In anticipation of the viewing of the Royal Wedding on April 29 with possibly the only other person in North America who is as fascinated with this as I am, I have been carefully considering the menu. JoAnn says scones and Scotch will be just fine with her, but I feel such a unique event requires more ambitious planning.
Of course, the Palace has not released the menu for the buffet reception following the nuptials but the queen’s head chef says it will feature all-British hot and cold canapes. For past events, such canapes have included quail eggs with celery salt, Ragstone goat cheese with caramelized walnuts, and Parmesan crisp and confit duck-leg terrine with smoked duck and pear chutney. I personally do not think I am going to be up to that culinary challenge at 4 in the morning when coverage starts.
So I have been perusing various breakfast menus from British establishments to ascertain what I would be eating if I were, in fact, in London and not, sadly, invited to the reception. It is not a pretty picture. Let’s just begin with the traditional English breakfast, which includes smoked streaky bacon, pork sausages, fried bread, black pudding, grilled tomatoes, field mushrooms, Heinz baked beans and your choice of eggs. And, yes, there is a reason that the baked beans are the Heinz brand. Back in the day – specifically 1886 – the revered food emporium Fortnum & Mason imported them as an exotic item. Tradition dies hard, particularly in Great Britain, and most breakfast menus still specify that the baked beans are Heinz.
Even if I could find Heinz baked beans and black pudding, I don’t know if I want to load up during the pre-dawn hours and risk the chance of falling back to sleep before Will and Kate walk down the aisle. By the way, I read an article that says the Royal family is slightly worried that Kate’s parents will actually want to be friends with them. I hope that girl knows what she’s getting in to.
So here are a few other choices from the various menus I found: Bubble and Squeek (mashed potatoes and cabbage), boiled eggs with buttered soldiers (toast fingers), porridge and a fried egg butty. I don’t know what a butty is but it sounds as though it might involve toilet paper and doesn’t sound good for breakfast.
Apparently, one of the most popular foods in Britain is the bacon roll or bacon sandwich and that’s all it is. Bacon and a roll. I actually could go for that one.
I know if I were to find myself in London I would not be frequenting Chef Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant, The London Bar. Or if I did I would run out of money and not be able to afford the commemorative Will and Kate toilet seats, barf bags or condoms. Yes, these are real. Eggs Benedict at Gordon’s place cost $21!
However, one menu item caught my attention: Mushrooms on toast. I can make those in my sleep. And they would be perfect for absorbing the champagne I plan to be drinking all morning long.
Creamed Mushrooms on Toast (my version)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
Salt to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
Additional butter for frying
1/4 cup marsala wine
Buttered toast, preferably with crusts removed
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour, whisking for a minute or two to get the raw taste out. Slowly pour in the milk and continue whisking until a thick sauce has formed. Add salt to taste and the nutmeg. Saute the mushrooms in about a tablespoon of butter until nicely browned. Add the marsala and reduce until it disappears from the pan. Add the mushrooms to the sauce.
Serve over buttered toast.