The UK consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all of which I have been to visit. As I lived in England for a year that is going to be my area of focus for this post. I may come back to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the future.
Traveling around England is very easy by road, train or even plane as the transport system is very good although I’m not sure that a lot of English people would not agree. There are many International airports but there are also some smaller Regional airports which makes it easy to fly from one part of the country to another. Both the road and rail network are quite extensive giving easy access to most parts of the country. When I lived in England I lived in a beautiful town called Rugby (yes where the game originated) and I was lucky enough to live just a few minutes walk from the train station. From here I could get to just about anywhere in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) in just a few hours by rail taking away any stress of driving. Don’t get me wrong I never found driving there stressful as such. Unfortunately the downside to driving is sitting in traffic jams and trying to get parking. I just don’t see the point of sitting in traffic going nowhere or spending forever trying to find a parking spot when it’s so uch easier to get the train. Another advantage to the train of course is that you have someone else doing the driving while you sit back relax and enjoy the scenery.
Birmingham was only a forty minute train trip away for me. I quite like this city, in fact I much prefer it to London which was a couple of hours in the opposite direction. One of the things that I love about Birmingham is the Christmas Market. I just love the hustle and bustle of this market and the excitement and anticipation of Christmas approaching.
The range of foods on the different stalls and the aromas wafting on the crisp winter air is an experience not to be missed. There is food from many different countries but a range of German Sausages seem to be the most common. When it comes to sausages a common dish in England is good old Bangers with Mash and don’t forget the Onion Gravy.
For UK night we decided it had to be Bangers with Mash and Onion Gravy. This time my daughter in law did the cooking. As my son does most of the cooking in their house it was actually the first time for her to cook for me. I’m sure that must have been stressful cooking for the scary mother in law (hehe) but she did a great job.
There are a few key things to pay attention to when making a great Bangers with Mash. The first thing is that not all sausages are made equal. It is essential that the sausages used have plenty of flavour and here in Ireland there are a few brands that rank high on the list with several other brands giving them a run for their money. Of course nowadays it is relatively easy to get a variety of different flavoured sausages. I take pride in knowing that many years ago when I was an Organic Farmer I produced flavoured sausages long before they were ever available in the shops. Next choosing the right potato and the right butter is important for getting that perfect mash. For me Rooster or Maris Piper potatoes are the only contenders with Kerry Gold butter an absolute must (we Irish know our spuds and butter).
2-3 sausages per person
2-3 potatoes per person (depending on size and glutony and preferably Roosters)
A dollop of butter (a dollop is basically a way of saying add as much as you like)
1 large onion
Bisto instant gravy granules
Fry, grill or bake the sausages until brown on the outside and cooked through. Peel and boil the potatoes until soft enough to mash but make sure they are not too soft or they just taste watery. Drain, mash and add butter. Some people also add milk but I prefer when milk is not added. To make the Onion gravy finely chop the onion then saute in some butter until soft but still with a little bite to them. Mix the gravy granules as directed on the packet and add to the onions. Pour over the Bangers with Mash and enjoy. (onion gravy can also be made from scratch using a homemade gravy base)
Join me next time for Spanish night.