Posted in British Cuisine, General Food Topics, Gourmet, Italian Cuisine, Re-"vu"-s, tagged afternoon tea, Borough Market, British, Cumberland Sausages, fish and chips, gnocchi, pasta, pate, pizza, sausages, sconesa, seafood, truffles on July 28, 2011 |
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For the last couple of weeks, Chris and I have been showing my parents, aunt and uncle around the UK. As you’ll know from my blog, my family loves food. So it was only fitting that food was a central part of being a tourist with me!
We started in Birmingham for our 2nd wedding celebration with friends and family. We were blown away by our amazing caterers – Celebration Caterers- who fed us so well with the creamiest homemade pâté, incredible roast pork with the best crackling I’ve ever had, delicious vegetarian lasagna and much much more.
Homemade pâté with a clarified butter top
Served with rustic bread, mixed green salad and red onion chutney
Our next stop was to the Lake District to the family caravan. I couldn’t believe how lucky we got with weather! Loads of sunshine the first day and barely any drizzle the next. I promised the family that they were in for some of the best fish and chips and Cumberland sausages and they were not disappointed. You can’t really go too wrong with these classics!
Next stop – London!
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Now that I’ve been married for just over a month, there are a couple things I’ve been indulging in. Foods that I’ve had to deprive myself of in order to look my best on my wedding day. I’m not really a supporter of this method, but when your engagement is only a couple months long – you do what every bride needs to do! Anywho – more importantly – on to the food splurge…
Rao's Vodka Sauce
I think the foods I have missed the most have been sausages/red meat, cheese and pasta. I think that if I had to have one meal before I die – it would have to be Rao’s Penne alla Vodka with their famous Meatballs in Marinara on the side. The key ingredient to Rao’s vodka sauce – I think – is the addition of prosciutto. The sauce is creamy and luscious and if I could I’d probably get a spoon and eat it like soup! And pasta is always that much better when you add meat! And I think anyone who has had Rao’s meatballs would argue they are THE best. They are large, plump, juicy, moist and just so so tasty.. Sigh.. It’ll be awhile before I get the chance to have them again, so I’ll stop myself there.
But onto the dish I wanted to share – Sausage Chilli Pasta Bake. When I first started coming to the UK to visit my then-boyfriend, now-husband, I was surprised to learn of what were some of the “traditional” British dishes. I think Americans have this image that the Brits eat fish and chips and roast beef and Yorkshire pudding all day. What many don’t know is that Brits love their Chilli Con Carne often served over plain, boiled rice, their Indian curries and their Chinese ‘take-away’ (aka not to be mistaken for ‘take-out’). When I think about what British foods I love (and also peruse my British Food Bible), I think of Toad in the Hole, Cornish pasties, Shepherd’s pie, Steak & Ale pie, Coronation Chicken, bangers & mash and scones with clotted cream.. Mmmm.. Just to name a few..
Bangers & Mash
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While my dear boyfriend is handsome, loving and always full of interesting (sometimes completely useless) information, I must confess there might have been something else that lured me over the pond. Having known me for only a couple of months, he proved how clever he really is by where he took me to dinner on my first trip to the UK.
Now let me begin by saying my love affair with Yorkshire pudding began long ago. Christmas Eve dinners or the occasional visit to my aunt and uncle (Bac Oanh and Uncle Jack) often consisted of roast beef and my aunt’s famous Yorkshire pudding. They often looked like this – made in a cupcake tray.
Now it’s been a few years since I’ve had them made by her, but I can still remember how light, crisp and rich they were. You know how you can have a childhood memory or even an adult memory of something you ate that you absolutely loved? As in, your mind can distinctly remember the exact way it looked on your plate, the exact way it tasted and the way it made you feel completely satisfied? Well that’s how I felt about Bac Oanh’s Yorkshire pudding. It was always a treat. I remember being just tall enough to watch them rise in the oven (although depending on whose kitchen I’m in now, I can barely reach the oven)…
But then… I met Chris. And on my first trip to the UK ever, Chris took me to Rules (http://www.rules.co.uk/), London’s oldest restaurant. And this is what we ordered:
As you can see, this Yorkshire pudding takes up half my plate and almost all of Chris’. It’s more than twice the size of his hand for crying out loud! You can only imagine how wide my eyes got when all this came out to our tiny little table for two. Everyone around us stared. I was a little embarrassed (not really). What I was really thinking was – why did I let him have the bigger portion?? Needless to say I devoured the entire thing. It wasn’t very lady-like, especially considering it was technically our second date/visit. But maybe that’s why he loves me? Let’s just say yes for now.
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