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Thread: English appetizer?

  1. #1
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    English appetizer?

    I have to bring an appetizer to my book club with an English theme...and I'm at a loss. Any suggestions? I've searched under England and English and haven't come up with much. Thanks!

    Kate

  2. #2
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    Cucumber sandwiches? Do you know what else is on the menu?

  3. #3
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    The English aren't really known for appetizers, not the way Americans think of them anyway. Usually a dinner begins with a Starter or Soup. Aside from smoked salmon with cream cheese and caviar most of the recipes I have are for individual servings and need to be plated and eaten with a fork or spoon.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  4. #4
    I'd agree about the Brits not observing appetizers like we do. We lived there for nearly 3 years - can't wait to go back for a visit. What about Mushy Peas with some Crumpets? Very easy to make and serve -- you can even spread the peas on the crumpets.

    Why not browse through some of Nigella's cookbooks and see if there's something you can adapt into an appetizer?

    Hope this helps!
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  5. #5
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    Found this one from Delia Smith, one of my favorite English cooks. While it does call for individual ramekins I'm sure you could bake it as one large and serve with the toasted soda bread:

    Potted Cromer Crab

    It's sometimes a real treat to take a break from modern global cooking and return to something purely and simply British or, in this case, English. For centuries in this country there has been a great tradition of potting meat, fish, game and even cheese, and the results could hold their own among any collection of Continental pâtés and terrines. This particular recipe for potted Cromer crab is adapted from one given to me by one of my favourite chefs of all time, Michael Quinn. It's brilliant as a first course for a summer meal for six people, but two or three could easily polish off the whole lot for lunch. Either way, I like to serve it with toasted Irish soda bread and mustard and cress.

    Serves 6 as a first course or 2-3 for lunch

    5 oz (150 g) white crab meat
    5 oz (150 g) brown crab meat (or you can use 2 dressed Cromer crabs instead of buying crab meat)
    1 oz (25 g) shallots (about 1 medium shallot), peeled and finely chopped
    2 tablespoons Manzanilla sherry
    good pinch cayenne pepper
    good pinch ground mace
    good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
    5 oz (150 g) unsalted butter, cubed
    1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy essence
    1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus extra if needed
    salt and freshly milled black pepper




    You will also need six 1 1/4 in (3 cm) deep ramekins with a base diameter of 2 1/4 in (5.5 cm).

    Begin by placing the shallots, sherry and spices in a small saucepan. Bring the whole lot up to simmering point, then boil quite briskly until the liquid has reduced to about a generous dessertspoon – it should only take about 2 minutes.

    Next, stir in the cubes of butter and, when they are melted, turn the heat down to very low and let it all simmer as gently as possible for 15 minutes, giving it a stir from time to time. After that, remove it from the heat and leave it to cool for about half an hour.

    Towards the end of that time you'll need to assemble a nylon sieve fitted over a bowl and another bowl filled with ice cubes. Then pour the spicy butter through the sieve and press well to extract all the juice from the shallots. Now set the bowl over the ice and, using an electric hand whisk, whisk until the butter becomes thick and creamy without becoming hard.

    Now mix in the crab meat, anchovy essence, teaspoon of lemon juice and a really good seasoning of salt and freshly milled black pepper. Taste and check the seasoning – you might like to add a little extra lemon juice. Then spoon the mixture into the ramekins or a larger pot. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 3 hours.

    Remove the potted crab from the fridge about half an hour before serving and serve with mustard and cress, lemon quarters and toast or fresh wholemeal bread and butter.

    Note: if you want to make this a day or so ahead, cover the surface with melted butter to seal off the air. To do this, melt 50 g (2 oz) of butter and divide it between the ramekins, pouring a bit over the potted crab in each one, or pour it all over the potted crab in the single large pot.

    This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (June 2001).
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  6. #6
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    If you're looking for dead easy and 'travels well' you could plop a block of cream cheese on a plate (call it clotted cream, they'll never know), top it with a jar of Major Grey's Chutney (definitely English) and serve with Carr's Water Biscuits (also English).

    I, too, have spent time in England and starters were almost never served. And when it was, it was smoked salmon or shrimp cocktail.

    What book are you reading?
    Sonja in Southern Maryland

    All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others. -Michael Carr

  7. #7
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    How about a few pints of cider? Or some John Smiths?

    Seriously though, there are a ton of marvelous Brittish cheeses. I think I'd do a cheese platter. Wensleydale, a few cheddars, stilton. Served with thick slabs of bread and water crackers. You could even do a few European style butters. You can't go wrong.
    ~ I used to be undecided, but now I'm not so sure ~ Boscoe Pertwee

  8. #8
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    In Europe cheese is served AFTER the main course, not as an appetizer.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by funniegrrl
    In Europe cheese is served AFTER the main course, not as an appetizer.
    However, I think in this situation, British cheese would make an appropriate appetizer

    Actually, I was coming up with all these crazy thoughts of traditional British mains pared down to mini versions. Mini Yorkshire puds w/ beef etc.

    what is the book you are reading? That might help with some ideas as well.
    Understand, when you eat meat, that something did die. You have an obligation to value it - not just the sirloin but also all those wonderful tough little bits.
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  10. #10
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    The problem with English cheeses could be that in the USA they tend to be pricey! A true Stilton can run upwards of $12.00 a pound...
    Sonja in Southern Maryland

    All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others. -Michael Carr

  11. #11
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    Fried Snicker Bars?

  12. #12
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    Ooooooooooooooooo! NOW you're talkin'!!!
    Sonja in Southern Maryland

    All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others. -Michael Carr

  13. #13
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    From a friend in Manchester:

    "I would say canapes. Smoked salmon and cream cheese, bacon and egg, ham and branston pickle, cheddar and onion, black pudding and mustard, that sort of thing, all 'quintessentially British flavours'. Easy to do ahead and take on the day. Also cheese straws? Cocktail sausages, cubes of cheese and pickled onion on sticks?

    Normally people tend to nibble on crisps and nuts. None of which are remotely British.

  14. #14
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    FYI- My Whole Foods has authentic English clotted cream!
    No matter how you slice the baloney, there are always two sides!

  15. #15
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    Donna...show off! The nearest Whole Foods to me is 35 miles! Clotted cream is God's gift to us...and we deserve it.
    Sonja in Southern Maryland

    All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others. -Michael Carr

  16. #16
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    Hehe, I've been assured this one is as authentic as they come :



    Devils on Horseback  
    Makes 12 
    Appetizers     Hot     Party Food   Buffet  Appetizer

    Ingredients:
    12 Large Prunes
    300ml/10fl.oz. Boiling Water
    12 Pimento-stuffed Olives
    6 rashers Streaky Bacon
    4 Slices of White Bread (from a large loaf)
    Butter

    Instructions
    1. Place the prunes in a large bowl. Cover with the boiling water and allow to soak for 20 minutes.

    2. Meanwhile, cut each bacon rasher in half width-ways and stretch each half lengthways with the back of a knife.

    3. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas mark 7 and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.

    4. Drain the prunes well, remove the stones and place an olive in the centre of each prune.

    5. Wrap each prune with a stretched half rasher of bacon and secure with a cocktail stick.

    6. Place the wrapped prunes on the foil-lined baking tray and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crispy.

    7. Meanwhile, remove the crusts from the slices of bread and toast.

    8. To serve -  Butter the toast liberally and cut into quarters (either squares or triangles).  Alternatively, cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place on a heated serving dish and top each quarter with a wrapped prune, spearing the end of the cocktail stick into the toast. Serve immediately.

    These can be prepared 1 day in advance. Make to stage 6 then cover and refrigerate the uncooked devils.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all the responses. Unfortunately, I don't know what else is on the menu--I think it's all going to be finger food.

  18. #18
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    OK, on a more serious note. Unfortunately I can't open the site now (greatbritishkitchen.co.uk) but here is what they have listed, if it stimulates any ideas:

    Angels on Horseback
    Arbroath Smokies 1
    Arbroath Smokies 2
    Asparagus Mimosa
    Bacon Floddies
    Bacon Froise
    Belvoir Crumpets
    Beribboned Asparagus Rolls
    Boiled Eggs
    Breakfast Pancakes
    Celery Cheese
    Cheese and Bacon Dip
    Cheese and Pickle Dip
    Cheese Pate
    Cheese Ramekins
    Cheshire Potted Cheese
    Cod's Roe Ramekins
    Cornish Pasties
    Country Mushrooms
    Crab in Cream Sauce
    Craster Kipper Paste
    Cucumber Sandwiches
    Devilled Mushrooms
    Devils on Horseback
    Egg and Cress Sandwiches
    Egg Mayonnaise
    Forfar Bridies
    Garlic Mushrooms
    Gentlemen's Morsels
    Glamorgan Sausages
    Ham and Haddie
    Herby Cheese Spread
    Herrings in Oatmeal
    Highland Brose
    Mackerel and Mushroom Pate
    Marinated Mackerel
    Melon and Blackberry Cocktail
    Melon and Ham Gondolas
    Mock Crab
    Morecombe Bay Potted Shrimps or Prawns
    Mushroom Pate
    Mushrooms in White Wine
    Newcastle Potted Salmon
    Oat and Herring Dippers
    Omelette Arnold Bennett
    Pan Haggerty
    Poached Eggs
    Redcurrant Quails Eggs
    Rumbled Eggs
    Salmon and Cheese Triangles
    Salmon Trout and Prawn Pate
    Sardine Pate
    Sausage Rolls
    Scotch Eggs
    Scotch Woodcock
    Scrambled Eggs
    Smoked Salmon
    Smoked Salmon Mousses
    Smoked Salmon Pinwheels
    Smoked Trout Pate
    Somerset Brie with Redcurrant Jelly
    Stilton and Watercress Pate
    Stilton Dip
    Stilton Pears
    Stilton Scotch Eggs
    Stuffed Mushrooms (Cold)
    Traditional Porridge
    Trick or Treat Dip
    Watercress Sandwiches
    Welsh Rarebit
    Wensleydale Tarts
    White Devil
    Whitebait

  19. #19
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    We had dinner at our British neighbors' house on Saturday night and they served us bread, butter and pate as a starter. Don't know if that's "traditional" but that's what they served us!

  20. #20
    What about a plate of smoked salmon? (Edited to add: oops, I see that was already mentioned.)

    Probably, less common (but tasty) would be the following two.

    Another from Delia, which our guests always seem to enjoy:

    (Tiny Cheese and Olive Scones)
    http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/r_0000000906.asp

    And in the event you don't have self-rising flour (I don't) per 1 cup of self-rising flour use regular flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt. I see I wrote on my recipe that after weighing flour, I had approximately 1 1//2 cups to which I added 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and upped the total salt in recipe to 3/4 teaspoon.

    Or perhaps Shrimp Paste:

    1/2 pound shrimps, cooked and peeled
    5 tablespoons olive oil
    Juice of a lime
    1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
    Salt

    Mash the shrimps to a paste. This can be done either by using a fork or in a blender or food processor. Gradually add the olive oil. Season with the lime juice, cayenne pepper, basil and coriander. Add salt to taste. Place in a small jar or dish. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Serve chilled with toast or crackers.

    (From: Great British Cooking)

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