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.
Photo © Unilever
Robinsons Barley Water
Photo © Britvic
Photo © RFB Photography
Photo © RFB Photography
Birds Custard Powder
Photo © RFB Photography
R Whites Lemonade
Photo © Britvic
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.
Photo © RFB Photography
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).
Here’s the recipe I used. I hope you enjoy it! It is certainly delicious! Oh-so tasty!
- 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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 375ÂºF.
- Put the flour in a bowl with the baking powder and salt. Add the cold cubes of butter and, using the tips of your fingersâ€”index and middle flutteringly stroking the fleshy pads of your thumbsâ€”rub it into the flour. Stop when you have a mixture that resembles oatmeal.
- Stir in the sugars. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- To make the filling, place the peaches in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat well.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add to the peaches and toss to combine.
- Pile the fruit mixture into a 4-cup deep pie pan and dot with bits of the butter.
- 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 itâ€™s nice if it can have 15 minutes to stand out of the oven to cool down a bit.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Others (including hake, halibut, plaice, pollock, sole) 13.5%
“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.
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://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.
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.
Salt-cured meat or salted meat, for example bacon and kippered herring, is meat or fish preserved or cured with salt. Salting, either with dry salt or brine, was the only widely available method of preserving meat until the 19th century. It was frequently called ‘junk’ or ‘salt horse’.
Salt inhibits the growth of microorganisms by drawing water out of microbial cells through osmosis. Concentrations of salt up to 20% are required to kill most species of unwanted bacteria. Smoking, often used in the process of curing meat, adds chemicals to the surface of meat that reduce the concentration of salt required.
Salted meat and fish are a staple of the diet in North Africa, Southern China, Scandinavia, coastal Russia, and in the Arctic. Salted meat was a staple of the mariner’s diet in the Age of Sail. It was stored in barrels, and often had to last for months spent out of sight of land. The basic Royal Navy diet consisted of salted beef, salted pork, ship’s biscuit, and oatmeal, supplemented with smaller quantities of peas, cheese and butter. Even in 1938, Eric Newby found the diet on the tall ship Moshulu to consist almost entirely of salted meat. Moshulu’s lack of refrigeration left little choice as the ship made voyages which could exceed 100 days passage between ports.
Salt beef in the UK and Commonwealth as a cured and boiled foodstuff is sometimes known as corned beef elsewhere, though traditional salt beef is different in taste and preparation. The use of the term corned comes from the fact that the Middle English word corn could refer to grains of salt as well as cereal grains.
I know a lot of people are going to roll their eyes at this new category, but I actually LOVE British food and I think it is yummy!
I thought I’d start with something very… Royal. Enjoy!
For the filling
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 knob of butter
• 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
• 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
• 3 fresh bay leaves
• 3 medium red onions, peeled
• 1kg shin of beef (ask the butcher to cut it into 2.5cm dice and give you the bone)
• sea salt and ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons tomato purée
• 400ml good local smooth stout
• 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
• 1.5 litres organic beef or chicken stock
• 140g pearl barley
• 3 teaspoons English mustard
• 2-3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, to taste
• 100g good Cheddar cheese
For the pastry
• 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 100g Atora shredded suet
• 100g butter
• sea salt
• 1 large free-range egg, beaten
Put the olive oil, butter and herbs into a large casserole-type pan (roughly 24cm in diameter and 12cm deep) on a high heat. Roughly chop and add the onions, with the diced meat, the shin bone and a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Mix well, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato purée, stout, flour and stock and stir until everything comes together to a simmer. Turn the heat down very low, pop the lid on and let it cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. When the hour is up, stir in the pearl barley. Put the lid back on and simmer for another hour, then remove the lid and simmer for a further 30 minutes, or until the meat shreds easily and the gravy is thick. Spoon away any oil from the top, then stir in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce and finely grate in the cheese. Season to taste. While the stew is ticking away, put the flour, suet and butter into a bowl with a good pinch of salt. Use your thumbs and forefingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles cornflake shapes. Lightly stir in 125ml of cold water, then use your hands to gently pat and push it together into a rough dough. Do not overwork it. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put into the fridge until needed.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Discard the shin bone and ladle the hot meaty stew into the pie dish (24 x 30cm, and about 4cm deep, is about right). Use some of the beaten egg to eggwash the edges of the pie dish, then dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the pastry about 1cm thick and a little bit bigger than your pie dish. Carefully place on top of the pie, then trim off any overhanging pastry. Pinch and squash the edges of the pastry to the dish. Eggwash the top, and cook the pie right at the bottom of the hot oven for around 45 to 50 minutes, or until your pastry is goldenandgorgeous. Serve with steamed drained greens.