I loved English food. Except when they tried to do American food. A little bit homesick by the end of the trip, I ordered a burger at a pub in London. I told the waitress I wanted it well-done. She said, that is the only way we cook them! (Try to get away with that in America!) The burger came with a choice of peas or “mushy” peas. I found that peas came with everything in English pubs. Peas came with fish-and-chips, peas came with steak pie, and now I was being offered “mushy” peas….. Of course I had to try it. It was exactly what it sounds like–mushy peas. Peas mashed up like you’d mash potatoes. Odd….. Even odder was that the so-called American hamburger came with cucumbers on it.
Our hostess at the bed-and-breakfast was an awesome cook.
(It was also an awesome English country house.)
She served the biggest breakfasts I’ve ever seen and I ate every bite. She brought us kippers one morning after I’d requested them. They were extra “posh” ones, she said. They sounded disgusting, but I was determined to try them and surprised to find I really liked them. Maybe it was the extra poshness.
I didn’t like black pudding. Black pudding is made of curdled and boiled pig blood, mixed with chunks of pork fat. Doesn’t that sound appetizing? I tried two bites. I was DONE.
I had had had to have a Cornish pasty and I got one at a village bakery and wasn’t disappointed, but what I truly, deeply, madly fell in love with was clotted cream!!! We had cream tea one day at a tea shop in Cerne Abbas–tea, scones, strawberry jam, and clotted cream. (Swoon!)
Clotted cream is thick cream made by heating and then leaving unpasteurized cow’s milk in shallow pans for several hours while the cream rises to the top and clots. This sounds almost as revolting as black pudding but it is so delicious.
I swooped up the clotted cream fudge candy they were selling everywhere all over the West Country in village shops and brought it home to the kids. They fell in deep, instant love with it as well and clamored for more. I found a recipe for clotted cream fudge and an online store where you can buy the clotted cream.
How to make Clotted Cream Fudge:
10 ounces superfine sugar
(regular sugar is okay in my experience)
3 ounces golden syrup
(light corn syrup)
8 ounces clotted cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Cover and boil for three minutes. Uncover and continue to boil until the temperature reaches 116C/240F. Remove from heat and beat until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan. After thirty minutes, mark into squares with a knife then let set. Cut into pieces and store in an airtight container.
(I’ve made this at home several times and we love it!)
What I didn’t try while I was in England–mutton.
I promised my new friends I wouldn’t eat them.
I’m on vacation. This week, I’m republishing a series of posts from my 2006 trip to England. Enjoy! Keep up with my current trip on the Daily Farm Photo page.