The mention of British cuisine invariably evokes the association of porridge for breakfast. However, traditional porridge is not the most popular food in the kingdom, and there are many others on the list of dishes recommended to tourists – meat and fish, baked and fried, stuffed with all kinds of fillings and performing solo.
If your trip is not limited in time, and you have the opportunity to study the cuisine of the islands thoughtfully and in detail, be sure to taste the menu of provincial restaurants. It is in them that you can find the most accurate answer to the question of what to try in Great Britain, because patriarchal traditions in the hinterland, thanks to enthusiasts in their field, are still preserved.
British cuisine as a gastronomic phenomenon began to take shape back in the Roman era, when many vegetables and fruits came to the islands, including apples, asparagus and onions. During the Middle Ages, trading horizons expanded significantly. Collaboration with other countries and peoples brought the British the tradition of baking rye bread, smoking fish and making sugar from cane. After the discovery of America, bananas and chocolate were brought to the islands, and the era of Indian colonization brought several new cooking techniques borrowed from the east into the culinary traditions of the kingdom.
Modern researchers identify several areas of British cuisine. Their features depend on regions, historical traditions, geographic and climatic characteristics, but some general trends can also be identified. For example, the British traditionally eat hearty and hearty breakfast, almost never use sauces and still try to adhere to the tradition of Sunday dinners.
Top 10 British Foods
It would seem, what else can you think of while cooking eggs? The Scots did not limit themselves to the traditional “soft-boiled” and “fried eggs”, and their signature dish is something complex, but very tasty and satisfying. A hard-boiled egg is coated with minced meat, covered in breading and fried in oil, and usually served with gravy and boiled vegetables.
Fortnum & Mason, founded once as a grocery store, and now based in an upmarket London department store on Piccadilly, tried to take over the recipe. In different regions of the country, the Scottish egg is cooked with various variations, and therefore, when ordering a dish in a restaurant in a particular county, be prepared for unexpected, but very pleasant surprises on your plate.
Welsh croutons are often used as breakfast in Great Britain – a simple dish that is particularly satisfying. Just what a tourist needs, whose lunch in the pursuit of sights may not come.
Croutons are made from wheat bread fried in butter. Their main secret is in a special mixture, with which the bread pieces should first be spread. Welsh croutons use beer or ale, cheese, egg yolks, mustard and pepper. Baked toast is a perfect match with your morning coffee. If desired, you can add a slice of cold roast beef to them, which is always on the menu of British restaurants.
The British tradition of five o’clock tea is observed less and less every year, but its adherents have not given up yet. The fashion of drinking tea at 5 pm was introduced by the Duchess of Bedford, who wandered around the castle idle in the afternoon. She first brewed tea at five o’clock, and then began to invite her friends to her salon. So tea drinking turned into a social event and over time, certain traditions have developed that accompany it. One of them is Eccles puffs served with tea. They are made from puff pastry, sprinkled with sugar on top, and small dark raisins are placed inside.
The name came from the small town of Eccles, where puffs were successfully traded already at the end of the 18th century. Raisins as a filling have inspired certain associations with wit, and Eccles puffs are often called “fly pies”. Pastries are served in any English restaurant, although residents of Greater Manchester, where Eccles are located, are still confident that the best puffs are prepared only in their homeland.
Another type of British pastry, “Cornish pasta” is traditional for the southwestern regions of the country. There are many variations on its theme in Cornwall and the surrounding area, but the most popular filling for Cornish pasta patties is beef, chicken or pork. More sophisticated options include spicy cabbage stews or fruit mixes, but either way, the chefs agree on one thing: Serve and eat the Cornish pasta hot.
The special shape of the cake is also a tribute to tradition. A pigtail made of dough along the edge of the product made it possible to eat it with unwashed hands and discard the crust. This is exactly what miners once did when they mined tin in Cornish mines.
In modern English restaurants, visitors eat “Cornish mouth” without a trace, so tasty and aromatic these puff pastry pies seem to a tired tourist.
English cuisine is strong in its traditions, and Yorkshire pudding is as unshakable as the British monarchy itself. It was invented quite by accident in the first half of the 18th century, but since then it has been specially and regularly prepared, because this dish has become part of the traditional Sunday lunch.
Yorkshire pudding is baked from batter, which is kneaded with eggs, milk and flour. Usually served with roast beef and gravy, the pudding even has its own characteristics approved by the Royal Society of Chemistry. For example, no dish can be Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches high.
You can try Britain’s signature pudding at most catering establishments and not only on Sundays. Often it is served before the main hot and there is a certain sense in this: tight-fisted Englishmen believe that guests who are satiated with them will eat less expensive dishes that follow.
Traditionally, this pie was made from lamb, and therefore researchers of modern English cuisine in every possible way protest when such dishes are called the same with beef, for example, or pork.
Shepherd’s pie is a simple layered casserole of mashed potatoes and meat, arranged in layers. In the original version, the lamb was chopped with a knife, today a meat grinder is increasingly used. Worcestershire sauce and rosemary are involved in bringing the recipe to life, while other traditional ingredients include celery, carrots, onions and pumpkin. Oven-baked pie is most often served with green peas.
In the UK, they order it in a restaurant or pub, and they also buy a ready-made dish in the grocery store, which is simply enough to heat it up in the oven.
The heavy artillery of British cuisine, real roast beef takes time and attention, as well as a lot of culinary experience already at the stage of meat selection. To prepare roast beef, choose a juicy piece with a marbled fat content, and the carcass must be ripe, and the cut must be large enough. Roast beef is cooked in the oven, pouring the juice over it and carefully monitoring the temperature inside the piece. When cut, the finished roast beef should have a pale pink color.
In the restaurant, along with roast beef, they usually serve green peas and coarsely chopped onions, Yorkshire pudding, and mustard, horseradish and “green butter” are present as sauces on the table – a mixture of butter with finely chopped herbs, lemon juice and salt.
A variation of roast beef, baked in a puff pastry with mushrooms, received the name of the Duke of Wellington after the victory of the Allied army at Waterloo, although the dish existed long before the war with the French.
Beef Wellington is based on a large piece of beef tenderloin, pre-fried to a crust and coated with liver pate. Mushrooms, garlic and onions are added to the meat, and it is wrapped in a layer of puff pastry. Next, the pie is baked in the oven, and as a result, in the cut, a light pink beef is obtained, surrounded by a crispy brown crust. Beef Wellington is served on the table with a sauce for which meat broth with port wine and herbs is boiled. A worthy accompaniment to meat is baked potatoes or steamed young asparagus.
Translated from English, the name of this dish means “hot pot from Lancashire” and is traditionally prepared and served in pot-shaped ceramic dishes.
The basis of the hotpot is a chopped shoulder of lamb, placed in a bowl with mutton kidneys and onions and covered with broth with Worcester sauce. From above, the meat is covered with potato slices, laying them out in the form of tiles. The dish is cooked in the oven and is traditionally served with sauerkraut salad.
As the name suggests, a trifle very pleasant as a dessert, “trifle” is very common in the UK, and you can try it in any pastry shop or coffee shop.
The base of the dish is a sponge cake soaked in sherry. Custard, jelly or whipped cream are spread on top of the dough, and pieces of fresh berries and fruits are used as an accent. The “trifle” looks especially picturesque when cut or served in a transparent container. So you can consider its layer-by-layer structure.
The earliest surviving recipe for a traditional English dessert dates back to the end of the 16th century, so this British dish can be safely added to the list of national traditions.