Over 100 Delicious British Recipes

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20120913

Recipe for Rock Cakes

Many years ago I worked in an office in Red Lion Square in the Holborn district of London, England. Just around the corner from the square was a small sandwich store that sold freshly baked rock cakes, fresh out of the oven, just in time for the start of office hours. It made going to work a real pleasure.

I have always loved rock cakes; they are easy to make and absolutely delicious fresh out of the oven with a nice cup of tea. The whole process from start to sitting down with my oven fresh rock cake and a nice hot cuppa took only 30 minutes. Here is how I made them:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 fistful of sultanas or raisins
  • 1 dash vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dash of milk

Preparation
  • Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl
  • Rub in the margarine until the mixture is nice and smooth
  • Add the sultanas - go on throw in lots of them!
  • Break an egg into the mix along with a dash of milk and a dash of vanilla essence then mix thoroughly until you have a stiff paste
  • "Splat" rough lumps of dough onto a greased baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400F
  • For best flavour, serve straight from the oven

John's Notes
The distinguishing feature of rock cakes is their hard, knobbly exterior with a light soft interior. I like lots of sultanas inside my rock cakes. And the great thing about this recipe is that it is very easy and quick to make. Feel like something nice to go with a cup of tea in the afternoon? In half an hour you could be caressing your taste buds with hot delicious rock cakes - give 'em a try.

Printable PDF version of this recipe

20120420

Alternative Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

There is more than one way to make Yorkshire Puddings. Last week I published a traditional recipe for the kind of Yorkshire Pudding I ate as a child - heavy and filling. Nowadays, many people prefer their Yorkshires to be light and fluffy so I made them that way this week. Here is how I did it.

Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • Plain or All-Purpose flour
  • Milk
  • 1 tspn salt

Preparation
  • Set out three 1 cup measuring jugs (or similar)
  • In the first jug pour 3 whisked eggs
  • In the second jug pour plain flour up to the level of the eggs in the first jug
  • In the third jug pour milk up to the same level as the first two jugs
  • Thoroughly mix the eggs, flour and salt
  • Add the milk and mix to a smooth batter
  • Set the batter aside
  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Pour a little vegetable oil or beef dripping (no olive oil, butter or margarine) into each cup of a muffin tray and place in the oven until literally smoking hot
  • Remove the muffin tray from the oven and pour enough batter into each cup to fill it no more than half full, then return to the oven
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until well risen and golden


John's Notes
These Yorkshire Puddings are much lighter than the ones we made last week but I wouldn't call them traditional. These are the kind you are likely to be served in a restaurant rather than at your grandmother's table. I could eat several of these light puddings before feeling full. Which kind do you prefer?

By the way, leftover light Yorkshires make an excellent breakfast too. Warm them a little and spread with marmalade or jam - delicious!

20120416

All Rise! Perfect Yorkshire Puddings Every Time

One of the most common complaints made by cooks is that their Yorkshires won't rise. Some customers at Blighty's put the blame squarely on Canadian flour. The solution, in their minds, is to use imported British flour. But Yorkshire Puddings are made all over the world mostly without the benefit of British flour. I made Yorkshire Puddings with Canadian all-purpose flour and they rose just nicely; here is how I did it.

Ingredients
Customer, friend and Yorkshireman Harry Daisley has a simple secret to good Yo'ksher puds; he calls it his "2, 2 and 2 rule".

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs, plus ...
  • 1 tspn salt

You will also need a small quantity of oil or fat. Beef dripping is best but you can also use vegetable oil. Never use olive oil, butter or margarine, they burn at too low a temperature.

Preparation

  • Using a stand mixer with a beater blade, thoroughly mix the eggs into the flour
  • Add the salt and briefly mix again
  • Add the milk slowly while mixing at low speed
  • Increase the mixing speed to ensure a smooth, lump-free batter
  • Set the batter to one side


  • Pre-heat oven to 425F
  • Place a small amount of oil or fat into the cups of a muffin pan and place into the oven until the fat is smoking hot. This stage is very important, do not rush it and make sure the fat is really smoking!
  • Remove the muffin pan from the oven using oven gloves (it will be very hot)
  • Pour batter into the muffin pan until the cups are no more than half full then return to the oven
  • Watch in awe as your puddings rise and turn golden brown on the outside
  • DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR TO CHECK ON YOUR PUDDINGS. Sorry for shouting, but if you open the oven door your Yorkshires will probably collapse
John's Notes
Serve your Yorkshire Puddings immediately with lashings of rich beef gravy. Yorkshire Puddings are traditionally eaten as a starter course, followed by roast beef as an entree (a belly filled with cheap Yorkshire Pud needs less of the costly roast beef). This idea came from the days when poor Yo'ksher folk struggled to feed their 17 kids who lived in a cardboard box in middle o' road. Of course, that wer' nowt, we had it tough ...

20120328

Simple Curry Soup

Curry is a delicious dish, well-loved in the UK, as it is in many other parts of the world. Now you can capture the curry taste in a simple soup that you can make in minutes using Oxo curry cubes. Here is how I made it.

Ingredients
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 Oxo curry cubes 
  • 2 medium onions 
  • 2 medium potatoes 
Preparation
  • Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, then crush the Oxo curry cubes into the water and stir to dissolve; turn down the heat to a simmer
  • Dice the onions and fry in a little oil until tender 
  • Dice and parboil the potatoes (about 5 minutes in a microwave usually works well) 
  • Stir the onions and potatoes into the curry stock and simmer for 10 minutes 
  • Using a hand blender (or a potato masher) lightly blend the onions and potatoes into the stock
  • Stir in a little light cream (optional)
  • Serve while still piping hot
John's Notes
Makes a light, mouth-watering lunch or serve as a starter. Oxo curry cubes are just spicy enough to set your taste buds tingling.

Where to Buy Oxo Curry Cubes
Oxo Curry cubes are available at some British stores in Canada (including Blighty's Tuck Store) or buy Oxo Curry cubes from Blighty's online shopping website.

20120222

30 Second Dip Recipe

How about a nice, tasty recipe you can make in 30 seconds or less? This dip is known in various parts of the world as "raita". Its principal ingredient is yogurt. You can mix various ingredients into the yogurt to add flavour, but this recipe adds a distinctly British touch by using mint sauce.

Ingredients
  • Plain yogurt (select a natural yogurt with no sugar or gelatin)
  • Bachelors or Colmans Mint Sauce
Preparation
  • In a small bowl or ramekin, mix 2 parts yogurt with 1 part mint sauce
Use as a dip for potato chips (crisps), flatbread or as a salad dressing. Simple yet delicious.

20120208

Tasty Savoury Muffin Recipe

Here is a colourful, tasty snack that you could convince yourself is healthy enough to be eaten as part of a sensible diet. It came from an English cookbook discovered on a recent trip.


Ingredients

  • 125g (4 oz) Cheddar cheese
  • 180g (6 oz) baby spinach leaves
  • 275g (10oz) plain or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 175ml (6 fl oz) milk
  • 85g (3 oz) melted salted butter
Preparation
  • Grate the cheese and finely chop the spinach
  • Sift flour, baking powder and stir in sugar, salt and pepper
  • Stir in cheese and spinach
  • Beat eggs, milk and butter until smooth
  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until well-mixed
  • Pour the batter into a muffin pan and bake at 375F for 30 minutes
John's Notes
The ingredient quantities shown make 6 Texas-size muffins. Why "Texas-size" in an English recipe? As you may know, Texas is south of New York, Philadelphia and Washington which are three small communities in the north-east of England. Well ... you asked.

20120112

5 Minute Cheese Footballs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup strong Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup ground pecans

Preparation

  • Put all the ingredients into a stand mixer on medium speed until well blended
  • Scoop out the mix with a table spoon and roll into balls
  • Roll each ball in ground pecans
  • Serve on sticks

John's Notes
There are many variations on this simple recipe. You can use almost any hard cheese. If you prefer a less spicy flavour, omit the cayenne. Roll in chilli powder or paprika instead of nuts. Serve with a dip of yogurt and fresh chopped chives.

If you don't have a stand mixer you can still make this recipe the old-fashioned way with a pudding bowl tucked under your arm and a thick, strong wooden spoon.

If you have these common ingredients available you can make this handy recipe to entertain guests during a commercial break on TV.