10 December 2010

Running With Kitchen Scissors

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Living on the edge like I do (and having a shortage of food due to being snowed in), I decided to take a culinary adventure in the cabinets last week. Throwing caution to the wind...

First stop - typical English snack of Baked Beans On Toast with cheese

Is this a leftover snack idea from the war ration days? It tasted like, well, toast with beans and cheese. I heard it is considered a comfort food here. Well, I did need to be comforted afterwards (just kidding). It was okay.

Next up - the mythical Marmite Yeast Extract

As recommended, I spread this on toast with a slathering of butter. It tasted NAAASTY. Very salty with an aftertaste of puke. Glad I tried it, and glad I made one point when I made a free-throw into the trash. SCORE! They advertise on their bottle that I also can buy their cereal bars. Really?

This one I discovered my first week at the grocery store. Colman's, you know I love you so. Although you are a smooth spicy mustard with a little zing, you haven't revealed your true ingredients.

My Ode To Colman's

Is that zip a bit of horseradish, my dear? 
You taste so good with brats and beer! 

(And don't be afraid to send me a freebie case for product placement) 

Colman's is lovingly nestled between
Wholegrain Mustard & French's Mustard (which is American, not French, silly)

Another thing I love here is curry. It is hard to describe just how popular it is. Curry tends to be a concept, rather than a strict recipe. It can be Indian food or a just a flavorful stew. Either way, so warming on a chilly night - of which there are many! 

Now I am a real sucker for clever packaging. And I think this box of a complete Indian meal is brilliant. Really delicious too. This is a far cry from the mid-century TV dinners with ''Salisbury Steak'' (notice the quotation marks) and a brick called a ''brownie''. Remember those?

It is disputed that the famous dish Tikka Masala originated in Soho, London - interestingly it has been called 'Britain's true national dish'. Britain exports Chicken Tikka Masala to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh!  Balti, a South Asian dish on most UK menus, was invented in Birmingham, England. I'm pretty sure an Indian restaurant can be found in every single town.  Lucky me :)

On the flip side, English blogger Toni from Pond Parleys wrote her opinion about the cinnamon obsession in America (here). I couldn't have agreed with her less, at first. But dear American readers, if you were to stock an empty kitchen, you would buy salt, pepper, followed by cinnamon. Right?


We Americans have cinnamon in our toothpaste, gum, barbecue sauce, breakfast foods, and anything combined with apples. In fact, I always use it to cover up the real flavor of most things I make. And cinnamon-sugar-toast is a breakfast staple in this house. Or at least it should be.

Maybe toast with Marmite would taste better covered in cinnamon? Nah.

source: wikipedia.org

XO Laura


Robynne's Nest said...

Oh Laura, that marmite stuff is for wimps, if you want the real experience you have to taste vegemite...I'm sure your will absolutely...hate it! In Australia we are brought up on the stuff, it's lathered onto rusks (you know those edible sticks for babies when they're teething) and little fingers of toast when we are 6 months old! It really is an aquired taste. As for your cinammon obsession...I don't mind it on stewed apples etc. but we don't sprinkle the stuff on every edible thing in the kitchen! Also I don't mind baked beans but not to the extent the poms do...trouble is I jet-propel myself around for a full day afterwards! Robx

Make mine Mid-Century said...

I love American mustard ... the English make nice cups of tea.

Rhi@FlourChild said...

Have you tried balti (curry) with chips? I remember that from my time living the UK. Bit of a classic. And vinegar on your fish and chips? Yum.
I love a bit of cinnamon on my apples, and can do it with cous cous in a Morroccan spice kind of way, but really don't like the gum and other cinnamonny things.. It's funny how spices get used differently in different countries. Here in Belgium nutmeg is just for savoury things and mashed potato, while in Australia it's for desserts and custard tarts. Lucky I like it both ways ;)

ohabbyreally said...

"Curry tends to be a concept..." SO true and it made me laugh.

I love baked beans now. I'll eat beans and cheese on just about anything. It's weird how your go to comfort foods can change.

Laura said...

Oh Laura... Marmite is pure heaven. I started my kids on it and one is a convert... the other sides with her dad and thinks it's devils work! English baked beans are delicious... I was very shocked when I first tried American beans... way too sweet... luckily I can still get the familiar blue can of beans at the my local supermarket... and finally, my big question to an American is... 'what's with all the peanuts in everything?' I counted all the peanut candies at the supermarket checkout one day and it covered around 70%!?! As for curry... I'm thankful for my local Whole Foods and it's curry counter... without which my weekends would not be the same! Great post! Lx

Happy Homemaker UK | Laura said...

L - you are so right - I was thinking about writing also about the US obsession with peanut butter (I miss my Reece's) and ice in ALL non-hot drinks.

Miss Flour - I'll have to try Balti with chips. I like anything with chips. American 'chips' or English 'chips' - I'm not sure which you mean, so I'll try them both :)

ladyliberty said...

Excellent post! I used to like beans on toast and then was once offered them as a hangover cure and now the site of Heinz beans reminds me of how deadly sick I was that morning and I cant stomach them!

I rate curry right at the top of the best things about England and now must eat some for dinner! :)

Frau S said...

What I like even more than beans on toast are beans in a jacket potato!

Emily said...

I sent the kids off to school this morning ONLY after they finished eating their butter-rich cinnamon toast (and yogurt and granola "parfait" as they call it). Surprisingly, they didn't have peanut - butter, but I did consider how to get that in before we ran out of time. This was a break from our routine bowl of oatmeal. I agree, cinnamon and oatmeal, I can't imagine my pantry without them -- my first go-to items. Laura, I'm so impressed with you trying Marmite! I wouldn't have gotten past "yeast extract."

Raine and Sage said...

Laura I love all those things listed. I love vegemite and when I lived in London used to eat marmite or promite happily as the penultimate substitute. You can try it with avocado and cheese, or scrambled eggs on top, or tomato for some yummy variations.
The Poms (English) always make me laugh as they ALL say the same thing "you can't get a good curry like at home" in Australia. Having lived there I disagree. Mustard is a staple!! Baked beans with cheese under the grill is most certainly a never fail meal to have on hand, and I love it!

JANE said...

A funny post, Sweetie. To start, I have seen way too many baked beans on Planet Baby. If I never saw another one, it would be too soon.

I'm a Vegemite kid, through and through. The mere smell of Marmite makes me feel ill ☺. J x

topchelseagirl said...

Beans on toast is the perfect comfort food. Marmite is indeed the work of the devil. Sorry but I don't like cinnamon at all. Or peanuts = disgusting. Euch!

Privet and Holly said...

The first time I went
to London, I was 17.
I grew up on gothic
novels set in England
and I had my heart set
on trying steak and
kidney pie, 'cause I'd
read about it in all
of these books. One
word on S&K pie: YUKK!!!
I think a lot of these
things are an aquired
taste. I have a dear
friend who grew up in
Scotland and who introduced
me to HP sauce. Now that,
I like. Branson Pickle
{another of her faves},
not so much : )
We are having a blizzard
here, today, so beans on
toast might be the order
of the day. Happy Saturday,
sweet Laura!
xx Suzanne

Beth said...

Baked beans on toast....just can't beat it. It has to come from a blue can with black writing and HAS to have "english recipe" written on it. I pay more for it here in Aus, but worth every penny, sorry, every cent!
With you on the marmite thing though, I just don't get it, or vegemite. My little girl is desperate to conform with Australian kids and tries so hard to like it!

Suzanne said...

Ode to Jiff PB, US honey, and Tide laundry liquid. The 3 "illegal" things that made it into our shippment from the US. I don't know how I would have made it through the last 13 days without these things! I know life will get better, but right now I haven't found a food I like and the laundry detergent doesn't clean clothes. HELP1

Kate and Russ said...

Sugar and cinnamon on banana pancakes is the BEST! And I'm on the lookout for caramel rolls in the UK. Seen any? Tell me, why do the baked beans here come in a tomato sauce? They taste like beans in tomato sauce, not like baked beans.

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kartika said...

mumbai spice.... hunger for more :)