English cuisine is a constant cause for debate. The truth is, many of our signature dishes fall down due to the fact that high quality ingredients aren’t always used. But the same can be said of every country.
Go into your local cafe and you’ll find they may use standard sausages that contain less than 50% pork; the bacon is full of water content and shrinks when cooked, whilst many places precook ‘filler’ elements of dishes that lose their flavour. Maybe that’s the reason you see so many condiments dotted around the place – to distract from the taste of the food.
London serviced apartments are surrounded by streets full of greengrocers, butchers, bakeries and other independent stores and markets that provide fresh produce. Quality supermarkets also have affordable fruit and vegetables that are in season too. Sometimes it’s worth being selective and not settling for the convenience of a chain store across the road.
An advantage of staying in a serviced apartment is the ability to make full use of the kitchen facilities that are available. This means that business travellers can choose their own ingredients, as opposed to just accepting the diet that’s served in restaurants, cafes, delis etc.
We’ve put together a few small tips to ensure certain elements of traditional English dishes heighten the senses with a simple tweak:
The Sunday Roast
This is the mothership of English cuisine and deserves to be handled with care. Roast potatoes are always a focal point so it’s important to make them crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. To do this, use a fine sieve to fluff the potatoes after boiling and then coat them in gently heated goose fat before putting them in the oven. Tasty, crispy and soft inside.
Fish and chips
The key to great fish and chips is a light batter, which can be made from a simple mixture of plain flour, salt and a little lager or soda water. Make sure you keep it lumpy for the extra thick crispy bits on the edges – do this by mixing thoroughly and leaving a thick consistency (it should struggle to drip off the spoon). Homemade tartar sauce is also a perfect sharp accompaniment, which is made by mixing mayonnaise with finely chopped gherkins, capers and parsley. Easy!
The cooked breakfast
An outstanding English breakfast is always going to contain a lot of calories, but with the right quality ingredients it needn’t just be about the taste. Sausages (finest pork range), bacon with a low water content, baked beans, wholemeal toast, mushrooms, vine tomatoes, black pudding, bubble & squeak – all cooked with olive oil and roasted where possible. Make it healthier by sealing the meat elements of the dish and roasting them off, poach your eggs and stay away from big lumps of butter!
Patience is the main ingredient to this dish. Just like a good Bolognese, it’s important to let the sauce and the meat simmer and thicken for at least an hour. A measuring of plain flour at the start (proportionate to the other ingredients) mixed with the onions and stock will see to this. Season as you go, as you don’t want an amazing sauce to lack that extra bit of flavour.
Bangers and mash
It’s time to mess with your traditions a bit. Instead of going for the usual King Edwards, why not try sweet potato mash for a change. It’s healthier and creamier. A little balsamic in your onion gravy will also give the meal the kind of kick it needs.