In search of the famous Yorkshire Pudding and other local treats....
02.11.2010 - 02.11.2010
UK Food Tour Post 1: Yorkshire
I've decided to kick off this food tour in my childhood back yard - Yorkshire. Now in my opinion (and of course I will be a little biased here) Yorkshire is home to some of the best food and drink in the UK. Just about everything that's great about Yorkshire food can be summed up in two words, "comfort food". Puddings, cakes, cheeses, 'toads in hole' - whilst not always the healthiest option on the menu they will certainly cheer you up on a Sunday afternoon.
Yorkshire Pudding is probably the most famous food originating from Yorkshire, and if you live in the UK and you've never tried it then I can safely say that you've never lived! Traditionally people in Yorkshire used to eat 'Yorkshire puds' as a first course filler as many large families couldn't afford much meat. Generally if there wasn't enough meat to go around, then children would get Yorkshire pudding and gravy as their main meal (poor kids eh?). Nowadays Yorkshire pudding is almost always served as part of a Sunday Roast (traditionally roast beef, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding served with onion gravy).
A Variation on the traditional Yorkshire pudding is 'toad in the hole' which is essentially exactly the same pudding but with sausages or other meat added prior to cooking. Now I've no idea why the sausages are called toads, but presumably because they peek up out of the batter some what similar to a toad in a pond! I still don't think there is much beating a large yorkshire / toad in the hole simply filled with onion gravy - it really is sublime!
So on to some other Yorkshire speciailities.....:
Parkin is a type of soft cake that is made using oatmeal, black syrup and ginger, and is usually eaten on Bonfire Night, (Guy Fawkes was a Yorkshireman) but also eaten all year round as it is a perfect accompaniment to a cup of Yorkshire tea.
Rhubarb is also extremely popular around these parts, and I bet you didn't know that West Yorkshire once produced 90% of the world's forced rhubarb did you? The Rhubarb Triangle (between Wakefield, Morley & Rothwell) still produces bucket loads of rhubarb as it thrives in the cold, wet winters of Yorkshire.
So what's the best way to eat rhubarb? Now if you speak to my parents, they would tell you how they used to dip rhubarb into pots of sugar and eat it raw, however unless you want your teeth to rot then I wouldn't recommend it! Personally I love all types of fruit pies / crumbles so for me, rhubarb crumble gets the winning vote (with custard of course), but just simply stewing it with some ginger and orange (also served with custard) is also pretty good!
I couldn't finish this first post without giving a mention to my favourite cheese - Wenslydale. I've always loved this cheese, and I was as excited as a kid in a sweet shop (buying rhubarb & custards!) when I saw some Wenslydale cheese with cranberry in Dean & Delucia's in the Avenues mall in Kuwait. In fact, I also came across these crisps in there too - it seems that Yorkshire is going global!
I'll be following up in the next post with some recipes and pictures!