Tag Archives: British food

Rule Britannia!

More Canadians are visiting Britain – and I am happy about that. Born and raised in Britain has made me a bit “soft” when it comes to Jolly Olde England. It’s easier than ever for Canadian passport holders as they can now use the e-passport gates –

ePassport gates are automated, where a passport reader and camera, rather than a border officer, will verify your identity and check your ‘chipped’ passport. The gates use facial recognition technology to compare your face to the photograph recorded on the ‘chip’ in your passport.”

Many Canadians will find that the exchange rate is a little better now so here are a few trivia bits and pieces to encourage you to plan your next holiday in Britain.

Clotted cream – an absolute delight and treat and a must at any High Tea or Cream tea. But does it come from Devon or Cornwall? Big fight here as both claim the cream. But how they eat it is different – Cornish put the jam on the scone first – then the clotted cream. The Devonshire crowd does it the other way round. Now having lived in Devon and Cornwall I can testify that either way is delicious – but if you eat it the Cornish way there are no calories at all (just kiddin’).

But how is clotted cream different to regular whipped cream (and don’t even think of comparing it that stuff in the aerosol can) – here’s a good explanation

“There’s the ‘little bit of texture to the crust, the initial silky smooth mouth-feel, the cool, fine, slightly nutty flavour’ that comes through as it ‘delicately coats the roof of your mouth,’ eulogises Nick Rodda. He’s describing the clotted cream his family has made at their farmhouse in Redruth, Cornwall, for the past 126 years in the lyrical way that a master winemaker might evoke a particularly good vintage.” from CountryLife magazine.

While in Britain you must try a Full English Breakfast which will no doubt include black or white pudding. Now I was fairly squeamish as a kid so if I had known that black pudding was also known as blood sausage I would have said no thanks Mom.

Another thing Canadians might find strange about Britain is the fact that people drink outside the pubs. Usually in Canada you cannot go outside holding your beer or wine but in England – no problem.

Another thing that visitors find off putting are the traffic circles – tons of them – and some of them very big. But they are called roundabouts and there are sometimes roundabouts within roundabouts – like this one

Oh my goodness – can you imagine? And you are driving on the WRONG side of the road??? Or is it the RIGHT side of the road?

And if you are brave enough to rent a car and really discover the countryside you will find that the roads are very very narrow. Why? Well they are old – built by Romans – some of them only 20 foot wide. But do go down that narrow road – at the end you will discover some of the delights of the not so well known parts of Britain. Here’s one of my favourite places. Can you name it?

Stiff upper lip and Spotted Dick

snootyOur server in the very posh Queen Victoria’s shipboard pub was called Juan.  No, he wasn’t from Mexico – he was a New Yorker.  An oddity indeed as most of the cruise staff tend to come from the Philippines with a good smattering of Eastern Europeans and South Africans.  His banter was on top form and his wit was as quick as the proverbial New York Minute.  But the Spotted Dick had him stumped.

“What’s the special dessert today?” I innocently asked.

“Um – well it’s a sort of pudding, type of thing, like very British”

“Oh, well what exactly is it?”

“Well it’s hot and…. er ….it comes with custard.”

“Like apple crumble?  Rhubarb pie?”  I helpfully nudged.

“Look – it’s like this.  I am not sure if my buddies in the kitchen are playing a trick on me but they said it is called Spotted Dick.”

No wonder he was embarrassed.  The Brits have the weirdest names for some traditional culinary delights.  Like –

Toad in the Hole, Mushy peas and Faggots.  What?  Yes indeed.  They all sound pretty horrible but take it from me (a Brit) that they are “bloody marvellous” as my dad would say.  Leftovers from the Sunday roast?  No problem – throw them all in a frying pan and voila! you have Bubble and Squeak.  Had a bad night on the Guinness last night – try a plate of bacon and eggs with black pudding.  I LOVED this as a child (no I didn’t grow up on Guinness) and was horrified as a teenager to learn it was made from blood.  Eeeuuuuwwww!   Still ate it though – and loved it.

Imagine Juan’s face if I had asked him for a special order of Toad in the Hole with a side of Faggots before I go for the Spotted Dick!!!!