Top Ten Unusual British CuisinesBritish food has a dubious reputation overseas for being stodgy and bland, but with famous chefs Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver making their way to the states it’s clear that the Brits do know a thing about cooking after all. But with every culinary success are some strange skeletons hiding in the closet, and the Brit’s closet is larger than most. Here’s a list of some of those dishes that are so inexplicable that Gordon Ramsay would be turning the air blue in frustration.
The Top Ten
Coronation chicken was invented in 1953 for Queen Elizabeth IIs coronation (hence its name) and is a bright yellow chicken dish which consists of cold chicken, curry powder and other spices, herbs, and raisins in a mayo based sauce. In the UK it is used as a sandwich filling but has rightly fallen out of favour over the years due to its odd fruity taste.
There has been a huge resurgence in the use of pig’s trotters in the UK as a main dish served with beans, thanks in part to the financial crisis in the last decade. British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White is also a big fan, having worked under legendary chef Pierre Koffman who served many trotter dishes in his restaurant.
Ever fancied eating lots of offal encased in a sheep’s stomach? Thought not. While there are now vegetarian versions, the traditional version of a haggis - a sheep's heart, liver and lungs along with oatmeal and suet served in a sausage shaped casing - is still incredibly popular and is eaten annually on the Scottish celebration, Burns Night. Most commonly served alongside vegetables called neeps and tatties (parsnips and potatoes) with a glass of scotch.
The British delicacy of jellied eels originated in the East End of London in the 18th century. Money was tight in this area, and residents saved money where they could. Once caught, the eels are chopped and boiled in stock and seasoned with nutmeg and vinegar, then left to cool. The remaining liquid forms a jelly around the eels, and they are eaten like this, either alongside mashed potatoes or on their own. They are still sold in London fish and chip shops and along the seafront from vans but are more likely to be served with chilli vinegar now.
I've tried to like these but I just don't like the way they feel in my mouth. I pretend to like them because it's a British (but more English delicacy) but I don't. Now I don't feel truly British. I'm so ashamed. I've let the British people down and I can only apologise profusely.
Another fishy delicacy, the stargazy pie originates from the Cornish coast and is made using eggs, potatoes, and whole pilchards or sardines in a pastry crust. The unusual thing about the pie is that the heads of the fish are sticking out of the crust skyward to look like they are gazing at the stars. It's no surprise then that this dish tends to put many people off, who are not fond of looking at the fish's eyes while they enjoy their meal. The fish are also put in whole, which means that skin, bone and other less desirable parts of the fish remain in the fish making it awkward to eat.
As the name suggests, Yorkshire pudding originated from the county of Yorkshire and is an English accompaniment to a Sunday roast dinner made from eggs, flour and milk. This mixture is then baked in the oven in a muffin tray and rises, creating the puddings which have crisp outer shells and are soft and doughy in the middle. The traditional way to eat these is with roast beef with gravy poured over the top to soak into the tasty treat.
Take one grilled cheese sandwich, but forget to grill it and you’ve got a common lunchtime meal for children and adults on the go. Most cheese sandwiches are made with the British go-to cheese Cheddar, which has a rich fruity taste and is served on white buttered bread. Quick and easy, and very, very tasty too!
The Bedfordshire Clanger is a suet pastry roll with meat, vegetables and potatoes in half of it and fruit or Jell-O in the other half of it. Originally designed by the wives of agricultural workers as a packed lunch in the 19th century, this dish is supposed to be eaten from one side to eat the main, and then the other side to eat the desert, giving the hardworking men a full meal which is easily transportable. It’s still available to buy today, though is less common than some of the other items on this list.
This famous British pudding has a very unusual name, which derives from the dried fruit incorporated into the dish. It’s made using suet pastry which is copiously sprinkled with dried fruit and lemon zest before being rolled up and baked in the oven. It’s often served hot and accompanied by custard as a warming winter dessert.
Also known as blood pudding, this delicacy is made from the blood and fat of a pig which is mixed with oatmeal and suet to form a sausage. It often forms part of a traditional English Breakfast, served alongside bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, tomatoes, hash browns and mushrooms and is either fried or grilled as an accompaniment. It can, however, also be eaten cold and has even been incorporated into an ice cream, though this is unusual even by British standards.