The cuisine of Great Britain is a phenomenon which, until today, causes a lot of controversy. However, most gourmets agree that lovers of truly exquisite delicacies in the homeland of Sherlock Holmes have nothing to do. Dishes from meat offal, extremely strange puddings, ubiquitous beans, unchanging oatmeal - all this very clearly hints that you should not go to a gastrotour on Misty Albion.
However, most critics ignore the fact that English cuisine has combined a huge number of culinary traditions of different nations and can boast a history dating back several millennia.
Although you can’t name the UK’s particularly exquisite cuisine, it is one of the most satisfying and is considered healthy. According to historians, the process of the formation of English cuisine began as early as 3700 BC. In the first century AD, after the conquest of the territory by the Romans, the list of fruits and vegetables present in the diet of the local population has expanded significantly. Asparagus, apples, onions, celery, turnips - all these are products that appeared in the UK as a result of Roman expansion.
In the Middle Ages, the core of modern English cuisine was formed. The main ingredients for cooking were milk, fish, meat and eggs, as well as flour.
After the British Empire began an intensified colonization of overseas territories, spices were brought from India to Misty Albion, and red potatoes were brought from North America. In addition, it was during this period that the formation of regional culinary traditions began. Today, the term "English cuisine" combines Yorkshire, Welsh, Scottish, Irish and English cuisine proper.
Thus, the cuisine of England seems rather dull and not too appetizing to most gourmets. Its basis is meat dishes. At the same time, in English culinary traditions, not only veal, beef, pork, poultry and game are used, but also blood, as well as offal. The meat is usually served in baked or fried form, cooked black pudding, sausages and pastes. Fried fish is also popular, especially trout and cod. Baked vegetables are usually served as a side dish. However, at the same time, English cuisine is surprisingly fresh, spicy herbs are practically not consumed here, and salt is used very moderately. At the same time, English (in regional significance) cuisine is famous for its desserts: cookies, buns with various fillings, muffins, biscuits, pies are designed to brighten up the impression of London fogs.
The cuisine of Scotland is known for its love of cereals of all kinds. It is the Scottish dish that is the notorious oatmeal. At the same time, not only porridge is prepared from it, but also added to soup, stuffed with meat and used to make puddings. Also in Scotland they love soups - here they are so rich that in consistency they resemble goulash.
A place of honor in the diet of Scots is fish, both river and sea. Salmon, herring, river trout, haddock, as well as a variety of seafood are presented on the menu very widely. Smoked fish, salted, pickled, stuffed with rice or vegetables.
Scotland is also famous for its beef (it is here that Angus meat cows are raised), lamb and lamb. The meat is baked and made from chops, and the Scottish delicacy haggis is prepared from offal, which local poets have repeatedly sung in their poems. This is a mutton stomach stuffed with heart, liver, lungs, onions and oatmeal. Thanks to spices, the dish turns out to be quite spicy, and oatmeal makes it more dense than ordinary sausage. Haggis is usually served with potatoes.
One of the symbols of Irish cuisine is potatoes. It is an ingredient in many soups and pies, used as a filling for pies. The "trick" of traditional Irish cuisine is Kolkannon - a dish of mashed potatoes, chopped cabbage and a large number of seasonings. Also, potatoes are used to prepare boksty - fried pancakes.
In addition to fish (salmon, pike, perch, trout, cod, flounder, herring, etc.) and seafood (shrimp, oysters and mussels), seaweed dishes are popular in Ireland. They are mixed with mashed potatoes and added to salads.
Despite existing regional differences, English cuisine has a number of characteristic features that distinguish it from the culinary traditions of other countries.
Minimal use of seasonings, lack of complex flavoring. Residents of Foggy Albion are convinced that there is nothing better than the natural taste and smell of fresh produce.
Chips with fish is one of the hallmarks of English cuisine and London's most popular street food.
The British love pies. Pies with meat and fish are especially popular, to which onions, mushrooms and herbs are added. Experts are still arguing whether one of the most famous English dishes - beef Wellington - should be attributed to pies. The meat, baked in puff pastry with spices, is regularly present in the British diet.
Pudding is another hallmark of English cuisine. There are a lot of recipes for this dish. The British often joke that "pudding" is not a recipe, but a method of preparation, the same as cooking, frying, baking, etc. Today, it is traditional to cook pudding in a water bath, but many English housewives cook it in the microwave or oven. Puddings are sweet and salty, meat and fruit, with nuts, raisins, oatmeal, prunes - in a word, for every taste.
The British love tea. Behind this statement is a centuries-old history, complex rituals and ceremonies, the so-called tea moralities, composed personally by Queen Victoria. And, of course, a huge amount of pastries and desserts, which accompanies any English tea party.
Although English cuisine is considered not too sophisticated, the range of dishes that it offers is still quite wide.
English culinary specialists use almost all types of meat: beef, veal, pork, lamb, game, as well as poultry. Local national dishes are roast beef and steak. The first one is usually baked in the oven, and the second is grilled. It is noteworthy that the roast beef even received a separate ballad in its honor: the famous writer Henry Fielding in his work “Roast Beef of Old England” stated that it was the British soldiers who owed their courage and strength to the remarkable nutritional properties of this dish.
In England, baked potatoes, as well as a variety of sauces and gravy, are served as a side dish for meat dishes in England. Tomato and mint sauces are especially popular. To prepare the latter, crushed mint leaves are poured with water, sugar and wine vinegar are added. Mustard or Worcestershire sauce - sweet and sour, which is prepared from vinegar, seasonings, sugar and spicy fish, can also be served with meat.
Meat pies are also popular, with kidneys, liver and bacon added as fillings.
It is curious that after the Second World War, the Christmas table underwent some changes - the traditional stuffed goose, which was the main holiday meat dish, was replaced by a roasted turkey.
Puddings, as noted above, are incredibly popular in England. At the same time, paradoxically, the experts did not manage to come to a consensus on how one of the main dishes of English cuisine appeared.
So, according to one version, the “mother” of the pudding is oatmeal cooked in meat broth, to which prunes, honey and nuts were added, mixed with beaten eggs and baked in the oven. Some researchers suggest that in this way zealous British housewives "disposed" of the remnants of yesterday's dinner.
The second version believes that initially pudding was a very strange way of storing large pieces of meat - they were immersed in a mixture of flour and prunes.
Today, puddings in England can be either sweet or not sweet. In sweet puddings there is little dough, but there are a lot of various fillers, which can be raisins, nuts, dried apricots, berries, etc. Sweet pudding is often served with custard.
At the same time, pudding can be not only a dessert, but also a main course. A prime example is the Yorkshire pudding, which is usually served with roast beef. It is a batter in milk muffin molds made from milk, flour and eggs.
Since the British are a sea nation, there are a lot of fish dishes in their diet. It is noteworthy that freshwater fish is less common, mainly in specialized stores, and is very expensive.
Thick chowde soup is prepared from fish, grilled and baked in the oven. Smoked slightly salted herring called kipper is also popular. The recipe for its preparation can confuse any gourmet, unless he is British: they clean the fish, salt it, and then smoke it in cold smoke, then fry it in a pan. Kippers are usually served hot, with potatoes as a side dish.
Seafood is also popular in England. A variety of shellfish, crabs, lobsters, mussels, shrimps, squids and, of course, oysters are widely represented in the diet of the British. One of the English delicacies is a dish under the strange name "Angels on horseback" or "Angels on horseback": oysters wrapped in slices of brisket and grilled. They are served on toasts.
The British are amazing sweet tooth. Sweet puddings and casseroles, fruit salads with whipped cream, dried fruit compotes - all this is only a small part of traditional English sweets.
We should also mention baking. Gingerbread cookies, cinnamon rolls and cardamom, puffs, pies self-respecting English housewives serve each tea party. One of the local delicacies is the so-called "spotted cupcake". Its “spots” are raisins, prunes, candied fruits, dates, glazed cherries, nuts and other “snacks” added to the dough in large quantities.
At the same time, English gourmet cream cakes are not very popular. As a rule, they are very sweet, as well as too decorated with pastry mastic.
English fast food
Traditional English fast food is fish and chips. Without exaggeration, this dish can be called national, because it is present on the menu of almost every institution in the country, from street cafes to luxurious restaurants with sky-high prices.
Fish & Chips is a cod in a batter made from flour and dark English ale, to which French fries are served. Also, in some institutions, pickled onions, vegetable salad or beans in tomato sauce are served.
English cuisine is considered quite healthy and very nutritious. According to nutritionists, its indisputable advantage is a significant amount of meat dishes and seafood, as well as the presence in the diet of vegetables and cereals.
At the same time, tourists with British delicacies are advised to be careful at least in the first days of their stay in the country. The thing is that puddings and fried meat are considered quite heavy dishes.
Cooking Beef Wellington
Beef Wellington, or, as it is also called beef Wellington, is one of the most popular delicacies in England. The meat baked in puff pastry is very tender, juicy and fragrant.
To prepare this dish you will need: 500-700 g of beef tenderloin, 300-400 g of mushrooms, three onions, one egg, a package of puff pastry, a tablespoon of wheat flour, a glass of milk, vegetable oil and frying butter, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
Peel the tenderloin from fillets and dry using a paper towel. Fry on all sides in a hot frying pan with a little oil until the meat is lightly browned. Remove the beef from the pan, salt and pepper.
Heat vegetable oil in another pan, add butter to it, then fry chopped onions and sliced champignons in this mixture. Salt, pepper.
Grind onions and mushrooms in a blender, add to the minced meat and cool.
Roll puff pastry into a layer with a thickness of up to 0.5 cm. Put onion and mushroom mince in the center and beef on it. Coat the meat with the remaining minced onion and mushrooms. Beat the egg and grease the dough around the perimeter, then glue the edges.
Bake down with a seam in a parchment-lined baking dish, previously coated with an egg on top. The temperature regime is 190 degrees. Estimated cooking time - 40 minutes. If the dough starts to burn, cover it with foil or baking paper.
Make the sauce. To do this, fry chopped onions in a pan in which the meat was fried, adding butter. When the onion becomes transparent, add 1.5 tablespoons of flour, mix and pour the milk. Keep on fire, stirring until thickened. Salt and pepper.
Remove the meat from the oven, cool a little. Sauce each serving immediately before serving.
Cooking English Salad
To prepare an English salad, you will need: 120 g of boiled champignons, 240 g of celery root, 120 g of mayonnaise, 320 g of boiled chicken, two pickles, salt and mustard to taste.
Boil chicken. After the meat has cooled, separate it from the bones and cut into pieces. Dice mushrooms and cucumbers, celery root - into strips. In a separate container, mix the mayonnaise with mustard. Stir the ingredients and add the dressing. Serve immediately after preparation.