Returning to cold weather also means a return to cold weather food. Sadly I was severely lacking in inspiration this week, and I wanted to be sure to make something that would result in leftovers for work. So, I decided to check my Harry Potter cookbook, figuring the British would at least have a decent set of heavy, cold weather foods. What I found was an odd-looking dish called Savoury Derby Pudding. It’s basically a cross between sage and onion stuffing and Yorkshire pudding. I was intrigued.
Savoury Derby Pudding
2 cups really little cubes of stale bread
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup fresh chopped sage
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Take stale bread and cut it into really little pieces – as close to the size of the oats as you can. Bigger than bread crumbs, but not by much. I used wheat bread, but you can probably use whatever kind of bread you like. Pour that and the oats into a large bowl. Add the milk and stir. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the eggs, onion, sage and butter and mix it all together thoroughly. Pour it into an 8X8 pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until the top it browning, and it is dry and cooked all the way through.
Result: MMMMMMMM. A little odd at first, because the oats added an interesting texture to the recipe and the egg-y aspect was interesting. But the lots of sage and onion was awesome. I did feel like it was missing something at the beginning, so I made some cranberry sauce and added that, and it was perfect! It’s a fun, different variation on essentially sage-and-onion stuffing, and it is extremely filling and great for a cold night. And makes excellent leftovers. Song of the week: Baby, It’s You by the Beatles. Even I have a romantic streak and who doesn’t love a song with sha-la-las?
So – I don’t know how many people actually care about British politics, but over this past week Scotland had an epic vote regarding whether they should be an independent country or remain part of the United Kingdom. Good sense prevailed and Scotland remains part of the UK! In celebration, I decided I should make a meal with one dish each from Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales in order to celebrate. The menu ending up being Glamorgan Sausages for Wales, Bannocks for Scotland, Buttered Cabbage for Northern Ireland, and Glazed Carrots and Stilton cheese (separate, not together) for England. Since the cabbage and carrots are fairly straight-forward and easy (and this was a lot of food) – I’m just going to go through the bannocks and the glamorgan sausages.
Bannocks (Or Oatcakes)
3/4 cup old fashioned oats, finely chopped into flour
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2-3 tablespoons butter
Take the oats and turn them into something resembling flour. This can either be achieved with a food processor, or by chopping them very finely with a knife. Since I don’t have a food processor, I did the latter. It’s totally doable, but takes awhile. Stick the oat flour into a bowl, and mix with the normal flour and the baking powder. Cut in the butter, then add in the mix. Mix – it should be a slightly stiff, slightly sticky dough. If it needs more flour, add some and add some oats (unchopped). Roll out into something resembling a circle. Then you can either pan-fry it in butter, or bake it in the oven at 375. I actually tried both methods, and both are good, so its really up to you.
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 large leek, thinly sliced
1/2 to 3/4 cup strong cheese, shredded
1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
Oil for frying
Saute the leeks in a little butter just for a couple minutes so they can soften a bit. stick in a large. Stick in a large bowl with the bread crumbs, cheese (I used an English cheddar), parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix them all together. Then add the egg and mix it in. Stick the whole thing in the fridge and let it chill for awhile (30 minutes to an hour). Once the mixture has thoroughly chilled, pull it out and shape into little cigar/sausage things. Dip the little sausages into the egg, and then roll in the breadcrumbs until they are completely coated. Pan-fry them in oil, making sure to flip them over so both sides get fried. Stick them on a paper-towel-lined plate and serve while still warm.
The Result: British food gets a totally unfair rap – all of these dishes were delicious. Ok, the cabbage was merely decent, bit still. I topped the bannocks with the Stilton cheese, and it was so good. I also ate the leftovers with butter and honey for breakfast the next day – something I highly recommend. And the sausages were super good! I didn’t make enough – which is always a good sign with a new recipe as it means I just kept eating them. And of course, you must have this meal with an English ale – I chose Newcastle, which is one of my standard go-to beers. This meal is proof that British cuisine is not crap, and vegetarians do in fact have some options. Song of the week: Victoria by the Kinks. The Kinks are a grossly under-appreciated British-invasion rock band, and this song is their semi-sarcastic ode to the Empire. Listen to it and then listen to more of their music – you won’t be sorry.