Traditional English foods

Often maligned but often surprising, traditional English foods are a delight and offer the world of cooking some inspirational and innovative dishes. Forget about the patisserie of France or the gastronomic delights of Italy – this is England the home of the Industrial Revolution. Remember once upon a time this food fed a country that led the world through invention and its industrial might!

Fish and Chips

When you visit the British Isles, it is imperative to try Fish and Chips, but it really needs to be done right! The best way to sample this fantastic fish dish is from a ‘Chip Shop’ somewhere on the coast. Whether you are ‘up north’ or ‘down south’ it really depends on the establishment as it does vary in quality. One of the great things about eating fish and chips from a takeaway is that you are guaranteed that everything is as fresh as can be and the side dishes are equally brilliant as they are bizarre!

Where else can you order a ‘pickled egg’ or a portion of ‘mushy peas’? You can even ask for extra ‘scraps’ if you so choose and you will be given broken batter wrapped up in newspaper. Don’t, whatever you do forget to ask for plenty of salt and vinegar on the chips and a sachet of tartare sauce will not go amiss either! Genius.

Bangers and Mash

Another staple of post-industrial England would be Bangers and Mash. The thing is that English sausages do not overwhelm you with garlic and spices, no, on the contrary the whole appeal of an English sausage is in fact the subtle seasoning and the all-important browning of the very thin skin.

Mashed potato has to be creamy and smooth but again the appeal is that we taste the potato. No need for anything too fancy!

Finally, this is a dish that is often served with green peas and a rich delicious gravy!

A Sunday Roast

Whether you choose roast beef, pork or chicken an English roast dinner is one of the delights of European food. For many it feels like the kind of food worthy of a King, actually, this is now true with Charles on the throne!

Yes, when faced with a full English roast dinner, it appears that time has stopped and you have been transported back by a few centuries. Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding is one of these dishes that feels worthy of a table at the Royal court. If you chose a roast pork then make sure you get ‘crackling’, which is the deliciously crispy part of the full rendered pork fat.

One of the joys of a good old-fashioned roast is that the side dishes can be stars in their own right. Roast potatoes can be pure taste heaven when golden and fluffy in the middle!

Toad in the Hole!

This is not some cruel food type that will get the animal liberation front up in arms! No, have no fear ‘toad in the hole’ is simply sausages cooked in a Yorkshire pudding batter. The secret to food glory here is that the chef should use a decent quality Cumberland sausage or similar. The batter should rise high and be golden brown. This is one of those northern meals that is a pure comfort food and deserves a well-made onion gravy that can be generously poured all over this inventive dish!

Whatever you do, try and also taste a Shepherd’s Pie or a Streak and Kidney Pie. Or, why not eat the comically named dessert pudding a ‘Spotted Dick’ and custard. After all these great dishes why not taste some traditional English cheese?  There is Cheddar from the Cheddar Gorge or a nice mature Stilton that pairs admirably with a glass of Port! Cheers.