You could be forgiven for holding on to childhood memories, where the British diet featured bangers and mash, toad in the hole, jam sangers or a boiling pot of tasteless cabbage. And who doesn’t remember the famous scene when Oliver Twist demands more gruel?
If that’s how you view British food, take comfort, for in the real world, British food is full of scrumptious surprises. Not only are there many ways to enjoy it, but there are countless places in which to find it. From upscale pub grub to Michelin star rated restaurants, today’s British food is both inspired and tasty. In the real world, you’ll WANT to ask for more!
When travelling, or even at home, nothing beats a full English breakfast. Of course there’s tradition to consider, so this breakfast will centre on a heaping serve of eggs, beans, bacon or sausage, and of course a fried slice. However restaurants and home cooks alike are adding a twist to the legendary meal.
Today’s chefs prefer to use fresh, locally sourced ingredients for full, rich flavours. Fresh, slow roasted tomatoes are drizzled with tasty olive oil and lightly seasoned with sea salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Even baked beans are getting jazzed up with a sprinkling of paprika or melted cheese. Even chorizo is finding its way into British beans. The mix will blow you away!
A lighter brekky perhaps?
For those who prefer a lighter meal, no one does orange marmalade better than the British. But today, there’s a variety of tangy flavours to choose from, including lime and kumquat. British foodies embrace a variety of breads too, and a toasted slice of ciabatta perfectly suits the full flavoured marmalade. Just add a cup of tea and it’s the perfect light breakfast.
Catch of the day
Britain offers some tasty sea food dishes, such as scallops, shrimps (prawns) and dressed crab, but fish and chips are one of the simplest of menu items that continues to shine. Battered, breaded or grilled, fresh haddock or cod is cooked to a golden brown and served with chips. The common side dish is mushy peas, which itself has evolved into a creamy delight. Served up in ramekins and lightly seasoned with sea salt, they are a tasty accompaniment to an old favourite. If you’re looking for some pea pizazz, add a dash of Tabasco.
A Scottish treat
The Scottish too have their favourite fish dish, Cullen skink. This creamy soup could be mistaken for a hearty chowder, but packs a more flavourful punch due to the smoked haddock flavours and freshly chopped onion. One of Scotland’s signature dishes, Cullen skink is served with a fresh crusty roll. What could be better than a hearty soup on a chilly wind-swept day? Add a lovely coastal view and a British lager or ale, and the meal is sure to be a memorable one.
Comfort food on a chilly day – soups, breads, roasts, stews, haggis
The British love their comfort foods, and why not? England favours the roast, with beef, lamb or chicken accompanied by all the trimmings. In Scotland, the savoury pudding style haggis can be fried, stuffed in chicken, or served simply with potatoes (‘tattis’) and turnips (‘neaps’) on the side. In Wales try Cawl stew of beef or sometimes lamb, with plenty of hearty potatoes, carrots, leeks and fresh herbs.
Steaks really satisfy
Like people in many parts of the world, the British love a good steak. From the neighbourhood pub to trendy bistros and posh city restaurants, diners can find the favourite cut of meat. Restaurants will grill or pan fry a fillet, sirloin, rib-eye or T-bone and add a tasty sauce on the side. Favourite sauces and sides include a creamy Béarnaise, peppercorn, flavourful mushroom or red wine sauce, or a dollop of hot English mustard. As a variation, try a blue cheese or herb butter sauce. Add some thick-cut chips, polenta chips or garlic mash and you have a feast.
Pies all round
What could be better than a tasty cut of meat, topped or wrapped in a savoury pastry? Tasty dishes like shepherd’s or cottage pies, chicken and leek or beef and Guinness pie can be found on the menus of some of Britain’s most fashionable and contemporary restaurants. The classic cottage pie remains a favourite for lunch or informal dinner. Topped with fluffy mashed potato, the mince and veggie pie is the perfect solution for a hungry crowd looking for sustenance on a chilly day. A new classic is emerging with a delicious low-carb alternative, the sweet potato cottage pie.
Pasties and Beef Wellington are worth the wait
If you love pastry, a hot pasty or serving of Beef Wellington is just the ticket. While the traditional Cornish pasty is filled with diced steak or mince, onions and potatoes, today’s alternatives include such fillings as sweet peas and carrots. Top with delicious beef gravy and the Cornish pasty makes for the perfect lunch or night time snack. And while Beef Wellington may seem outdated to some, it still reigns supreme in Britain. Essentially beef wrapped in pastry, the tasty puff pastry and tender beef make for a delicious combo.