Sunday, October 05, 2008

British Food Fortnight Challenge: the round-up

When I announced that I was to host my first ever food blogging event, it was with some trepidation. To be honest, I wasn't sure that anyone would enter. Even when fellow bloggers left encouraging comments and vowed they'd enter, I wasn't convinced. People get busy, life gets in the way.

So I was absolutely over-the-moon when the first entry arrived just days after I'd posted the announcement. And then, one-by-one, plenty of others appeared in my inbox. And what great entries they were. The round-up includes some of my very favourite British dishes and I've been drooling over all the lovely photos of your dishes. Thank you so much!

Without further ado, here are the dishes that put the 'Great' into Great Britain!

I thought I'd start with breakfast and this
Victoria plum jam, made by Wendy from A Wee Bit of Cooking. She made this sticky sweet jam with fruit from her own tree - I'm so envious! This would be delicious on toast for breakfast but I reckon it might go well in some of those lovely scones you'll find further down the page...

Another great breakfast dish next - tattie scones. Made by Val from More than Burnt Toast who takes a trip down memory lane as she reminisces about her British roots. As Val points out, these are not only good as part of a traditional Scottish breakfast, but also great to snack on at any time of day. I love them and Val, your version looks far better than the M&S ones!

Next up, we have two soups.

Firstly we have a spectacular
Purple Festival Soup made by Charlotte from The Great Big Vegetable Challenge. This stunning soup was made from purple cauliflower that she picked up at the Abergavenny Food Festival. Charlotte accounts for all the thoroughly British ingredients in the soup and I'll certainly let her off for the one intruder - long live the entente cordiale!


Next up, the first of two entries from Ulrike at Kuchenlatein. This cock-a-leekie soup looks fantastically hearty and wholesome. I didn't know that prunes were a traditional ingredient in this dish - that is what I love about food blogging; you are always learning something new!

Over now to the lovely Rosie from
Rosie Bakes a Peace of Cake for a gorgeous beef and vegetable pie. Rosie, this is just the sort of dish I am craving now that the nights are cooler. And you even decorated it with stars - my favourite! How did you guess?!

And another wonderful pie, this time an
ale and oxtail pie made by Lizzie over at Hollow Legs. I'll admit that I've never cooked with oxtail, but this pie may just persuade me to do so. It looks wonderful and I'd love to dive straight in through that pastry, wouldn't you?

I made the mistake of opening this next entry when I was hungry. Once I saw Sam's wonderful
bangers and mash, I couldn't think of anything else. I've been craving these ever since and was relieved to finally make it to the butcher yesterday to pick up some really good bangers for supper tonight! The apple cider gravy sounds like a great accompaniment too. Bangers and mash is probably my all-time favourite comfort food. Especially at this time of year. Luckily Sam likes to cycle so he can really earn those sausages - I have no such excuse!

Sticking with the sausage theme, Holler from
Tinned Tomatoes sent me her vegetarian take on sausage rolls. I'm always so impressed with how inventive some vegetarians can be with dishes that are usually meat-based. I'm ashamed to say how frequently I am stumped when I find my fridge to be meat or fish-less! These rolls are filled with all sort of delicious things - mushrooms, peanuts and sun-dried tomatoes. I think they may well be better than the 'real thing'. Thanks, Holler!

And we have another vegetarian take on a British classic next. This
Shepherdess Pie is made by Sweatha from Tasty Curry Leaf. Sweatha has added TVP in place of the lamb and made a very-delicious-sounding topping of potatoes and cauliflower. It is always interesting to see how classic dishes evolve over time and to discover new twists on old favourites.

We now have the only fish-based entry of the challenge - a surprise when we are surrounded by water. It is true though that most the classic British dishes I can think of are either meat-based or dessert/tea-time treats. Anyway,
this tasty kedgeree comes from... me, actually! I'd not made it before and it is now sure to become a regular fixture. It looks alarmingly yellow in the picture - I blame the failing light. My pictures always look terrible at this time of year!

Next we have one of my favourites from the challenge. Sorry - did I say favourite? I didn't mean that, of course. All the entries are favourites. But this one bought a smile to my face. I'd not heard of a
Bedfordshire Clanger before. Luckily Joshua from Cooking the Books was on hand to enlighten me. This traditional suet pastry is an entire meal in one easy package. One end is packed with a meaty bacon filling and the other with cooked fruit, for pudding. Not sure about the middle, where you might get a bit of each by accident, but full marks to Joshua for re-creating this fascinating dish.

Onto some of Britain's most treasured puddings now...

Firstly, a real favourite for this time of year when cooking apples are at their very best. Elizabeth from
Real Food Lover gives us these scrumptious baked apples. Hers are stuffed with dates, prunes and sunflower seeds and look fantastic. Elizabeth is also hosting her first ever blogging event, so do visit her blog to take a look.

I think that crumbles are probably my favourite British pudding full stop. Is there anything more comforting than a big bowl of steaming apple crumble with lots of custard? Maria from
The Goddess's Kitchen has baked this super apple and oat crumble and it looks absolutely perfect. If only she could have send me a large helping by post!

I don't know why I started talking about favourites - I just have too many when it comes to traditional British puds. This
bread and butter pudding has been baked by Marie from A Year from Oak Cottage. With lashings of British butter, organic eggs, sultanas and bread, this is heavenly. As Marie points out, it is also a very thrifty dish. A resurgence of these traditional puds could be the one upside to the credit crunch!

Oh my word. Just take a look at that. Trifle. Oh yum. And not just any trifle but one made with the best of the season's blackberries, handpicked by the highly entertaining Indigo of
Happy Love Strawberry. She even made the sponge to line the bottom of this scrumptious blackberry trifle. Great entry, Indigo, thank you!

Apples are currently right in season and Lynn from Lynn's Cooking Blog has been eyeing up her neighbour's apple tree for a while now. Imagine her delight when she returned home to find a bag full of them on her doorstep. She set to work baking this wonderful-looking apple pie. I almost think I can smell its deliciousness through the computer screen (...I know, the men in white coats are coming for me....).

Margaret from Kitchen Delights shares my love of proper British puds and cooked up these heavenly individual Sussex pond puddings, made from a host of carefully sourced British ingredients. That pool of buttery lemony sauce looks just divine - I'd like to dive straight in right away...

Jules from

Domestic Goddess in Training won me over instantly with this fabulous Bakewell tart. I'm a sucker for the combination of almonds and raspberry and the pastry looks spot on. The frangipane looks so wonderfully moist. I think I may be borrowing this recipe, Jules.

It is tea-time. Hooray!

No celebration of British food would be complete without a traditional cream tea and Nicisme over at

had me drooling at the sight of these scones smothered in clotted cream and with strawberry cream slowly oozing over the sides. I'm with you, Nic, the jam should definitely go on top!

We have more scones, too. This time, enhanced with figs and nuts - doesn't that sound wonderful? These are bought to you by Isa from Isa's Cooking. Isa lives in Chile and once had to do a presentation in school about Britain. Isa wisely chose 'Afternoon Tea' as the basis for her presentation and baked scones for her whole class to share. Great idea! Take a look at her fig and nut scones (and her amusing shot of her family in London) on her blog.

I love this picture that Sylvie from A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit took of her Yorkshire Parkin. See those fireworks in the background? That is because this lovely gingery cake is traditionally eaten on bonfire night. Like Sylvie, I think it would be a shame to limit it to the 5th November. I've never made parkin but think that this is another recipe I may need to try out.

This is Ulrike of Kuchenleiten's second entry. Her shortbread fingers look delicious and would make a tasty addition to the cup of tea I have sitting here by my desk. I love shortbread - at first it seems so plain but once you take a bite and discover the great texture and gorgeous buttery flavour, you're hooked.

Next up we have this divine Battenburg cake. Elra from Elra's Baking has a gorgeous baking blog that really was a joy to discover. This pink-and-yellow cake wrapped in lovely marzipan is (yet another) favourite of mine and Elra's version looks so perfect in her photograph that I am in awe. You certainly get the prize for the prettiest entry!

Last, but most certainly not least, we have another delicious-looking parkin. This one is made by Caroline from Cake, Crumbs and Cooking. I just love this treacley cake and so am more than happy to have it two times. Caroline's recipe is different to Sylvie's, so perhaps I'll have to give both versions a try!

Talking of prizes, you may be wondering who has won the challenge... Check back tomorrow when I shall be revealing all following the highly scientific prize draw!


Curry Leaf said...

Nice Round Up.Happy to be a part of it.Cheers.

Peter M said...

Great to see the Brits offering up great and diverse folks will try anything once (good thing).

Elra said...

Congratulation, that was a great event and I really enjoy it. All entries look really delicious! Good luck to all participants! Can't wait to find out who's going to win this event!

Sam said...

They all look so delicious!
Thanks for hosting!

Elisabeth said...

Wow, what fantastic entries! I am delighted to be part of them. Curious that you only had one fish entry (your fine okedgeree) - now I wish I had entered a fresh fish dish myself! Interesting but maybe not surprising to see Britain represented by loadsa puddings (my own humble baked apples amongst them). Thanks so much for giving a plug for my competition for 'real food' blogs. Any of these entries could qualify, as they are all manifesting the qualities of cooking from scratch with nary an additive in sight. So hey, fellow-competitors, do feel free to link to my competition and re-enter your blog with me!

Maria said...

Wow what a great round up and everyone's entries are so delicious!

Antonia, thanks for hosting this event!


Sylvie said...

So many great entries! Thanks for organising the event, it was such fun!

Margaret said...

I'm so pleased for you Antonia that so many of my fellow food bloggers took part in this wonderful event.
The round-up is fabulous.

Joshua said...

Thanks Antonia for a fun event. I look forward to the next one.

Rosie said...

Congratulations Antonia on hosting such a great event I really enjoyed it. The round-up is brilliant and everyone’s entries are fabulous.

Rosie x

Antonia said...

Thank you all again for your excellent entries!

Holler said...

Well done, for brining together such a great line-up Antonia! So many delicious recipes, I have opened a whole load of them to go and have a proper look at now :)

Indigo said...

What an amazing roundup! I'm particularly impressed by the battenburg and the bakewell tart ^__^. Thanks for such a great challenge!

Lizzie said...

Thanks for organising the event!

Bellini Valli said...

This was a fabulous insight into some of the more traditional British foods. Give me some bangers and mash and I will be a happy camper:D