British cuisine is not known the world-over for its deliciousness. Instead, it is accused of being bland and tasteless. Well personally, I find your American McDonald’s hamburgers to utterly tasteless, and don’t even get me started on the “subtle” (read, non-existent) flavours of Japanese food. But I digress – British food can be delicious, I’m going to show you just 2 simple recipes that are distinctly British. But not only that – I’m going to step up and really make this a challenge – for not only will the recipes be entirely British – but they will also be entirely vegetable based! Impossible, you cry! Cannot be done, I hear you shout! Making vegetables delicious is hard enough, but making British vegetables delicious would require a miracle, or a cordon-bleu degree as a chef!
Hah! Read on!
Broad Bean Bake:
Broad beans have been cultivated in Britain for hundreds of years now, but were apparently eaten by the Romans and Egyptians too. They were also often served at feasts and banquets in the 16th and 17th centuries, so someone must have liked them. This recipe serves 2:
– 700g fresh broad beans or 225g frozen broad beans
– 2 medium carrots, cut into largish chunks
– 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut
– 25g butter
– 25g wholemeal flour
– 300ml or half pint milk
– 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs: chives, parsley, savory, thyme
– 1 teaspoon English mustard
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 2 tablespoons porridge oats
– 50g grated double gloucester cheese
– 25g chopped mixed nuts
Start by shelling the beans then boil some water with a little salt, and boil the beans for 5 minutes.
Add the parsnips and carrots to the boiling water and beans, and carry on boiling for another 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. If you’re using frozen beans instead, just add them for the last 5 minutes. Drain well.
In a small saucepan, add the flour, milk and butter and heat while whisking continuously until the sauce thickens. Simmer for a further 2 minutes.
Stir in the herbs, mustard and vegetables and heat through. Divide it between two oven-proof small casserole dishes. Mix the oats, cheese and nuts and sprinkle on top of the vegetable mixtures. Brown for 3 minutes under a grill and serve!
Runner Beans With Onions and Tomatoes:
Strangely runner beans used to be grown for their pretty flowers and have only really been produced for food since the last century. There grow abundantly in the south of England. This recipe serves 4 – 6.
– 15g butter
– 1 medium onion, skinned then chopped
– 1 garlic clove, skinned and crush
– 1 can of chopped tomatoes
– 700g young runner beans, cut into 1cm lengths and topped and tailed
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
– Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Add the tomatoes, along with the juice, and simmer for 15 minutes until the juice has been reduced somewhat.
Next, stir in the beans with the basil, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes until are tender but still crisp. Season to taste, and this dish is great served either hot or cold.