13 Sep 2009

Culinary Heritage - The British Convergence

Other influences have converged to shape my tastes and culinary aspirations along the way, with the most obvious one resulting from my move to the UK 15 years ago. There are deliciously British dishes that one should get acquainted with when coming over here, as part of a rite of passage that puts the foreign visitor on a par with the locals, whether it be over a mug of builders’ tea, a pint of traditional ale, a tumbler of sloe gin on ice, or a cup of the finest Darjeeling.

To face the day head on, forget about your bran/ shredded wheat and plump for the Full English Breakfast, very nutritious! For a lighter alternative, why not have toasted teacakes (not to be confused of course with the coconut 'toasted teacakes' from the local sweetshop, pictured here with coconut mushrooms!)

Variety is on the menu for lunch or dinner, from casual and easy to heart-warming and cosy! How about potted shrimps, scampi, pork pie, steak & kidney pie, curry, fish & chips, fisherman's pie, baked beans on toast, Lancashire hotpot, cottage pie, Yorkshire puddings… And if you are feeling adventurous enough ask for a side of mushy peas, or the cucumber-sized gherkins, or bump up your 5-a-days with a plate of oven-roasted parsnips or that delightfully light pea-shoot salad.

For dessert, succumb to sweetness: apple pie, trifle, bread & butter pudding, spotted dick (and their lashings of custard), syllabub, treacle tart, Bakewell tart, Victoria sponge cake, lemon-drizzle cake, or walnut & coffee cake (my personal favourite!) And let’s not forget high tea and its platter of sinful delights: savoury finger sandwiches, scones, crumpets, Battenberg, tartlets, fairy cakes and other bite-size wonders! (Pictured above are some little fancies made earlier by Mr Kipling!)

If variety is the spice of life, there is no better place than Britain to enjoy chutneys, Piccalilli, pickles, ginger, cinnamon and a variety of other spices harking back to the colonial days which more than ever take pride of place in modern British cuisine.

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