As the rain sets in and the clouds adopt their winter grey, Brits turn to comfort food. Yes, it was once a country renowned for its nondescript, tasteless mush, but now there’s international food in the supermarkets, cooking shows on every TV channel, and it’s in the global top ten for Michelin-star restaurants. The Brits love to eat. And those traditional favorites are enjoying a renaissance, using great produce, interesting twists, and updated family recipes.
Bangers and mash
So you might have bangers and mash with an onion gravy; the mash might have in it cheese, sweetcorn, mustard, cabbage, or anything else the cook can find in the fridge that might add a little interest.
The bangers, though, are often a huge source of pride. Yes, you can cook bangers and mash with everyday supermarket sausages, but every local butcher has his own secret sausage recipe, and many towns and counties have sausages very specific to them (look out for Cumberland sausages, Lincolnshire sausages). Not all sausages are equal.
Yorkshire puddings are an exciting part of the famous Sunday roast, served alongside a mountain of vegetables, roast potatoes, and roast meat.
Toad in the hole
After cooking the bangers in the oven for a while, the cook adds oil to the tin, turns the heat up, then pours the batter into the tin, covering the bangers. Add a pile of mash, greens, and onion gravy, and you have a British favorite.
Shepard's pie and cottage pie
The only fundamental difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie is the meat: lamb is the base for a shepherd’s pie, and it’s beef for cottage pie.
And taking pride of place is the carving board with a joint of meat. Traditionally—we’re talking King Henry VII of the 15th century ‘traditionally’—the meat was beef, but these days it could be chicken, lamb, or pork. Some people go with goose, duck, or turkey, but that’s more around Christmas time. A nut roast is the perfect substitute for vegetarians.
Bubble and squeak
Because, with the best will in the world, the Sunday roast is about, every now and again, eating a bit too much, so there are always leftovers.
The name ‘bubble and squeak’ comes from the sounds it makes when its cooking. It should be left to cook, not pushed around, so the squeaks come as the steam tries to escape from the top of the huge patty.