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The traditional cuisine of a country can be a great insight into its culture, so whilst studying in Newcastle why not try some great national dishes!

 

Traditional Pub Food

When I think of traditional British food I instantly thing of Sunday roasts, hearty meat pies, fish and chips and English breakfast. If you go to any traditional British pub, you’ll undoubtedly find these items on the menu. An English breakfast typically includes sausages, bacon, eggs, beans, hash browns, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding and toast. As you can probably imagine with this long list of ingredients, it keeps you going for hours and is the perfect way to start an activity heavy day. Although it’s technically a breakfast, its usually served any time of day in pubs and cafe’s as an ‘all day breakfast’.

One of my favourite traditional British foods is toad in the hole. Essentially, its sausage (the toad) in a Yorkshire pudding (the hole) and is often served with a delicious onion gravy and vegetables. Much like its cousin pigs in blankets, the recipe has a playful name which adds to its charm. The Yorkshire pudding batter is made by whisking together flour, eggs, milk, melted butter and a pinch of salt to form a thick batter, which is then poured over the almost cooked sausages. According to Jamie Oliver, the secret to the perfect Yorkshire pudding is to ensure your dish is piping hot before pouring in the batter. It’s the perfect comfort food on a cold winter’s evening.

 

Soup

When the weather is as cold as it is in the UK and you’re craving something hot and filling to warm you up at lunchtime, soup is the perfect thing. There’s always a debate between people who prefer lumpy, chunky soups and those who like perfectly smooth soups. In my opinion, a partially blended soup with plenty of chunky bits is the perfect compromise. The partial blend gives it a delicious thick texture, whilst the chunky vegetables make it feel more substantial with something to get your teeth into. The great thing about soup is it can be made from pretty much whatever odd ingredients you have lying around. One of the most popular recipes is minestrone. The exact recipe for this soup varies across different websites, reflecting the ‘throw whatever ingredients you have together’ nature of the soup. But the fundamental basis of the soup is a mixture of finely chopped veg and macaroni, in a flavoursome tomato broth. Another classic is broccoli and stilton soup which is a smooth, blended broccoli soup with a delicious creamy blue cheese flavour.

 

Staples across the country

Although the UK is relatively small, cultures are very diverse from one region to the next. As you go up and down the country, you’ll notice each region has its own staple food. In Scotland you’ll find haggis in every supermarket, pub and restaurant. Made from offal, it’s an acquired taste and definitely not for the faint hearted, but the Scots love it.

At the opposite end of the country, Cornwall is renowned for its pasties. Traditionally, they are a baked pastry filled with steaming hot steak, potato, swede and onion. Other popular flavours include chicken, bacon and leak and Mediterranean vegetable. Originating as a lunch for miners, the crimped edge acted as a handle for workers to eat the pasty without getting it grubby. I visit Cornwall most summers and always look forwards to indulging in a Cornish pasty.

Here in Newcastle, stotties which are a dense flat bread are the local staple. In Geordie dialect the term ‘stott’ means ‘to bounce’ so if you drop your stottie, theoretically it should bounce due to its density.

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