Food Files #2: Cuisine from the United Kingdom
British cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with the United Kingdom. British cuisine has been described as ‘unfussy dishes made with quality local ingredients, matched with simple sauces to accentuate flavour, rather than disguise it.’ However, British cuisine has absorbed the cultural influence of those that have settled in Britain, producing hybrid dishes, such as the Anglo-Indian chicken tikka masala.
Celtic agriculture and animal breeding produced a wide variety of foodstuffs for indigenous Celts and Britons. Anglo-Saxon England developed meat and savoury herb stewing techniques before the practice became common in Europe. The Norman conquest introduced exotic spices into England in the Middle Ages. The British Empire facilitated a knowledge of India’s elaborate food tradition of ‘strong, penetrating spices and herbs’. Food rationing policies, put in place by the British government during wartime periods ofthe 20th century, are said to have been the stimulus for British cuisine’s poor international reputation.
British cuisine has traditionally been limited in its international recognition to the full breakfast, fish and chips, and the Christmas dinner. Other famous British dishes include the Sunday roast, steak and kidney pie, shepherd’s pie, and bangers and mash. British cuisine has many regional varieties within the broader categories of English, Scottish and Welsh cuisine. Each have developed their own regional or local dishes, many of which are geographically indicated foods such as Cornish pasties, the Yorkshire pudding, Cumberland Sausage, Arbroath Smokie, and Welsh cakes.
At the end of this feature, you’ll find a list of restaurants that serve British cuisine in Doha which we have discovered across the city!
Some Anglo-Indian dishes derive from traditional British cuisine, such as roast beef, modified by the addition of Indian-style spices,such as cloves and red chillies. Fish and meat are often cooked in curry form with Indian vegetables. Anglo-Indian food often involves use of coconut, yogurt, and almonds. Roasts and curries, rice dishes, and breads all have a distinctive flavour.
English cuisine is shaped by the climate of England, its island geography and its history. The latter includes interactions with other European countries, and the importing of ingredients and ideas from places such as North America, China and southern Asia during the time of the British Empire
Northern Irish cuisine
The cuisine of Northern Ireland is largely similar to that of the rest of the island of Ireland. In this region, the Ulster Fry is particularly popular.
Scottish cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with Scotland. It shares much with English cuisine, but has distinctive attributes and recipes of its own. Traditional Scottish dishes such as haggis and shortbread exist alongside international foodstuffs brought about by migration. Scotland is known for the high quality of its beef, lamb, potatoes, oats, and sea foods.
Welsh cuisine has influenced, and been influenced by, other British cuisine. Although both beef and dairy cattle are raised widely, especially in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, Wales is best known for its sheep, and thus lamb is the meat traditionally associated with Welsh cooking.
Marhaba Picks: Independent Restaurants offering British Cuisine in Doha (in no particular order):
- J & G Sandwich Cellar, Ras Abu Abboud Street, Umm Ghuwailina [4435 7559]: Try their fish and chips! [V/NV]
- Richoux, City Center Mall, Dafna [4493 1661]: Try the Traditional English Breakfast! [V/NV]
- Captain Billy’s Fish & Chips, City Center Mall, Dafna [4493 4867]: Try the Full Deck Combo! [V/NV]
- Shakespeare & Co., Dar Al Salam Mall, Bu Hamour, also at Waterfront, Porto Arabia, The Pearl-Qatar [6676 8812]: Try their breakfast! [V/NV]
- The Chippy, C-Ring Road [5022 0126]: Try their fish and chips!
- The Rose & Thistle, Horizon Manor Hotel [4445 5444]: Try their burgers with a cold drink at the bar!
Author: Sarah Mascarenhas
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