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Simon Majumdar

Delicious British Delicacies

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Mushy Peas

Good Bitter Beer

Double Battered fish ( yes Yvonne, Double battered )

Proper Bacon ( Gawd save us from that US rubbish )

Potted shrimps

Kippers

Steak and Kidney Pudding

and sooo many more.

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Mushy Pea Fritters - The Holy Grail of take away fish and chip menu's.

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Arbroath smokies, black pudding, gooseberry crumble, Dundee marmalade, Finnan haddock, haggis, hot pot, mince and tatties, oatcakes, pork with the crispy rind, scotch pies, shortbread, stovies (pots, lard and a little meat if you are lucky), white pudding (oatmeal, onions). Decent whisky and beer to wash it down. Unclogs the arteries. Maybe.

Sorry to hear about this low carb business, Simon. I guess not much of the above for you. Awwwh

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Scraps!

Scraps are the floaty bits that break free from fish and chips and float around for ages in the fryer. If you ask nicely the fish & chip person will give you a generous net full. They are roughly 98% grease and quite carcinogenic but much tastier than apples and easier to find in the frozen wastes of North Britain.

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Shepards Pie - unbeatable if done well and Albert Roux's favourite dish don't you know.

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Is there a recipe model  for shepherd's pie? I might suppose it needed lamb or mutton, but here in the states I take it as any chopped or ground well cooked meat and vegtables that have been baked under mashed potatoes. If not, perhaps a dish my wife had in Paris might qualify. Blood sausage under cover of mashed potatoes. I think it was boudin noir parmentier on the menu. I imagine English blood pudding to be stodgier than the French will will often have no, or a minimum of, cereal filler.

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In my opinion, next to Fish and Chips, shepherds pie is England's most notable contribution to world cuisine.

Quote: from Andy Lynes on 9:08 am on Aug. 10, 2001

Shepards Pie - unbeatable if done well and Albert Roux's favourite dish don't you know.

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Dear Lord Michael Lewis, I’m taken aback by your knowledge of scraps.  Are you slumming it again under cover?

As for finding any fruit and veg in “the frozen wastes of North Britain.” I was up that way a few months ago and at a large grocer I asked for an aubergine. The reply was “Oh, we’ll have to place a special order for that”.

______________

Bux: The Shepherd’s Pie I make is adapted from Jane Grigson’s “Observer Guide to British Cooking”. Thanks for pointing out the Parmentier. Grigson writes that this dish belongs to France and Britain.  Acc to G, in France the dish is called hachis Parmentier (to honor the man who encouraged the French to eat potatoes).

1 lb of good quality, chopped meat. I go for beef but G. says you can use lamb or mixed veal & pork

I med/large onion finely chopped

1Tb oil

2-3 cloves crushed garlic

Half pt stock

1Tb flour/cornflour

1-2 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce

1-2 Tbs tomato paste

Cayenne, thyme, salt, pepper

Grated cheese (I use Cheddar/Leicester/Parmesan)

2 lb pots and what you need to make mashed pots

Over low heat fry onion in oil till soft. Add garlic and cook a little, then add the meat. Turn up heat to brown. Remove excess fat. Add stock and simmer around ten mins. [i sometimes add thinly sliced carrots. Sometimes a bay leaf]

Sprinkle on flour and bring to desired thickness. Add Worcestershire, tom paste and seasonings. Add more flour if necessary—the mixture should not be runny. Simmer while pots are cooking. I cook the meat mixture around 30 mins in total. (Note: this does look that appetizing at this point.)

Before you mash the bulk of your cooked pots, thinly slice a couple (explained below).

Put meat into casserole dish. Place mashed pots on top and flatten. Around the edge place in a ring the slices of pot you’ve reserved. Scatter cheese over top. Grill or place in hot oven till golden.

Peas go well. And, course some decent mustard.

[Another note: the basic ingredients that go into the dish. Onion, garlic, W. sauce, cayenne, thyme, stock, tom paste makes a good quick gravy for sausages etc.]

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Here's my version of shepards pie that I cooked yesterday: Sweat 1 finely chopped onion in some oil, add some sliced buttom mushrooms and finely chopped roasemary and cook until softened and the moisture has been driven off. Add the ground lamb and brown. Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar, then add a glass of red wine and reduce. Cover with stock, throw in some diced tomato flesh and cover. Cook for 10 mins so that the tomato breaks down into the stock. Add a touch of ketchup, soy and/or worcestershire sauce salt and pepper and cook for 30- 45 mins. Empty into an oven dish and cover with your favourite mash recipe, possibly with some cheese added if you like that type of thing. Bake until golden brown, 20 - 30 mins.

Black pudding -  Paul Heathcote renowned Northern chef with a star or 2 has a famous recipe which I think he actually markets as a finished product just has 60g of oat flakes to every 750g of dried pigs blood. It also has 2kg of sweetbreads in it as well so we are talking premium quality here.          

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Jason, size doesn't matter, at least not in this regard. The French and the British refer to it as an aubergine. We use eggplant.

Shepard's pie is something we usually make without a recipe and more often than not, with diced left over roast or braised meats as much as raw ground beef or lamb. We'll use carrots and celery in addition to onions and garlic. Mushrooms are not essential but always welcome. I've never added flour or  cornstarch, but will mix in a bit of the mashed potatoes to thicken the meat mixture. I like a bit of parmesan or gruyere in or on the potatoes and I'll run the tines of a fork over the top to get more surface to brown. A bit of butter on the top will help nicely as well. Fowl, by the way, is a good as meat for this as far as we're concerned. Not sure if chicken or duck hash quite earns the name of shepherd's pie however.

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I'll third or fourth Sheppard's pie.  Whenever my mother  roasted a leg of lamb on Sunday, sheppards pie was soon to follow.  My mother would cut the left over lamb into bite size cubes, throw in some peas and pearl onions, maybe carrots, make a thick lamb pan gravy, and top it off with mashed potatoes and back until piping.  Not traditional but as it was the sheppard's pie of my youth, I consider anything made with ground meat to be unacceptable.

Three other delicacies come to mind:

One might be expected of me.  Bangers and mash.

But also yorkshire pudding - I was banned from a friends aparment after I turned white walls gray roasting a prime rib on an electric oven rack with the pan of pudding under the roast to catch the drippings.  This is the sort of thing that you should try at someone else's house first.

The other, the proper english breakfast - fried eggs with a rasher of thick slab bacon, bangers, kidneys, mushrooms, baked tomatoes, black pudding.

Which brings me to one other delicacy I belive to be English - Marmalade.

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Andy - Fowl in a sheperds pie - heresay!

Quite right. Of course I meant Hachis de Volaille Parmentier.  ;)

Holly - cut the left over lamb into bite size cubes, ...  Not traditional but as it was the sheppard's pie of my youth

I'm not sure it's not traditional, but nevertheless, I think the best examples of this sort of dish, whatever their name, are made with diced meat, not ground.

(Edited by Bux at 6:14 pm on Aug. 11, 2001)

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Sainsbury's has an Asian fusion Shepherd's pie, with a bit of spice in the lamb and coriander in the mashed potatoes. Delicious.

Doug

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Quote: from Jason Perlow on 3:20 pm on Aug. 10, 2001

In my opinion, next to Fish and Chips, shepherds pie is England's most notable contribution to world cuisine.

Is Shepherd's Pie English?  Just curious--I always thought it was Irish, but that's probably because my earliest memory of having it was as a child visiting family in Ireland.  Does anyone know for sure where it originated?

In addition to Shepherd's Pie and traditional English/Irish breakfast, I nominate Irish brown bread.  

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Quote: from quinn on 5:03 pm on Aug. 22, 2001

In addition to Shepherd's Pie and traditional English/Irish breakfast, I nominate Irish brown bread.  

There's nothing like Irish SOda Bread with some good salty butter.

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next to shepherds pie for me its gotta be scones... with little chewy currants in them served with stawberry preserves and a nice pat of butter. With a good Irish Breakfast tea.

Almost enough to make forget current events, even for a little while.

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Don't even think about suggesting currants in a scone.  Where were you dragged up?!

that being said, a good English Tea is the best thing in the World and I would suggest that Claridges does the best.  Cucumber sarnies, smoked salmon sarnies, pastries by the mound and the aforementioned scones, jame & clotted cream.

I would not go with a Breakfast tea which is a little too strong.  Rather I would suggest a second flush assam or darjeeling which has less body but a good nose.

I may have to go a treat myself to one this week

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Quote: from Simon Majumdar on 4:55 am on Sep. 17, 2001

Don't even think about suggesting currants in a scone.  Where were you dragged up?!

Oh my. So this is purely an American bastardization by Starbucks?

When it comes to english teas I am afraid to say I've only been exposed to Twinings and 1 or 2 other Irish brands. I'm a bit partial to loose asian teas purchased in chinese specialty tea shops -- for me its ooloong and high mountain green, and pearl jasmine (pricey!).

My favorite bag tea of all is a company called Kusmischoff or KUSMI for short, its a Russian tea company that used to make teas for the czars and now operates out of France. They have a tea called Prince Wladimir which is a black tea that has oil of bergamot in it as well as vanilla and a few other things, sort of like an earl grey but not as flowery. Every tea bag is made of muslin fabric. This is the stuff that is served in the Firebird restaurant in NYC.

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If you can get it ( I think at Citarellas ) there is a small UK company called Newby Teas.  It is run by two indian brothers called Sethia and their office is not a million miles from where I am sitting.

The specialise in single estate teas and sell the most wonderful assam, oolong, darjeeling and lapsang.  each tin is cบ and comes with tasting notes and information about the estate ( as opposed to twinnings who just put a picture of some guy in a turban on the packs ) and in muslin bags as well as loose.  I can heartily recommend it

appended by eGullet Staff:

website at http://www.newbyteas.com

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Nice site. But in regards to their premier teas, whats the difference between a first and a second flush? They are both priced the same.

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The real difference is in the flavour

First flush has all the vigour and exuberance of youth ( immediate flavour and freshness ) and all the failings as well, they lack the depth and the clarity of second flush which has a longer nose and a more satisfying aftertaste.  first flush is a good breakfast tea, it can be drunk without food and is a superb pick me up.  Second flush is best enjoyed with simple food.  It works exceptionally well with Bengali food which is not spiced like some other regional cooking

I truly like my teas, so whereas with wine, I am a reasonably knowledgeable charlatan, with tea, I can profess a sprinkling of accuracy

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Back to the main topic, my own personal favourites:

Bangers and mash with a blackened tomato.

Kippers and soft-fried eggs with a blackened tomato.

Lamb's kidney's with Keene's mustard and a blackened tomato.

Steak and kidney pie. Also good with a blackened tomato.

A friend of mine who's a recent immigrant to Canada was pining for a chip butty. For those who don't know, this is a sandwich of two squishy soft pieces of bread with butter or marg, a load of chips, and brown sauce (HP). Awful. I set him up with everything he needed to make it himself except the chips, which I made (except I call them frites). He made mounds and invited three other people to join him in the dining hall. Perhaps it was the distance between memory and something actually in your mouth. Or the polite disgust of the Canadians. But he's sworn off them. Probably should have had a blackened tomato with it.

Oh yes. Hard cheeses. Nothing like English cheeses.

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