Hi everyone, Blitzy here! All this touring around London has given me an appetite and there's plenty to choose from in this capital city. So join me as I try some traditional English meals as well as some slightly more unusual dishes, and see what tickles your fancy!
You know you're in Britain when people keep asking you if you “fancy a cuppa”. ☕ And they don't mean any kind of herbal infusion or fruit tea. When people talk about tea, they mean black tea, brewed strong, with milk and sugar added according to taste. An estimated 84% of the population drink milky tea every single day!!
Tea was imported from India (and mostly still is) which meant that in the past, it was difficult to get hold of and was considered a luxury item. And to make matters worse, the tax was exorbitant 💲💲💲 - as much as 119%! This led to a flourishing trade in black-market tea. All this changed overnight when William Pitt the Younger cut the tea tax to just 12.5% when he became Prime Minister in 1783, making it much more affordable and increasing its popularity.
Over time, this simple beverage became so ubiquitous that it even became the basis for a light meal, known as afternoon tea. The most common version involves serving a selection of teas together with dainty sandwiches 🥪 and a slice of cake 🍰 or scones with jam and cream (you can have a go at making these with the recipe below!) Afternoon tea is best enjoyed with family and friends, making it a great choice for a Bingo afternoon - I highly recommend it 😀
Food to Keep You Warm
England is famous for its rainy days and colder climate. That’s why so many Britishes dishes are considered stodgy. Heavy meals such as fish-and-chips, bangers-and-mash, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and shepherd’s pie will keep you feeling full and warm even on the chilliest days. But the rough-and-ready style means that they never achieved haute-cuisine status!!
These traditional British meals have had a revival in recent years as smarter restaurants adapt them to create lighter, tastier versions. These dishes are particularly popular in “gastropubs”, pubs which have upgraded their food menu to appeal to a foodie audience (like me!) And of course, no gastropub meal would be complete without a great beer 🍺. But I can’t get used to the old British tradition of serving beer at room temperature, so I’ll stick with the cold version🧊
My favorite thing is getting together with friends, especially if we can enjoy a game of bingo together, and even better if there’s food too! So this month I would like to share my scone recipe with you. Bake a batch, and get some friends over for a relaxing and fun afternoon tea, and enjoy a game together (I personally recommend a few rounds of bingo!)
SCONES (makes 12)
3 cups flour (330g)
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tbsp sugar
½ stick unsalted butter (60g)
½ cup milk (110ml)
OPTIONAL - ¼ cup raisins
TO SERVE - whipped cream and strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 210C (410F) - this is very important as the scones need a high heat to activate the raising agent so they’ll be light and fluffy
Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar)
Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
If using, add the raisins now
Add the milk and gently bring the mixture together into a ball of dough
Press the dough out on a floured surface until it’s an inch high
Use a glass or round cookie cutter to cut out scones and place on a lined baking tray
Place the tray on a medium-high shelf in the oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown
Remove the scones from the oven and leave to cool
You can serve warm or cold, with butter or cream, jam and fresh strawberries and of course, a lovely cup of tea! The scones are best eaten on the day of baking, but can also be frozen for up to 3 weeks.