Bubble and Squeak and Other British Delights

I was in London for the first time recently and while my expectations regarding British food were (unjustifiably) not too high, I was more than pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed much of the typical British fare. Yum. While London has some of the best restaurants in the world, I didn’t partake in any fine dining but stuck with pubs, local tea shops, and cafes. I needed a translator initially to figure out what exactly some of the items on the menu consisted of, but by the end of the trip was quite familiar. Heavy on potatoes and other stick to your ribs dishes, here are some of the meals I enjoyed:

Bubble and Squeak – I guess a term for leftovers – typically sauteed left over potatoes and greens sometimes with eggs. I had an upscale version for dinner in a very nice restaurant that was a base of “mash” (mashed potatoes) with a poached egg on top, hollandaise, crispy “rashers” (aka bacon) and a side of arugula salad. Yum. I am definitely going to try and recreate this at home.

Fish and Chips – A real piece of fish (no sticks here) battered and fried crispy, served with fries, known as “chips.” Delish and on every pub menu. Oh, and chips are known as “crisps.” Very confusing.

Pudding – From what I could gather, all desserts are called “pudding” – not just the custardy-types. I enjoyed many a pudding – I was on vacation.

Scones with clotted cream – Scones are scones but the clotted cream is something we don’t have in the states – thick and creamy with a consistency sort of like sour cream yet a mild flavor. It was delicious on the warm scone with a little jam on top for good measure (note: don’t go to England to lose weight).

Pasties – These are meat pies – not something you put on your body. Available at carts and restaurants everywhere, these are half-moon shaped pastries usually with meat and potatoes inside. My friend got one filled with potatoes, eggs and cheese at the train station and ate it for breakfast and said it was quite good.  

Jacket Potatoes – Baked potatoes – with their skins – with many toppings to choose from were on nearly every menu. The toppings ran from the expected (broccoli, cheese, ham) to the unexpected (baked beans! scrambled eggs!). A big hit with little kids it seemed.

Lemonade – …is 7 Up or Sprite. For the life of me I couldn’t find lemonade of the traditional non-carbonated variety – anywhere.

Land of Treats – I told my friend whom I was visiting that I could never live in England as everywhere I turned there were treats – biscuits (our cookies), delicious chocolate (it seemed there was no bad chocolate over there – Cadbury land), cakes, cream pies – you name it. The gas station even had beautiful birthday cakes at the check out which we had one night for a birthday party – it was delicious!

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