Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast is fantastic! History, local producers, explanations for the odd food names, and recipes galore. When I picked up this book I had no idea there was such a variety of British food out there. Not just British food, but good British food. I know what you are thinking, that British and good food do not belong in the same sentence, until last week I would have agreed with you. Most of what we know about British food is not at all flattering, but the things that have been imported here are only half the picture. I am learning that the base foods are fairly bland, but it is the sauces and condiments that make them shine. The sauces and condiments have not made the trip across the ocean and so we were left thinking ALL British food is bland. Here is an entire book of recipes to show us how wrong we have been.
I am aware of the Ploughman's Lunch only because Husband spends a good amount of time in brew pubs and a variation of that dish can be found everywhere. Miser's Feast? What could it be? It is a dish of potatoes, onions, and british bacon or thinly sliced pork chops cooked long and slow. Like a scalloped potato without the cream, but with onions and pork. MMMM
The photo on the cover also comes from a long slow cook, Banoffee Pie. The base is made by baking sweetened condensed milk in a water bath for two hours. I have read old American recipes using this method to bake the milk right in the cans, but the Banoffee Pie is so much more.
The book contains lots of history about the region and it's food. There are enteries for people producing the good stuff locally, and every recipe begins with a bit about the dish. Sometimes it is explaining an odd name or unexpected ingredient.
One ingredient that pops up over and over is curry. While I understand the connection between England and India's past, it never occurred to me that the cultures would combine to make a whole new taste experience. Dah.
I tested three recipes from the book and will be posting the results over the next three days.
Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast is a book that is worth my precious shelf space. It is fantastic!