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need suggestions for British themed get together....

avenuebalum Apr 18, 2010 08:39 AM

I'm hosting my book club in May and we're reading "Great Expectations." I'd like to offer a British themed menu. Any suggestions, welcome but I won't cook kidneys. Maybe a hunk of Stilton and bread (or Welsh rarebit) as an appetizer, but I'm drawing a blank after that. Any other suggestions welcome.

  1. r
    RGR Apr 18, 2010 09:28 AM

    I would suggest shepherd's pie and, for dessert, a trifle.

    1. l
      leeblewb Apr 18, 2010 09:39 AM

      You could also go the high tea route. I had one for the church lady get together one time and everyone loved it. Buy a couple of china teapots if you don't have any (from goodwill or thrift stores). I offered several types of tea, crumpets, finger sandwiches etc.

      1. h
        heather27 Apr 18, 2010 09:53 AM

        Thinking of hearty Victorian food...look up Mrs Beeton. Could start with a welsh rarebit, perhaps oysters or a nice soup. For main a steak and ale pie or a roast stuffed chicken with a selection of vegetables. For dessert anything with custard (creme anglais) bread and butter pudding, syrup pudding, jam roly poly, bakewell tart, ginger sponge - take your pick.

        1. bobjbkln Apr 18, 2010 05:50 PM

          For all food things British : Meyers of Keswick. Here's their Yelp link: http://www.yelp.com/biz/myers-of-kesw...

          1 Reply
          1. re: bobjbkln
            avenuebalum Apr 19, 2010 11:26 AM

            thank you everybody. Since I am, like many people, low on funds, I must forego the oysters. I like the idea of shepherd's pie, though....thank you, all....

          2. h
            Harters Apr 19, 2010 02:13 PM

            "Maybe a hunk of Stilton and bread (or Welsh rarebit) as an appetizer".

            No - either would be at the end of a meal. Welsh rarebit often figures amongst the desserts on restaurant menus these days but is, more traditionally, a savoury. But, certainly, it'd be a good way to finish the meal.

            As you're short of funds (and presume you're not in the UK), then you may find minced beef to be cheaper than minced lamb - in which case cottage not shepherds pie.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Harters
              LauraGrace Apr 23, 2010 06:03 PM

              I remember a scene in a scrupulously-researched movie where the cook, preparing alternate dishes for a pushy American vegetarian, says she'll do a "Welsh rabbit for the game course." It was set in the 30s, though. Fascinating that y'all would have it at the end of a meal when I think of it as an open-faced grilled cheese! :)

              1. re: LauraGrace
                Harters Apr 24, 2010 08:08 AM

                Aww, that's a great story. As you obviously know, "rabbit" is the original name for this, but much more usually called "rarebit" nowadays. I guess people have been eating cheese on toast as long as there's been cheese and bread. It comes from the very odd way in which traditional British meals (by which I mean Victorian and Edwardian) were constructed - with cheese coming after the main course, then dessert, and the meal ending with a savoury. Other than the rarebit, it's very rare to see a savoury on menus - there are some really good ones about - like Scotch Woodcock or angels on horseback.

            2. s
              smartie Apr 19, 2010 03:22 PM

              bread and butter pudding is a cheap dessert.

              I second cottage pie with cabbage and gravy.

              1. j
                jhbutash Apr 21, 2010 03:55 PM

                You can't go wrong with "bangers and mash"!

                8 Replies
                1. re: jhbutash
                  beethoven Apr 21, 2010 06:33 PM

                  Marmite :)

                  1. re: jhbutash
                    Emme Apr 21, 2010 08:05 PM

                    my mum would approve. especially if you served a side of English peas... very different than american peas.

                    1. re: Emme
                      Harters Apr 22, 2010 02:01 AM

                      Now that's interested me. How do American peas differ from what I would just call "peas" but, presumably, you call "English peas"?

                      1. re: Harters
                        coney with everything Apr 22, 2010 05:21 AM

                        Maybe Emme is referring to "mushy peas" which we simply don't do in the US.

                        1. re: Harters
                          smartie Apr 22, 2010 05:30 AM

                          canned and frozen peas are exactly the same, must be mushy peas.

                          1. re: Harters
                            Emme Apr 22, 2010 09:19 PM

                            i'm going to call Mum tomorrow and confirm, but i believe she DOES NOT do mushy peas :)

                            1. re: Emme
                              smartie Apr 23, 2010 04:57 AM

                              ah there are also marrow fat peas - which are really big tinned peas.

                              1. re: smartie
                                Emme Apr 24, 2010 05:44 PM

                                yup http://www.englishteastore.com/bamape... marrowfat peas are the ones that mum loves. they're not as sweet as garden or english peas. she's not a big fan of mushy peas.

                      2. CreativeFoodie42 Apr 22, 2010 06:03 AM

                        When I lived in England, my favorite meal was definitely breakfast from the beans to the fried tomatoes (although I never did enjoy black pudding). Breakfast might be kind of interesting, even if it is for dinner!

                        1. r
                          rockycat Apr 22, 2010 07:32 AM

                          My favorite dessert is Bakewell tart but the post on breakfast got me thinking. Many, many years ago I saw "Fried Bread" on a British breakfast menu. Must be a Britishism for French Toast, I remember thinking. Nope. It was simply a thick slab of deep-fried bread. And, of course, it came with tinned baked beans. Now there's a Dickensian meal for you, fried bread and baked beans.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: rockycat
                            smartie Apr 22, 2010 02:41 PM

                            years since I've had fried bread but it's not deep fried, its done in a pan.

                            1. re: smartie
                              soupkitten Apr 24, 2010 08:26 AM

                              it's a good pub breakfast. some pubs you can also get other vegetables besides the beans-- i usually got mushrooms on fried bread when i was living in london-- i was always broke and it was cheap. delicious. i can confirm it's done in a pan, as they cooked it right in front of us at the bar.

                              i know it's a breakfast food, but the op could maybe play on the beans on toast thing to make a tasty starter that wouldn't be too expensive? i think it might be fun.

                              1. re: soupkitten
                                Harters Apr 25, 2010 02:50 AM

                                "but the op could maybe play on the beans on toast thing to make a tasty starter that wouldn't be too expensive? i think it might be fun."

                                Agreed. Easily done - and cheap - and delicious. Take a tin of, say, cannellini beans. Make a tomato sauce. Mix. Top onto toasted bread (sourdough would be good). Although you've then got something much more like an Italianesque brushetta than a British beans on toast.

                            2. re: rockycat
                              Harters Apr 24, 2010 08:11 AM

                              "Now there's a Dickensian meal for you, fried bread and baked beans"

                              Well, not really. The baked beans are a very recent addition to the British cooked breakfast - and you won't see them at all on "upmarket" breakfasts (or generally in the Harters household). And smartie's right - bread's fried in the pan till crisp (and very delicious).

                              1. re: Harters
                                rockycat Apr 24, 2010 06:24 PM

                                I didn't mean Dickensian so much in terms of authenticity to the era as much as how mean and bleak a meal like that seems. I don't doubt that it can be comfort food to someone who grew up on it, but to a bemused visitor it seems more like what you eat when you can barely scrape a few pence together.

                                1. re: rockycat
                                  smartie Apr 24, 2010 07:31 PM

                                  wow in that case I would do boiled potatoes and some cabbage water! Maybe a little stale bread and gruel. And dare someone to ask for more.............

                            3. p
                              pasuga Apr 24, 2010 07:37 PM

                              I'd actually suggest the Welsh rarebit for a main course - the way my English parent served it was to plate one or two pieces of good quality bread/toast with two pieces of bacon per piece and a handful of sliced tomatoes (good cherry tomatoes if big ones are out of season) on each piece and then pour over the cheese/beer sauce. Total comfort food. Also easy for company because you can make the bacon/toast ahead, keep warm in a low oven, and keep the rarebit warm in a double boiler over low heat. Serve that with a big salad with a good oil and vinegar dressing and you have a nice, good, simple meal.

                              "Pudding" is a next step which means all British desserts. Trifle is a classic one which combines lady fingers, fresh fruit, custard and jam. (I've never made it or eaten it, but I keep reading about it.) Or you could serve Cadbury Chocolates with tea.

                              Princess Diana and Prince Charles' cook published a fabulous book with pictures about the food he used to make for the royal family.... some great pictures. Unfortunately I can't post a link - computer a little dicey right now - and my copy was loaned out and I haven't gotten it back, but I bet you could find it through the library. But do a google search and I I think you'll find it and maybe get some ideas.

                              1. f
                                FrankD Apr 24, 2010 09:05 PM

                                I've always found salmon mousse to be a killer dish..

                                1. DonShirer Apr 25, 2010 05:06 PM

                                  And a British cheese board with
                                  Cheddar or Farmhouse Cheshire;
                                  Stilton or Shopshire Blue or Cashel Blue or Lanark Blue,
                                  and Caerphilly or Leicester or Malvern.
                                  I've never run into a soft Brie-like cheese from Great Britain, but that doesn't mean there isn't one among the hundreds of British cheeses I haven't tried yet. In the meantime, I'll suggest for a dessert cheese: White Stilton with Mango and Ginger.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: DonShirer
                                    smartie Apr 25, 2010 06:07 PM

                                    there is a Somerset Brie - maybe a little milder than French brie

                                    1. re: smartie
                                      Harters Apr 26, 2010 01:52 AM

                                      Not necessarily milder when it's served at the right state of maturity. Had some at a restaurant last week that had a superbly kept cheese trolley - and all British or Irish.

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