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British Cooking

Ever since I learned about Simon Hopkinson’s book Roast Chicken and Other Stories, and started to cook from it, I’ve become more and more interested in British cooking. I’ve cooked from a number of books, and have more to try (well, isn’t that always the case), but don’t think I’ve posted about them. So, I’m starting this thread, and will post on it from time to time. I think part of my fascination stems from the drubbing that British food has gotten over the years, and, from making just a few recipes, learning that traditional British food can be delicious. I know that some recipes from some of the books aren’t strictly British, but I am going to go ahead and post about them anyway!

Here are the books I have:

Jane Grigson: “English Food” & “Fruit”
Elizabeth David: “Elizabeth David’s Christmas”
Simon Hopkinson: “Week In, Week Out” & “Second Helpings of Roast Chicken”
The Duchess of Devonshire: "Chatsworth Cookery Book" (Yes, I'm a fan of the Mitford sisters.)
Annie Bell: "In My Kitchen"
William Black: “The Land that Thyme Forgot (“On a journey the length and breadth of the British Isles William Black talks to chefs, restaurateurs and producers, visits the great and the awful, and seeks out the country’s disappearing specialties – searching for the heart and soul of Britain through the food we eat, reclaiming our very rich culinary tradition.” Has recipes as well.)

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  1. “Elizabeth David’s Christmas”

    I bought this just before Christmas, and while I was set on serving Beef Wellington and Goin's Meyer Lemon Tarte for our Christmas dinner, I also cooked a number of things from this book.

    Prawn Paste - I poached shrimp, then mashed to a paste in a blender with olive oil, and you then season with cayenne pepper and warmed dry basil, adding fresh lime juice and then salt as needed. I refrigerated it, and then served it with toasted brioche to nibble on before Christmas dinner. We were all amazed at how wonderful the flavors were. Oh, and I did include a little ground cumin as she suggests, for "a more spiced flavor".

    Potato, Celery and Tomato Soup - I served this as a first course for Christmas dinner. It's a quick soup with those three ingredients, leeks, and enriched with egg yolks. You are supposed to push the soup through a sieve, but I was left with far too little "soup" after doing that, so I added some stock and blended it. It really was a tasty and refreshing little soup. You add chopped herbs at the end.

     
     
     
    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      From the same book:

      Spiced Beef Loaf – I made this one morning several days before Christmas, and it made for a lovely supper on a busy day. I had brought my Le Creuset pate terrine down to my mother’s, so I used it. The ingredients are straight forward – ground beef, bacon, dried basil (the second time she’s called for that – luckily my mother keeps it on hand, as I usually don’t), ground allspice, salt, peppercorns, garlic, port, and wine vinegar. You mix all of the ingredients together, then leave for a couple of hours before cooking. The recipe says to serve with sweet-sour pickled fruits, mild fruit chutney or a mustardy sauce. I’m not sure if Cumberland Sauce counts for any of these, but I’ve been wanting to make one for ages, and so I did. I also made a tart cranberry sauce that went well with it.

      Cumberland Sauce – I think I first saw reference to this sauce in one of Hopkinson’s books, and kept meaning to make it. David has quite a discussion about it, and then several versions of recipes. I made the uncooked version, which includes boiled orange rind, cut into matchsticks, red currant jelly, yellow Dijon mustard, pepper, salt, and the optional addition of some ground ginger, which I included. You heat this mixture up over a pot of hot water, until smooth, and sieve if necessary – I don’t recall whether or not I did that. Then, over the water again, add tawny port, and cook for five minutes. Serve cold. My mother and I both loved this sauce, and my husband thought it horrific, which struck me as very odd, as he usually likes strong flavors.

       
      1. re: MMRuth

        By the way, a lot of the Elizabeth David (and doubtlessly Jane Grigson etc although I didn't check) books can be located on Bookfinder.com for very little money. I just bought the Rose Prince New English Kitchen for under $8.00 including shipping from Alibris.com, through a link on Bookfinder, and was pointed to ED books as additional selections I might like...this way madness lies...

      2. Let me put in a pitch for an English dish that is much joked about but is actually delicious and quick, Beans on Toast. Dump a can of (heated) pork & beans ("baked beans" in the UK) over a piece of hot buttered whole wheat toast. Enjoy this with ketchup or "brown sauce" and some pickles. If you add a cup of tea the whole meal is called a "Bean Tea".

        3 Replies
        1. re: Querencia

          I do love those vegetarian Heinz baked beans in the green tin on toast.

          1. re: Querencia

            Funny, but Beans on Toast came up in a wonderful novel we're reading aloud these days (Case Histories) and both of us said "Yuck! How Could That Ever Be Good!!!" My husband thought they might put cheese on top and melt it...

            1. re: oakjoan

              I loved that book - I just bought her new one in fact.

              Beans on toast is great comfort food.

          2. For our anniversary this year, I decided to make the same Sea Trout in Champagne Sauce from "Week In, Week Out" as I had last year. However, no sea trout to be found, so I used two Branzino, and some French Chardonnay instead of the Cava I used last year. No photos, but it was still fabulous. Here's the link to the post from last year:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/481815 - I also made his recipe for the new potatoes with caviar.

            Having been entranced by David's Prawn Paste, I made the Potted Smoked Salmon from "Week In, Week Out". Again, this was a simple dish that I wasn't sure about, but that both my husband and I loved, as did our guest the next evening. You saute chunks of smoked salmon in butter, then add sour cream, lemon juice and tarragon, spring onions (I used scallions), white pepper, a pinch of mace. Then put into ramekins and chill. Once chilled, add a layer of melted butter, and some sprigs of tarragon for garnish.

            Pink Grapefruit Granita - I made this for dessert. I'd made his tangerine one before, and loved this. This one benefits from several teaspoons of angostura bitters, and I served it with some golden raspberries and red currants. I was a little worried that the latter would be too tart with the granita, but they werent.

             
             
             
             
            49 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              I love potted shrimps - must try the potted smoked salmon.

              The only thing I've made from Week In, Week Out is the guinea fowl in red wine, which was fiddly, but fabulous.

              1. re: MMRuth

                From an older post (I now have the moong dal, so look forward to trying this again):

                "Fragrant duck 'pilaf' with lemon and mint" - the pilaf is made with moong dal, but I mistakenly used whole moong beans in the shell, so I had to cook them a bit longer and they weren't quite right, needless to say. The duck legs get browned first and then added back into the pilaf mixture and put into the oven. I thought they were a little tough, and I generally like my duck medium rare - so next time I might either cook longer, so they become more tender, or add them in towards the end of the cooking. I used a Meyer lemon, and thought that the dish could have had more mint and more lemon.

                http://www.chow.com/photos/127900

                "Mandarin Granita" - I've never made granita before - this one called for using tangerine, satsuma or clementine juice, and I used tangerine juice that I bought at Whole Foods, adding some Caster Sugar and the juice of one Meyer lemon - it was light and delicious.

                http://www.chow.com/photos/127914

                Apple and Horseradish Sauce

                Calls for using Bramley apples - no idea what they are - so used some large red/yellowish apples the name of which I don't remember. Two large apples are peeled, cored and chopped, and brought to a boil w/ 3 T caster sugar, 1/4 cup water and 3 cloves, then stirred a bit as apples "collapse", then covered and cooked at very low heat for about 45 minutes. During that time I cleared my sinuses by grating some fresh horseradish for the first time - a 120 gram piece - but I didn't add all of it as it was plenty strong. Once the apples are done, you let them cool and add the juice of 1/2 large lemon, and the grated horseradish. This recipe is meant to accompany tafelspitz, but I served it with grilled smoked pork chops and Goins cabbage with onions and bacon (I skip the corn this time of year).

                http://www.chow.com/photos/130469

                Salad of Green Beans with Anchovies

                A very simple salad, with a mustard vinaigrette that is heavy on the oil (150 ml peanut oil and 150 ml olive oil to 1 T red wine vinegar - out of peanut oil, so used 2/3 olive oil, 1/3 grapeseed), and has 4 anchovies in it. You cook the beans for 3-4 minutes until tender (but they should not squeak, he says), and then compose the salad with the beans, spoon dressing on top, sprinkle with finely chopped shallots, and then add anchovies and some drizzled olive oil on top. Divine. I served this on a bed of arugula for some extra greens.

                Chili Crab Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

                This is apparently a salad that he replicated from the Oriental Hotel, which was served with pomelos, not grapefruit. The dressing is definitely a spicy Thai dressing:

                Leaves of small bunch of cilantro
                Leaves from 6 mint sprigs
                2 cloves of garlic, chopped
                4-5 small seeded and chopped green chilies (used two serranos and that was plenty hot
                )1 T caster sugar
                Juice of 4 large limes
                8 T fish sauce
                8 T tepid water

                Mix together in food processor (or liquidiser, which is preferred, but I didn't check to see if that was a blender or something else!). Then you arrange "Little Gem" or similar lettuce (I used tender parts of Bibb lettuce), grapefruit segments, avocado (mine had lots of black spots, so the slices aren't too pretty), and white crabmeat (I used some inexpensive claw meat).

                http://www.chow.com/photos/130483

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Bramley apples?

                  We differentiate between eating apples and cooking apples. Bramley is a cooking apple. One difference is that a cooker is invariably sourer than an eater. You would not want to bite into a Bramley. The other difference is that a cooker will collapse whils cooking, so that you have a ready made puree.

                  It's the apple we would normally use for, say, apple pie. And definately for apple sauce in the Harters household to go with roast pork (or latkes - which don't really appear in Brit cooking so I use my "New York Cookbook" for a recipe) For a sweeter more textured sauce, I occasionaly use half & half eater and cooker.

                  1. re: Harters

                    Right - I realized after that I had used the wrong kind. We do use some apples for both though - such as Golden Delicious, various red apples, and Granny Smith apples.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      I'm in the preparatory stages of making the pork belly salad from Week In, Week Out - the recipes sounds fabulous, and I'll report back on Saturday. Now I just need to figure out where to hang the pork belly overnight, where the dog won't drive us mad.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I hate Delicious with a vengeance. It's a horribly tasteless apple, IMO.

                        Granny Smith will be along the right lines of sharpness to replicate a Bramley.

                        We have a couple of fruit farms about 25 miles away. Both grow a range of apples and have tasting sessions in the picking season, which is great fun. They turn them into juice as well. I don't drink alcohol these days and find apple juice is something not too sweet to drink with a meal at home. I currently have a couple of bottles of Bramley from one place and a couple of a Bramley/Cox mix from the other (which is new). Looking forward to seeing which I prefer.

                        1. re: Harters

                          That is good to know about the Granny Smith as a substitute for Bramleys. I think I use Golden Delicious for Tarte Tatin - will have to check the recipe.

                          By the way - the Hopkinson recipe for the pork belly calls for Heinz Salad Cream as an ingredient in the recipe. I'll try to find out what the ingredients are, but do you have any suggestions for a substitute?

                          Thank you.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I looked into the Heinz Salad Cream issue when a British friend was staying with me not too long ago. Some good info here:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/438803

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              MMRuth. If you haven't found it yet, it's easily available in the British Food sectiion at Fairway (and Meyers' of Keswick). Also a very good source for Marmite and Ribena..

                              1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                                Thanks - I was hoping not to buy for this "one time use".

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  You might find you like it! I do - especially on that most excellent of lunches, the fishfinger sandwich.

                                  Anyway, take a look at the English lettuce salad in "Second Helpings". There's a recipe for salad cream there. Won't be quite the same as Heinz, though.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    It can always be used up in coleslaw.

                                2. re: MMRuth

                                  I've got a feeling Simon himself has a recipe for homemade salad cream in one of the Roast Chicken books.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    Heinz Salad Cream is an iconic British condiment, which remains incredibly popular.

                                    It is an old-fashioned, sort-of-working-class substitute for proper mayo - dating from the time when proper mayo was deemed to be an effete (and, worse, "foreign") middle-class affectation. I hate the stuff. Mrs H, on the other hand, is an old-fashioned, sort-of-working-class sort of woman and loves it. :-)

                                    We have an expression here that gets adapted according to region along the lines of "You can take the girl out of Salford, but you can't take the Salford out of the girl". Salford is one of the two cities in our ten borough metropolitian area.

                                    Ingredients off the bottle (in order of quantity) - spirit vinegar , vegetable oil (25%), water, sugar, mustard, salt, egg yolks (3%), modified cornflour, stabilisers (guar gum or xanthan gum), colour - riboflavin. Yummy, eh?

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Thanks so much - so - if I used use some thinned out mayonnaise, do you think that will do the trick?

                                      P.S. We use that expression here too.

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Found a recipe online from Martha Stewart:

                                        http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/e...

                                        I would think that if you thinned your mayo with vinegar and milk and added a bit of mustard and perhaps more S&P you'd be fairly close.

                                        So glad this came up. Will have to save it for my British friend's next visit.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Perfect - I have some creme fraiche that needs using up, so I'll give this a try.

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            I have a feeling that Simon specifies Heinz salad cream for a reason. It's a bit like the tomato ketchup in the Vietnamese fried rice recipe. If you substitute, it won't be quite right. :-)

                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                              That's funny - I was thinking the *exact* same thing as I was posting earlier today!

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                So get some salad cream. Gwaan. You know you want to.

                                                (And if you do, try it on a fish finger sandwich. Do you have fish fingers in the US?)

                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                  It's the trek to get it that is stopping me ... though I will look in my little local market that does have a surprising amount of British products. And yes, we do have fish fingers - and that sandwich sounds sort of obscenely delicious. The pork belly is in the oven now, after having hung in a "dry and draughty" place overnight. The salad cream is one component of the dressing ingredients for this dish - 3 T.

                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    It is delicious. Soft white roll. Crispy fish fingers. Floppy lettuce. Slice of tomato. Salad cream. YUM!

                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                    We just call them fish sticks. (I'm bilingual American and British).
                                                    P.S. my user name is actually a reference to a very obsure British food not to a childhood toy).

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      Fish fingers (UK) = Fish sticks (USA).

                                                      Staple Friday night supper as a small Catholic child!

                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                              no MMRuth, salad cream is vinegary and sweet at the same time, it is NOT mayo. But it can be bought in the British sections of Publix in Florida and all the British food mail order companies.

                                            3. re: Harters

                                              I love it too - just substitute Sheffield for Salford and that's me!

                                              (Some of my colleagues are trying to decide whether to move to Salford at the moment. They were taken on a coach tour of some of Manchester's more salubrious areas (Hale, Didsbury etc) to try to help them in their quandary!)

                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                Is this the BBC move by any chance?

                                                Hale = Footballers' wives. Porsche, BMW. Wine bars. Expensive olives from the deli. Restaurant owned by celeb chef

                                                Didsbury = arty studenty. Bus or bike to work. Victorian pubs. Superb Red Leicester from one of the north's best cheese shops. Mini-chain restaurants and the odd gem (Cafe Jem&I - geddit?)

                                                Both bloody expensive places - I couldnt afford this house if it was there.

                                                MMR - mayo with vinegar might work for you as a substitute. And Mrs H confirms the use with the fish finger butty (although tartare sauce is her pref)

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  It is.

                                                  You don't need to tell me - Mr GG is from Cheadle, remember.

                                              2. re: Harters

                                                Well, I brought a bottle back from London, and JoanN was over for some birthday champagne early this evening (after a birthday champagne late lunch!), and I showed her the bottle. She said we should try it. Well, we both thought it was much sweeter than we had expected, and perhaps slightly more vinegary than Miracle Whip. Not something that I would want to dress a salad with. But, I'll use it the next time I make that SH pork belly recipe!

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  Happy birthday (a bit late ... only just saw the post)! Weirdly enough, I saw the salad cream in the local fancy foods place (Southern Season, for those from the area who might be interested). Husband says he grew up with it and finds it somewhat appealling. I couldn't get myself to buy it. Looked like miracle whip.

                                              3. re: MMRuth

                                                I think Heinz salad cream tastes a lot like Miracle Whip!

                                                1. re: Kagey

                                                  As I read through the above posts that's exactly what I was thinking... Miracle Whip.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Well, that's the end of my curiosity about Heinz salad cream. Miracle Whip is one of the foods put on earth to torment us and make us gag with disgust.

                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                      Oh I so totally agree with you.

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        I brought a bottle back from London with me, but have yet to taste it!

                                      2. re: MMRuth

                                        Crispy belly pork salad -

                                        This is one of the best things I've eaten in quite a while. The skin of the pork belly is scored, with salt rubbed into it, and then you rub the flesh with a mixture of white pepper and Chinese Five Spice mixture. I wrapped it in some cheesecloth and hung it in a window over night (my "dry and draughty" place). I'll mention that I found it quite hard to score the skin, and ended up scoring it much deeper than I think is intended. The next day I roasted the pork belly - you put the pork stock ingredients (including water, chopped up pig's foot, orange peel, soy sauce, sherry, scallions, garlic and dried chili flakes) in a roasting pan, then put the pork belly on a rack on top. Cook at 450, then 350, then back up to 450 again.

                                        Then you simmer the stock further on the stove top, adding the bones from the belly. He said those should slide out quite easily, but mine didn't and I had to cut them out. Stock is strained, degreased etc., and chilled until it becomes jellied.

                                        The dressing - well, I used Dijon mustard instead of English mustard, mayonnaise with a little vinegar instead of the Heinz salad cream, and then followed instructions adding in the sugar, garlic, peanut butter, tahini, roasted sesame seeds and bottle chili sauce.

                                        The salad - the recipe calls for watercress, but I had a lot of arugula to use up, and used it instead, though it probably wasn't as pepper as watercress would have been. Tossed the arugula with sliced cucumbers and shredded scallions, plated, drizzled with dressing, then added the slices of pork belly, which you then "paint" with the jellied stock. Lastly, I sprinkled on the cilantro and mint leaves, sesame seeds and sliced green chilies. The last bit of the recipe says " - and then give yourself a jolly good pat on the back"!

                                        I also cooked some spaghetti (because I couldn't find any other noodles at that moment) and tossed them with some of the pork stock, dressing, scallions, cilantro and chopped up pork, then drizzled with some sesame oil. This was also delicious. We have about half the pork left, and I'm going to make the Momofuku Ssam steamed buns tomorrow so that we can have the pork with the buns for dinner.

                                         
                                         
                                         
                                         
                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              The next day I sliced up the remaining pork belly, and warmed it up in the left over pork stock, and served it with Chinese steamed buns, with hoisin sauce, scallions and cucumber - and some cilantro, I think. The buns didn't turn out quite as nicely this time - not sure why.

                                               
                                               
                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                              Phwoar. That looks and sounds absolutely scrumptious. Consider yourself patted on the back.

                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                gg: Ottolenghi has a pork belly recipe in THE BOOK (harps and a chorus singing "aaaaAAAAAAAAh" softly in the background.

                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                  I know. Sadly I am trying to lose weight at the moment. It's not going very well, which means I may give up soon and cook it!

                                              2. re: MMRuth

                                                What a gorgeous looking hunk of pork belly! Where did you get that? Arthur Avenue?

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  Yes - at Peter's, next to Mike's.

                                                2. re: MMRuth

                                                  Wait, that's not an OPEN window, is it? Because that would make the whole endeavor even more heroic.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      I don't think I'd do that in the Bay Area in February, much less in NY. That's real dedication to the recipe! I did open the window in NY in December to cool pans of caramels, but that only took a half hour or so.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        It's not that much dedication - the window is in a tiny room off our bedroom that has become a bit of a junk room. With the door closed, it doesn't make our room any colder!

                                              3. These are all very interesting. Makes me want to have a "Second Helping" of Hopkinson!

                                                ~TDQ

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  I think the only recipe I've made from that book (grin) is the duck soup, but I've made it numerous times now, and it truly is wonderful, and a great use of a duck carcass:

                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4839...

                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    I made the pea and ham soup from "Second Helpings" the other day with some leftover stock from cooking a piece of gammon. Simple and delicious.

                                                2. I think maybe a lot of British food's poor reputation derived from the post-WWII years, when there was a combination of severe food scarcity during and for more than a decade after the war and a disdain of any notion of food being anything other than basic sustenance that was also related to all those years of food scarcity. Could be wrong in that assumption but when I lived in Britain the older generation, who lived through the war, tended to look down on too much enthusiam over food -- or even too much time spent preparing it -- as being somehow unsuitable. But I think the bad reputation -- if it were ever warranted and my memories of eating in Britain in the 60s suggest that it was, then -- should have long since disappeared by now. In particular, many British home cooks turn out amazing food, which of course tourists don't get a chance to appreciate. What always blew my mind when I went to Sunday lunch was how they could turn out 4 or 5 different vegetables to go with the roast, all pefectly prepared and cooked, all hot, and all at once, when they also served a first course. And this is in a regular home kitchen without help!

                                                  But I digress. Am very interested in your reports. My British cookbooks are Delia Smith's Winter Collection, Summer Collection and Christmas, Jamie Oliver's first two, a Nigel Slater, a couple of Nick Nairns, and Hopkinson's Roast Chicken etc. The Delia Winter and Summer books and Jamie Oliver's have been really reliable sources over the years of straightforward but very delicious meals. Will look for some on your list at the library.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                                    Glad to pique some interest! I also want to look into Rick Stein's books, as I very much enjoyed his programs. And I have no Delia Smith, Nigel Slater or Oliver, so those are some for me to look into in the future.

                                                    Edit - and I think David writes similar things about British cuisine during the initial post-War era.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      Do yourself a favor and have a look at Nigel Slater's Appetite. Great food in there.

                                                    2. re: GretchenS

                                                      I think you might really enjoy the Black book - I found it fascinating - and it includes a chapter on Indian food in Britain.

                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        Quickly updating my cookbook wishlist to include David's and Black's books. I would love to know more about the history of Indian food in Britain.

                                                        How Christmas-y is David's book? Too much for just an everyday book?

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          I do think the David book is pretty Christmas-y - though there are recipes I'd make the rest of the year. If you don't have any of her books, there are others that I'd recommend first. The Black book is a v. interesting read.

                                                      2. re: GretchenS

                                                        "What always blew my mind when I went to Sunday lunch was how they could turn out 4 or 5 different vegetables to go with the roast, all pefectly prepared and cooked, all hot, and all at once, when they also served a first course. And this is in a regular home kitchen without help!"

                                                        My (English) mom could do that--I've spent 40 years trying to get here!

                                                      3. I have lived in Britain for almost 8 years now (I am originally from South America) and I think that there is a huge discrepancy between the so-called 'food scene' in the last few years which has certainly evolved (as reflected by the assortment of cookbooks and celebrity chefs about) and the food that most Brits actually eat. I don't know whether Jamie Oliver's latest program was shown in the US. It's called 'The Ministry of Food' and the point he was trying to make (which he attempted with some degree of success with the School's dinners program) was that the majority of people in Britain have no clue about cooking from fresh and eat mostly processed junk. He was equally vilified and praised for it (I am definetely in the latest group) but nobody could deny that what he was showing was true. Yes; there are many foodies in the UK and the availability of world foods is very good thanks to immigration. However, the actual food people eat at home differs enormously from what you see on TV and the media. The 'post-war' mentality is still very strong. I've seen it first-hand many times with friends and acquaintances: they eat the same things over and over without any seasoning or herbs in the cooking and using lots of butter, margarine and cream instead. There are many exceptions but I think that you can only say British food has really improved once people cook and eat better at home and not by what restaurants are serving.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Paula76

                                                          Paula: While what you say is obviously true, we here in the US have exactly the same problem. Most people (a) never make salad dressing although it's totally simple and quick, (b) eat processed cheese and junk food, and on and on.

                                                          Even here in Foodie Heaven (SF Bay Area) there are hoards of MacDonalds, Burger King, a pizza on every corner, junk food on the shelves and crappy coffee bars galore.

                                                          Luckily for us, however, there are also loads of great markets and farmer's markets, etc.

                                                          1. re: Paula76

                                                            "It's Tuesday. TUESday, we have steak. Chips 'n eggs are on THURSday. Don't want chips 'n eggs. Where's me steak?!"

                                                            name that movie

                                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                                              Shirley Valentine.

                                                              It's almost a giveaway question as it's really the only time I've heard it said that way round - normally we'd say "egg & chips".

                                                          2. If you like ED, you should also have her Summer Food and Spices, Salt, and Aromatics in the English Kitchen. Both have wonderful recipes (have made the pork and spinach pate in the Summer book and the spiced roast chicken in the Spices book many times since acquiring the books in the 70s) as well as her inimitable sensual patrician voice. I am also very fond of Jane Grigson - whose voice is rather more cosy in an intellectual sort of way. I especially like the fruit and vegetable books and the Mushroom Feast (pork tenderloin and wild mushroom stroganoff-style from Mushroom v v good). Nigel Slater is definitely worth checking into as well - although I haven't cooked from his books yet, very much enjoyed Kitchen Diaries and Real Fast Puddings - his down-to-earth persona is fun (discussing what to eat after stumbling home loaded from the pub, etc.). There are so many great books. This has (obviously) also been a big interest of mine for a long time, glad to hear more about your experiments - and to find out other authors to look out for. (Am midway through The Land that Thyme Forgot, bought at Books for Cooks in London - which would be the ideal bookstore for you to visit - after reading about it here.)

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              I went to our nearby food & wine bookstore - Kitchen Arts & Letters - and ended buying Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. I did browse through the two David ones you mention, and Spices, Salt & Aromatics in the English Kitchen looked very interesting, but was also very expensive as it is a hard back imported from England. They are both on my list, though, and they also have several other Grigson books. It's a bit of a curse having this bookstore so close by!

                                                              Edit - they also had a least one shelf, if not two, of books more about the history of cookery in Britain, along with a book of recipes from the days of the Romans in Britain!

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                I love that store! I could spend hours -- and have!

                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                I can't remember if you noticed this elsewhere - but I so enjoyed Spices, Salt & Aromatics .... I read almost the entire thing on the flight back from London. I now have all of ED's books, other than French Country Cooking, which is on order, and the ices one, which doesn't particularly interest me, and is apparently hard to obtain.

                                                                Have you ever read any of Countess Morphy's books? Such as "Recipes of All Nations"?

                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                  Presuming this is directed at me:
                                                                  No, are they interesting? I haven't even heard of them to tell the truth.
                                                                  I am so glad you liked Spices etc., it's my favorite (runners up are Summer Cooking and English Bread and Yeast Cookery).
                                                                  I love ED but am even fonder of Jane Grigson, who is much less hoity-toity.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    I've been browsing through Summer Cooking and really enjoying it. I've been a bit intimidated by the bread book! I do have a couple of Grigson's books and have enjoyed perusing them as well - and I know what you mean about the hoity toity bit. I'm awaiting a copy of the Morphy book, and my husband has started to print out the Kenney-Herbert book for me - ED refers to him a lot -

                                                                    http://www.archive.org/details/culina...

                                                                    If you haven't yet read it, I highly recommend Cooper's biography of ED. Apparently there is another one out there as well, but unauthorized by her family/estate.

                                                              3. MMR

                                                                I bought Black's book on your rec (and the Elizabeth David Christmas). Many thanks. May I again urge on you at least one Nigel Slater. He is, almost without doubt, our finest cookery writer and I have all his books (except Thirst). Try to get "Real Fast Food" (which are under 30 minutes dishes); "Appetite" is his major book and, for an interesting read and some good recipes "Kitchen Diaries (basically he kept notes for a full year of what he ate).

                                                                The essence of modern British food (whether at home or restaurant) is the use of seasonal local ingredients. Of course, being a small island off the coast of northern Europe has meant we've always had to import food (you can't grow bananas in North Cheshire). But that doesnt mean I have to eat asparagus in February. It'll be imported from Peru and taste much poorer than our own season of six weeks or so (when I become the asparagus glutton). Similarly, I can wait until July for strawberries.

                                                                I guess the other aspect of modern Brit food are updatings and reworkings of some of the classics - and as good a book as any (and many) is one I've recently re-acquired. We had it years ago; lost it in a house move and forgot about. "Fine English Cookery" by Michael Smith. Like Slater, Smith was a cook not a chef. He was a food writer for the Yorkshire Post and died in 1989.

                                                                I havnt got the Duchess of Devonshire book but Chatsworth is about an hour's drive away. They have a wonderful food shop a couple of miles from the house.

                                                                John

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  Re Nigel Slater - I think I like Real Cooking the best, and prefer The 30-Minute Cook to Real Fast Food. I also have his first book, the Marie Claire cookbook, which you can sometimes find remaindered, and is good too. As he's a newspaper columnist, you can find loads of his recipes online.

                                                                2. Thanks for this very interesting subject, MMRuth. I had great trepidation about moving to England 5 years ago, but a good British-cook husband and becoming a more adventurous cook have made me realize that the food here is often more enjoyable than what I feasted on back 'home.' I must have been psychic, because I had always saved a very old issue of Bon Appetit (1998?) that has fantastic recipes by the new boys on the block... very youthful-looking Gordon Ramsay, Nigel Slater and a few others.

                                                                  My main interest currently is food from India, and I think that's maybe now as 'British' as spaghetti is 'American.'

                                                                  1. Thanks for sharing this! I have always been curious about potted fish, and have loved reading Elizabeth David and Nigel Slater's books. Another interesting English cookbook I got a few years back is "New English Kitchen" by Rose Prince. In it she talks about eating more locally, and offers ideas for quick meals similar to Slater's style but with a slightly more "green" slant in that she advocates for spending a little more for locally grown/baked/made items but honoring these items by not wasting, as our grandmothers may have done. For example: spend a little more for the locally raised, tastier chicken.
                                                                    Roast it one night and use every last bit of it for other dishes, down to the bones which will be used for stock. Same philosophy for buying and using every last crumb of a beautiful artisan loaf of bread.

                                                                    The prawn paste sounds delicious, as does the grapefruit granita. Now I have more books added to my list to look for!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: poptart

                                                                      poptart: Thank you for bringing up Rose Prince. She is one of my new idols. After making one recipe, I fell in love with her cooking and style.....Can't remember the exact name, but it was a lettuce and tomato salad on top of a bean soup. Wonderful. Here's a YouTube vid with the recipe. It's probably online elsewhere in written form.

                                                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWO-US...

                                                                      This is deeelish.

                                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                                        Thanks so much for the Youtube link, very cool to see her demonstrate a recipe and that soup looks fab. And I am excited that she has a new book out...will have to check if it's available in the U.S. yet.
                                                                        Wondering if she has her own cooking show? How nice it would be to see it on PBS, however I am glad we can watch on Youtube at the very least!
                                                                        I love her approach to food and cooking too. Very common sense and economical with no sacrifice in quality whatsoever....and so appropriate for our times.

                                                                        1. re: poptart

                                                                          I think I saw a book by her at Kitchen Arts & Letters - they do do mail order, by the way.

                                                                    2. Thanks to your posts, I bought "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" the other day and am enjoying reading it very much. Now I am curious about "week in, week out" and "second helpings"!!!
                                                                      Haven't yet cooked from "Roast Chicken" but plan to soon...just enjoying reading the book from front to back at the moment. Love the illustrations, too!

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: poptart

                                                                        Have you seen the COTM threads for Roast Chicken? If not, happy to link to them for you.

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                          MMRuth, I just found them, thanks!
                                                                          I see that "Week in, Week Out" seems not to be as available as "Second Helpings"...how would you say that they differ?
                                                                          Next time I am in NYC will have to check out Kitchen Arts and Letters, sounds like a great book store!

                                                                          1. re: poptart

                                                                            Second Helpings was just published in the U.S. over the holidays, while Week In, Week Out has not been published in the U.S. yet. It's a compilation of recipes from his newspaper column, and is a big "coffee table" style book with beautiful photos, etc. I'd say that some of the recipes are a bit more complicated, but still with his emphasis on great ingredients and flavors. I'll post a list of the recipes I've cooked from the book in a bit.

                                                                            Edit - I would add that this book is organized seasonally, rather than by ingredient, as in the Roast Chicken books. That said, within the seasons, there are often several recipes for the season ingredients.

                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                              Thank you!! I will look for "second helpings" first. I did see your other postings as well re. the recipes you've tried. The green bean/anchovy salad and crab/avacado/grapefruit sound wonderful!

                                                                      2. http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/200...
                                                                        This a compilation of bloggers cooking traditional British foods or foods that were inspired by traditional recipes.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. I'm surprised noone's mentioned Fergus Henderson yet on this thread. His philosophy is "nose-to-tail eating" - if you've bothered to kill the animal, it would be rude not to eat every part of it. So his restaurant, St John, specialises in offal and is incredibly popular among foodies. Anthony Bourdain was apparently so impressed when he visited that he rushed into the kitchen and prostrated himself! He has inspired a whole generation of British chefs, many of whom worked at St John and then went on to open restaurants of their own.

                                                                          He's written two cookbooks featuring his quintessentially English food. He trained as an architect, strangely, so his food is very pared-down and elegant, but robust.

                                                                          1. You may be interested in next week's Food Programme on Radio 4, MMRuth, which features Simon Hopkinson. You should be able to listen to it online, on the Listen Again page.

                                                                            1. MMRuth (or anyone)--I've been reading some of the recipes that have been discussed in Candy's Ottolenghi thread. In addition to having to convert from metric, a lot of the ingredients have different names vs. what they are called in the U.S. I'm sorry if this has been discussed in this thread already, but do you have any particular suggestions for how to translate ingredient names into American English?

                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                              18 Replies
                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                Post here! Happy to help .... I think there is this thread too:

                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/593196 - maybe we could just use it?

                                                                                I actually have a small pamphlet that I bought at Kitchen Arts & Letters - I'll try to find it as well.

                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                  Fantastic, thank you! I've now bookmarked that thread. I've just been scanning recipes to see what sounds appealing and it's hard to know what's appealing if you don't understand what the ingredients are!

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    Like butterbeans. I will show my ignorance here ... are they the same as lima beans or something else entirely? Is this something we have in the US and I've just somehow missed it?

                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                      And, okay, broadbeans. What are those?

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        And, I think broad beans are fava beans - and that they also come dried.

                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          butterbeans in the south are large limas.

                                                                                          more info on bean types (but omits favas, for some reason): http://americanbean.org/bean-types/

                                                                                          even more... http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-b...

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                            I saw canned butter beans in the grocery store this morning. They looked a little less green than limas but basically the same. They didn't look very appealling.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              depending on the brand, they are good. a more earthy, savory flavor profile. really good with some country ham alongside, and some cornbread and greens.

                                                                                              or made with ham in the soup: http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/200...

                                                                                              this food lover's encyclopedia entry is about the best i've read on this topic: http://www.answers.com/topic/lima-bean

                                                                                              my dad loved the large dried limas, cooked with a nice hambone with chunks of ham.

                                                                                              i've found the "glory" brand of the canned beans to be pretty good, although sometimes a little salty -- but i haven't tried the butter beans. their collards, too, are quite good, in fact.

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                Thanks alkapal. While I'm a huge bean lover, I'm probably the only bean lover in the south who doesn't like ham (or any pork, really). Next time I'm in the store I'm going to pick them up just to see what I think.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  there was a recipe with smoked turkey leg. i'll find it....

                                                                                                  here it is, from "essence of emeril"
                                                                                                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/th...

                                                                                                  that looks good for me to make this weekend -- or sooner!
                                                                                                  i hope you find them good eats.

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    Thanks alkapal! Always up for trying something new.

                                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                          I'm pretty sure butter beans are the same as lima beans.

                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                            You are a wealth of information MMRuth. Thanks.

                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                              I've seen Gigantes used as the sub for broad beans.

                                                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              Can't help with any direct translation. But butter beans are a large creamy white bean, getting on for 2cm long. I don't think they are favas. Somewhere online I see that the Italian is "bianchi di spagna" (although that may be a brand name of an imported canned product).

                                                                                              Broad beans - may be fava but I'm not sure. Smaller than a butter bean they have a sort of papery outer casing which it's must nicer if you remove to reveal a very bright green bean inside. Young ones can be eaten raw and even older ones need a minimum of cooking (otherwise they go very mealy). They're a veg I buy frozen unless I go to a "pick your farm" in season. I love 'em.

                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                You're right, Harters. Broad beans and fava beans are the same thing.

                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  Yes, Harters, that description is exactly fava.

                                                                                        3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          I think you just need to dive in. There really aren't that many differences and they're usually pretty easy to work out. The main thing is that vegetables tend to have a French name rather than Italian. And us British chowhounds are always happy to help.

                                                                                        4. Rowley Leigh's Smoked Eel and Bacon Salad, Week In, Week Out.

                                                                                          I brought some smoked eel back from London, as there are two recipes that call for it in this book. This was lunch on Sunday. Quite simple - you make a beurre blanc, and keep it warm. Then tear the yellowish bits of the frisee into tendrils, and dress with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Arrange on plates, put thinly sliced smoked eel on top, sprinkle about pieces of crispy bacon (my bacon was a bit thick I think, so it didn't get so crispy), then spoon the warm beurre blanc around, and sprinkle with chopped chives.

                                                                                           
                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                              Oops - yes, indeed I did! I'm going to use the rest of it for a recipe for the same book, that has a horseradish cream and potatoes.

                                                                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                              Thanks for sharing, looks beautiful and yummy!

                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                I loved smoked eel. I'm salivating.

                                                                                              2. Though it takes a back seat to most of my Italian, Thai and Mexican cookbooks, I have enjoyed this one (my only one): English with a Difference: A Seasonal Cookery Book, by Steven Wheeler (Hardcover - 1988) Available cheap on Amazon!

                                                                                                1. Smoked Eel with Fresh Horseradish Cream and Warm Potatoes, Week In, Week Out.

                                                                                                  I used up more of the eel I brought back with me - loved the combination of flavours. I had to use heavy cream, since we don't have double cream here, and I think that my cream was not as thick as it appears in the photos. I also didn't bother to peel the potatoes after steaming them; I used fingerling potatoes - he recommends charlottes. I had bought some smoked Welsh salt in the morning, and sprinkled some on top as well. We both liked this - but I think preferred the other preparation. I'm going to make potted smoked eel with the bits left over.

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                    Smoked Welsh salt? Is that a Halen Mon product, by any chance?

                                                                                                    Ynys Mon (Island of Anglesey, in English) is in North Wales (about 90 minutes drive for me). The company has been producing sea salt for some years but I know they've just started with a smoked product (which I havnt seen on sale here yet, in our usual shops).

                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                      Yes, it is - I couldn't remember the name of it off hand. I found a small little vial of it at a market here while out and about yesterday, and thought I'd give it a try.

                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                        At the risk of this being one of the most idiotic questions you ever been asked - what does it taste like?

                                                                                                        John

                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                          Not idiotic at all - like a lovely smoky (sp?) salt. I'll try some more and see what I come up with!

                                                                                                          Edit - It's a light brown colour.

                                                                                                  2. Hi, noticed the first Hopkinson book on hamiltonbook.com for $6.95, for those interested and still without. Was pointed toward this site on the thread on Indian cookbooks - the new book 660 Curries is also available there for the same price.