Cuisines reflect so much about a country’s culture. Britain is no stranger to this rule. Other than the charming accent, British food is equally exquisite. Commonly known for its flavour and its heartiness, the recipes usually comprise of moist, delectable meat such as lamb, venison, chicken and veal, along with complimentary vegetables such as carrots, turnips, rutabagas, peas, and potatoes.
If you want to sample the vast and unique array of savoury dishes that the country has to offer, pubs are a great way to accomplish this. The pubs of the UK are as diverse as the people who inhabit the country, and the food reflects the same. There is a list of delectable food that is easily available, and can be easily prepared at home.
What do you think of when you hear the word “pudding”? Oxford English Dictionary has a definition that runs nearly a third of the page, describing it as everything from “the stomach or intestine of a pig, sheep, etc. stuffed with minced meat, suet, oatmeal, seasoning, etc., and boiled” to “a cooked dish of various sweet or savoury ingredients, esp. enclosed within a flour-based crust or mixed with flour, eggs etc., and boiled or steamed; a baked batter mixture. Now also, the sweet course of a meal. Truly, puddings take up a whole new definition in Britain. The dish has a rich heritage like its taste and can be traced back to medieval times and were often meat-based.
Historically speaking, the first pudding was made from savoury sausages. The word is derived from the French word boudin (black pudding) which came from the Latin bollutus (sausage or small intestine). But with time, pudding has undergone a new level of transformation and evolution. From what I have learnt, every pudding has a different technique involved.
Those boiled in intestines:
- Black pudding – Also known as Blood Pudding, the history of this dish can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks where the main ingredient involves fresh sausages composed of pig’s blood mixed with thickeners such as cereals and spices.
- White pudding
- Haggis – Honestly, the name reminds of baby diapers. But of course, that is not the case. So you can relax!!! The recipe for making Haggis can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Romans and were adapted to the local ingredients when it was brought to the British Isles by the Romans. However, Food Historians claim that, in reality, this is a national dish of Scotland. In fact, the earliest Scottish recipes for Haggis were printed in the early 15th .
- Steak, kidney and oyster pudding – Archives describe this dish as history on a plate, being a hardy survivor from what was arguably Britain’s biggest food fad. After the invention of the pudding cloth in the early 17th century, Britain went mad for puddings for the best part of 300 years. One plate of this stodge, whether sweet or savoury, could keep British men toiling in the fields or totting up accounts for hours. From the classic combination of beef and kidneys, the dish has evolved over the centuries to involve oysters. A pint of Guinness or a Stout is a great accompaniment with this dish. A perfect ending don’t you think?
- Minted lamb pudding
- Pork and apple pudding
- Leek and onion pudding
- Mutton, apple and raisin roly-poly
- Mussel and leek roly-poly
- Pease pudding – Due to the unnatural fascination that Britishers have for peas, pease pudding came into existence after its evolution from pease pottage, a thick porridge made of pease accompanied with bacon. With the introduction of pudding cloth in 17th century, a more solid product called pease pudding came into shape (and I mean that literally). Usually the ingredients consist of pease (previously soaked, if dried pease are used) along with a piece of bacon, and a little flavouring like sugar and pepper, and sometimes mint were used.
Those that are steamed in a basin and are for afters:
- Christmas pudding – Traditionally served on Christmas Day, this pudding takes weeks, in many cases, months to mature before it is served. It consists of a large assortment of dried fruit that is mixed with suet, spices, treacle, egg and brandy or other alcohol. These puddings used to be boiled in a pudding cloth, hence the cannonball shape you may see in old engravings or paintings that predate the Victorian era. They are now made in pudding bowls that are wrapped and steamed.
- Suet pudding -Suet pudding is a boiled or steamed pudding made from suet (beef or mutton fat) and flour, raisin and spices. Suet pudding can be traced back to the 15th century and was originally a way to preserve meat and not a dessert.
- Sponge pudding
Those that are baked:
- Yorkshire pudding – Often composed of egg, flour and milk batter and cooked in a very large shallow tin, Yorkshire pudding also contains a layer of very hot beef dripping.
- Bread pudding – Bread pudding can be traced back to the 12th century. Originally it was a frugal way for cooks to use stale bread by adding warm milk spices and dried fruit. Now this humble dessert can be found on the menus of upscale restaurants as well as in grandma’s kitchen.
- Spotted Dick pudding – The name does sound fascinating doesn’t it? Looks like people in 19th century had a free flow of creative juices and used the word ‘dick’ in reference to pudding. Traditionally, it is a sweet suet-based pudding, descending from roly-poly recipes. Due to its cylindrical shape and being studded with raisins or currants, the name has taken a more literal meaning.
- Steamed sponge pudding
- Sticky toffee pudding
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Donna Long is a travel writer, blogger, adventurer and seeker of the new and unusual experiences in life. Donna has traveled to 13 different countries and 25 different US states and counting! You can follow her blog at http://www.whatsnewadventure.wordpress.com or connect with her at Twitter, google+, Instagram or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org