Saturday 18 October 2008

Ask Foodycat V

Judith asks: "You've been in the UK for some time now. What is there foodie-wise that has knocked your socks off?"

This is such a great question, because it is something Paul and I were discussing just the other day.

It is easy to whinge about British food: the weird fascination with mixing tuna and sweetcorn (for the love of god - tuna, sweetcorn, mayonnaise and cold pasta is not a salad, not even if you dice some green pepper in); the difficulty in finding a bowl of pho or a good laksa; the fact that sushi is something you can buy in a chemist; the horrible bread; the sweet abomination that is a chicken tikka masala. But the fact is that the food here is superb. Our diet is much more varied and seasonal here than it was in Australia and we are constantly being amazed by the quality of the food.

I guess because there are much more definite seasons here, there are more seasonal food markers. In Australia we get very excited about mango season and cherry season, but here we wait for asparagus and soft fruits and brussels sprouts and game meat. There are these really clear markers, when all of a sudden you walk into the supermarket and there are pumpkins and chestnuts and six types of cabbage.

There are incredible traditional dishes here. I'd never eaten potted shrimp before - now it is almost impossible to get me to order something else if it is on the menu. That combination of sweet brown shrimps, mace and clarified butter is so delicate and so perfect. I hadn't had black pudding before - so tasty. Pies, pates and terrines of game meats that are so savoury and rich but don't taste "French" - the seasoning is different and very British.

And of course, the single best thing I have eaten over here - and I have had it about 4 times just to be sure - the muscat caramel custard from 32 Great Queen St. Definitely one to knock the socks off.


Jude said...

So we'll be having the Muscat caramel custard the week after next then?

Interesting you say how seasonal things are. Those I know who live or have lived in France reckon this is not so. Compared to how it is in France of course.

Thanks FC.

Laura Paterson said...

I'm glad we didn't let you down too much!

Btw, I'm totally with you - tuna... sweetcorn... flaccid pasta... bound together with store-bought mayo... is one of the foulest dishes to grace a salad bar ;)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Jude - yes please! Well no, compared to how it is in France I guess not.

Kittie - flaccid is just the right word! Awful stuff.

Dee said...

British food's so much better now. When I was studying in the UK decades ago, everything was somewhat grey and lumpy.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Dee - I am glad to be here now instead of then!

SSS said...

I feel the need to defend the tuna/sweetcorn/mayo combo. It's still one of my favourite sandwich fillings!

Alicia Foodycat said...

They should rescind your Australian citizenship for that, SSS!


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