Category Archives: Food

British Food | Favourite British Food Brands

Below is the article Elaine Lemm has written. This was not written by me. LINK: http://britishfood.about.com/od/buyersguide/tp/Quirky-Foods-of-Britain.htm

Britain and Ireland are steeped in traditional and easily recognizable foods, many of which have made their way into other food cultures worldwide. There are, however, foods and drinks now raised to near iconic status and considered typical of all things British.

Marmite

Photo © Unilever
One of the great British discussions – after the weather – is do you love it, or hate it? British favorite Marmite is a rich, dark-brown, yeasty spread for hot toast, spread on wafer biscuits, as a hot drink or a sandwich filling. Marmite lovers will tell you it is good on or in almost anything! The spread has a dense, salty flavor and must be used sparingly. Marmite is made from yeast extract (a by-product of the brewing industry) and is a rich source of vitamin B complex. Statistics say that 25% of Britons take Marmite with them when travelling.

Robinsons Barley Water

Photo © Britvic
Robinsons Lemon Barley Water is as much a part of a British summer as strawberries and cream being the drink of choice for players at the Wimbledon Tennis tournament. The drink was launched in 1823 as a powder to mix with water and didnt make an appearance in its current bottled form until 1935. The refreshing drink was designed to be taken to combat fever and kidney complaints and thus began its long association with health and fitness which still exists today.

HP Sauce

Photo © RFB Photography
No self-respecting full English breakfast is seen without it and a humble bacon sandwich raised to gourmet status with a dash of the ‘brown stuff’. HP Sauce has graced British tables since the late 19th century with the slim bottle and distinctive label featuring the Houses of Parliament now a British icon. HP sauce contains malt vinegar, spices and tomato with the recipe a well-kept secret. It resembles an American barbecue sauce though not used in the same way. Like mustard or ketchup HP is blobbed on the side of the plate for dipping; drizzling over food considered a little vulgar except in a sandwich.

Guinness

istock
It may now be brewed all over the world, but Guinness is still synonymous with its birthplace in Ireland in 1799. True devotees of the “black stuff” will vow that true Guinness is only found in Dublin pubs, where the pouring to create a large creamy head is considered an art form. The brewery at St James’s Gate is now one of the largest breweries in the world producing about 70 million gallons every year.

Colmans Mustard

Photo © RFB Photography
Colmans Mustard is considered one of the oldest (and most recognised) brands across the UK. The distinctive, bright yellow mustard has been made in Norwich, in England since 1814. The bull’s head logo first appeared in 1855 and remains a symbol of both tradition and quality. No British or irish sausage is complete without a blob of the pungent condiment.

Birds Custard Powder

Photo © RFB Photography
Throughout Great Britain and Ireland mention custard, and the first thought will be of Birds Custard. The sauce is made from a corn flour based powder and bears little resemblance to the thick egg based sauce of ‘real’ custard (the French Creme Anglaise). It’s distinctive taste is the perfect partner to rich English puddings and the base of a traditional Trifle. Bird’s Custard was invented by Alfred Bird in 1837 and remains today much as it has always been. No British store cupboard is complete without a tin lurking somewhere at the back.

R Whites Lemonade

Photo © Britvic
The best-selling lemonade was first produced in 1845 by Robert and Mary White. They set up business selling home-made brews from a barrow in Camberwell, London. By 1896 the fame of the company had spread including abroad to among others the Emperor Napoleon of France. Its claim to fame not only a high-quality soft drink and made with real lemons but the quirky advertising theme introduced in the 1970’s of the Secret Lemonade Drinker. The man in his early 30s, with dark hair and wearing heavy rimmed glasses sleeps in striped pyjamas and lives in a semi in the suburbs. He has an obsession with R Whites Lemonade and feeds his addiction secretly at night.

Golden Syrup

Photo © RFB Photography

For more than 125 years Lyle’s Golden Syrup has graced the kitchens of British households. The rich, sweet syrup is a preserve and ultimate ingredient in treacle tarts, steamed puddings and favorite topping on pancakes, in porridge or simply spread on bread for a sweet, sticky treat.

Oxo Cubes

Photo © RFB Photography
No self-respecting chef will give kitchen space to an Oxo cube. But, the foil wrapped cubes of beef stock in their distinctive red and white box are an iconic British brand and over two million are still sold every day in the UK. Their popularity came from post-war years of rationing when meat was still in short supply and the tiny cube gave a kick start to many meat dishes and produced a half-decent gravy.

British Food | Peach Crumble

It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. As a sort of tribute to my love of all things British, I thought I’d try baking something quintessentially British. Apple crumble came to mind almost immediately… only I did not have apples. So instead, I googled ‘Peach Crumble’ and voilà, I was redirected to Nigella Lawson’s website (www.nigella.com), where I found this amazing recipe (even though it ain’t hers).

Didn’t it look gorgeous? I was pleased as punch!

Here’s the recipe I used. I hope you enjoy it! It is certainly delicious! Oh-so tasty!

Ingredients

Peach filling:

  • 6 cups peeled, pitted and sliced peaches (in the winter can use 2 pounds frozen thawed peaches)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Crumble topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 3 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. sugar

Method

Serves: 0

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Put the flour in a bowl with the baking powder and salt. Add the cold cubes of butter and, using the tips of your fingers—index and middle flutteringly stroking the fleshy pads of your thumbs—rub it into the flour. Stop when you have a mixture that resembles oatmeal.
  3. Stir in the sugars. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  4. To make the filling, place the peaches in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat well.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add to the peaches and toss to combine.
  6. Pile the fruit mixture into a 4-cup deep pie pan and dot with bits of the butter.
  7. Take the crumble mixture and cover the peaches with it. Place on a baking sheet in the oven. Cook in the preheated oven for 25 – 35 minutes. Eat at whatever temperature you prefer, although it’s nice if it can have 15 minutes to stand out of the oven to cool down a bit.

Lifestyle | The Tea Appreciation Post

In Britain tea is usually black tea served with milk (never cream; the cream of a “cream tea” is clotted cream served on scones, usually with strawberry jam, a tradition originating from Devon and Cornwall). Strong tea served with lots of milk and often two teaspoons of sugar, usually in a mug, is commonly referred to as builder’s tea. Much of the time in the United Kingdom, tea drinking is not the delicate, refined cultural expression that some might imagine—a cup (or commonly a mug) of tea is something drunk often, with some people drinking six or more cups of tea a day. Employers generally allow breaks for tea.

How to drink your tea… British style!

Even very slightly formal events can be a cause for cups and saucers to be used instead of mugs. A typical semi-formal British tea ritual might run as follows (the host performing all actions unless noted):

  1. The kettle, with fresh water, is brought to a rolling boil and water poured into a tea pot.
  2. Enough boiling water is swirled around the pot to warm it and then poured out.
  3. Add loose tea leaves, black tea usually, although tea bags are sometimes used, always added before the boiled water.
  4. Fresh boiling water is poured over the tea in the pot and allowed to brew for 2 to 5 minutes while a tea cosy is placed on the pot to keep the tea warm. If the tea is allowed to brew for too long, for example, more than 10 minutes, it will become “over-steeped”,or “stewed”, resulting in a very bitter, astringent taste.
  5. Milk may be added to the tea cup, the host asking the guest if milk is wanted, although milk may alternatively be added after the tea is poured.
  6. A tea strainer is placed over the top of the cup and the tea poured in, unless tea bags are used. Tea bags may be removed, if desired, once desired strength is attained.
  7. Fresh milk and white sugar is added according to individual taste. Most people have milk with their tea, many without sugar.
  8. The pot will normally hold enough tea so as not to be empty after filling the cups of all the guests. If this is the case, the tea cosy is replaced after everyone has been served. Hot water may be provided in a separate pot, and is used only for topping up the pot, never the cup.

Whether to put milk into the cup before or after the tea is, and has been since at least the late 20th century, a matter of some debate with claims that adding milk at the different times alters the flavour of the tea.In addition to considerations of flavour, is thought that historically, the order of steps was taken as an indication of class: only those wealthy enough to afford good quality porcelain would be confident of its being able to cope with being exposed to boiling water unadulterated with milk.

There is also a proper manner in which to drink tea when using a cup and saucer. If one is seated at a table, the proper manner to drink tea is to raise the teacup only, placing it back into the saucer in between sips. When standing or sitting in a chair without a table, one holds the tea saucer with the off hand and the tea cup in the dominant hand. When not in use, the tea cup is placed back in the tea saucer and held in one’s lap or at waist height. In either event, the tea cup should never be held or waved in the air.

Drinking tea from the saucer (poured from the cup in order to cool it) was not uncommon at one time but is now almost universally considered a breach of etiquette.

“The Tea Poem” (written when tea began to be rationed during WWII)

Cup of Tea, Cup of Tea You Are Just the Thing for Me

no Milk, No Sugar, It’s just Great Fancy herbal ones I hate

(No Chamomile I say for me No Parsley in My cup of Tea)

No Mint, No Thyme, No Red Red Rose Just Give Me Normal by the Hose

So keep your ration Book in Hand And we’ll drink tea across the land

And an extra cup for Granny too And all our dashing lads in blue.

Tea Cards

In the United Kingdom, and to a certain extent, Canada, a number of varieties of loose tea sold in packets from the 1940s to the 1980s contained tea cards. These were illustrated cards roughly the same size as cigarette cards and intended to be collected by children. Perhaps the best known were Typhoo tea and Brooke Bond (manufacturer of PG Tips), the latter of whom also provided albums for collectors to keep their cards in. Some renowned artists were commissioned to illustrate the cards including Charles Tunnicliffe. Many of these card collections are now valuable collectors’ items.

Books for Anglophiles | ‘Best Poems on the Underground’, by Gerard Benson

Best Poems on the UndergroundThe now familiar poem posters first appeared in London’s tube and underground trains in 1986. The idea was simple enough: why not convert the empty advertising space above the passenger’s heads into a simple celebration of the poetry that has underscored English literature for a thousand years or more? The poems soon caught the public’s imagination. Here on the trains there was at last something different, words to soothe, inspire, move, charm, surprise, arouse, even occasionally to shock, but never to sell. The program grew, and attracted international attention, so that now there are similar programs of public poetry on transport systems around the world, from New York to Shanghai, including Dublin, Paris, Athens, Stuttgart, St. Petersburg, Moscow, San Francisco, and Barcelona. This latest anthology brings together the best of all of them in a single volume. You can turn the pages and find limericks, great works of romantic poetry, ancient Gallic texts, Spike Milligan nesting alongside Dylan Thomas. As a journey of literary discovery, old favorites alongside the new, this much travelled collection of exceptional poetry has no equal. Forget the literary canon—here is the canon of human life.

FROM http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6663007-best-poems-on-the-underground

Food | Buy British Food and get it delivered to your home – it ships INTERNATIONALLY!

Wow, this was a huge find for me. I am a sucker for Walkers crisps and Jammy Dodgers, but I cannot find them anywhere near my hometown. Whilst searching for yet more curiosities about British foods for a new post of mine, I stumbled across British Corner Shop, an “online British supermarket”, if you will, offering the widest selection of British foods to be delivered far and wide. I am actually planning on buying some stuff from there myself, namely tea (I have to, don’t I?), some pappadums and even some fruitcake, just to ease the pain from being away from the country I love and live for.

British Food Supermarket

You may also get some little gifts and “souvenirs” for yourself, if you wish – they seem to have an array of products related to the Olympics and I believe they still have some from the Jubilee celebrations in stock, so stock up!

I will leave you with the info provided in the website. Please bear in mind that BCS DID NOT PAY ME FOR THIS POST. I just thought it would be a good idea to share with you my amazing find.

British Food Delivered Worldwide

British Corner Shop® is the online supermarket for British Expats. Shop for all your British groceries from our range of 8,000 products. We will deliver your order to your home anywhere in the world. Whether you miss PG Tips or Fray Bentos pies, you can buy all your favourite British food online.

The BCS service is ideal for British people living or working abroad. Many British food items are simply not available to buy in other countries, and are greatly missed. Heinz Baked Beans, Marmite, Cadbury Chocolate and good tea are just a few examples.

International British Supermarket

Our range covers thousands of products, everything you would expect to find in any British supermarket. From Branston Pickle to Walkers Crisps, Twiglets or Pork Scratchings, you can buy all the British brands online, and we will deliver your order to your door with our international delivery service.

We deliver to France, Germany, The Netherlands, The USA, Spain, Australia, or anywhere else you might live. Last year British Corner Shop delivered over half a million products to 129 Countries worldwide. We also deliver to BFPO destinations.

Why Choose BCS?

Excellent customer service is at the heart of our business. As a British supermarket catering for the British Expat community, we understand the need for total confidence when ordering online from abroad. Our testimonials reflect that our customers think of us as the best British Expat shop in the business.

We have been exporting traditional British food since 1999, and have been continually improving our service. At British Corner Shop you can choose from a range of over 8,000 products, shop and pay in different currencies, and save your shopping basket for the next time you visit. We also offer one of the most generous Reward Points schemes of any supermarket.

British Expats

While British Corner Shop was originally conceived for British Expats, our service is equally useful for British Forces or others working abroad. Our supermarket is ideal for anyone who loves and misses British food, but can’t get hold of it where they are in the world. You can also send an order to friends or family living abroad.

Use Our Shipping Optimiser Tool For Best Delivery Value

At British Corner Shop, we have a very easy-to-use tool that will help you get the best delivery value wherever you live in the world.

In your shopping basket, you will see a graphical display that shows you how full your current box is. Make sure the bar is as close to 100% as possible to always get the best deal on shipping costs.

Earn Extra Rewards Points for Writing Product Reviews

Share your thoughts about your favourite products and you’ll earn 50 pence worth of rewards points for every review you write.

To do this simply fill out the form near the bottom of the product page, rate the item out of 5 stars and write your review.

British Cuisine | The History beneath Fish and Chips

Winston Churchill called them “the good companions”. John Lennon smothered his in tomato ketchup. Michael Jackson liked them with mushy peas.

They sustained morale through two world wars and helped fuel Britain’s industrial prime.

NUMBER OF CHIPPIES
Fish and chips
1910: c25,000
1929: c35,000
2009: c10,000
Sources: seafish.org and Fish and Chips and the British Working Class, by John Walton

For generations, fish and chips have fed millions of memories – eaten with greasy fingers on a seaside holiday, a pay-day treat at the end of the working week or a late-night supper on the way home from the pub.

Few can resist the mouth-watering combination – moist white fish in crisp golden batter, served with a generous portion of hot, fluffy chips.

Everyone has their own preferences and tastes vary from one part of the country to another. Cod or haddock? Salt and vinegar? Pickled onion? Scraps?

Like Morecambe and Wise or Wallace and Gromit, fish and chips are a classic double act – and yet they started life as solo performers. And their roots are not as British as you might think.

The story of the humble chip goes back to the 17th Century to either Belgium or France, depending who you believe.

Oddly enough, the chip may have been invented as a substitute for fish, rather than an accompaniment. When the rivers froze over and nothing could be caught, resourceful housewives began cutting potatoes into fishy shapes and frying them as an alternative.

Around the same time, fried fish was introduced into Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain.

The fish was usually sold by street sellers from large trays hung round their necks. Charles Dickens refers to an early fish shop or “fried fish warehouse” in Oliver Twist (1839) where the fish generally came with bread or baked potatoes.

North or south?

Who first had the bright idea to marry fish with chips remains the subject of fierce controversy and we will probably never know for sure. It is safe to say it was somewhere in England but arguments rage over whether it was up north or down south.

TAKEAWAYS SERVED ANNUALLY
1. Burgers 748m
2. Chinese/Indian food 569m
3. Chicken 333m
4. Pizza 249m
5. Fried fish 229m
Source: NPD Crest market research, Oct 2009

Some credit a northern entrepreneur called John Lees. As early as 1863, it is believed he was selling fish and chips out of a wooden hut at Mossley market in industrial Lancashire.

Others claim the first combined fish ‘n’ chip shop was actually opened by a Jewish immigrant, Joseph Malin, within the sound of Bow Bells in East London around 1860.

However it came about, the marriage quickly caught on. At a time when working-class diets were bleak and unvaried, fish and chips were a tasty break from the norm.

Outlets sprung up across the country and soon they were as much a part of Victorian England as steam trains and smog.

Italian migrants passing through English towns and cities saw the growing queues and sensed a business opportunity, setting up shops in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

To keep prices down, portions were often wrapped in old newspaper – a practice that survived as late as the 1980s when it was ruled unsafe for food to come into contact with newspaper ink without grease-proof paper in between.

Morale booster

It has even been suggested that fish and chips helped win World War I.

According to Professor John Walton, author of Fish and Chips and the British Working Class, the government made safeguarding supplies a priority.

MOST POPULAR FISH SOLD IN CHIPPIES
Cod 61.5%
Haddock 25%
Others (including hake, halibut, plaice, pollock, sole) 13.5%
Source: seafish.org

“The cabinet knew it was vital to keep families on the home front in good heart,” says Professor Walton. “Unlike the German regime that failed to keep its people well fed and that was one reason why Germany was defeated.

“Historians can sometimes be a bit snooty about these things but fish and chips played a big part in bringing contentment and staving off disaffection.”

George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) put fish and chips first among the home comforts that helped keep the masses happy and “averted revolution”.

During World War II, ministers bent over backwards to make sure fish and chips were one of the few foods that were never rationed.

These days, fish and chips are no longer king of the takeaway. Burgers, fried chicken, pizza, Indian and Chinese dishes all now outsell fried fish.

Cost is part of the problem. Strains on stocks of cod and haddock have pushed prices up, while health concerns about deep-fried food have turned many consumers away.

But – despite the recession – sales are rising, according to Seafish, the official authority on all things seafood. Their researchers reckon fish and chips are not as bad for us as many other takeaways, containing fewer calories and less fat.

‘Tricks of the trade’

At the Leeds headquarters of the National Federation of Fish Friers, they say the downturn has boosted business as people seek “comfort food” in tough times.

The three-day course it runs for newcomers keen to join the profession has seen a doubling in demand for places. Here trainees can learn the tricks of the trade.

Among them is Bill Bradbury, who has travelled from Canada just to come on this course and get hands-on experience.

Friers in Leeds

Demand for training places in Leeds has doubled

Under the tutor’s careful gaze, Bill tentatively lowers a carefully-battered fish into the hot chrome fryer. As it touches the bubbling oil, it sizzles furiously.

Bill was recently made redundant from a steel company in Alberta and is planning to sink his savings into a fish and chip shop back home.

“There’s definitely a market for it. There’s a big British army base nearby and loads of ex-pats who are desperate for a good chippy.

“Friends were all offering me money to come. They were saying ‘please, it would be great if someone could make proper fish and chips.'”

The pupils break for lunch. No prizes for guessing what is on the menu.

There are smiles all round as super-sized bottles of salt and vinegar are passed from one student to another.

Bill grabs a small plastic fork and grins as he spears a hunk of golden haddock and a piping hot chip. A burst of steam rises as he tucks in: “Delicious.”

A century and a half on, this great British staple still goes down a treat.

FROM: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8419026.stm

Grub’s Up! | Chicken Thighs With Spicy Tomato Sauce

Meaty little, chicken thighs make a good, inexpensive midweek meal. The tasty tomato sauce is well spiced with cumin and coriander, and a pinch of chilli powder adds a pleasant heat without being fiery.
https://i2.wp.com/www.cookuk.co.uk/images/chicken-in-spiced-tomatoes-sauce/chicken-tomato-cooking.jpg

SERVES 4

15 g (1/2 oz) butter
15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
1 medium onion, skinned and chopped
1 garlic clove, skinned and crushed
5 ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
5 ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
large pinch of chilli powder
8 chicken thighs
397 g (14 oz) can tomatoes
15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato puree
salt and pepper
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic, cover and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the cumin, coriander and chilli powder and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.

2. Push the onions to one side of the pan, then add the chicken and brown on both sides. Stir in the tomatoes and the tomato puree and season to taste.

3. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Stir in the parsley and serve immediately with boiled rice.

Random | Britons’ Favourite Breakfast Choices!

From http://www.fdin.org.uk/2011/01/morrisons-announces-britains-favourite-breakfast/. This news item is quite old, but I thought it was worth sharing!

The traditional British fried breakfast came out on top with eggs as the most popular breakfast food, followed by toast/bread.

Over 47 rashes of bacon and 40 million eggs have been sold by the retailer to date, enough to provide one egg for every adult in the UK, and 7 millions loaves of spread.

Over 179,00 boxes of cornflakes were sold, keeping the cereal in the top five favourite breakfast choices.

While these have been firm favourites for many years, Blueberries have made a surprise entry to the breakfast charts.

The berry is now consumers’ breakfast fruit of choice, beating previous favourites banana and orange when Morrisons reported selling over 1.4 million in the last month.

Drink preferences surprised no one when tea came out on top, followed by orange juice.

The retailer sold over one million boxes of tea, enough to provide a cup for every resident of the UK, and 929,00 litres of orange juice.

Books for Anglophiles | ‘Jamie’s Great Britain’, by Jamie Oliver

Celebrating Britain’s very best food

Jamie grew up in one of the first true British “gastropubs”, which his Mum and Dad still run today. For him, the heart and soul of real British cooking is food that puts a smile on your face. And that’s what he wants to share in the new book: the essence of British food, done properly.

Over the years, British food culture has embraced flavours and influences from all the people who came and made Great Britain their home. The food reflects an open-minded culture as well as the country’s beauty. There are over 100 of Jamie’s favourite recipes: some are indisputable classics, some are his versions of the classics, some should be classics but just haven’t been made famous yet and others he’s made up from the great bounty of British produce.

Wherever you’re from, if you love food this book will offer you a little taste of happiness.

British Cuisine | Baby Yorkshire Puds (creamy smoked trout and horseradish pate)

From jamieoliver.com

Put the cream cheese into a mixing bowl with the horseradish, the zest of 1 lemon and the juice from half, and mix together. Mix in most of the chopped chives, then have a taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper. It’s very important that this mixture has a bolshie attitude – it should be hot, smoky, salty, so add more horseradish or lemon juice if needed. Flake in the trout, removing any skin and bones, then use a spatula to fold the mixture together gently so you have smaller bits and nice chunks. Decant into a single nice serving dish or several little bowls or cups, then drizzle over a little rapeseed oil and sprinkle over a few more chopped chives. Cover with clingfilm and put into the fridge to get nice and cold.

When you’re nearly ready to eat, preheat the oven to full whack (about 240°C/475°F/gas 9) while you make your Yorkshire pudding batter. Get yourself a mini muffin tin (you can buy these easily online or in cooks’ shops) and pour a little thimble of vegetable oil into the 16 compartments of the tin, so you have a thin layer covering the bottom of each. Pop the tray on to the top shelf in the hot oven for around 10 to 15 minutes, so the oil get so hot that it smokes. While you’re doing that, aggressively beat the eggs, flour, milk and a pinch of salt and pepper together, either by hand or in a food processor, until light and smooth. Transfer the mixture into a jug.

Carefully take the tray out of the oven and quickly and confidently pour the batter into the hot tin so it nearly fills each well. Return the tray to the top shelf of the oven to cook for around 10 to 12 minutes, or until the Yorkies are puffed up and golden. Whatever you do, don’t open the oven door! Get your cold cups and bowls of potted fish out of the fridge and serve on a board with those sizzling hot little Yorkies and some lemon wedges.