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BRITISH & ENGLISH RECIPE & PREPARED STOCK FOOD PHOTOS, STOCK FOOD PICTURES & FOOD PHOTO ART PRINTS
Stock photos & stock pictures gallery of English Food.
English cuisine encompasses the cooking styles, traditions and recipes associated with England. It has distinctive attributes of its own, but also shares much with wider British cuisine, largely due to the importation of ingredients and ideas from places such as North America, China, and India during the time of the British Empire and as a result of post-war immigration.
Since the Early Modern Period the food of England has historically been characterised by its simplicity of approach and a reliance on the high quality of natural produce. This, in no small part influenced by England’s Puritan heritage, resulted in a traditional cuisine which tended to veer from strong flavours, such as garlic, and an avoidance of complex sauces which were commonly associated with Catholic Continental political affiliations.
Traditional meals have ancient origins, such as bread and cheese, roasted and stewed meats, meat and game pies, boiled vegetables and broths, and freshwater and saltwater fish. The 14th century English cookbook, the Forme of Cury, contains recipes for these, and dates from the royal court of Richard II.
Other meals, such as fish and chips, which were once urban street food eaten from newspaper with salt and malt vinegar, and pies and sausages with mashed potatoes, onions, and gravy, are now matched in popularity by curries from India and Bangladesh, and stir-fries based on Chinese and Thai cooking. Italian cuisine and French cuisine are also now widely adapted. Britain was also quick to adopt the innovation of fast food from the United States, and continues to absorb culinary ideas from all over the world while at the same time rediscovering its roots in sustainable rural agriculture.
The Sunday roast
The Sunday roast was once the most common feature of English cooking. The Sunday dinner traditionally includes roast potatoes (or boiled or mashed potatoes) accompanying a roasted joint of meat such as roast beef, lamb, pork, or a roast chicken and assorted other vegetables, themselves generally boiled and served with a gravy. Sauces are chosen depending on the type of meat: horseradish for beef, mint sauce for lamb, apple sauce for pork, and bread sauce for chicken. Yorkshire pudding normally accompanies beef (although it was originally served first as a “filler”), sage and onion stuffing pork, and usually parsley stuffing chicken; gravy is now often served as an accompaniment to the main course. The practice of serving a roast dinner on a Sunday is related to the elaborate preparation required, and to the housewife’s practice of performing the weekly wash on a Monday, when the cold remains of the roast made an easily-assembled meal. Sunday was once the only rest day after a six-day working week; it was also a demonstration that the household was prosperous enough to afford the cost of a better than normal meal. An elaborate version of roast dinner is traditionally eaten at Christmas, with almost every detail rigidly specified by tradition. Since its widespread availability after World War II the most popular Christmas roast is turkey, superseding the goose of Dickens’s time. Before the period of cheap turkeys, roast chicken would be more common than goose, goose being unsuitable for small groups of diners. Game meats such as venison which were traditionally the domain of higher classes are occasionally also eaten by those wishing to experiment with a wider choice of foods, due to their promotion by celebrity chefs, although they are not usually eaten frequently in the average household.
It is believed by some that the English “drop everything” for a teatime meal in the mid-afternoon. This is no longer the case in the workplace, and is rarer in the home than it once was. A formal teatime meal is now often an accompaniment to tourism, particularly in Devon and neighbouring counties, where comestibles may include scones with jam and clotted cream (together known as a cream tea). There are also butterfly cakes, simple small sponge cakes which can be iced or eaten plain. Nationwide, assorted biscuits and sandwiches are eaten. Generally, however, the teatime meal has been replaced by snacking, or simply dispensed with.
Pies & Pasties
The English tradition of meat pies dates back to the Middle Ages, when an open top pie crust was used as the container for serving the meat and was called a coffyn. Since then, they have been a mainstay of English cooking. Different types of pastry may be used, including the lard-rich pastry of a raised pie. Meat pies generally contain fillings such as chicken and mushroom or steak and kidney (originally steak and oyster).
The advent of take-away foods during the Industrial Revolution led to foods such as fish and chips, mushy peas, and steak and kidney pie with mashed potato (pie and mash). These were the staples of the UK take-away business, and indeed of English diets, however, like many national dishes, quality can vary drastically from the commercial or mass produced product to an authentic or homemade variety using more carefully chosen ingredients.
Another kind of pie is topped with mashed potato instead of pastry — for instance, shepherd’s pie, with lamb, cottage pie, with beef, or fisherman’s pie.
Pies eaten by hand are also a popular snack in England. The famous Cornish pies that today is made with a meat and potato filling but originally it had 2 halves one filled with fish and the other with jam. The Cornish pie was made as a miners lunch that could be eaten underground. The pastry only protected the filling from the miners dirty hands and was not eaten.
The pork pie is another favourite with the most famous coming from Melton Mowbray.The Melton Mowbray pork pie is named after a town in Leicestershire. Melton pies became popular among fox hunters in the area during the late nineteenth century. Only pies made within a designated zone around Melton, and using uncured pork, are allowed to carry the Melton Mowbray name on their packaging
England is internationally famous for its fish and chips and has a large number of restaurants and take-away shops selling this dish. It may be the most popular and identifiable English dish, however before potatoes were imported from the Americas the ‘chips’ would have been sections of roasted root vegetables seasoned with herbs, and salty butter. In some regions fish and chips were served with a side order of mushy peas with salt and vinegar as condiments. Foods such as deep fried breaded scampi are usually on offer as well as fishcakes (authentically a fish slice between two potato slices) and a number of other combinations. Scallops, battered potato slices that were traditionally cooked with the fish and sold cheaply, are still popular.
English sausages, colloquially known as “bangers”, are distinctive in that they are usually made from fresh meats and rarely smoked, dried, or strongly flavoured. Following the post World War II period, sausages tended to contain low-quality meat, fat, and rusk. (Reputedly the term “banger” derived from the excessive water added to the mix turning to steam while cooking and bursting the casing with a bang.) However, there has been a backlash in recent years, with most butchers and supermarkets now selling premium varieties
Sausages form the basis of toad in the hole, where they are combined with a batter similar to a Yorkshire pudding and baked in the oven, this can be served with an onion gravy made by frying sliced onions for anywhere over an hour on a low heat then mixed with a stock, wine or ale then reduced to form a sauce or gravy used in bangers and mash.
Black puddings and white puddings
A variant of the sausage is the black pudding, strongly associated with Lancashire similar to the French boudin noir or the Spanish Morcilla. It is made from pig’s blood, in line with the adage that “you can eat every part of a pig except its squeal”. Pig’s trotters, tripe and brawn are also traditional fare in the North. There are also white puddings, similar but lacking blood.
Cheese is generally hard, and made from cows’ milk. Cheddar cheese, originally made in the village of Cheddar, is by far the most common type, with many variations. Tangy Cheshire, salty Caerphilly, Sage Derby, Red Leicester, creamy Double Gloucester, pungent Lincolnshire Poacher and sweet Wensleydale are some traditional regional varieties. Cheddar and the rich, blue-veined Stilton have both been called the king of English cheeses. Cornish Yarg is a successful modern variety.
During the dessert course, puddings such as bread and butter pudding, Eccles cake, rhubarb crumble, apple pie, treacle tart, spotted dick, summer pudding and trifle are served. An accompaniment, custard, sometimes known as crème anglaise (“English sauce”) is a substitute to “eggs and milk” made from cornflour and vanilla. These dishes are simple and traditional. There is also a dried fruit based Christmas pudding, and the almond flavoured Bakewell tart originating from the town of Bakewell. Crystallised Ginger or a Peppermint Sweet might be offered after a heavy meal to aid digestion.
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