Best of British London.
Does London have a culinary identity of it’s own? I’m hosting Best of British from London this month and for a while I really struggled to think what I could suggest you cooked. It’s not as if we have a lot of farming in London so, I can’t suggest much in the way of London produce – though there’s Gin and Beer! And, after all, not everyone likes the idea of Jellied Eels or Pie and Mash with parsley liquor. Even Maids of Honour come from Kew in Surrey, although of course you could try making Chelsea Buns. While I was working on this post I discovered that they are GENUINELY a London dish. The Chelsea Bunhouse/Royal Bunhouse/Old Bun House was founded some time in the late 17th Century by the Hand family – and Bunhouse place still exists!
For the most part though, the London food scene is a glorious multicultural mix. Even those dishes we have come to think of as quintessentially English like fish and chips are part of our multicultural heritage, with the deep fried fish believed to have originated in the Jewish areas of London. Andrew Webb in ‘Food Britannia’ explains that a fish frying warehouse was mentioned in Dicken’s Oliver Twist (1838) in the Portugese Jewish area of the East End. History though appears to confirm Lancashire’s claim to Chips, food for the workers of the great Lancashire mills. London’s first fish and chip shop opened in 1860 in the East End of the Capital and the dish went on to become one of the Nation’s favourites.
It’s important to remember though that all cuisines are in some way a fusion. We can trace the influence of the Romans on our food in the UK, of the Spice Trail and of immigrant communities. At what point does a recipe become considered to be indigenous? Someone suggested that indigenous cuisines should use only local products, but of course that means our spice rack is emptied, most of our citrus fruits are unavailable and even some things we now regard as essentials disappear. For an idea of the impact on cookery, look at a typical wartime diet without oranges or bananas, with limited sugar and cooking oils and fat and with no chocolate! So, I think that’s unviable and unrealistic.
Rather, for this month’s challenge, which will close on 23rd September, I’d like your ideas on a dish or bake that you think shows the best of London. It could be Chinese, Indian or Mediteranean in origin, it could use ingredients from anywhere in the World. Or, it could be a traditional English dish. Or perhaps use one of London’s beers or gins? It’s up to you…just explain why this dish means ‘London’ to you. New World Appliances are sponsoring this challenge and there’s a £50 amazon token for one winner chosen at random from this month’s entries…plus a GRAND prize of £300 of amazon vouchers for the overall Best of British Blogger which will be judged!
Now I am off to think up my own entry.
Please do have a go. I’m hoping for some really imaginative ideas about what ‘London’ Best of British should be.
- Post your recipe on your blog with a link back to The Face of New World Appliances and to me here
- Add the ‘Best of British’ badge to your blog post (you can find it here on London Unattached in the side bar)
- Add ‘Best of British’ in your blog post as a label or tag
- The recipe can be one of your own or one you’ve seen elsewhere. You are welcome to republish old recipes/posts but please add the information about this challenge.
- Please make sure you don’t infringe any copyright laws – if in doubt please ping me on twitter (@fionamaclean) or leave a note below to ask for advice!
- Please be as creative as you like with the theme for the month.
- This month’s challenge starts today (23th August) and closes at midnight on 23rd September 2012
- Mail me to let us know you are taking part on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you post on twitter, please mention @fionamaclean or @newworldapps and use #BestofBritish and we will try to retweet!