Saturday, 30 August 2008

Bangers, Bubble and Squeak.

When I was very young I was a pretty good eater. I loved vegetables and fruit and bread most of all.

When my mother took me to meet my grandmother, my grandmother had asked in advance what my favourite was. My mother, with some pride I imagine, said broccoli.

Upon being served the steaming grey mass, I asked with great suspicion what it was. My grandmother was puzzled. She thought broccoli was my favourite.

When I protested that this was not actually broccoli my mother mediated by saying that it was in the style of the English. (My grandmother's heritage)

This, unfairly, was how I assumed all English food was prepared. With the life boiled out of it.

Thank goodness for Jamie Oliver, Nigella and the rest for showing me the other side of English fare - the daring, fresh and whimsical dishes that are exciting and alive.

No offence grandma, but hey - you did make an excellent jello salad.

We had actually lived in England when I was very young, in a commune, where I imagine food was as close to it's natural state as possible. I don't have any memory of Skye (sp?) Farm but it makes for some interest.

For my English dinner, I chose not innovative or communal fare but pub fare. Pubs, short for public houses, are the great equalizer. And pub fare is just fun.

Bubble and Squeak - Gourmet March 2005
This British dish is said to have been named after the sounds that the potato and cabbage mixture makes as it fries.
Makes 4 side-dish servings.

1 lb russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter1 lb Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced3/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cover potatoes with cold salted water by 1 inch and bring to a boil, then boil, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 18 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté cabbage with salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes, mashing and stirring them into cabbage while leaving some lumps and pressing to form a cake. Cook, without stirring, until underside is crusty and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sausages with Cider and Apples - United Kingdom Travel.

1 lb. (about 8) fat, coarse ground pork or beef sausages
l lb. yellow onions, peeled and cut in rough chunks
1 tsp. prepared English mustard
a pinch of thyme
1 cup apple cider (fresh, unpasturized cider or unfiltered apple juice is the best, if you can get it)
salt and pepper
1 large red eating apple.
To Serve: Creamy mashed potatoes for four - (or Bubble and Squeak!)

Prick the sausages once or twice with a fork, then lightly brown them in a medium sized cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet for about 5 minutes, turning often. The skillet should provide just enough room for ingredients to fit tightly. Pack the onions in around the sausages, giving the pan a few shakes. Stir in the mustard, thyme and apple juice.
Cover and simmer (do not boil) over medium low heat for about 30 minutes. The apple juice will combine with other pan juices to make a rich gravy. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Core but do not peel the apple. Divide into 8 to 10 slices and arrange over the top of the dish. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. The apples should soften but keep their shape.
To serve, arrange two sausages on a generous portion of creamy mashed potatoes and top with apples, onions and gravy.

Serve with generous pints of ale and a garden salad. Pictured here is a salad of my garden tomatoes, peppers, cukes and a blue cheese vinaigrette.

This English pub fare is for My Kitchen, My World where we cook a meal from a different country every week. Come join us!