Wet weather, warm beer, crowded streets and bad food are what most people expect when they head off on an English adventure. The first three may still be true but ‘bad food’ definitely isn’t. England has gone through a culinary revolution since the eighties thanks to likes of Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and the ever irresistible Nigella – the rest of the world is rejoicing as we visit the green island.
English cuisine has been redefined from bangers and mash to gourmet sausages with sweet potato gratin and asparagus. In a country with rich farming land and a coast line filled with fisherman, it has embraced its local produce and changed what it means to eat like an Englishman.
What is the “new” English cuisine? Well its quite simple really – its finding good seasonal local produce and cooking it in such a way that all of the natural flavours are amplified. Most menus now state where they get their food from, naming the farm or region of each individual item.
As a backpacker though, it’s hard to enjoy this cuisine as like all things in vogue, establishments that serve delicious locally grown produce are a little out of the price range for your average backpacker. There is a very easy solution though – make your own!
The rules are simple:
- Buy local produce
- Cook simply and without too much embellishment
- Serve hot (the English always serve their food piping hot)
How do you buy local produce? Steer clear of the supermarkets and jump on google to find out when and where your next Farmers Market is. Farmers Markets are great as they are often cheaper, you get a wide range produce and everything is in season. London has a number of Farmers Markets so don’t be put off if you aren’t travelling to the country any time soon.
Here is my take on a quick and easy breakfast with ingredients that I picked up at a farmers market. It’s my Farmers Market Frittata, you can add as many vegetables, meats and cheeses to this dish as you like. If you go on a small shopping spree at the Farmers Market, don’t fret, it will all get eaten, just throw it in the frittata!
This recipe can either serve 6 or you can save some for later and just re-heat it in the oven or microwave. If I am staying in one place for a week, I will often cook this up on the first morning and then just have left overs through the rest of the week. Just remember if you are staying in a hostel to cover your food and label it.
- 1 zucchini (courgette)
- 1 large carrot (or 2/3 baby carrots)
- 6 eggs
- 1 tomato
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 1 leek or brown onion
- Plus any other vegetables, meat or cheeses that you wish to add
- Grate the zucchini and carrot then squeeze out excess water from both, pat dry with a tea towel or paper towel
- Beat your eggs in a bowl and season
- Slice your tomato and leave to one side
- Finley slice your leek or onion
- Add the zucchini, carrot and half of the cheese
- Heat a frying pan on a low heat and add in either oil or butter - whatever you can scrounge up from your hostel
- Gently cook your leek or onion until soft
- Add in the egg mixture
- With a fork move the egg mixture around like you would with scrambled eggs
- When the mixture is cooked on the bottom and sides gently place your tomato on the top (you could also place bacon or ham if you liked) sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and season.
- Place under a grill on medium heat - or in an oven if you don't have a grill.
- Wait until the cheese on top is golden
- Serve hot!
- Frying pan
- Grater (or peeler if you don't have a grater)
- Paper towel/tea towel
- 7 pounds all together - if you feed six that is a 1.16 each