Majority of the people in the world are curious about their heritage, and often see themselves as having blood from a bunch of different places. I have a special formula on how I break down my identity and heritage. I split it into eights. Yep, into eights. Half of my heritage is where I was born and lived most of my life. That would mean I am 4/8, or half, South African. The rest of the eights are from my parents. Each of them get a say with two eights. My dad is English, through and through. So that gives me 2/8 English heritage. My mom, on the other hand, is half English and half Italian. My grandfather was Italian and my grandmother is English (Hi Nan! Thanks for reading and sharing all my things on your Facebook by the way). This means that I get another eight of Englishness from my mom, and a really cool 1/8 of Italian from my grandfather. So, in my perspective I am 1/2 South African, 3/8 English, and 1/8 Italian. Boom! My father received an ancestry DNA kit for Christmas, so I'm also pretty keen to get one for myself and see what else we find in the mix. Anyway, the picture above is a shot of my sister, my grandmother and I at Blackpool's beach in England. All of my relatives still live there (with some family on my dad's side living in Canada). I have been fortunate enough to travel to England quite a lot when I was younger, so that I could see and spend time with my family. So everybody has really been looking forward to this episode of EAT THE WORLD, the UNITED KINGDOM.
I can't believe we haven't done a single European country yet! This is our 8th challenge, and now the first time Europe is getting eaten! I love England though, but before I get into that we should probably discuss something...
The difference between England, the UK and Great Britain
This is a question posed by the TN pretty often. I've always known the difference (to an extent) but never really knew why. Now I've double checked my research, but if this is wrong, feel free to email me and let me know! The UK or United Kingdom, makes up several countries, including Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. I often refer to England, because that's where my family is from, but many people would say this is politically incorrect, as the UK is the entire country. Anyway, back in the day, all these countries were separate. But because Queen Mary of England died without any heirs, King James of Scots became the King James of England, and was the King that Guy Fawkes tried to blow up. In this way, Scotland and England became united, with Wales. They became the Great Kingdom of Britain. In the 1800s, Ireland elected to join too, however they later chose independence in the 1900s, and became the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland remains a part of the UK, or formally the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. What does this mean for our challenge? I'd really like to be able to do a traditional meal from each of these countries too. So hopefully we shall see that at a later stage of the challenge!
England, or the UK, is home to some incredible places! London is a beautiful city to explore, and one of the things I love about it, is the backdrop of history mixed in with the new and the modern. Now, I wouldn't say Blackpool should be on your places to visit (sorry family!), but England's North West is also really stunning. The Lake District is a fantastic place to visit, and I have very fond memories of visiting there with my Aunt and Uncle. We got chased by a swan and my Uncle used a blanket to try and chase it away. Below is a picture of us at the Lake District when I was really little still. Other really cool places (that I've been) include Oxford University! So many places to see Harry Potter film scenes! But, no matter where you go in beautiful England (or the rest of the UK), you can't go without having FISH AND CHIPS AND MUSHY PEAS!
RECIPES FOR FISH AND CHIPS AND MUSHY PEAS
This was one of those #Pinterestfails of the challenge. I completely didn't know what the heck I was doing most of the time. I ended up having to glean how to cook this food from a whole bunch of recipes - most of which do not do a good job of describing how to make fish and chips! The only thing that went well were the mushy peas! So here is a recipe for how I think it should be done - soooooo don't hate on me if it doesn't work out properly!
RECIPE FOR CHIPS
- 5 medium sized potatoes (less for a smaller portion size)
- 2 tablespoons salt
- vegetable oil
- Combine warm water and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large bowl and mix to dissolve.
- Cut the peeled potatoes by slicing them length ways, in 1/2 inch slices. Then slice them 1/4 inch strips from those.
- Place the cut potatoes in the bowl of salt water for 15 minutes
- Remove the potatoes from the water and let them dry on a paper towel covered cookie sheet or on a clean towel.
- Prepare for deep fryer by filling it with vegetable oil up to it's fill line. Heat to 375 degrees.
- Fry the potatoes in batches, 3 mins at a time, or until starting to golden brown.
- Place on a cooling rack to cool.
- Refry the potatoes for another 2-3 minutes.
- Place on a cooling rack or cookie sheet, and place in the warmer of the oven to keep warm while the fish is cooking.
The refry process is what gives them the crunchy feel. You can also just fry them once, but for a longer period of time.
RECIPE FOR FISH
- 1 lb white flaky fish (cod, haddock, tilapia)
- 1 cup full-flavored beer (e.g. Dogfish Head)
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- vegetable oil for deep fryer (use from chippies)
- Prepare the beer batter by mixing the beer, 1 cup of flour and the tsp of salt in a bowl.
- Before frying the fish, place the fish in the remainder of the flour, and then dip in the batter.
- Set your deep fryer to 320 degrees F, and once heated, fry the fish by setting it in the fryer. Ensure that it doesn't touch the sides of the basket as it'll stick to it.
- Fry until golden brown, about 6-9 minutes depending on the fillet.
- Remove from oil and place on a paper lined plate for a minute before serving
RECIPE FOR MUSHY PEAS
- 1/2 lb peas
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp mint/basil/sage (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Heat the peas, water and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
- Cook until peas are soft and butter has melted.
- Remove from heat and mash up the peas with a wooden spoon or potato masher until desired consistency is reached.
- Add lemon juice and last tablespoon of butter and mix.
- Season with the optional herb and salt and pepper.
Served with Malt Vinegar and Tartar sauce!
MOVIE PAIRING: CHILDREN OF MEN
This movie selection was chosen by The Traveling Ninja, and this is his favorite movie of all time. While there are probably plenty of British movies to choose from that are more strongly British vibes than this, I let the TN dictate this one, as he speaks about this movie all the time. If you haven't seen it, prepare yourself! It's not an easy film to watch at all, and given the current fear mongering and overtones of the present times and attitudes towards foreigners and refugees, I found it rather disturbing. If you have seen it, I am sure you will understand. Anyway, the movie is set in an apocalyptic-Britain, in the year 2027, where the last child was born over 18 years ago. The fertility crisis has led to complete breakdown of nations across the world, and Britain is one of the only places where civilization as we know it still exists. I won't reveal anymore because it is an epic film. The cinematography itself is absolutely fantastic and the TN raved the whole way through it again. It was nominated for three Oscars as well and many of the scenes, especially the action scenes, are filmed uninterrupted. Definitely worth a watch!
THE TRAVELING GINGER VERDICT:
I feel like I always start these sections the same.... A brief overview of how I royally screwed up. And if I've said that I've screwed up before, this time I REALLY screwed up. With some kind of magic, the food tasted delicious! But, cooking it was a royal disaster. I gave myself a blister trying to cut the potatoes into chips (fries). I then made WAY too many for two people. I really need to start adjusting the recipes. It was the first time I used a deep fryer... My first round of fish got stuck to the bottom of the basket and stuck to it. So I spent 15 minutes cleaning it... I probably just could have left it really. The TN suggested putting chips on the bottom and then the fish wouldn't stick to the basket.... Except now it was stuck to the chips. Yes, so that beautiful piece of fish in the picture actually has a whole bunch of chips attached to it at the bottom, I just removed the ones sticking out. Eventually I figured out it would be better to hold the fish in place and let it coat first. Also, the TN started to take over too. Saved! I won't be following the most pinned recipe on Pinterest blindly ever again!
This meal really was good though! The mushy peas were probably the best I've ever had. The chips came out better than expected, and the fish was delicious. Perhaps a little too crunchy, but good nonetheless. I'm just not sure I would cook all of this all over again! I suppose it would be better the next time round, as I know what to do now, but it took me forever, which it shouldn't have! We seasoned it with some malt vinegar and lemon juice, and had tartar sauce on the side. I have way more respect for all those chippies now!
THE TRAVELING NINJA VERDICT:
The french fries were seasoned perfectly.... I'm still waiting on the bag of chips she promised though...
Tell me where are you from! How do you define your heritage? Have you been to the UK? Have you tried Fish and Chips? Tell me in the comments!