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
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
This rich and creamy soup is perfect for any occasion. Try it as a snack on a chilly afternoon, have a small portion of it before a meat-based dinner or try it on your family so they can appreciate your soup-making abilities! You don’t have to use Stilton here but if you can get some of that amazing English blue cheese it’s totally worth it. Stilton is amazing! If not, then try another kind of blue cheese and the recipe will come out similar. As well as the broccoli and cheese, you are going to need leek, potato, celery, butter, and stock to make this , so you can imagine the end results – a creamy, rich-tasting soup.
After cooking the onions you will be adding the leek, celery and potato along with some butter. Next you add the broccoli and then you can puree the soup in the blender. After this, add the Stilton or whatever blue cheese you decide to use. Don’t worry about lumps where the cheese doesn’t quite dissolve, because those are fine in this soup. This thick, rich soup is great served with crusty white bread to mop up absolutely every drop.
Stilton cheese is English and it comes in 2 varieties – blue and white – although the white is largely unknown (even in England). Stilton is produced in England, in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Legend has it that Cooper Thornhill, a cheese seller, discovered Stilton in 1730 while visiting a farm close to Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. He loved it right away and began to sell it. The rest is history and this cheese has been popular ever since. In order to be officially known as Stilton, a cheese must have its own coat or crust, not be pressed, have a ‘Stilton’ flavour, have blue veins coming out from the centre, have a fat content of about 35%, and have at least 48% milk fat content in the dry matter. Continue reading
Brown Windsor soup is thought to have originated in the Victorian and Edwardian eras although the exact date is unclear. Anybody who happened to be at sea during the 1950s and 1960s on a British Merchant vessel will have enjoyed this soup on board. There were various soups served on the ships, creatively named by whoever happened to be doing the cooking, but Brown Windsor soup would have stood out for its unique flavour. The ingredients in this soup vary but the main ingredients, namely the beef, lamb and meaty stock, make it a rich, hearty dish. If you think soup cannot be filling, try this recipe and you will see that it can.
This tasty English soup makes a warming lunch or you could serve it for dinner with bread rolls on the side. If you want to serve it as a starter recipe, then it will serve 8 instead of 4 people. Follow up with poultry or seafood as your main dish. You will find this soup very simple to prepare since you just have to brown the meat and then stir in the other ingredients. Let it cook slowly on the hob for a couple of hours, then serve hot.
Although it is traditional to stir a tablespoon of Madeira into each portion of soup before serving, this is optional. The Madeira does go well with the beef stock though. French onion soup is often based on beef stock and has Madeira or sherry stirred into it, and the concept is similar here. Make this flavourful soup and enjoy a true taste of English history in every mouthful. Continue reading
Macaroni cheese, also known as macaroni and cheese in the UK, or mac ‘n cheese in some parts, is a combination of macaroni pasta and a cheese sauce. Although it is often served as a side dish across the Pond, in the UK it is almost always served as a main dish. If you want to tweak the recipe, consider adding carrots, sweetcorn or broccoli to the pasta pot a few minutes before it is fully cooked. Some cooked sliced leeks and crumbled bacon or sliced hot dogs mixed into the finished dish would also be good. This recipe makes enough for two people, but you can easily double or triple it, to feed a family.
Use mild or mature cheddar cheese, or even vintage, extra-strong cheddar. Some people like to add a little parmesan or gruyere. You will need a handful of cheese (as much cheese as you can grab in one hand) for the main recipe and then a little more for sprinkling on top before you bake the dish at the end, just enough to go on top and melt. Forgo this last stage if you do not want to bake it, and just serve it as soon as the macaroni is added.
Although you will often see mac ‘n cheese listed on menus in the United States, the recipe is of English origin. It was introduced to the US and Canada by British immigrants. Of course, the macaroni component is Italian, but combining it with a cheese sauce is something English cooks came up with as far back as in the 1300s. Head north to Scotland and you will find the ‘macaroni cheese pie’ where prepared macaroni cheese is served in a pastry shell. Macaroni cheese is usually prepared from scratch in the UK, although you can get tinned (canned) versions as well as boxed mixes (which are obviously inferior to this delicious homemade version!) Continue reading
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