The wonders of British food

The Brits get a bad name over food, but I’m here to say there is a lot that’s lovely about British cooking. Saveur Magazine has a feature
today on their website about British Pub Food.  I receive their emails and clicked right through to find this lovely menu:

Welsh Rabbit, which I thought for years was Rarebit, no idea why, and is only cheese and toast.  How simple and lovely is that?

Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, served bloody rare, which I loathe.  Not a fan of roast beef, though I love the gravy, and that gravy is a wonder with Yorkshire puddings.

Beef and Guinness pie . I once made this recipe, or one quite similar and forgot that I had it in the oven (before the crust was on it). It cooked at 300 for a couple of hours and the flavors were as deep and rich as some precious old wine.  Highly recommended.

Banoffee Pie, which I have talked about here before.  It’s an English classic, made with digestive biscuits, bananas, caramel and whipped cream.  CR’s mother served it at a holiday meal and I licked the spoon and practically my plate, so she sent me home with tins of caramel, which are not sold here.  It is unbelievably sweet, but the cream and the bananas and the digestives give it texture and depth, so it’s not as horrifying as you might imagine. (Go on, try it, you know you want to!)

What’s funny is that my traditionalist younger son, also a very picky eater, fell madly in love with Banoffee pie the first time I made it for a Christmas meal and he begs for it at every opportunity since.  Though CR’s mother sends those tins of caramel, I don’t always have a can when I need it.  This recipe has a work around that makes the caramel with condensed milk and brown sugar. (And I recently discovered you can buy cans of dulce de leche in the Mexican food aisle at the grocery store, so I am saved, anyway.)

But my favorite thing about British food: cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese.  Check out these 9 artisan cheeses. But don’t forget Stilton or Wensleydale with cranberries or mangos or some other something.  They’re all great.

What foreign foods do you love? Have you even fallen in love with something in a far away land?

15 thoughts on “The wonders of British food

  1. Yum, Barbara. But now I’m hungry. Sticking to my diet today will be tough after reading your post. 🙂

  2. Hah! I thought it was rarebit too. 🙂 I may have to try the beef and Guinness pie (as long as I get to sip along while making it).

  3. Barbara Samuel

    I think the sipping would be required, Gina. (Maybe it is rarebit? Now I’m going to have to research this.)

  4. Tony

    Try La Salemandra dulce de leche from Argentina, available in this country. Phenomenal caramel.

  5. Boiling condensed milk in the can is also another way of getting banoffee pie filing. A favorite of women in prison because they can get condensed milk on buy up and it’s easy.

  6. stephanie

    I was going to suggest what Keziah did. You can do this in a crockpot, too.

    What foreign foods to I love…I love bread and cheese and thankfully you can find them so many places. I love enjoying the local breads and cheeses. They’re always better than the ones at home and it’s always so hard to leave them behind.

  7. Wikipedia has many explanations on the name. You can’t be incorrect on this one, either way. (Sorry, the curiosity got to me.)

    Now…to try it!

  8. Our family’s a fan of British food. Lancashire pasty, mince tarts, treacle pudding, shepherd’s pie, etc. delicious pub food, not to mention a quick fish-n-chips. And a country that serves chicken tikka masala as standard pub fare and sells curry-flavored Pringles at a convenience store in a small village is A-OK in my book.

  9. Banoffee Pie sounds delicious. I wonder if our local British store has tins of caramel. Buying it sounds much easier than making that toffee in the recipe you shared. I see disaster written around that part of the recipe, as in burnt pan disaster.

  10. Interchangeable, actually. Rabbit is older and a put-down of the Welsh. Rarebit is a usage mistake that found it’s way into a dictionary, hence into common usage.

    Quote from Ambrose Bierce: 1911 Devil’s Dictionary: “RAREBIT n. A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a rabbit. To whom it may be solemnly explained that the comestible known as toad in the hole is really not a toad, and that ris de veau à la financière is not the smile of a calf prepared after the recipe of a she-banker.”

    Vive l’wiki.

  11. Oh, we fell in love with Banoffee Pie in a pub in Edinburgh called Albanach, which had delicious food all around! Now I’m hungry …

    Overall, we had great food on our visit to the UK. We even enjoyed our mushy peas — though it turned out the chef was from Texas and knew how to do them up right! (Garlic salt and butter) I’m a fan of peas, so I wasn’t hard to please, but they were delicious. I think it’s all in the prep, no matter where you go or what the ingredients are!

  12. Barbara Samuel

    Those of you who do the caramel in the tin are braver than I! Tony, I will look for the Argentinian version, and Auntie L, thanks for clearing that up.

    Keira, one of my favorite British words is treacle. I read it so often in novels and had no idea what it was for years and years and years. I sounded vaguely fish-like, clear bubbles of something, maybe, but I couldn’t imagine why you’d want a tart of it. I was astonished to find out it was molasses (this only when I made CR some British treat which I can’t now remember). I will leave you to the flavored Pringles (prawn potato chips? no) but will sit with you and feast on that chicken tike masala any day. Great Indian food.

    Julie, CR loves peas, too. I do make them for him sometimes, but I’ve never loved them all that much. I’ll grow some this summer, no doubt.

  13. love you to post your recipe im reading now on and you can put in a link returning to your site.

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