Traditional British Recipes
British Recipes - Good Plain Cooking
Traditional British recipes are often described as 'good plain cooking', particularly by the people who like them.
In fact, most of us over about 30 or 40 years old have been brought up on it in the days when home-cooked meals were a regular occurrence. At its best, it can be nourishing and delicious, at its worst it is horrible.
Traditional recipes have been handed down from mothers to daughters (in the days before many men cooked!) and they were good for people who were doing hard manual labour and using a lot of calories.
Nowadays, a regular diet of many English dishes is a guaranteed way to put on weight and possibly increase your cholesterol levels. Even here, we eat this kind of food very seldom. It's just that we really enjoy it when we do - for us, it's the ultimate comfort food.
Shepherd's or Cottage Pie
Some people call this Shepherd's Pie and some people call it Cottage Pie. Often, Shepherd's Pie is only used for the dish when minced lamb and not beef is used.
- 16oz minced (ground) beef or lamb
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1 large chopped, cooked carrot (optional)
- 3 tbs peas
- 2 tsp mixed herbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 32oz (2lbs) cooked potatoes, mashed
- 2 tbs cooking oil
- 2 cups stock
1. Fry onions till soft but not brown, stir in minced (ground) meat, salt and pepper, and mixed herbs. Stir until meat is cooked. Stir in peas and carrots if used.
2. Stir in enough stock to provide gravy but do not make it too wet and sloppy.
3. Put the meat into the bottom of an ovenproof dish. It should half fill the dish.
4. Spread the mashed potato on top and spread evenly. Using a fork, make indented lines across the top of the potato - this gives a nice, crunchy top.
5. Put the dish into a preheated oven, 375 deg F (190 deg C) and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.
Serve with vegetables. This can be frozen and used within a month or two.
How to Make Steak and Kidney Pudding
Make a Steak and Kidney Pudding - A Favourite meal in my family
Like most English people in the 1950s and 60s, we had a roast dinner on Sundays - roast chicken, beef, lamb were the customary fare together with vegetables and roast potatoes. Sometimes, though, my mother would make a lovely steamed steak and kidney pudding for Sunday lunch and this was an enormous treat. She would turn the pudding out of its dish in the kitchen and ceremonially bring it to the table to be cut and served.
My mother would have made the steak and kidney pudding in a similar way to the method on the video above. One major difference is that she never rolled the pieces of kidney inside the pieces of beef and neither do I - life's too short!
Toad in the Hole
- 8 pork sausages
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- approx 1 1/2 cup milk and water (about half of each)
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425 deg F (220 deg C). Put sausages in a large shallow oven proof dish or pan. It should be about 2ins deep and large enough for all 8 sausages without squashing them together. Place in the oven so the sausages can start to brown.
2. Sift the flour, salt and pepper into a bowl, then make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and a little milk. You can use an electric mixer at this point, and slowly mix the ingredients into a paste. Gradually, add more liquid, beating all the time. Keep adding liquid until the batter is of a pouring consistency but not too thin even if you have some liquid left.
3. Beat hard until there are small bubbles all over the surface of the batter. You need to get plenty of air into it so that it rises well.
4. Remove the dish from the oven, turn the sausages over so the other side can brown, then pour over the batter. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until the batter is well risen and brown.
5. Serve immediately with onion gravy and vegetables.
A Great British Cookbook - Recipes for real British Food
As I've tried to show you on this page, English or British cooking can be delicious and we really do have some wonderful dishes that foreigners love too.
You don't need to have been brainwashed from a very early age to enjoy our food!
This is a recipe where you can pretty much please yourself what you put in it, depending on what you have in your larder or refrigerator. It tastes good, it's economical and is often served at the end of the month when money is getting tight. Another advantage is that it usually tastes even better reheated the next day.
- 8 pork sausages (or other thick sausages) , cut into about one inch pieces
- A few slices of bacon, chopped
- 1 large chopped onion
- Chopped carrots (optional)
- Any other chopped vegetables that you have
- 1 or 2 medium cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 or 2 medium cans of baked beans
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup stock
- Chopped fresh or dried sage to taste (optional)
1. Fry or grill (broil) the sausage pieces and bacon to brown. Place in a large pan.
2. Fry the onions to brown and add to the sausage and bacon.
3. Add the stock, tomatoes and baked beans (you might want to try just one can of each and then decide if you need to add more). Bring to the boil on the hob, reduce heat so that the hotpot is simmering.
4. Add the seasoning, sage, and any other vegetables and more tomatoes and baked beans if needed.
5. You can either transfer the hotpot to the oven, about 350 deg F (180 deg C), and cook for about 45 minutes or you can cook on the hob but you will need to stir it regularly to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
6. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes or slices of bread to dunk.
*Vegetarians can substitute vegetarian sausages for pork.
Bubble and Squeak
Here's another recipe where you can choose what you put in and the quantities as long as you have the basic types of ingredients. .
- Mashed potatoes
- Cooked cabbage and/or broccoli
- Chopped onion (optional)
- Cooked carrot, swede, and/or parsnip (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Small amount of cooking oil (any kind)
1. If you are using an onion, fry that until it's soft but not brown.
2. In a large bowl, mix together everything except the cooking oil. Combine with a large wooden spoon or with your hands - probably easier.
3. Use a frying pan or a griddle. Heat it with a little oil in it. There should be just enough oil to stop the mixture sticking.
4. Depending on what you want and the quantity, you can make one large bubble and squeak or individual ones. Whichever you choose, it should be flattened to about one to two inches deep. Some people prefer it smooth while others like to leave the surface quite rough.
5. Cook the mixture on one side until it is browned, turn over and brown the other side.
6. Serve with a fried or poached egg, bacon or sausage. Alternatively, you can eat it on its own with tomato ketchup or other sauce.
You can chop up corned beef and mix it into the mixture before browning.
Another Version of Bubble and Squeak
Favourite Food from the Supermarket
These are the things we buy to eat
Each country has its favourite store-bought flavours, basic ingredients, condiments and canned or bottled goods.
Some of these products are controversial even in their country of origin.
Marmite is a case in point. Some people love it, others hate it. Those who love it will spread it on toast or pour hot water on it to make a drink.
Then you get people like me who absolutely detest it. I can't stand the smell, let alone the taste. You have to make up your own mind about it.
Another British staple is English mustard. This isn't like French or American mustard - it's hot. If you've never tried it, taste it cautiously. We eat it with roast beef, sausages and English pork pies.