Jolly Ol’ London Town

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The English have long-suffered a somewhat less than celebratory reputation for their cuisine.  Well, much has improved!  Even my hubby now relishes the “Full English Breakfast,” with its eggs and bacon, beans, mushrooms, and toast.

 

While in London, if you are in the Knightsbridge neighborhood, check out the Fifth Floor Restaurant & Café directly over Harvey Nichols.  The food market there is also delightful and highly diversified.  In the café, you can enjoy a variety of traditional English dishes.  I heartily recommend the Bacon Sandwich.  Don’t picture typical bacon from the United States.  These slices are thick, wide disks of English bacon, perfectly crisped on the edges and truly bursting with taste bud-delighting flavor.   The slices are served on a golden grilled, soft ciabatto roll with your choice of Ketchup or Brown Sauce.

 

If you hail from the UK, you will think me daft to try explaining Brown Sauce.  However, this staple condiment is non-existent on tables in the USA.  Brits may scoff because they are as accustomed to its presence as we are to Ketchup.  However, if you have not yet tasted Brown Sauce, go for it!  I found it blended perfectly with the Bacon Sandwich, as it would with any pork product or poultry for that matter.

 

I can only describe its flavor as a very close match to clove-rich Raisin Sauce my Mother always made to serve with her Baked Ham.  Brown Sauce seems virtually identical, but with thickeners added.

 

Here is Mom’s Free Recipe for you, straight out of “50 Years of Fabulous Family Favorites,” from Quiet Thunder Publishing in 2008.

 

Raisin Sauce for Baked Ham

1 c seedless raisins

1 c sugar

½ c vinegar

¼ tsp cloves (or a bit more, as you prefer)

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 (8-12 oz) jar grape jelly

Pinch salt

Heat together slowly in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring several times.

OR this Variation:

Mix ½ c brown sugar, 1 tsp dry  mustard, and 2 T corn starch.  Slowly add 2 T vinegar.  Add 2 T lemon juice, ¼ tsp lemon rind, 1-1/2 c water, and ½ c raisins.  Stir over low heat till thickened.  Makes 2 cups.

(I must admit that my adult taste buds made me completely eliminate the sugar from her original recipe; I also use more Worcestershire sauce and vary the jelly flavors.)

Obviously, either way you may it, the flavor is similar to the thick Brown Sauce, but Brown Sauce has no raisins.  Dip a crispy bacon sandwich in that!

You can enjoy hundreds of time-tested and true family recipes in “50 Years of Fabulous Family Favorites,” now available in convenient eBook and soon-to-be paperback formats at Amazon.com.

Anyway, check out the real Brown Sauce.  I found the most popular bottled variety to be called “The Original HP Sauce,” with the label indicating they’ve been making it since 1899.  The label ingredients include malt vinegar, molasses, glucose-fructose syrup, spirit vinegar, sugar, dates, corn flour, rye flour, salt, spices, flavourings, and Tamarind.  Check it out on their website:  www.hpsauce.co.uk.  HP Sauce notes it’s great on sausages and bacon sandwiches, but they also suggest trying it in casseroles, pies, or gravy.  Definitely try it on the Bacon Sandwich at the 5th Floor Restaurant over Harvey Nichols by the Knightsbridge station of the London Underground… with love and laughter.

 

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About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 14 books, and counting! As a lifelong corporate communications geek, I enjoy a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with my husband, I have passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun.
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