Originally written as part of the World Cup 2014 cooking project.
Well, it was going to happen at some point; writing about a team that has already been eliminated from the World Cup. I was just hoping that it wasn’t going to be my beloved England. Unfortunately, the three lions didn’t so much as yawn, let alone roar, in this World Cup, and is therefore on the plane home.
It’s quite incredible to think that England, the country that codified the rules and exported them to every corner of the globe, has only won the World Cup once; in 1966 when it was held in England. The final was a classic against the old rivals West Germany, finishing 4-2 after extra time, which included a little controversy about a goal that was or wasn’t. Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick for England that day and went down in football folklore in the land of St George.
When I graduated from university, with an overdraft the size of a student’s drinking capacity, I was gently persuaded by the bank to maybe get a temporary job until I found that permanent life changing position. I ended up in an insurance company stuffing envelopes and get sugar hits from lickable stamps – it was a posh affair. I was located outside an office, one I couldn’t quite see in to. On the umpteenth lick I heard a voice coming from the office.
“Yes, I’ll take those 10 tickets for Twickenham at 500 quid a pop”.
That rankled a somewhat poor graduate like me and I sat there griping. The voice then got louder and I realised the chap was stood next to me talking with someone. I was biting my lip, filling with rage. I decided to look up with a facial contortion of complete disdain. My eyes met his and his mine. What seemed like an age left me shaken and stunned. It was my hero, Geoff Hurst. I nervously smiled and continued to stuff and lick – it had made my day.
So, England is out of the World Cup, and was so after only two games. To be honest I have seen England play much worse and scrape through to the second round. The team is definitely in transition and showed glimpses of excitement, especially with Sturridge and Sterling up front. Like most successful teams it’s going to be about having a consistent management team and set of players over the next few years for England to grow as a footballing power again. In the meantime I have picked my second team for the World Cup, which is…
England has been much maligned over the years for its perceived lack of fine cuisine. I am not quite sure why though because when you delve a little beyond the superficial perception there are a host of treasures ranging from the basic rib-stickers to the highly refined. Just considering classic English food alone you will find pies like the pork ones of Melton Mowbray; exquisite pickles and chutneys; bity, crumbly and blue cheeses; summer and winter desserts such as trifle and jam roly-poly; an amazing array of seafood such as monkfish, lobsters, scallops and cod; and the absolute icons like fish and chips, Cornish pasties and the ploughman’s lunch. London was the reason I got in to cooking with its melting pot of global cuisine interspersed with modern and classy interpretations of English classical food.
The dish I have chosen is a combination of good old-fashioned cooking and consummate elegance. Yorkshire pudding is my home staple; beautifully soft and crispy eggy puddings that cry out to be filled with something tasty. And that tasty elegance is a hot-smoked trout mousse that gets a little bit bolshy with a kick of horseradish.
Yorkshire Puddings and Smoked Trout Mousse - EnglandPrint
- For the Smoked Trout Mousse:
- ■ 200g hot smoked trout | Very carefully skinned, pin-boned and flaked.
- ■ 4 tsp. creamed horseradish | Freshly grated horseradish can also be used - use about half the amount if so.
- ■ ½ lemon - juice of |
- ■ ½ lemon - zest of | Grated.
- ■ 150g crème fraiche |
- ■ seasoning of sea salt and black pepper |
- ■ 3 spring onions | Finely sliced - green and white parts.
- For the Yorkshire Pudding:
- ■ 75g plain flour |
- ■ 1 large egg |
- ■ 75ml milk |
- ■ 55ml water |
- ■ pinch sea salt |
- ■ 3 tbsp. grapeseed oil | Or other good cooking oil.
Preheat an oven to 220°C (430°F).
For the smoked trout mousse: to a food processor add 140g of the flaked smoked trout, the creamed horseradish, lemon juice, lemon zest and crème fraiche and blend until smooth. Now add the other 60g of flaked trout and mix gently (i.e. not process). Taste and add more lemon, horseradish or seasoning if required.
For the Yorkshire pudding: pour a little oil in to each compartment of a Yorkshire pudding tin or muffin tin. Put in the oven until the oil is very hot, almost smoking.
Add the flour to a medium sized bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the egg, milk, water and salt to the centre and beat with a whisk whilst gradually incorporating the flour. Now whisk out any lumps to get a smooth batter. No need to let this rest.
Pour enough batter in to each compartment of the hot pudding tin – you should end up with about 10 puddings. Cook in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until risen, golden brown and crispy.
Scoop some trout mousse into a hot Yorkshire pudding and top with some sliced spring onion. Tell me that isn’t the best thing you’ve ever had.