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Archive for the ‘U.K. Food’ Category

A soul cake is a little raisin cake cookie.  They have an incredibly long history in the United Kingdom and the various occupied territories;  the Irish first distributed them to the poor on Samhain, which is the Celtic New Year on October 31st and November 1; and, they’re related to All Souls Day, which is a Catholic holiday–but people also give them out at Christmas. 

(The old Celts did tend to muddy the waters about  various holidays, kind of like some people think eggnog should be served from Thanksgiving to New Years.  These aren’t quite as much fun as the eggnog.) (more…)

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 A “priddy oggy” is a pork and cheese suet crust pasty.  Credited to the town of Somerset in Britain, they are a more modern version of Cornish Pasties. (Rhymes with nasty, not hasty.)

It’s an example  of  one of my favorite kinds of food, fat on fat:  it has pork, milk, and beef fat in one tasty package.  (Although it’s low glycemic index, so there’s that.) (more…)

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As in, “It’s not mystery meat, but it’s darn close”. *

In the mining towns in Northern England, the miners used to eat something called a pasty.  Made of leftover meat, potatoes and turnips, it’s a suet crust pastry.  The idea was to eat only the interior of the pastry–eaten with dirty fingers, the edges would be contaminated with arsenic from the mines, so you would just discard the edges, and thus avoid the arsenic.

This doesn’t involve arsenic, but it might as well have:  some gluten-free things are easy to make;  some, take weeks.  The gluten-free pastry mix was the easy part.

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The New York times posted a recipe a lot like this today.  It inspired me to make this incredibly easy fall British dessert.  (I was also hoping for cross-posting, because I am nothing  if not self-promoting.)

Ingredients:

1 cup millet

2  cups pecans in the shell

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tablespoons lemon juice (more…)

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Continuing the tour of the U.K. via food, a common dessert is something called “blancmange”.  Tracing its roots back to the influences of the Ottoman Empire, when almonds were first brought to Europe, this a slightly sweet, nutty dessert.  Sometime in the past several decades a food writer for the L.A. times decided that hazelnuts would be good, too, and hazelnut milk is what was in the pantry, so here we are.

Blancmange is also a really cool British New Wave band from the eighties.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Argo Cornstarch  (gluten-free)

2 cups hazelnut milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon (more…)

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Scottish Baps

A Bap is the breakfast bread of Scotland.  You can make them with a regular gluten-free bread mix.  They’re buns.  This leads to the expected sort of puns and jokes.

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One of my odd hobbies is checking out the gluten-free sections of the various grocery stores in my area. If you’re in Austin, one of biggest I have seen is at 183 and Braker. They have gluten-free ladyfingers, made by a popular European gluten-free manufacturer called Schar. (That’s with an umlaut, if anyone wants to tell me the HTML for “umlaut”.) I have no idea what you make with ladyfingers other than trifle, but, here is a very cheap version of classic British trifle.

Ingredients:

Cool Whip in the pressurized can. (It keeps forever in the refrigerator, while simultaneously being fun because of the nitrous oxide.) (more…)

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Fisherman’s Pie

I had the best intentions of making Cornish pasties.  I even have a gluten-free pastry mix.  However, I didn’t read the recipe for pasties first, and apparently you don’t cook the meat first–and I had already made a pot roast with the only beef I have. So, that’ s next week’s recipe.

That left me trying to figure out what to make.  I keep staples in my kitchen, like frozen tilapia, shredded cheddar cheese, rice flour, potatoes, milk, and onions.  With the addition of a turnip, which is sort of a Scots fetish,* that’s actually all I needed for this recipe.  From start to finish, it will take about two hours, so plan accordingly.

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Continuing the “Food of the U.K.” tour, I made bangers and mash, mainly because I could, and I’ve been watching, “MI-5″….and, “Yes, I do know they’re British.” 

This is a small recipe because I have unbelievable amounts of leftovers from all the other cooking this weekend.  It’s also a good recipe when you have multiple small kitchen chores, like, oh, I don’t know, washing up from a weekend of cooking.

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I decided to make bannocks, or Scottish oat cakes and Cockaleekie Soup, because I have a cold and I wanted chicken soup, but not the traditional chicken soup.  This is a fairly time-intensive recipe, the sort of thing you should probably only make when you’re home with a cold.

Historically, this is part of a Burns supper, which is a dinner held to commemorate the life of Robert Burns, who was a Scottish poet who lived 1759-1796.  It ‘s like a big party;  online descriptions have scripts with multiple exhortations like, “Not too insulting.”  Burns suppers also usually involve Haggis, which I have no intent of attempting.

Bannocks:

Bannocks are an exercise in becoming Zen.  They taste fantastic, but because oats dry fast, and they crumble, not every oatcake will come out whole;  they also dry fast enough that it is hard to know how long to cook them.  If they start to smell even remotely burned, it’s time to flip the entire kit and caboodle, regardless of whether or not you’re sure it will stick together.  Like I said, it’s very zen.  Let it go.

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