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Blog: Dreaming of British Food

Blog: Dreaming of British Food


I love food. I think about it all day, every day. When I wake up I work out what I am going to eat that day. When I go to bed I analyse what I have eaten that day. I thought this was completely normal until I met my husband. When he wakes up, he calculates how much sleep he has had (and whether it will be enough to power him through the day) and when he goes to bed he works out if there are enough hours before he needs to be up to keep his sleep bank topped up.

Having worked on British Food Fortnight in the early days, the last week of September and first week of October will always be a time for me to celebrate the best of British food. I now live in Kigali, Rwanda, and gorge myself on the most wrinkled passion fruits, juiciest pineapples and avocados that taste like double cream but even these joys don’t quite hit the spot at the moment.

Imagine, then, my joy when I was asked to prepare a British pudding for the international school’s Culinary Food Fair last weekend. But what to cook? There are no brambles bushes to strip for an apple crumble. No locally-grown apples either for that matter. Then I stumbled across a recipe for lemon posset in which cream and sugar are boiled together before lemon juice and rind are mixed in to form a syllabub.

I knew it was an old recipe as I vividly remember it from Sundays with my grandparents. The delicious tangy end to our roast lunch was always served in a slightly frosted glass bowl with crescent edges. I had no idea, however, that recipes for a posset date back to medieval times. According to Wikipedia “a posset was a British hot drink of milk curled with wine or ale, often spiced” and considered a remedy for minor illnesses such as a cold.

If any of the revellers were struggling with a cold, they were disguising it pretty well but with all bowls scraped clean and more than one person coming back for seconds perhaps they were taking preventative measures.

The trouble is that now I have started to think about crumbles, I am fixating on them and craving that taste of Britishness. Off now for some marmite on toast while I conjure up supper.

[The recipe I used was by Rachel Allen: go to http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/1265/little-lemon-creams]

Written by Jennifer Meakin.