Eating British for a month is a challenge – there are no two ways about it. But the month you select will depend on how tough this will be. I chose May as I thought that with summer on its way, there would be an abundance of British salads, berries, etc. to feed my appetite. I was right to a certain extent, but there was not as much in season as I’d thought there would be.
You’ve got to get creative with what you can make. I’ve pulled together a bit of a menu based on what I was eating, but I’d love to hear what you come up with.
- Oats – roasted with English butter and honey with milk and occasionally a fresh strawberry
- Homemade bread / toast with honey – British flour, sugar, salt, butter, and yeast
- British ham sandwich with cucumber, lettuce, and watercress
- English cheese and tomato sandwich
- Little gem, watercress, cress, cucumber and tomato salad with homemade English honey and mustard dressing
- British Chicken breast with a cream sauce, potato and leek mash and frozen peas and broad beans
- Roasted British onion, carrots, peppers, leeks, tomatoes, and mushrooms topped with goats cheese
- Bolognaise sauce made with British mince, onions, fresh tomatoes, and mushrooms with mashed potato and frozen peas
- British chicken (or bacon) carbonara sauce made with mushrooms, egg and cheddar cheese with mash potato, peas, and carrots
- Shepherds pie, with British lamb mince, carrots, potatoes with frozen peas
- British flapjacks made with Scottish oats, English honey, butter, and sugar
- English Apples or Pears
Here’s a list of some of the basics to get you going:
Simple staples available from most supermarkets:
- Cheese – Cheddar, Goats, Stilton, Wensleydale, Red Leicester
- Rapeseed oil
British Fruit and veg that should be easy enough to find in May:
- Frozen peas / broad beans
- Onions / Spring onions
- Little Gem / Iceberg lettuce
- Cox / Royal Gala / Braeburn apples
- Conference pears
Meat is relatively straightforward to identify as being British, with good supplies of chicken, beefo, pork and lamb. Fish is slightly harder, but if you're going for favourites like salmon, cod or haddock you should be ok but be warned, a lot comes from the Canadian Atlantic.
British brands to help you on your way:
Other brands you may expect to be British such as Duchy of Cornwall, often import some of their produce.
- Abel and Cole veg boxes have a handy ‘Producers’ section on each page, but be careful as they do import produce from elsewhere
- Whole Foods have a great selection of British produce
- Local butchers and markets – They generally like to source locally, or at least will know what’s in season and where their produce has come from
- Supermarkets are all pretty much the same – poor or lack of labelling means it takes time to find what you’re after, but you can get enough British produce. A word of warning though, labels like the Red Tractor only means it meets British standards, not that it's actually produced in Britain.
The Eat The Season website is a great place to start your food challenge, letting you know what’s in season each month so you can plan ahead.
I'd love to hear what else you can find and how you get on.