Saturday, March 31, 2007

A very British Olive

When the latest edition of Olive magazine plopped onto my doormat I was delighted to see that it was a celebration of all things British. It’s not the first time they’ve done this, in fact according to my own blog I can see that last May's Olive was in a similar vein. But I don’t mind at all, it's a good thing. It’s odd but when I am asked to state my favourite nationality of food, I invariably say French, but I am also very passionate about British food. But for some reason, even though there are some great advocates of British food we still get tarred with the over-boiled cabbage, stodgy puddings and dodgy awful canned vegetables and also we have this inbuilt fear of appearing patriotic, somehow it’s un-British! And no I cannot explain that!.

There are so many crimes that have been committed in the name of British food but we do some things so very, very well. What about an elegant crust-less cucumber sandwiches afternoon tea or seaside fish and chips or even better Cromer crab on brown bread sandwiches or of course one of my favourites pie and mash? We make fabulous award winning cheese; have hedgerows full of elderflower and wild garlic, grow the world’s best asparagus and the sweetest strawberries, rear magnificent tasting beef, lamb and rare breed pork.

The month of May’s Olive contains too numerous examples to mention glorifying our nation’s fabulous food. But a few excepts that deserve a special attention, firstly 30 UK foodie must dos which perhaps not so coincidentally I didn’t read before writing the above and pretty much everything I’ve mentioned above is in their list also – great minds really do think alike!

A few recipes that get me reaching for my chopping board this month are: pea, radish and rare beef salad, artichoke and bacon tart, linguini with fresh rocket pesto,and asparagus and mozzarella and prosciutto parcels. The new series of Great British Menu starts on Monday so I was delighted to see some of the entrants being photographed by Lord Snowdon and some of their great recipes. They are look pretty good but my favourites are Marcus Wareing’s Lancashire hotpot and the fabulous Jeremy Lee’s Arbroath smokie and leek broth. There another seared beef salad, this time with watercress and Gordon Ramsay’s salmon creviche. On the next page there’s a stunning looking hot smoked salmon salad and of course plenty of asparagus recipes. John Torode whips up a fine looking fish pie which is compulsory for a celebration of British food. There's a taste test of the perfect pie and the winner of the steak and ale is the pure pie, not one I've tried - yet!

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Update: actually on further examination of their fabulously names "we are pie" site, I realise I have tried a pure pie as one of my favourite delis, Source, stocks them. So now I know where they get there ever so interesting pies from. Last time I had one though, I didn't enjoy it in the best of circumstances!

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If there's not enough titbits in the magazine there's also a little booklet showing 20 UK foodie weekends with some great destinations to give a try. I will definitely be taking it with me next I'm in in Manchester. And it was a good job that I didn't have it with my in York as I may have been inclined to stock up on "wantable French crockery, glassware and enamelware" in The French House. Phew, that was lucky!

Over the last year there has been to some great cookbook resources for British food lovers and food shoppers, Mark Hix British Regional Food, Peter Prescott and Terence Conran's Eat London, Great British Menu Cookbook and Rose Prince's The Savvy Shopper. We have no excuse for not supporting our local and regional food.

And with so many great foods to be proud of, this is a fantastic opportunity to fly the flag and I intend to do so. Now where do I start?

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

well its an excellent post you have here on british food , i love british food but they are not diet food.good article will be back soon,Do keep up the good work

regards Biby - Blog