Monday, November 06, 2006

Foods of Britain

There's new book out which I've just asked Santa to arrange for me. It's called "The Taste Of Britain" and it co-authored by York food writer, Laura Mason.

It basically documents local and regional foods from across Britain, some well known , others less so. So you've got Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Yorkshire Parkin and Newcastle Brown Ale alongside dock pudding, wilfra tart and elder (cooked cow's udder).

It began as a project for the European Union to document our regionally specific dishes to see if they could be awarded protected status. This means that for it to qualify as the genuine article it has to be made in the place from which it derives, with local ingredients. A Yorkshire cheese maker who was selling Yorkshire Feta fell foul of this earlier in the year but as Laura Mason rightly points out how would we feel about Greek Wensleydale ?

The foreword is by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who gives the example of proper farmhouse made Yorkshire curd tart he tasted;

"It was wonderful...and a world away from any regular custard tart I'd tried before. What I learned from this experience is that regionality does matter. If that tart had been made in Dorset or the Highlands it wouldn't have tasted the same. And if it had not been made at all, the world - on that drizzly autumn day - and me would have been poorer for it."

I feel the same about some truly heavenly Welsh cakes I had whilst on my hols. We always like to seek out local stuff when we go away. It's something I picked up from my dad who has always gone out of his way to sample local fare when he's out on his travels. It was always an exciting part of childhood holidays for me.

Whilst I'm on a foodie theme I'll leave you with my very own York Rarebit which is like Welsh Rarebit but made by me in my kitchen in York, hence the name ;-)

I don't really do quantities so you'll have to feel your way.

You'll need :

*Mature Cheddar

*English Mustard

*Worcestershire Sauce

*Fromage Frais

* Black Pepper

* Baby leeks or an onion will do.

* Few slices of bread toasted, I use a few slices of my own farmhouse loaf.

Grate your cheese into a bowl, spoon in some fromage frais and mix together. Add a couple of teaspoons of English mustard, splash in a healthy amount of Worcestershire Sauce and the black pepper. Lightly fry your baby leeks in some olive oil and chuck them and the oil in your mixture. Lightly toast your bread and then spread the mixture on it. Stick it back under the grill until it's all bubbling and hot.

Posh cheese on toast if you like, but a great winter snack.


Tara said...

I only have immature cheddar. It just won't grow up after I lecture it each day on being more mature and responsible.

Martyn said...

Cheese can be like that :-)

Bernita said...

Sounds yummy, Martyn.
You might like an old book I have, with historical recipes, called "Food in England" by Dorothy Hartley.