Welcome back to our weekly blog, folks!
After our brief trip to Turkey we move now a little norther, because the protagonist of this month’s Cook N Bake is the British cuisine. Yes, my dear reader, you heard me right. Regardless of its bad reputation, we decided that there must be at least five dishes that are worth listing and experimenting, so here we go!
First of all, let’s try to understand this unusual cuisine: the rich history of the United Kingdom is in grand part the reason why it seems like British cuisine is more of a cultural mix than a defined tradition. Welsh, Scottish and English dishes are indeed greatly influenced by local ingredients; in addition throughout history Celts, Anglo-Saxons and later on Indians (following the Middle Ages when Britain became a pivot for the maritime spice trade) have affected the cuisine with both flavors and techniques. But that does not explain still why British food is bad.
Back in the day, during the Edwardian England (if you watched Downton Abbey you know what I am talking about!), food was the art of skilled chefs who enjoyed going above and beyond also with the utilization of new pots and molds. The upper and middle classes were the hot pit of such a sophisticated cuisine. With the beginning of industrialization, and World War I, the upper and middle class started losing their power and influence, and industrial foods started to replace the traditional ones.
Rationing, thought to be a prevention against food shortages, became a great limitation for the British cuisine. Long story short: British traditional, sophisticated dishes were lost forever and even after the war British cuisine never completely recovered.
There are some dishes, however, that survived the two World Wars and can be considered traditional British dishes. Among them, the Welsh Cawl. Cawl is a traditional Welsh soup, typical of the Winter season, made with salted bacon (or beef, today lamb seems to have substituted it), potatoes, carrots , leeks and a choice of seasonal vegetables. Served with bread and cheese if desired.
2-3 lb. Welsh lamb best end of neck cutlets
1 large sliced onion
2 medium sliced carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 small swede turnip or 2 white turnips
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
6 small potatoes
salt and pepper
4 pints (8 cups) water
If in season cabbage, celery, etc., can all be used
Trim the meat of fat so far as possible, cover with cold water, add salt and pepper, bring to the boil, and simmer slowly for 1 hour, then leave it to get cold and skim off all the fat. Put in all the vegetables except 1 leek, the potatoes and half the parsley, cover and simmer very slowly for 1 hour, then add the potatoes cut in half and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Then add the remainder of the parsley, taste for seasoning and finely chop the remaining leek (green and white part) on top. Let it cook for not more than 5 minutes and serve. Some families treat it as a French pot-au-feu – that is, they serve the clear broth first, then the meat and vegetables as a second course. Traditionally Cawl was eaten in wooden bowls with wooden spoons so that there was no fear of burning the mouth. Serves 4-6.
Recipe from http://www.welshholidaycottages.com