Tag Archives: English food

Tasty Treats on the Road in Europe

We had some very tasty treats while we were on the road in France, Belgium and England on our big European antiques buying trip last summer. We did a lot of driving around hunting for antique furniture and vintage chandeliers and we kept our strength up with all kinds of delicious food.  The antiques we bought are now arriving in the gallery, having been shipped back to the USA. Each piece that I unwrap makes me think of the food we had on our European trip. Here are some of the tasty treats that we enjoyed on the road:

France Pastries in Case

We enjoyed many different delicious French pastries while we were on our Antiques Buying Trip in France,  As you can see from this lovely patisserie display, it’s hard to pick just one.

Market Day 2 near Saint Hilaire de Harcouet

On a slightly healthier note, we also loved browsing the fresh produce at the food markets that you’ll see in any French city or village. This is a photo of market day near Saint Hilaire de Harcouet during our Antiques Hunting trip in Normandy.

Market Day 3 near Saint Hilaire de Harcouet

The same market had a wide array of fantastic cheeses.

Market Day near Saint Hilaire de Harcouet

If you like cooking seafood, you would have some tempting choices at the Normandy market. Because we were on a road trip, it wasn’t very practical for us to buy fresh seafood to prepare, but we certainly had some great restaurant meals!

Pastries and cafe au lait in France

I remember taking this photo on our last day in France before heading for England. I was going to miss the delicious French pastries and cafe au lait at breakfast!

English Breakfast

But on the bright side… while we were hunting around to Find Antique English Grandfather Clocks  we got to enjoy the full English breakfast that they fill up on in England, complete with baked beans and mushrooms. I’m not sure why they added a slice of watermelon, it isn’t traditional, but it was nice and refreshing!

England Candy shop Lincoln

One of our favorite stops was Antiques Hunting around Lincoln Cathedral.  We strolled through the charming medieval town and were astonished at the beauty of Lincoln Cathedral. We couldn’t resist a bite of home-made clotted cream fudge while hiking up Steep Hill. (Definitely worth the calories!) This candy store also sold Eton Mess, which is a mix of meringue, strawberries and whipped cream.

Ketchup Chips

Our other European adventure was buying vintage chandeliers in Belgium. We always have a lot of fun trying out the different flavors of potato chips. Only in Belgium…Ketchup Chips! We get them every time we are in Belgium because they are the best chips anywhere. Why Lays does not sell these in the US is beyond us!

Burger flavored chips

The next day’s chip selection…Classic Burger flavor! Strange but good!

Beer Choices Beer Choices What to pick

The July 4th holiday happened while we were busy hunting for Antique Religious Treasures in Belgium.  Even though we were far from hom, we had to celebrate Independence Day, so we headed for a supermarket to find a celebratory bottle of beer. But what to choose? There was such a huge selection.

Happy 4th of July from Belgium beer

It was so hard to narrow down the Belgian beers to just one, so this was our final selection of choices. I picked two! Happy 4th July from Belgium!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Traditional Old Country Soups to Warm You Up

I just found out that January is National Soup Month. I don’t know how I missed that before but maybe this is the perfect timing to talk about soup as folks are still digging themselves out from Winter Storm Jonas and it’s still so cold over much of the country. As we are into the final season of Downton Abbey too, let’s take inspiration from The Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by the awesome Maggie Smith) who is a big fan of soups.

Dowager enjoys soup

She was the one who said, “‘Every good lady’s maid should know how to make a restorative broth.” I don’t have a lady’s maid (I went wrong somewhere…) and probably you don’t either, so here are some traditional Old Country soups from Europe that you can make yourself to get warmed up!

We’ll start with an English Barley Soup creation from Pamela Foster, author of the Abbey Cooks Entertain books. Beef and barley soup is a very old English dish – you’ll find a version of it in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management book published in 1861, but it goes back long before that.  On her DowntonAbbeyCooks.com blog, Pamela offers two variations: cream of barley for the posh family upstairs and a more rustic beef and barley soup for the servants downstairs. I’m with the servants – it looks delicious!

Cock a Leekie soup MSFarther north, Scotland is famous for its Cock-A-Leekie soup, which was first written about in the 1500s. It is often served on Burns Night at the end of January in celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, but it is a year-round warming treat.

The soup is made of leeks and chicken, usually thickened with rice but sometimes with barley. Prunes are traditionally added for extra seasoning or as a garnish.

Try the recipe by Martha Stewart or go direct to the source with the Cock-A-Leekie recipe in The Scotsman newspaper!

French Onion Soup If you’ve been to France, you might have fond memories of luscious French onion soup. It’s a wonderful comfort food, served with croutons or slices of French bread on top, covered with melted cheese and traditionally served in a chunky round bowl with one or two handles. There are many versions of this simple but satisfying soup that dates back to Roman times, but the longer you leave the onions to caramelize, the richer the flavor! Here’s one recipe from Real SImple magazine.

Waterzooi soupWe import quite a lot of antique Flemish furniture and lighting  to our store, so I went looking for a traditional Flemish soup.

This recipe for Waterzooi soup is a great one to try if you want something a little different. The thick stewy soup is traditionally made with fish, although you can substitute chicken. It has egg yolks, cream and potatoes in it, so you won’t go hungry!

Do you have any favorite traditional soups, perhaps from old family recipes? Make our mouths water and tell us about it in the comments!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

A Traditional English Christmas

Downton Abbey fans will already know that the popular English TV show is back for its sixth and final season soon, starting on January 3, 2016 on MASTERPIECE on PBS. The very last show in the series will be a Christmas special! But if you want your Downton Abbey Christmas fix now, I’ve also heard that PBS is re-airing the Christmas special finale from Season 5 on December 27, 2015. Downton Abbey Christmas

There’s something nostalgic about an old-time English Christmas. I guess it must be all those Masterpiece Theatre shows as well as holiday stories like A Christmas Carol. Here are some of the English Christmas traditions that stand out to me.

Christmas crackers children

An English Christmas dinner table is always set with Christmas crackers – NOT a food but the novelties that pull apart with a bang. They’re ‘cracked’ before Christmas dinner and the person who “wins” by keeping hold of the longest piece gets the prizes inside. They put on the paper crown and tell the (usually terrible) joke. Once everybody has a paper crown, the feast can commence! This illustration of two children tugging on a cracker dates back to 1878.

Yorkshire PuddingThe English Christmas meal is very similar to our own, except redcurrant jelly might replace cranberry sauce and roast parsnips are traditional too. Turkey is a favorite although in medieval England a roast peacock or wild boar might have been on the menu! King Henry VIII was the first English King to tuck into turkey for Christmas. Many families add a Yorkshire Pudding to the meal. This is not a dessert but a savory dish between an American biscuit and a savory pancake. If you want to try this tasty treat, here’s a recipe for Yorkshire Pudding.

Christmas puddingAfter the meal comes the ‘real’ pudding: Christmas pudding or plum pudding. Except that it’s not a pudding in the way we understand a pudding either! Instead of being a custardy dish, it’s more like a dense steamed cake, full of dried raisins, cherries and other dried fruit and nuts. It’s traditional to hide a silver coin (in the old days it was a silver sixpence) inside the pudding. It’s good luck for whoever finds it in their bowl. Sometimes the pudding is doused in brandy or rum and then set alight as it is carried to the table. It is served with custard, rum butter, clotted cream, or a brandy sauce of thick cream with a few spoons of brandy stirred in.

Osborne House Festive Guided ToursFor snacks between meals or to accompany a pot of tea, everyone loves mince pies! Even if you don’t have servants to bring you mince pies on a silver tray, they are easy to make if you find a jar of the mincemeat in your local grocery store. Despite the name, there is no meat involved, although when the delicacy first appeared in the 13th century it was indeed real meat, seasoned with dried fruits and spices including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Now the meat has gone and just the sweet stuff remains, although suet is a part of the mix. If you don’t eat meat, look for products with vegetable suet rather than lard suet.

Christmas-decorations-Finally, the English take Boxing Day, December 26, as a national holiday as well as Christmas Day itself. It has nothing to do with the sport of boxing, although there are lots of sporting events on Boxing Day including horse racing. It is actually the day that people traditionally gave gifts (or boxes) to their servants and tradesmen. Nowadays most people don’t have servants but they still celebrate the day as a chance to visit friends or extended family and exchange gifts, or just relax and eat more mince pies!

This looks like a very grand and festive place to entertain visiting friends. It’s a picture of the Christmas tree at Holker Hall in Cumbria, England, the ancestral home of Lord Cavendish. Even the bust of the Greek poet Homer on the mantelpiece over the fireplace is decorated with a mistletoe wreath!

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you might also like my post on Old World Christmas Traditions in France and Italy, or the one about Downton Abbey Kitchen Style.

Merry Christmas!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.