Best of British – the Grand Final!

We’ve had some fabulous entries for the Best of British.  Karen over at Lavender and Lovage has been running the contest for October – from Dorset and while we wait for her roundup and winners (we have two prizes this month, thanks to Dorchester Chocolates) I thought it was worth announcing the grand final.

Rather than picking any one region, this month I am making it VERY easy for you by inviting you to enter your Best of British recipe from wherever you chose in the country.  Just tell us in the Blog what makes it special and where it is from. You can also enter ANY of your previous Best of British entries by linking them up in the Linky on London-Unattached so that I don’t miss you out!!!!

Recipes entered will be judged by Brian Turner, a great advocate of British Food who you might have seen on appearances on Ready Steady Cook and other TV shows. And the prize is an amazing £300 of Amazon vouchers! So Get Cooking!!!

Best of British

Oh and, if you are worried about weight gain, well do check out my posts on The 5-2 diet. I’ve even got some traditional British recipes for you to try!

Best of British – London

A London Food Feast

This month I hosted Best of British from my own blog and rather enjoyed the diversity of clever ideas and recipes you all sent in. Karen from Lavender and Lovage who has given us a great insight into the history of ‘London’ Bath Buns with a recipe dating back to the Great Exhibition!
London-Buns-Be-Ro-9-600x450

Fiona Burns is Karen’s sister and she’s sent in a fascinating history of the Jewish community in London, along with a recipe for salt beef to use in a sandwich.  I have to admit, I have a secret yearning to try making salt beef, but I’ve never been quite sure how much I’d manage to use!
salt-beef-sandwich

We had the most magnificent pigeon pie from Jill at Lapin D’Or – as she said, a London icon – and of course pies are something we associate with London too.

pigeonpieserved-lapindor

In fact though our only pie and mash entry was a really interesting pie and mash cupcake from Caroline Bakes.  I keep thinking what a fabulous party dish these would make – rather like those mini yorkshire puddings you see sometimes!

Barfi 1 - choclette

A couple of Indian influenced entries next – with Choclette’s Blackberry, Coconut and Rose Barfi looking so scrummy I could quite easily see myself getting carried away…(and yes I know those indian places round the back of Euston on Drummond Street – they do produce fantastic indian sweets!)

pumpkin curry

Chris produced a rather fabulous Pumpkin Curry using every imaginable indian spice and promising us something RED HOT.  Well, I will just have to try for myself won’t I?

Neither would look out of place on Brick Lane or Drummond Street.

Spicy Peach Pit Panna Cotta

Janine’s Peach Pit Pannacotta also reflects what I think a lot of people understand by London food.

fish and chips

For many of us our earliest experiences of ‘London Food’ are from visits to London as children where we try new strange food from overseas – be that a curry on Brick Lane, Italian food in Soho, or Asian food in Chinatown.  And London is a great cultural melting pot.  Eventually food becomes so ingrained in local culture that most people forget the origin.  My own entry of Fish and Chips is something we see as quintessentially British but which actually has Jewish origins. Over at Galina’s blog there was an altogether more historic fish dish of Sea Bream stuffed with Faro, an ancient Roman grain, which Galina has titled ‘Ave Londinium’.  And, that’s very much what I was hoping for by challenging bloggers to show their idea of historical and multicultural London in food.

sea bream

I did very nearly make a pea and ham soup, but I doubt it would have been anywhere near as wonderful looking as this split pea and ham hock soup from Amanda at feed 5 fast 2, who like me and Karen is doing the 5:2 diet and writing up some of her recipes for us all to enjoy.  I do remember my mum describing the peasouper fogs in London, it’s something she told me we simply can’t imagine today.

bThis soup does though, for me, conjure up foggy London streets with a warm fire waiting at home (and inadvertently adding to the smog!)

Lucy - foraged blackberry bread and butter pudding

We had another lovely looking pudding from Lucy at Intothesky  who went foraging for blackberries to make this blackberry bread and butter pudding

Treacle Tart

And Camilla from Fab Food For All made this great Treacle Tart – which really made me reminiscent of my childhood.  Golden Syrup just seems to be so English!

Claire The 'Idle Hour' Burger

The Idle Hour Burger – a re-creation of the burger served at one of my favourite pubs in Barnes came all the way from South Africa courtesy of Claire at Underthebluegumtree who has entered some fabulous recipes for Best of British!

Omelette-Arnold-Bennett (Janice)

Janice meanwhile chose to go VERY upmarket and produced an Omelette Arnold Bennet a dish which originated in the kitchens of the Savoy Hotel!

London-Porter-Steak-with-Garlic-and-Rosemary-Wedges-and-Sauce-Aji_jacqueline

Jacqueline’s Porter Steak pays tribute to Smithfields and great British Beef.  And, makes me feel hungry every time I look at the photo!

The Strapple Cake (mother Hen)

For Mother Hen, London means afternoon tea!  Something I can’t dispute.  And she’s created this rather fabulous ‘Strapple Cake’ (with strawberries and apples) specially for us.  A lovely first time entry into Best of British!

I asked my fellow blogger over at By Invitation Wine Blog to pick this month’s winner.  Why?  Well, he seldom cooks but he does love eating!  And he knows London very well.  His favourite entry was the Blackberry bread and butter pudding from Into the Sky, so, Lucy, congratulations we will be contacting you to get your postal details to pass on to New World Appliances

I’ve really enjoyed reading your entries and seeing what everyone made of last month’s challenging challenge!  For October, we are off to Dorset to  Karen and her Sister’s place as the planned host had a family crisis. I’m really grateful to Karen for stepping in at the last minute – you can read about Best of British Dorset here.

Best of British Master

Best of British – Scotland

Where DID July go?

Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen was so good at posting up the summary for Best of British – Scotland.  And, while that was happening, I was desperately trying to get all my work up to date in case I needed to get out of London during the Olympics (I live about 200 yards from Earls Court, which is one of the venues).  And then the Olympics started…and nothing much changed!  So I am still here and gradually getting back to normal again.

So, thank you to Janice for her lovely write up and to New World Appliances for sponsoring Best of British Blogger challenge.

What I’m really enjoying about the challenge is that everyone is writing their own memories of the area.  So, Jill from Lapin D’Or has told us about her time cooking at a shooting lodge and Jaqueline, a Scottish lass currently living in Hong Kong has told us a bit about the weather!

I did read them all as they were sent in, but as I am SO late in doing the roundup I’m not going to write too much other than to mention that we had a couple of late entries that somehow got missed (as well as one from Cornwall last month.  Karen’s agreed they will all go into the draw for Yorkshire, this month’s best of British Challenge – my apologies, it’s generally because I’m forwarding mail from the Best of British email account and getting confused!  So without further ado here’s our taste of Scotland!  What a FEAST!!!

Now the first one to catch my eye was Caroline from Caroline Makes  who sent in Tunnock Teacakes.  Why?  Because when I was little and visiting my Great Aunties,Tunnock Teacakes were always on the table for High Tea.  Don’t they look delicious!

And, for that matter we also had Griddle Cakes, not just at tea time but sometimes as a treat for breakfast too!  If you want to check how to make them, pop over to Karen’s place – Lavender and Lovage (our host for this month’s Best of British Challenge!)

Tattie Scones from Jac at Tinned Tomatoes sound so moreish and comforting.  Perfect for a cold winter’s morning!

I was amazed (again) at Claire at Under the Blue Gum Tree who sent in this fantastic pork and haggis meatloaf.

Apart from anything else, she’s from South Africa…and Haggis is something that anyone from outside Scotland can be quite cautious about!

Kippers with oatckas

My own entry was something I was determined to use, I made oatcakes to go with some fabulous Scottish kippers sent to me by DelishFish, a lovely scottish fish merchant who is based in Petershead and send the freshest imaginable fish down south to people like me!  Now, people are shy of kippers because they can be just a little smelly in a fishy sort of way, but, they are a great breakfast…and if you really don’t like the smell simply poach them in the bag!

Chocolate Scottish Shortbread

I love homemade shortbread.  I do sometimes make my own, but I’ve never ever tried Chocolate Shortbread, so I was intrigued by Janine’s entry and I am sure I’ll be having a go soon!

Tablet

I also love tablet.  It’s a peculiar Scottish sweet, something a bit like hard fudge.  And now I have two recipes to try – scottish tablet from Ros at the More than Occasional Baker and  secondly from Hungry Hinny who made a rather different but pretty raspberry tablet.  Personally I don’t care if it’s not traditional, the raspberries look REALLY gorgeous!

As I mentioned, Jill at Lapin D’or told us all about her cooking exploits in Scotland and also sent it two great recipes for Skirlie (an oaty savoury side dish) and Selkirk Bannock.

sliced bannock

Scottish mum brought us a traditional Scottish Oatcake recipe, cooking them properly on a Griddle (something I am too much of a coward to do myself).  I love oatcakes and if, like me you cheat and make them in the oven, they are really easy to do.  I am sure the griddle version makes a better version though, these look very neat and would be delicious with cheese, but also as a side dish

Traditional Scottish Oatcakes

Recipes using oats are quite widespread in Scotland because it’s a grain that is better suited to the climate than wheat.  Of course, everyone’s favourite is Cranachan, and Janice made a divine looking iced Cranachan

Iced-Cranachan-from-the-side

while Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog made her very own version of cranachan including white chocolate!

Had we been having high tea we would have had a great feast with all the wonderful cakes and bakes .  How about Jacqueline’s Scottish Raspberry and Pinenut Bake,

Best of British - Scottish Raspberry and Pine Nut Bake

Or these lovely Treacle Scones and Parlies from Caroline at Cake Crumbs and cooking.

Treacle Scones

Parlies

There’s  Whisky and Honey Cake came from Gloria at Canela Kitchen who made this stunning looking cake

Whisky and Honey Cake

And Scottish Whisky Cake from Chris Halfmann at Cooking around the world, who was the lucky winner of last month’s £50 Amazon Voucher.

Scottish Whisky Cake

This month’s challenge is well in progress now, but you’ve still got a couple of weeks to think up and make your Yorkshire Best of British.  For more ideas and a bit about food from Yorkshire, why not check out Karen’s lovely post explaining all about BEST OF BRITISH Yorkshire!

Incidentally, the monthly prize is a random draw.  But at the end of the event we will be judging ALL the entries for a grand prize of £300 in amazon vouchers.  So, enter every month for your best chance of winning!

Best of British – Cornwall

Pasty Wars and More!

What a fabulous set of entries for Best of British Cornwall.  Our host for the month, Choclette at ChocLogBlog produced some unusual and gorgeous looking Cornish Splits – yeasted buns that she served a bit like scones with jam and cream.  Now, true to her name she managed to adapt the recipe to include a bit of chocolate – and not just on the strawberries.  The fat for the buns was a mixture of butter and white chocolate – how yummy does that sound!!!  The recipe is here on her blog if you want to try for yourself

Cornish Splits

We had quite a range of cornish pasty recipes.  My own recipe was my mother’s and while I was quite pleased with the result, Karen at Lavender and Lovage produced a rather more authentic Cornish Pasty with the pretty side crimp I can’t quite manage to do yet!

Annies Cornish Pasties

These lovely pasties from The Hungry Hinny LOOK like the traditional ones, but are a veggie version.  And, so delicious looking that I suspect they are the the sort of veggie dish that would work for a meat eater like Vegetarian Cornish Pasties

And, Chris’s version from his blog, Cooking Around the World  has Guinness and Rosemary – sounds really tasty!

Our final (not quite a pasty) came from Susan at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate – She produced this lovely Cornish Pastie Pie!

Cornish Pastie Pie

Now, after all those pasties, you’ll be pleased to know we DID find some more fabulous dishes from Cornwall.

I love this Stargazy Pie, which has come all the way from Cornwall via South Africa courtesy of Under The Blue Gum Tree, who has adapted a Mark Hix recipe. I find sardines poking their head through the pastry slightly freaky…but this version with prawns just looks rather elegant to me.

Janice from FarmersGirl Kitchen,  our Host for this Month’s Scottish ‘Best of British’ Challenge has made a kedgeree with Mackerel that she thinks probably got a lot of exercise and swam round from Cornwall to the West Coast of Scotland;) .  Well, regardless, it’s a great Cornish (and Scottish) ingredient and this is a fabulous kedgeree recipe I’m sure you’ll want to try!

Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree

Karen from Lavender and Lovage also sent us a recipe to use Davidstow Cheddar – a nutty and rather gorgeous Cornish Cheddar that works well on cheeseboard but is also great for using in recipes like this Cheese and Potato Pie.  Real comfort food for a chilly summer evening!

Now, on to dessert!  Cornwall is famous for it’s clotted cream, so parhaps it’s not suprising that we had this lovely Cornish ‘tiramisu’ with Clotted Cream from Chris at Cooking around the World

Tiramisu

And Janine from Janine Bakes managed to combine our Best of British Challenge with the Jubilee Celebrations with this lovely Jubilee Celebration Cake using Strawberries and Clotted Cream.

Jubilee Strawberry and Clotted Cream Cake

Beth, from Jam and Clotted Cream was bound to produce something fantastic…and this Honey Cake using honey from a local Cornish producer really does look gorgeous.  I envy her family and friends who got to eat it!

Honey Cake

We had a Golden Entry from the aptly titled Lapin D’Or Blog in the form of these lovely Saffron buns.  There are a lot of saffron cake recipes in Cornwall, and this one looks really beautiful, a pretty pale yellow spiced bun!

Saffron Buns

Finally, our winner (chosen at random, but really rather gorgeous!) was The More Than Occasional Baker who sent in these lovely clotted cream and strawberry tarts and cookies!

Clotted Cream and Strawberry Tarts and Cookies

Best of British

The Best of British Blogger Challenge

Karen Burns Booth from Lavender and Lovage and I have been working on setting up a new challenge covering different regions and areas of the UK.  We are asking bloggers to enter their best interpretation of a recipe or dish which champions the region hosting the challenge each month, this month  Choclette  from Chocolate Log Blog  has kindly agreed to host the event and is looking for THE BEST OF BRITISH CORNWALL –  just think, you could enter Cornish Pasties,  Scones and Cream,  Stargazey pie, Cornish Crab  or anything which you believe shows the Best of British in THAT area.  You don’t have to be local to the region – just willing to try out some regional dishes or create something that showcases some local produce.

Boscastle Harbour Cornwall

We are lucky that New World Appliances as proud BRITISH manufacturers of kitchen appliances are sponsoring this event for the first six months.  Each month, one entrant will be picked AT RANDOM to receive a £50 Amazon voucher.  And, at the end of the six month period we will have a regional showdown, with a judge to pick the best entry (we are still working on who that will be and should be able to announce it shortly).  New World Appliances have kindly offered £300 of Amazon vouchers for the overall winner, so if you enter every month you have 6 chances to win the grand prize!

We’ll be showcasing the entries both on the Face of New World blog and on host blogs and promoting the recipes through Facebook and Twitter, with all your entries fully credited back to your blogs.

So, why not show what you think is the Best of British and join our challenge.

Rules:

  • Post your recipe on your blog with a link back to  The Face of New World Appliances  and to the relevant month’s host (for May/June it’s Chocolate Log Blog)
  • Add the ‘Best of British’ badge to your blog post (you can find it on London Unattached in the side bar)
  • Add ‘Best of British’ in your blog post as a label or tag
  • The recipe can be one of your own or one you’ve seen elsewhere.  You are welcome to republish old recipes/posts but please add the information about this challenge.
  • Please make sure you don’t infringe any copyright laws – if in doubt please contact me on twitter @fionamaclean, or leave a message below  to ask for advice!
  • Please be as creative as you like with the theme for the month.
  • This month’s challenge starts today (15th May) and closes at midnight on 15th June 2012
  • Mail us to let us know you are taking part on bestofbritishchallenge@gmail.com

If you post on twitter, please mention @fionamaclean or @newworldapps and use #BestofBritish and we will try to retweet!

The Best of British Blogger Challenge

Appliances Online get Colourful!

Appliances Online really do seem to love the New World Colours Collection.  Apart from running a competition on facebook where you can win an oven and hob, Becky Yardley has been commissioning Bloggers and Illustrators to show what’s best about the world in Colour!

Here’s her article and a bit about the Rainbow Cookery Book she comissioned.

The Rainbow Recipe Book 

To celebrate the New World Colours collection, we asked six food bloggers to create a colourful recipe for an online rainbow cookbook. We’ve then passed these imaginative inventions onto six illustrators to interpret in their own creative style. You can see the results below, with more detailed recipe instructions on each chef’s blog. So why not try one or two out this week and let us know how you get on!

Blue Cheese Gratin


Recipe by Clare from Seasider in the city. Illustrated by Katie from Sugarpatch

Green Lime Cheesecake


Recipe by Helen from Jessies Crazy kitchen. Illustrated by Lauren from Tastes like Love.

La Pizza Rossa


Recipe by Hannah from Home Baked Online. Illustrated by John N4Sketchpad.

Mango Lassi


Recipe by Solange from PebbleSoup. Illustrated by Jack Knight at Knight time Creations.

Meatloaf Cupcakes


Recipe by Mike from Mikes Baking. Illustrated by Claire from Aspergers Info.

Raspberry Tart


Recipe by Emma at Kitchen Goddess in Training. Illustrated by Dina at She loves mixtapes.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project, we think it looks great!

What’s your favourite recipe?  And would you ever co-ordinate your food to your kitchen?  I know that at certain times of the year we do ‘colour theme’ our food a bit (think about christmas with all that red and green icing on a white background, or valentines day when there’s a real surfeit of pink).  It could be quite a challenge don’t you think?

 

Some Simple Tapas Recipes

Tapas is a great way to eat.  Having small dishes that everyone shares makes for a really sociable meal.  And, if you have kids, well, there’s bound to be something they will eat!

Here are three of my favourite REALLY SIMPLE tapas recipes.  I’ve been posting these recipes for some time on London Unattached, so if you like this is a bit of a round-up of how to make a tapas supper.

Gambas Pil Pil

For this you need great prawns.  They should be uncooked (look for the grey coloured ones, not the pink ones) and if possible already peeled for you.  In fact you can cook them in their shells and leave everyone to peel them at the table, but I find it quite messy.  Here’s what to do.

For 2 people as a main course or 4 as a tapas

12-16 large green (raw) prawns – shelled, butterflied and de-veined.

3-5 cloves of garlic sliced finely or crushed

A good pinch to half a teaspoon of red chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like things)

2 tablespoons of light olive oil

2 tablespoons of white wine or dry sherry

Chopped flat leaf parsley to serve

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200c

Put the oil into a casserole and place in the oven for 3-5 minutes (it should be smoking slightly)

Add the prawns, chilli and garlic and mix through

Place back in the oven for 5 minutes

Take out of the oven and stir through again.  Now, add the sherry/white wine and return to the oven

Heat for a further 2 minutes or so

Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges

Gambas Pil Pil

Chorizo Con Vino

For 4 as a tapas

Ingredients

Half a Chorizo ring, skin removed and chopped into 1/4cm slices

A glass of red wine

A handful of finely chopped thyme or oregano

Method

Put everything into an ovenproof dish and place in a pre-heated oven at about 180c for 15-20 minutes.  Watch to make sure the wine doesn’t evaporate completely and top up if necessary.

Drain off any excess fat and wine.  Garnish with chopped parsley and serve

Chorizo con Vino

Patatas Bravas

Ingredients for two

For the patatas

1 medium to large potato

1 tablespoon of olive oil

For the tomato sauce

1 shallot or half a spanish onion

1 small chili or half a teaspoon of chili flakes

Half a tablespoon of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika

Method

First start the tomato sauce

Chop the shallot and garlic finely and soften in olive oil for 5 minutes or so.  Now add the finely chopped, deseeded chili (or chili flakes) and paprika and cook for a minute longer

Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180c

Peel the potatoes and chop into 2cm cubes.

Heat the oil in a baking tray till smoking gently, then add the potato cubes and stir through the oil

Put in the oven

Watch them carefully and turn them once or twice so that they brown nicely.

Once the potatoes are golden brown, you should be able to serve the dish.

Drain the potatoes on kitchen roll.

Check the seasoning of the tomato sauce and adjust as necessary.

Spread the tomato sauce over the patatas and then if you like add alioli or mayonnaise on top of that.  Garnish with flat leafed parsley

Eat while the potatoes are piping hot and crispy!

patatas Bravas

(ps, as you can see, it works quite well to mix in your chorizo con vino with the patatas, to make a more substantial supper dish).