God save the Queen, English cuisine...

Let's face it, the British get little credit for their culinary culture. With smell and taste being the most evocative and best remembered senses, why would they - they compete with pizza over the harbour in Naples, or croissant by the Eiffel tower, souvlaki on a Greek Island, and so on!

In their own austere way the Brits have had a food culture all along. It's steeped in cosy corners of the local inn where local ales are still served with pride. Forget the sea-side pubs and their deep-fried brie with cranberry sauce and goujons of fish or chicken with chips - the stamp of mediocrity can be found globally.

In the country lanes of Suffolk, or perhaps any county, inns serve up comforting, welcoming, honest food. I recall arriving at one of these places on a Sunday in Yoxford, to be told the kitchen was closed, but the staff would just have a look at what the chef had left...

We could have some lamb broth and bread. Whatever - we didn't care. We were cold and hungry and plonked ourselves down at a table to soak up the heat of the open fire with a pint of Adnams.

Broth was an understatement; steaming as they hit the table our bowls were filled with thick chunks of lamb and vegetables in a flavoursome soup; someone had heated this up in a pot as it was without the trademark "cold spots" (the antithesis of the public pool) a microwave leaves behind. Had it been summer, I dare say we would have been given a ploughman's plate, that would have been excellent too.

It seems to me that the British have a strong foundation in "travelling food" - either the things you want to eat when you're weary from being on the road, or the things you want to pack to take with you. I'm thinking of ploughman's plates with regional cheese or meat, served with some fresh bread and a locally made relish or pickles and whatever greens might be in the garden, a hearty stew with spuds, or a portable pork pie with a slurp of hot english mustard.

Last weekend (the Queen's birthday holiday weekend - you know, that Queen we have, many say we don't want, and the mother country doesn't even celebrate her birthday) with a group of friends, the boys (all of whom grew up north of Lancashire) began talking about scotch eggs. Did I have a recipe?

Well no I didn't, but the next morning I read a few bits and bobs about scotch eggs online and by happenstance had the relevant ingredients. Using pork mince blended with onion, salt, pepper and nutmeg (and some leftover roasted fennel) I made a "sausage" mixture which is then wrapped around boiled eggs and crumbed. I put these in the oven although most recipes call for deep frying.


It's not something I'd make regularly, but the scotch egg is a classic - it's an all in one, sausage & egg buttie, ready to travel!

6 comments:

Ed said...

Nothing like a pint of tepid Adnams, one of our local brews. I think English Food has a bad reputation because of rationing in the War which extended through to the 1950s. A generation probably lost it's taste, which took until the Thatcher boom years to come back.

Duncan | Syrup&Tang said...

Mmm, delish! I love fresh scotch eggs, though my main memory is stodgy things during childhood. Thanks for reminding me:)

t h e - g o b b l e r said...

The French were always fond of say English food dies twice, onece when its killed & twice when its cooked. I think we have seen this image shaken off over the last twenty or so years as the rich heritage of British cookery is re-discovered. Even though annoys me for spruiking for Maggi, Keith Floyd did much in the 70's & 80's to highlight many traditional English dishes that were in dander of fading away. Your Hugh Fearnley's et all have taken up the baton & now I detect a sense of renewed pride in this food.
Nice piece Grocer

grocer said...

Trust the boys to comment on this one!

neil said...

Why do you think the French invaded all those years ago? Just to say, "You English pigs don't know 'ow to cook." From which the Poms never recovered.

Keith said...

I'm a big fan of baked scotch eggs. It's the perfect picnic food!