What’s for Dinner? A Taste of Great Britain: Shepherds Pie, Moussaka, Curry, & Steak & Ale Pie

Look How Big I Am!It has been almost a year since we were in Great Britain and I am longing to go back.  I loved the people, the architecture, the history, I even enjoyed the rain (notice I didn’t say “love”) and we really loved the food.  We had been told that the food would be bland, but I completely disagree, we thought the food was wonderful and full of flavor and we felt connected at meal times! While we were there we had Italian food, pub food, sandwiches, pasties, you name it and enjoyed trying new flavors.  My husband even liked blood sausages, but I wasn’t so sure.  At least it wasn’t Marmite (yeecchhh)  I was told that you either love Marmite or hate it.  Yeah, I don’t love it.  It tastes like eating bouillon cubes (stock cubes) straight. yummm, but we tried it. If you love it, that’s ok.

 There are a few things that you can’t get here in the USA or they are hard to find; Pimms which is an alcoholic drink they love over there, lemonade which is fizzy and not as sweet as ours, a good pasty shop just to list a few. So for those things, I guess I’ll have to go back.  oh, and Primark and Marks & Spencer, and Pret a Manger and Yo Sushi.  and, and, and,  ok, ok, I have to go back! But you can make some of the wonderful things we tried.  This week’s meals are an attempt at recapturing some of the taste of Great Britain.  Enjoy!

You can read about our travels in three parts at www.neverthoughidblog.wordpress.com: Part 1 – Wales, Part 2 -Cambridge, Part 3 – London

This week includes recipes from Jamie Oliver, BBC Good Food, BBC Channel 4 and my own, Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

The Meals:

 Meatless Monday: Veg Moussaka – Jamie Oliver

moussaka

Time: 2 hours

Ease: moderately difficult

Review:  This recipe is great, but a lot of work and a solid 2 hours of your time.  That said, it was very good, even with eggplant, which I am not a fan of.  I have no hesitancy giving this recipe a positive review, I think you’ll enjoy it and the meat eaters may not even notice it’s missing.  Just keep in mind it takes a good 2 hours and probably 2 ½ until it is on the table, but worth the time.

Shepherds Pie  – BBC Good Food

shepherds pie

Time:  1 hour 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This is really a very simple dish and it is comforting and filling.  My family likes things a little spiced up so I added rosemary, thyme, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  The result? Plates licked clean!  This is a great Sunday night, meat and potatoes dinner.

Tip: try adding cheese on top or mixed into the potatoes.

Steak and Ale Pie – BBC Channel 4

steak and ale pie

Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Ease: Moderate

Review: This recipe was pretty straight forward with easy instructions, I found that I had too much liquid and had to reduce it until it looked to be the right consistency, which added another 10 minutes.  Other than the issue with the liquid this was a great dish and another comfort food kind of flavor. I liked having puff pastry as the crust rather than pie crust, it added dimension to it. My husband thought this was a wonderful meal and informed me that we could most definitely have it again!  OK-I’m all about happy tummys and hubbys!

Curried Chicken

curried chicken

  •  6 Chicken thighs
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Corriander
  • 2 Tbsp curry (may adjust per taste)
  • 1 can plum tomatoes chopped
  • Rice

Sauté onion until it starts to caramelize, add garlic and cook about 30 seconds, add spices and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds to a minute), add sugar and vinegar and stir through.  Next add tomatoes and heat through then pour over chicken in a deep baking dish and bake until chicken is done, an internal temperature of 165-175. Serve with rice.

Note: for richer flavor try searing chicken in a hot pan before baking, but this dish works well without it.

Time: 35 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  I was in the mood for some of the great flavors that come with curry, but couldn’t decide what to make and improvised taking bits and pieces from different recipes and then throwing in spices I thought sounded nice.  That means this is not a proper curry, but I think that it turned out nicely and my family loved it.  The leftover chicken made a great chicken salad the next day.  I hope you enjoy it.

Chicken, Spinach, Alfredo Pizza (ok, this one isn’t British)

chicken alfredo

There were a few things that I just couldn’t enjoy in England; pizza and coffee!  Stick to pasties and tea and you’ll be fine.  Friday night I just wanted a quick meal, so I left my theme and pizza it was.

Time: 30

Ease: Simple           

Review:  I know I’m always telling you to “make it from scratch”, but let’s be real, we all just need something quick and easy sometimes so here it is, one of my Friday night, hanging in front of the TV easy meals! Go ahead, you have my permission.

  • 1 pizza dough. I use the dough made from the grocery stores that serve pizza, they will often store it in the freezer case or the deli case, or you can make your favorite recipe. (if your are from North Carolina Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods carry it)
  • Frozen, grilled chicken pieces, leftover chicken or chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
  • ¼ Red onion cut in rings or enough to evenly lay across the pizza
  • ¼ cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze the liquid out
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil and garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the dough to make one pizza, top with several large scoops of sauce up to 1 inch from the edge, then place a layer of chicken nearly covering the sauce.  Grab spinach in pinches and place throughout the pizza and top with red onion rings.  Cover with cheese.  Brush olive oil around the edges of the crust and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Bake until golden brown on top and crust is browned on the bottom, about 20 minutes.

What are your favorite foods from around the world? scroll to the bottom to reply!

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Bring a little history and trivia to dinner

When planning out this week’s meals try looking up trivia about England and talk about it over dinner or ask each person to find one interesting thing about England that they would like to share, this gives everyone the chance to participate.

Next week: Going Old School; 5 meals from the 1969 Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook

 Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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