Brixton-based foodie Rosie Lovell and author “Spooning with Rosie” begins her culinary travels through England in Kent where she attends a medieval food fayre.
Rosie is shown various methods of smoking meats – a practice popular in medieval times and is told how spices were introduced to English cuisine from the Middle East by returning crusaders in the 12th Century.
Onwards to what makes England really tick –The Hop, Rosie finds out how this grain becomes one of our most popular beverages – the lowly beer. She helps in the Hop Harvest and samples traditional local brews at a nearby beer festival.
Rosie then visits the Cotswolds, home to thePudding Club who meet regularly to sample iconic English desserts - Jam Roly Poly, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Eton Mess! Up until the 18th Century, the vast majority of puddings served at tables were savoury (with the exception of fruits) but with the discovery of sugar imported from foreign lands – puddings became sweet.
Heading to the North of England, via the Ludlow Food Festival, Rosie looks at the foods that became popular during the Industrial Revolution. Grinding poverty and hardship amongst the working classes in the 19th century, followed by the introduction of rationing after the Second World War, contributed to the poor reputation of English food – often described as bland, tasteless, stodgy and even unhealthy. In these austere times nothing went to waste. Rosie visits Bury Market in Lancashire where she samples Black Pudding.
On the final leg of her culinary journey, Rosie returns to London which has turned the reputation of English cuisine on it’s head by becoming the world’s epicentre for high quality global cuisine. Many of the World’s top chefs have restaurants here and London’s street food offers a varied and eclectic smorgasbord of dishes.
Rosie interviews leading British Chef, Mark Hix and Israeli fusion guru Yotam Ottolenghi whose evocative take on sweets and desserts has taken the London food scene by storm.
Rosie ends her journey in a well-known London Gastro-Pub which in the 21st century has combined the very English traditions of a cosy Ale House with a love for gastronomy – A fitting example of the English food renaissance.
- The Selgrove B & B, Sheldwich http://www.favershambandb.co.uk/
- The Harrow Inn, Maidstone http://www.harrowhillhotel.com/
- Beulah Guest House, Dover http://www.beulahguesthouse.co.uk/
- Lennox House, St Margarets Bay www.beulahguesthouse.co.uk/
- The Castleton Hotel, Castleton http://www.castleton-hotel.co.uk/
- The Mill House Hotel, Kingham http://www.millhousehotel.co.uk/
- Three Ways House Hotel (The Pudding Club) http://www.threewayshousehotel.com/
- Ottolenghi http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/locations/
- Hix http://www.hixsoho.co.uk/
- The Hastings http://www.hastingslytham.com/
- The Coastguard http://www.thecoastguard.co.uk/
- Wheelans Fish and Chips, Lytham, Lancashire
Special thanks to:
- Rodger Crudge Cheeses
- Ludlow Festival
- Pat Goode
- John Humphries, Shepherd Neame Brewery
- Brogdale Collections
- Tony and Mary Chadwick
- Amy Jones
Mark Hix Veal Meatballs
British-reared veal really seems to be taking off – Once a topic that deeply divided opinions in the kitchen, however, if you source your Veal responsibly from a reputable butcher you will find that not only is the flavour wonderful, but just a little minced veal actually goes quite a long way which adds to its popularity. Your butcher may stock British veal – Mark Hix buys buy his veal from Bocaddon Farm down in Cornwall (www.bocaddonfarmveal.com) and Brookfield Farm in Dorset and it has an absolutely fantastic flavour. In his home town in Bridport, Philip Frampton has a great butcher’s shop under the town hall and he sells various cuts from Brookfield Farm.
- 400g minced veal shin or flank
- 6 large spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 bamboo skewers
- A little vegetable or corn oil
- 2 large leeks, halved, roughly chopped and washed 50g butter 100-150g morels or any other seasonal wild mushrooms, halved and washed, cut into even-sized pieces and cleaned 200g double cream 2tbsp chopped parsley
- Mix the spring onions with the veal and season. Mould the mixture into 16 flat meatballs and skewer 4 meatballs onto each skewer.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the leeks with a lid on for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the cream, season and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until the cream is just coating the leeks.
- Meanwhile, preheat a barbecue or griddle pan, season the meatballs and brush with a little oil. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, keeping them slightly pink.
- To serve, spoon the leeks on to serving plates and lay the meatballs on top, either on or off the skewer. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
Lancashire Hot Pot with Pickled Red Cabbage
Lancashire Hot Pot was traditionally eaten by rich and poor and its reputation as one of England’s best traditional lamb recipes is thriving. Farmers would leave a brown earthenware pot of it on the range to simmer gently all day, using the embers of the last night’s fire. If properly assembled the dish needed no attention until the workers returned hungry from their labours. Shepherds would wrap a pot of it in a blanket and eat it up on the hills. And for the rich, it became de rigeur to take a pot of it to the races!
- 1 kilo of shoulder, neck and shin of lamb cut into 3 or 4 cm pieces (try and use as locally sourced as you can e.g Bowland lamb
- 500 grams of thinly sliced onions
- 900 grams of peeled King Edward potatoes
- 30 grams of plain flour
- 45 grams of salted butter
- 2 carrots thinly sliced
- 150 mls of chicken stock or Knorr stock cubes or chicken gels
- Sea salt and white pepper to season
- 2 grams of chopped rosemary
- 4 grams of sugar
- Season lamb with salt and a good pinch of pepper
- Dust with the flour
- Put the lamb into the base of the hotpot dish
- Sweat off the onions in 15 grams of the butter with some salt and the sugar for 4-5 minutes (to sweat is to cook without cover on a hot to moderate temperature)
- Spread the onions evenly on the top of the lamb in the hot pot dish
- Slice the potatoes horizontally 2-3 centimetres thick
- Place in a medium size bowl and add the remaining 25 grams of melted butter, season with one teaspoon of salt and a pinch of white pepper and rosemary
- Mix well
- Layer the sliced potatoes and carrots evenly on top of the onions reserving the best shaped rounds for the final layer and add the chicken stock
- Cut a circle out of grease proof paper, place over the potatoes and cover with a lid
- Place the hotpot in the oven for 1.5 hours at 160 degrees
- Take off the lid and grease proof paper
- Brush with melted butter and place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes
- Clean the pot and serve with pickled red cabbage
Pickled Red Cabbage
- 400 grams of shredded red cabbage
- 70 grams of sea salt
- 300 ml malt vinegar
- 150 ml of white wine vinegar
- 160 ml of balsamic vinegar
- 550 ml red wine
- 275 grams sugar
- 4 bay leaves
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon of pink pepper corns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 small teaspoons of chilli flakes
- Place the shredded red cabbage in a colander over the sink and sprinkle with salt, leave for 2-3 hours then drain and wash away the salt
- Pat dry with a clean tea towel
- Place all the vinegars, wine and sugar into a heat resistant pan and cook over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half
- Place the chilli, cinnamon, pink peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves into the mix, take off the heat and allow to infuse for 5-10 minutes
- Strain through a fine sieve, discard the solids and then pour the strained liquid over the cabbage in a bowl
- Transfer the cabbage and pickling liquid into a sterilised jar and set aside until needed
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