Food History

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  • black and white pudding

    My wife’s parents were Irish, mother from Dublin and father from Newry, lived in London, and following regular visits “home” would always return with some genuine white pudding in their suitcase. Their return was looked forward to with great excitement and no sooner had the suitcase been opened, the frying pan was on and white pudding on toast was being devoured with great pleasure. Irish pudding on toast Black pudding (blood sausage) may be more popular worldwide, but white pudding is very popular in Ireland and an important part of an Irish breakfast. White pudding is similar to black pudding, but it contains no blood—only pork, spices, and usually oatmeal. Clonakilty black and white puddings from County Cork are our preference with quite a peppery taste. They have been making black pudding since the 1880’s using an unchanged recipe to this day. Their white pudding is a relatively new addition only sold since 1986. Clonakilty black and white puddings If you fancy a proper fry up Irish style, Rachel Allen makes a fine breakfast in her book Rachel’s Irish Family Food, © 2013 Harper Collins Publishers Irish weekend fry up Credits: Wikipedia black and white puddingFX Buckley Butchers white pudding

  • morcilla black pudding

    Spain’s answer to our black pudding is a mile from the slice you’ll get with your fry-up. It’s a spiced blood sausage, delicate, with a gentle tang. Recipes vary across Spain from the loose, rice-flecked morcilla from Burgos to morcilla de Arroz, the variety made with onion and rice. Morcilla pronounced mor-thee-ya, is generally much less firm than our British black pudding (try the ‘Bury’ variety if you can find it), and as such is great for stirring through dishes. Another favourite way to serve morcilla is stuffed into squid – a classic combination. If you’re one of those who can’t bear the idea of black pudding, then morcilla may be for you – most people visiting Spain will try it and love it before they know what’s gone into it. It’s worth sourcing a good one -try www.brindisa.com for a tasty version. They freeze well too- so when you get them, freeze them into batches of two for quick and easy use. Taken from an article by deliciasburgos. Credits: deliciasburgos.es

  • pastel de nata

    Pastel de Nata, an egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon, has become very popular and widely available in the last few years. They go down really well with a cup of coffee.

  • coffee-beans

    Why? That was my first thoughts on discovering that you can buy coffee beans from animal poo!

  • caracois

    The snail is a delicacy in Portugal and every May they celebrate them with the Festival do Caracois! Snails in Portugal are really good. Snails are flavoured with olive oil and/or butter, garlic, piri-piri sauce, and a lot of oregano. Some restaurants will add extra ingredients but this list covers the basics, and the little creatures take on the flavour from their sauce. Author with caracois in Quateira Come May, locals begin looking around for signs claiming ‘há caracóis’ (there are snails). after a week or so, it seems like every small restaurant, known as a tasca, has that sign or another, ‘temos caraóis’ (we have snails). Even the larger restaurants and some cafés (especially trendy, seaside cafés) will sell snails. Actually, the entire country seems to go snail crazy. Eating caracóis is a social affair. Either as an appetizer before a meal, as a late afternoon snack alongside a happy hour drink, or as an addictive bite while watching a sporting event and drinking beer. A Portugese caracois They probably sound like escargot, but Portuguese snails are a bit different than those served in France. First, caracóis are rather tiny, and even caracoletas or larger caracóis are generally smaller than escargot. Second, these tasty little bites are drowned in broth as opposed to dry herbs or sauce. And don’t confuse them with periwinkles (which are also served in Portugal, but maybe not with so much gusto); caracóis are land creatures while periwinkles are marine intertidal. The Portuguese love them so much that bags are even sold in the grocery store. Before being brave and picking snails to try cooking them at home, keep in mind that they’re thoroughly rinsed and cleaned before hitting the pot. You can find out about our native edible snails in the UK. Caracois text reproduced courtesy of Nina Santos @ theculturetrip.com

  • sliced chorizo

    Traditional Spanish chorizo is a very tasty sausage found all over Spain, each province having its own variation with most families having their own recipe. It can be fresh, which needs cooking, or cured, ready for eating.

  • cafe gourmand

    In times past, lunch consisted of at least 5 courses, starter, mains, cheese, dessert, coffee and sometimes an aperitif. In more modern times this rather time-consuming meal has been updated to serve dessert and coffee as one.

  • winkles

    A plate of seafood with shrimp, winkles and brown crab was a common tradition on a Sunday evening, which meant Sunday afternoons were spent foraging.

  • steak and kidney pudding

    Steak and kidney pudding, a traditional British dish consisting of diced steak, onion, and kidney—generally from a lamb or pig—cooked in a brown gravy and then encased in a soft suet pastry and steamed for several hours.

  • Pie and mash shops are a London institution, the first one having opened its doors in the 1850s, the pie filling being eels, which were common in the Thames at the time as not much else could survive in the polluted water.