A Little Bit of Fun With Food
Here is my list of recipes from A-Z. It was great fun trawling cook books and the internet to find a recipe alphabet. Please feel free to add your recipe choices, or personal experiences with the list I produced.
Anzac biscuits are a rolled oat biscuit widely associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC). It has widely been said, that serving ANZAC soldiers would receive these biscuits from wives and womens groups because they stored well. In fact this is probably a myth, and although these biscuits were indeed made back home, they were actually sold at fundraising events in support of the war effort.
Anzac Day is celebrated on the 25th April to commemorate all serving Australians and New Zealanders who lost their lives in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
Bouillabaisse is a fish stew that originates from the Provencal port city of Marseille. Traditionally made by local fisherman with the bony rockfish they were unable to sell to the markets and restaurants. Three kinds of fish, Herbs de Provence, leeks, onions, tomatoes, celery and potatoes are used. The dish is traditionally served with toasted slices of bread and rouille (a mayonnaise made of olive oil, garlic, cayenne pepper and saffron).
In the USA recipes for corn chowder can be found as far back as 1884. It is a thick creamy soup made with corn, onion, celery, butter, milk or cream or slight variations of these ingredients. Chowder is popular in the North American regions of New England and Atlantic Provinces of Canada. Today it is a popular canned soup throughout the US.
Deviled eggs are hard boiled chicken eggs, cut in half and the yolks removed. The yolk is then used as a base ingredient, in which other ingredients are added to make a filling, which is then returned to the egg white halves. Sometimes known as stuffed, Russian, mimosa, Peruvian or dressed eggs they are usually served cold as an appetizer, starter, or side dish. These classic canapes can be traced back to ancient Rome.
Enchiladas are a popular Mexican dish, comprising of a corn tortilla wrapped round a filling and covered in a savoury sauce. Wrapping tortillas round other foods dates back to Aztec times. The choice of fillings is vast including: meats, vegetables, beans and cheese. Topping the enchiladas with: salsa roja, cheese, mole, or chili con queso sauces.
Fajita comes from the Spanish word ‘faja’ which translates to ‘belt’ or ‘girdle’. In the late 1930s early 1940s along the Rio Grande border of Texas and Mexico, ranch workers sometimes received cheap cuts of beef in part payment of their wages. Blending Texan cowboy cooking and Mexican panchero food, fajitas became an icon of Tex-Mex cooking.
Gazpacho is a soup traditionally served cold. From the Andalusian region of Spain, its history stems back to the Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Moors. The base of this soup is stale bread, garlic and olive oil with the addition of water or vinegar. In recent years Gazpacho has become the collective term for any cold soup.
Hot Crossed Buns
Hot Cross Buns are baked in predominantly Christian countries. Traditionally eaten toasted on Good Friday to celebrate the end of Lent. The cross represents Christ’s crucifixion and the spices signify the embalming process of his body. It is believed the first Hot Cross Buns were made in 1361 by Brother Thomas Rodcliffe. He named them Alban Buns after the Abbey he resided in at St Albans in Cornwall, distributing them to the poor on Good Friday. During the reign of Elizabeth I and James I the sale of Hot Cross Buns were forbidden except on Good Friday, at Christmas, or for burials. Hot Cross Bun recipes did not become readily available in England until the eighteenth century, but are now sold all year round.
The eighteenth century saw the beginning of refrigeration. By the 1860s recipes for iced tea were beginning to appear in the United States of America. In 1904 its popularity rocketed when Richard Blechynden introduced it at the Worlds Fair in St Louis. Iced tea is traditionally served with a garnish of sliced lemon or lime. Although considered a predominantly North American beverage, many other countries around the world have their own version.
With strong association to Louisiana, jambalaya is a popular savoury rice dish in the south eastern states of the US. Staple ingredients include protein, vegetables, spices and stock. The choice of vegetables is endless but onions, celery and red bell pepper are traditionally added. If the dish contains tomatoes it is a Creole jambalaya, without tomatoes it is known as a Cajun jambalaya and will be browner in colour. The dish reflects the cultures that settled in Louisiana, with a mix of Spanish, West African and French characteristics.
Katsu curry is a western inspired Japanese curry. It is a meat cutlet coated in Japanese panko bread crumbs and deep fried. Usually served on a bed of rice, with a side of pickled vegetables and miso soup. The dish is topped with a generous serving of smooth katsu curry sauce. This popular and varied curry was invented in the late 1800s, by a Tokyo restaurant keen to offer a taste of Europe on its menu.
Lasagna is an Italian dish that has evolved considerably over the centuries. The Romans used the term, which referred to baked squares/oblongs of dough made from wheat flour. And in the middle ages boiling dough was readily practised. There are many variations of the recipe but traditional lasagna alla bolognese is made from flour, egg and spinach pasta sheets, layered with ragù and béchamel sauce, topped with a sprinkle of parmigiano-reggiano cheese and baked.
The first meatloaf recipe dates back to the fifth century, appearing in a published Roman cookbook Apicius. It is a mix of ground meat and other ingredients, shaped into a loaf and baked. With a tendency to be dry, fatty meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces are often used to keep the meatloaf moist. Traditionally a Scandinavian, German and Belgium dish related to the Dutch meatball, the American version of meatloaf descends from a ground pork and cornmeal dish called scrappie, served in Pennsylvania in colonial times by German-Americans.
Since 1995, October 21 is the international day of the nacho. A popular Tex-Mex dish which can be traced back to one man Ignacio Anaya, known by his friends and family as Nacho. He worked at the Victory Club in the Mexican town of Piedras Negras, near Eagle Pass on the Texan border. In 1943 a group of military wives stationed at Fort Duncan were hungry after a day shopping, only to find nowhere open serving food. Ignacio kindly prepared them a meal with what was left in the kitchen, sliced and fried tortillas with jalapenos and cheese, baked in the oven until melted. St Anne’s Cookbook published in 1954 named Ignachio ‘Nacho’ Anaya from the Victory Club in Piedras Negras as the inventor of the recipe; the cookbook includes his original ‘nacho specials’ recipe.
Olive Oil Cake
Olive oil referred to as liquid gold plays a massive role in the lives of Mediterranean people. With a range of health benefits it has become a staple ingredient in any store cupboard. Replacing traditional saturated fat with olive oil produces a moist slightly denser cake, which makes a wonderful desert served with fruit.
No American Thanksgiving table is complete, without a pumpkin pie the shade of autumn in its centre. A shortcrust pastry case is filled with a spiced pumpkin puree and baked until set. The spices used are a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and Allspice. In the US canned pumpkin pie filling is readily available in supermarkets, but can be harder to source in the UK. Native to North America, pumpkins were exported to France and from there to Tudor England. Early colonists served savoury pumpkin pies in the outer shells of the fruit. It was not until the early nineteenth century, that the sweet pastry filled version we know and love today began to appear on North American dining tables.
Quiche is a savoury French tart comprising of a shortcrust pastry case, filled with a cheesy egg custard and choice of meat and vegetables. The well known quiche Lorraine contains bacon lardons and originates, from as the name suggests, Lorraine in the north east region of France. Although quiche is considered a French cuisine since the early nineteenth century, the English and Italians were producing recipes using egg and cream in pastry much earlier in the thirteenth and fourteenth century.
Rice pudding is a global dish dating back to the Tudor period, when it was known as whitepot. Although recipes and methods vary greatly in different countries, the few staple ingredients include: rice, milk, spices, sweeteners, flavourings and toppings, and sometimes eggs.
This well known Italian dish originates from the city of Bologna, where the meat based sauce known as ragù alla bolognese was first produced and served with tagliatelle. The sauce is made with onions, celery, carrot and minced beef, white wine, milk and tomato concentrate. The beef is braised and the vegetables sweated, before the liquid is added and the sauce simmered until thick. The origins of traditional Bolognese are closely related to French ragoût which was popular in the eighteenth century.
Tosset Cakes are a largely unknown or forgotten recipe, dating back more than 700 years. These spicy biscuits resembled shortbread, with the addition of caraway and coriander seeds. They were a major part of the Tosset Feast, which was celebrated in and around the Lancashire village of Stalmine and likely linked to the English feast day of St Oswald on August 5th. The First World War put an end to the commercial production of tosset cakes, when sugar and butter were rationed. These little biscuits and the Tosset Feast rich in cultural English history had a revival, after they were featured on a TV series about Lost Foods presented by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and food advocate Jimmy Doherty.
Upside Down Cake
Since the middle ages upside down cakes were made in skillets lined with seasonal fruit like apples, cherries and plums on top of a stove. In 1903 Jim Dole the founder of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (Dole Pineapple) discovered a way to tin these tropical fruit. In a bid to boost sales he was soon requesting creative ways to use these sun-blushed fruit. By 1925 he was receiving thousands of recipes for pineapple upside down cake and this exotic fruit had found its way to our table and our hearts.
Vindaloo induces a vision of watering eyes and fiery tongue, but this wasn’t traditionally the case. Surprisingly it was fifteenth century Portuguese sailors exploring India that were the inspiration of this Indian dish, bringing with them meat marinated in garlic and wine-vinegar called carne de vinha d’alhos. As wine-vinegar was not available in India palm vinegar was used instead, and the use of chilli peppers and other spices were added to give the dish a taste of India.
As the name suggests Belgium waffles are from where? Yes you guessed it, Belgium. They have larger squares, deeper pockets and are made with a lighter batter than American waffles. They were first revealed at the 1958 Brussels World Fair. In 1962 the recipe sailed across the Atlantic with a Belgium man Walter Cleyman, who introduced them at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle. Popularity spread further when another Belgium man Maurice Vermersch, showcased them at the 1964 New York World Fair. Vermersch simplified the recipe and sold them for a dollar, served with strawberries and whipped cream.
Xni Pec salsa is not for the faint hearted. Xni is Mayan for dog and pec is Mayan for nose or snout. So the salsa literally means dogs nose. This may seem an unusual name for a recipe however the name is fitting, as the habañero peppers in this hottest of salsas, packs a choleric bite and will have your nose running wet like a dogs. The blend of citrusy heat is a fantastic accompaniment with fish or chicken, or as a simple dip with tortilla chips.
The infamous Yorkshire pudding is a simple batter made from flour, eggs and milk baked at a high temperature in the oven. Traditionally served with roast beef they can also be filled with sausage and mash, or onion gravy. They even make a sweet desert served with jam. In the 1800s cooks in northern England discovered a simple pudding, using the fat known as dripping that collected in the pan from roasting meat. Yorkshire puddings were a tasty poor persons meal, cheap and filling. Other countries have their own versions of the English Yorkshire pudding for example: the American popover or Dutch babies.
Zrazy is a rolled meat roulade that can be traced back to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and is popular across Eastern Europe. Traditionally made from seasoned beef, stuffed with potatoes, vegetables, mushrooms and eggs, there are numerous varieties available. The stuffed meat is rolled and secured with string and then fried before being added to a casserole of onion, celery, spices and stock.