Special Sub-Topic: Ladies who Lunch
|We're starting off in the west country, and the ladies first lunch is a ploughman's. The cheese has the same name as a gorge with famous caves. What is it?|
Cheddar. Cheddar gorge in Somerset is famous for it's spectacular cave system, and the area is famous for the hard cheese named after it. Cheddar cheese is made in several countries around the world, but only that made within four counties of the South West of England can use the name West Country Cheddar Cheese. It is the most popular cheese in the United Kingdom accounting for just over 50% of all cheese sales.
|For our next lunch we are moving on to Cornwall, but instead of the well known pastie we are having another Cornish delicacy, Stargazey Pie. What is the main ingredient of this dish?|
Fish. Stargazey pie is a fish pie that also contains bacon and hard boiled eggs. The fish are usually sardines, pilchards or small herrings. The name comes from the fact that the heads of the fish are left sticking out of the top crust, and look as though they are looking up towards the stars.
|Natagert has decided she fancies some English wine with her next lunch, so we've sent her off to explore the vineyards in the Tenterden area. Which County is she going to?|
Kent. After some years of being not very highly regarded, English wines are now starting to make an impact. Many of the best vineyards are situated in Kent where the chalk downs and the climate are ideally suited to grape growing.
In fact the soil is almost identical to the Champagne region in France.
|Mickeyp has decided to sample a Lancashire Hot Pot for her next lunch. What is the meat traditionally used in this dish?|
Lamb. Lamb is topped with sliced potato, seasoned with Worcester sauce, red wine and herbs to taste, then slow cooked. A very simple dish to prepare, and a real winter warmer. It is also an economy dish as the slow cooking means that cheaper cuts of meat are used. Traditionally a large dish of this would have fed a family for several days.
|Natagert and MickeyP are now sitting down to a very British Sunday lunch of roast beef. Which sauce is traditionally served with this?|
Horseradish. The traditional accompaniment to roast beef is horseradish sauce. The horseradish plant is from the same family as the mustard plant, and the sauce is made from the grated root mixed with vinegar and cream. The root needs to be fresh, as if it is left too long before being used it becomes very bitter and unpleasant.
|Scotland provides a luscious pudding for our birthday girls. Raspberries in cream with heather honey, oatmeal and a dram of whisky. What is the name of this dish?|
Cranachan. Cranachan has been a popular Scottish pudding for many years. The raspberries can be substituted with other soft fruit, strawberries being another favourite way of preparing it. The dram is an essential ingredient as this gives a bit of a bite to counteract the sweetness of the honey.
|Staying in Scotland, Natagert decides that the wine she chose will go well with haggis. Which animal provides the bulk of this dish?|
Sheep. The original haggis recipe was minced sheep's heart, liver and lungs, mixed with onion, suet and stock, simmered in the animal's stomach. A commercial haggis these days will have an edible casing rather than an actual stomach. It is traditionally served with turnips and potatoes. Despite the rather unappetising recipe, haggis is in fact a very tasty meal. Its origins go back to the days when food was sometimes hard to come by, and none of the animal that was edible could be wasted.
|Natagert and MickeyP are now in London, and are sampling a traditional East End dish: pie, mash and liquor. What is the liquor?|
Parsley sauce. A minced beef pie made with shortcrust pastry, with a mound of creamy mashed potato is topped off with parsley sauce the consistency of gravy. This dish was once the preserve of the East End of London, but pie and mash shops can now be found all over the country, and some even do take away home deliveries.
|Both our ladies have decided to opt for a takeaway for their next lunch. Forget pizza and curry, what is the original British takeaway meal?|
Fish and chips. Fish, usually cod, and chips, has been the favourite British fast food for decades. Good fish frying is an art, the batter must be nice and crisp, but not too crisp, and definitely not soggy. Chips must be golden brown. Add salt and vinegar to taste. Personally I regret that they don't come wrapped in newspaper any more, I'm sure they used to taste even better in those days.
|Our birthday ladies' last lunch couldn't be more traditional. Sausages, in a Yorkshire pudding batter. What is this meal called?|
Toad in the hole. If you are using large sausages, part cook them first, but if using chipolatas there is no need to do this. Put the sausages in a pan with a small amount of oil or fat, heat until very hot, pour the batter round the sausages and cook until the batter is risen, golden brown and crisp. Serve with chips, mash, vegetables, gravy, anything you like. English comfort food at its very best.
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