative with it and have some fun! This curry has potato in it so you might want to serve it by itself instead of with a potato side dish. If you don’t mind some extra carbs though, white rice or naan bread goes well. Head to any High Street in Britain and the odds are high you will find at least one curry house. Indian chefs who had immigrated into the UK started preparing lighter, milder curries in the 1970s, for the British palate, and today a high percentage of Brits enjoy curry at least once a week! Continue reading
If you’re looking for hearty peasant food rather than something elegant, consider this tasty Scottish recipe. Small fish such as herring or sardines are perfect for making this dish, or you could even try mackerel, croakers, dabs or similar. If you make friends with your local fishmonger, perhaps he will remove the bones for you. If you have to do it yourself, cut along the underside and hit the backbone a few times. Next, pull the backbone out along with as many of the bones as you can. Now scrape the scales off using a knife, and discard the heads and tails. It’s easy to fillet herrings, I promise you!
The flavour is really nice, and you will find the mustard cuts through the richness of the fish. The oats make me think of cosy autumn or winter. The traditional Scottish way of serving oat-crusted herring is mashed or boiled potatoes or thick slices of bread and butter, although modern cookbooks featuring this recipe suggest lemon and parsley, or even crispy bacon (yum, we like that idea!)
My family loves creamy mashed potatoes on the side, and plenty of them, but sometimes bread and butter is good too. You don’t need many ingredients for this tasty Scottish recipe so you can rustle it up quickly when you want something hot and tasty to eat for lunch or dinner. The herring fillets are covered in salt then soaked in a creamy mustard mixture. They are then coated in oats and pan-fried until crispy. Herring and oats are both Scottish staples, so it makes sense to combine them and make this wonderful rustic dish. Give it a try and see how it compares to your family’s usual crispy fish dinner. I bet you’re going to love it! This recipe serves 2 people but it’s easy to make more if you’re feeding a crowd. Continue reading
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