Tag Archives: British

Friday Food Facts and Fun: A New Feature

What is Friday Food Fun and Facts?  It is a new interactive weekly feature of articles, videos, events, tips, gadgets, questions, and other items from the wide world o’ food on IslandEAT.

I continually discover bits and pieces of food lore and news, which somehow do not make their way into my posts.  My friend, former colleague, and subscriber, Michele, also suggested I offer a food question-and-answer segment, so I thought I could answer –  or attempt to answer – your burning food questions, from time to time.   Thanks, Michele, for that suggestion!

Yesterday, I was able to “Experience the Difference” on BC Ferries through an extended 10-hour trip from Vancouver to my island.   The trip involved three ferries/two transfers and should have taken less than one hour, nonstop, on one ferry.  Because of a “mechanical problem” requiring an “inspector”,  I had plenty of time to read and surf online, however.  One “upside” of the adventure was that I finally took the mammoth Coastal Celebration from Vancouver to Victoria, which I can see from our house (pictured in my post here).  A few major  routes now have WiFi – another very good thing, to borrow from Martha S.

Cookery Video

Still thinking about all things British after our recent trip, I came across an unintentionally hilarious instructional film,  from England, circa 1937:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgQkMGgHxr0&feature=related

“The broiler-griller is indeed the housewife’s friend…it may be well the husband’s companion, too”, according to this film.  Really? Rather.

News Flash:  The Pavlova Prize goes to…New Zealand!

The Vancouver Sun had a small item yesterday on a stunning development in the culinary world.  The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has awarded the Kiwis the ultimate dessert prize.  The OED has determined that New Zealand can claim creation of the meringue, whipped cream, and fruit dessert known as the “Pavlova”.

For years, Australia and New Zealand have battled over bragging rights for the invention of this famous dish.  The OED settled the dispute, as they found earlier references to the Pavlova in a New Zealand cookbook  in 1927, Davis Dainty Dishes – well before any mention in the land of Oz. (I would love to get my hands on a cookbook with a title like that….)

The dessert was named in honour of the Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who had a grand tour of NZ and Oz in the 1920s.  Congratulations, Kiwis!   You now have beaten Australia in one of the most hotly-debated food arguments of all time.

For views of New Zealand and food photography hints, keep reading.

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Leek and Potato Hotpot: Classic Comfort Food from Jolly Olde England

Staffordshire dogs guard the leek and potato hotpot , originating in nearby Lancashire.

What is a hotpot?  I knew hotpots from Vancouver restaurants as specialties of several Chinese cuisines, e.g., Cantonese and Sichuan.  Diners cook their own meat, seafood, and vegetables in a central cauldron of broth – an Asian cousin of Swiss fondue.  At least, this is all I knew about hotpots before learning about the British dish by the same name.  I certainly never have seen the British version here in beautiful British Columbia where I live – the only British specialty widely available in restaurants is fish-and-chips, guv’nor.

On our recent trip to England (you can see the trip pictures in previous posts), the most common soup available was leek and potato.  It was fun to sample variants on this wholesome and oh-so-stiff-upper-lip classic British dish.

Seeking a traditional leek and potato soup recipe for a chilly Friday night, I turned the National Trust Complete Traditional Recipe Book, by Susan Edington.   I had bought this cookbook at the Dunster Castle National Trust gift shop in England.  The book was on sale for just 12 quid – or pounds (I am trying to master British English in addition to Canadian and American to be trilingual, in national-English dialects).  Sorry, I just cannot stop myself with one more photo from our trip – the lofty castle above downtown Dunster in Somerset:

I promise, this is the last photo – the bridge leading to a path to  Dunster Castle:

This cookbook surprisingly had no recipe for leek and potato soup.  However, there was one for a leek and potato hotpot.  If you have read some of my other posts, you might have noticed that I am into food lore and history, so I was intrigued by this Lancashire specialty.  It is a “fatherless pie”, which are less expensive vegetarian one-pot meals – without the traditional lamb – made when times are tough.  Leeks and potatoes abound in Lancashire fields.

For the history and the recipe….

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