Thursday, July 3, 2008

Around the World - England

This week we chose to try English cuisine. Now, this isn't new to us, we lived there for 3 years and loved to go out to eat. We mostly did Indian or Thai, but there was one pub with a restaurant and large child's play area that we went to several times. Most people think of the English food as rather bland, kind of stodgey. Not so, you just have to know where to look. And, when to eat.

Breakfast is the best meal. They may have kippers (like sardines), ham or bacon, hot cereals, boiled eggs, broiled tomatoes, and other similar foods. Lunch and dinner can be the dull meals. Plain meats and fish, boiled vegetables like cabbage and brussel sprouts. Maybe mashed potatoes or a yorkshire pudding (more of a roll/biscuit than a pudding). Tea is the other good meal, served in the late afternoon. Delicate cakes and cookies, scones, crumpets, small sandwiches.

Besides tea, the other thing the English do well is cheese. Cheeses are a British tradition and are among the finest in the world. Among the best known are Cheshire, Stilton, and yes, Cheddar.

This week we made Bubble and Squeak (you might recognize the term from Wind in the Willows), crumpets, and a Marlborough Pudding.

Bubble and Squeak (Isn't that the cutest title?)

3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 thick slices cold roast beef or cold chicken
4 tbsp butter
1/2 head cabbage, boiled and then chopped fine
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp vinegar

Mix together have the salt and pepper. Sprinkle it over the beef or chicken. Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a skillet. Brown the slices of beef or chicken on both sides. Remove and set aside in a warm place. Melt the remaining butter in the skillet and add the cabbage, nutmeg, remaining salt and remaining pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cabbage is lightly browned. Sprinkle the vinegar over it and cook 1 minute longer. Serve with the meat or chicken. Serves 4.

The cabbage has a slight sour kraut-ish flavor because of the vinegar. Very mild. Be sure to flavor the chicken or beef well when cooking, because that is the main flavor of the dish. With flavorful meat this is really good. I cheated, I didn't have time to roast anything, so I went by the deli counter and got some roast beef in thick slices, and it tasted great. The kids said I could make this again, because it tasted pretty good, and the name...


2 pks yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400.

Dissolve yeast in the water. Beat the eggs, add the milk, butter, salt, and sugar. Add the yeast mixutre and the flour, beating until smooth. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes. Fill buttered muffin tins about 1/2 full. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Serve hot with plenty of butter and jam. Makes about 24.

In England these have little holes in them, like swiss cheese. These little homemade babies have them too. It's kind of fun and I will be making these again!

Marlborough Pudding

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 tbsp milk
4 tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups applesauce
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the consistency of coarse sand. Add milk, tossing lightly with a fork until a ball of dough is formed. Wrap in saran wrap and place in fridge while preparing the filling.

Cream the butter, add the sugar, and beat well. Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice, nutmeg, applesauce, and cream. Mix well.

Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Place in pie pan. Pour the filling into it. Bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes, or until delicately browned and firm in texture. Serve hot or cold. If desired, sweetened whipped cream may be served with this pudding.

This took more like and hour and some to cook. At 45 minutes it was still very giggly in the center. So I did another 10 minutes, and then another 10 before the skewer came out clean. This is like an apple pie without chunks of apples, with the consistency of a baked custard. Let cool for a while before cutting, or the pie will weep. It was yummy warm with whipped cream, and I imagine it would taste it's best at room temperature. The pastry is really good too, fairly light and flaky.

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