Sunday, November 21, 2010

More British Foods

  • Spotted dick: Tasty sweet desert. I had to try it just because of the name. I have a feeling that this is an old enough recipe that there are 100 different variations with some good and some, not so good. It is another pudding, and by that I mean spongy bread with raisins in it. The funny thing is that it would taste great with some "American" pudding on top of it but there does not seem to be an equivalent here.
  • Cornish pasties: I've bought them from street vendors and from the grocery store. It just seems like it is to easy to skimp on the meat and instead server a flaky crust full of grease. The locals I've talked to say "you have to go to Cornwall to get a good pasty but with nothing else to do there it is a long trip for food".
  • Mince pies: As soon as Halloween was over they replaced the shelves with Christmas food, and mince pies seemed to be the first on the shelves. They are small (usually two inches across) and sold 6 to a box. They are quite good (a little more spice tasting compared to American mincemeat pie) and cheap so I can see why they are popular.
  • Christmas pudding: Similar to fruitcake but the fruit is closer to mincemeat and raisins and it is moister from the sugary syrup it is soaked in.
  • Crumpets: It is pretty much half an English muffin that is fried instead of baked. (Or a very thick pancake that is only fried on one side; either explanation works). They work great when I make avocado pizzas since I'm not to much of a tea person.

A food custom that I am not used to here is that eggs are not refrigerated. Since I don't have space in the fridge and I eat enough eggs that they never last past the due date anyway I'm not to worried about spoilage. I am all to happy to deal with a shorter shelf life in favor of more space in the refrigerator. (That, and I felt really silly buying unrefrigerated eggs from the store them in the fridge when I got home.)
The only craving that I have had for American food since I got here was for pancakes; which is odd since I don't eat pancakes that often. There are Scottish pancakes that are sold here but they are sold pre-cooked. They aren't bad but pancakes need to be eaten immediately after being fried because they don't keep well. The mix that they sell for English pancakes is closer to crepes. It satisfied my craving enough that I don't feel the need to make pancakes from scratch but since syrup is so hard to find here too I ended up just buying some cheap strawberry jam and heating it in the microwave until runny. (Again, good enough so that I didn't feel a desire to make syrup from scratch.)

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