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Despite the terrible reputation of English food abroad, it was perhaps one of the most pleasurable weeks so far. Perhaps this was because it was cooking food I have eaten all my life. I decided against fish and chips—one of the most widely known dishes—and instead cooked steak and ale pie with mash, peas, and cauliflower cheese. For the cauliflower cheese, I par boiled the cauliflower, then added mustard and Red Leicester to the white sauce. For the pie, I used the Guardian’s perfect steak and ale pie recipe, which if not quite perfect was certainly tasty. I did opt for mushrooms and carrots, although in future I would definitely avoid the mushrooms. I fried the onions until they were golden brown, as with Afghanistan cooking. It takes double the time, but the flavours are much better. I didn’t fry the carrots and added them at the last minute, which avoided the mushiness.

For dessert there was gooseberry fool. I did not realise that cream does not set in hot Korean temperatures. As a result, the cream stayed stubbornly runny, and in spite of my best efforts, the consistency remained far from optimum. The fools were definitely the least tasty; on a rainy summer’s day in England, they may have been the best. It just goes to show that foods have developed to suit their environments.


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