This spring, my sister had an exciting research trip planned all across England, and my family and I decided to tag along. Her travels took her to the gorgeous Cornish coast in southwestern England, London and Oxford.
We also made sure we saw the white cliffs of Dover and the cathedral in Canterbury too.
Travel is so much more than just seeing sights. It’s about experiencing different cultures, learning about what makes people the way they are, tasting the traditional foods and letting the fresh sea breeze wash over you to rejuvenate your spirits.
I wrote about the amazing Cornish Pasty (a small handheld beef pot-pie) for Lone Star Farm’s blog not too long ago.
Someday I also hope to write about British scones with jam and clotted cream, but while I perfect my process you can check out this scone recipe and this recipe video on how to make clotted cream.
When we reached Oxford on one April day during our trip, the weather — cloudy with periods of rain– made me want to curl up with a good book and a pot of tea (yes, a whole pot). With weather like that not exactly tempting me to venture outside, I can certainly see how many a scholar has accomplished great things in that city. In fact, authors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to meet up regularly at a certain pub, so we decided to eat there for dinner.
There’s always a learning curve to ordering food in a new country. Do I ask to be seated, or just take a spot? Do I order at the counter, or from a server? Do they serve meals now, or just drinks? Do I need to leave a tip? Will they bring me the check, or do I have to ask for it? Figuring all of this out is part of the “fun” of travel, and makes for good stories later. In traditional English pubs, you order all your food and drinks from the bar.
I ordered the chicken “burger” with cheddar sauce, which is similar to the white sauce you’d use as the base for Mac and Cheese. It was delicious served with crispy French fries. I remember thinking that it seemed like such an easy thing to make, but I’ve never made anything like it before, so last week I decided it would be the perfect dinner, especially since I had just mastered making fries at home without having to fire up a deep fryer (thank goodness!).
To make the perfect French fries in the oven, I follow the Smitten Kitchen’s oven fries recipe. Two tips I’d add to their recipe is that I carefully dry off the potatoes with a few clean dish towels after they are par-boiled, and I line the baking sheet with parchment paper before putting the olive oil down.
- 4 good rolls of your choice
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 egg
- ½ cup flour
- Olive oil for frying
- A few handfuls lettuce
- 1 plum tomato
- ¼ to ½ a red onion
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- ⅓ cup Conebella Farm Cheddar
- In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until combined. Remove from heat. Gradually add milk until the sauce is nice and smooth. Return to heat and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add cheese and heat until melted, but do not let the sauce boil.
- While cheddar sauce is reducing, start on the rest of the sandwich. If you plan to serve it with the oven fries, start those about an hour before you plan to eat.
- Slice chicken into ½ inch thick strips. Dip in egg and then in flour (or flour, then egg then flour again). Put some olive oil in a skillet and cook over medium-high heat 4-6 minutes per side until no longer pink in the center, and golden brown on the outside.
- Thinly slice the tomato and red onion.
- Warm the rolls in the oven for a few minutes if desired.
- Layer the sandwich: roll, chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheddar sauce, then lettuce.
- Serve immediately with oven fries if desired.
Note: If you really don’t like the flavor of raw onion, you could sautée them. If you don’t like sautéed onions either, I’d recommend adding another flavor to the sandwich, as it may be too bland otherwise.