English Food: “My good (American) friend is threatening to visit me soon, but one thing is worrying him…English food. In an attempt to convince himself that he wouldn’t starve here, he did some research and then chatted about it to me. My attempts to put his mind at rest didn’t exactly work…Much as I hate reproduced IM conversations (and I don’t often post them because I NEVER keep logs of them) I HAVE to share this one. Because it is both amusing AND educational:
Bonobo: I really want to eat traditional English food when I’m in England but I’m nervous about that, because you guys have a reputation for serving up some real crap. I’ve been looking at a website with a list of the best English foods.They’re listed in alphabetical order. I’m looking at B…What is Bread and Butter Pudding?
Me: Oh, it’s lovely! And a good way to use up stale bread! It’s like buttered bread, sultanas and sugar, all covered in an eggy type of custard and baked in the oven. Mmmm.
Bonobo: STALE bread? WTF? In America we don’t eat stale food. We throw that shit out.
Me: Well, not ROTTEN bread, just dry, you know?
Bonobo: Not rotten? Oh great. Yeah. I have to say, you’re not tempting me here….OK, what’s Bread Pudding?
Me:That’s delicious! My Mother used to make it when I was a kid. That’s a mixture of bread, spices, dried fruit and sugar. It’s baked again but it is firmer and cut into squares, like cake. It, um, it’s a good way to use up dry bread, again…
Bonobo:WTF? In America we have a good way to use up dry bread…We call them DUCKS. Do you have ducks in England? Throw them the dry bread and stop using it in fucking ‘puddings’! Jesus Christ. Here, try this…What is Black Pudding made with? That sounds hardcore.
Me: That’s savoury, it’s a sliced sausage, you fry it with bacon and eggs.
Bonobo: You call a sausage a ‘pudding’? What kind of meat is that made of? Badger?
Me: No. Well, it’s not exactly MEAT as such anyway…It’s made with….Blood.
Bonobo: Holy fuck.
Me: Hahahaha! Stop it! It’s very nice.
Bonobo: I feel sick. Black, fried blood. And that’s a GOOD meal in your country? Like, it’s something you BOAST about on websites? I hardly dare ask what Bubble and Squeak is…
Me: Oh god that’s YUMMY. It’s like Hash Browns but made with a lot of different vegetables and fried!
Bonobo: Different? There isn’t one recipe?
Me: Well…It depends what cooked veg you’ve got left over from Sunday lunch…
Bonobo: LEFTOVERS? Again? Listen to me…THE WAR IS OVER! Seriously, you can buy new food now!
Me: Hahaha! You’re not going to come here, are you?
Bonobo: I might. BUT I’M BRINGING MY OWN FOOD.
What is his PROBLEM? There is nothing wrong with English food! Nothing at ALL! Is there?”
I’m not convinced this isn’t known in the USA, considering the number of hits I got on Google. But for all you who have never tried this greatest of puddings (after anything with crumble on top), here’s the recipe. Sod the ducks.
- 8 slices of bread
- 150 grams of sultana and raisins (75g +75[each])
- 1/2 jar of jam (strawberry or raspberry)
- 200 g butter/ spread
- 250 mls milk
- 2/3 eggs
- sugar (to sprinkle on top)
Serve with cream or custard for best flavour
Serves about four portions.
Preheat oven to about 180 C (350 F). Then, whilst you wait for it to heat you SHOULD have enough time to do the rest.
Get a suitable cooking dish (30×30 (cm) smear some butter on the bottom and sides of the dish).
Take four slices of (preferably semi stale, although it ultimately makes little difference) bread, and butter each on both sides; place them in the dish.
Now, add your raisins and sultanas, simply sprinkling them on top of the bread. Once you have spread the raisins and sultanas evenly over the bread, spread half a jar of (strawberry or raspberry) jam over the raisins and bread so that the jam absorbs the fuit and keeps it in a sort of stasis.
Next, take the other 4 pieces of bread and butter them (on both sides. Place the bread on top of the jam, raisins, etc. and then cut the four sandwich-like portions into halves or even quarters so that you will have smaller pieces.
Put milk into a mixing bowl and whisk in the eggs. When this becomes an almost-cream like colour (or just white with yellow parts), pour the mixture on top of the bread.
Sprinkle a small amount of sugar (optionally) and bake in the oven for about 45 mins.
Serve hot with custard or cream.
Then fall asleep in your favourite armchair, content with all the world has to throw at you..