Devon Asparagus, Cured Ham and Poached Duck Egg

Friday, 16 May 2014

If you are what you eat I should be a completely different person now. And that’s because since I moved to the UK my diet has changed A LOT.

Some years ago I would have bet that Brits’ diet was reduced to toasts, eggs, bacon and baked beans, and although it is true that some people wouldn't eat anything that has not come out of a can, I won’t tar everyone with the same brush.

So I will eat humble pie and admit I was swayed by stereotypes, because there is a lot of amazing food I have discovered here and without which I wouldn't be able to live. Food in the UK is amazing and trifle is the proof of the pudding. Holy Mackerel, they know how to cook a dish fit for the gods.

British fruit is one of the great unknowns. Quite a lot of people seem to think there is no such thing as good fruit from this country. They are one sandwich short of a picnic. Here I've eaten some of the best pears, rhubarb, berries with all sort of names including raspberries, blueberries, lingonberries, and more than a baker’s dozen of British varieties of apple to enjoy July to May. Not in vain it is said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. 

British bread is simply the best. Well, maybe not better than French bread, but you know their bread is always buttered on both sides anyway. Ciabatta, wholegrain, white, half and half, with olives, with onion, crusty, soft, there is even a Real Bread Campaign: “Fighting for better bread in Britain”.

Cream teas are the perfect example that eyes can be bigger than your belly.  For those days when you want to catch up with friends and family and chew the fat, a warm cuppa with fresh milk, raisin scones and clotted cream will be just the trick. I tried to make traditional scones, but it was a total disaster. But I also tried Yorkshire pudding and it certainly cut the mustard!

And what about carrot batons, perfect for snacking or a quick starter. I love dipping them in hummus or soured cream and chives. Why don’t we have this in Spain!!!

Oat cakes are the bread for life, and I am not hamming it up! For breakfast, snacking, jam or soups. I’m also as keen as mustard to blue Stilton, probably one of the best blue cheese in the whole world (oatcakes, stilton, pear and walnut – divine!!). Scotch Eggs… homemade obviously! Sheppard's pie, toad in a hole, all sorts of pasties, ploughmans lunches, bangers and mash, fish and chips, Sunday roast, gammon steak with eggs or pineapple, rocky road, millionaires shortbread, Cumberland sausages, chips with lashings of salt and vinegar … the list is never ending! There are also things I won’t eat not for all the tea in China such as Cornish Stargazy pie, deep fried mars bars or pea and mint soup.

If I only could choose one thing, crumpets are definitely my cup of tea. Try them with set honey or Marmite that will be the proof of the pudding.

But life's not all beer and skittles, and there are also products I really miss from Spain such as cured ham, salmorejo or piononos, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. 

This week I’ve prepared a truly British breakfast recipe and although I won’t try teach Grandma to suck eggs, it was genuinely finger licking!


2 Asparagus Bunches
10 Cured Ham Slices
6 Duck Eggs
A pinch of Rock Salt, pepper and chives.


This recipe with asparagus is a fantastic way to celebrate the English asparagus season that will work for breakfast or as an starter.

Remove the woody bases from the asparagus and give them a wash. Tip: for best results, do it with your hands bending the spear until it snaps and throw the woody end away.

Divide the asparagus spears and roll a slice of cured ham over them. Place them in an oven tray, pour a bit of extra virgin olive oil over each bunch and sprinkle with rock salt. Bake 15 minutes to 200C.

In the meantime, poach the eggs for approximately 3 minutes until still runny inside. Lift from the water with a slotted spoon and keep warm

In a plate, put a base of toasted bread, crisp bread or crackers. Place the asparagus carefully and top with a warm egg.  Season with pepper and sprinkle with some chopped chives.

*14 food-related sayings were used in this post. Can you find them all? 

Special thanks to R.D. who helped me with the depths of the English language.

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