We Brits are all about traditional dining - whether it be a garden party or an afternoon tea, a hearty English breakfast or the ‘scone VS scon’ debacle, the bulk of our favourite foods are entwined with our history. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to our British royal family.
The majority of our rather fancy (pinky fingers out everyone) Great British food, drink and eating rituals have been influenced by the practices and trends of the royals. Our rich culinary traditions and rather singular food and drink scene has been shaped by our royal family’s favourite treats.
In a recent interview with Racked magazine - giving us an intriguing insight into what our royal family eats behind closed doors - the former palace chef Carolyn Robb spoke about all of the delicious, decadent dishes that she made for the royal family during her ten years catering to the royals at the Kensington Palace kitchen.
After her time cooking for Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry, Carolyn recently wrote a cookbook entitled ‘The Royal Touch’. In this unique recipe book, she provides home cooks with all of the royal family’s favourite recipes and dishes which she made for them.
Apparently, the family’s favourite foods include game meat that was brought back from Prince Charles’ hunting trips. When they were staying at Highgrove in Tetbury, their dishes often featured the wide array of fresh fruit and vegetables that were grown on the estate’s grounds. The family had a healthy diet with plenty of hearty homemade dishes, all made from scratch. However, garlic was strictly off-menu (due to the number of public engagements that the family had in their schedules).
In fact, the bulk of the produce that was used in the kitchen came from the garden - including the estate’s lamb, milk from their cows, pheasants and game, and even wild mushrooms. Carolyn described their eating habits and the running of the royal kitchen on a day-to-day basis as very economical.
At home, the royal family stuck to fresh and homemade meals, with simple recipes and locally grown produce (often picked straight from the Scottish estate). In fact, Prince Charles firmly believed that none of their food should be wasted - leftovers would always be used up in the next day’s meal.
Carolyn said that even the Queen herself shared this love of the traditional and simple, old fashioned English cooking, that featured local, fresh and home-grown produce.
Speaking of the Queen’s favourite tea-time treats, this drop scone recipe is one of her personal favourites. Apparently, the Queen herself even made these pancakes personally when the former American President Dwight Eisenhower and his wife visited her at the Balmoral estate.
The Queen then gave this recipe to the president in a personal letter from her majesty, in which she gave him tips to help him recreate the recipe at home (she said that she tried switching out the sugar for golden syrup or treacle, recommending that the mixture is beaten very well, and isn’t kept standing for too long before it is cooked).
Recipe for Queen Elizabeth’s Drop Scones
Makes 16 pancakes
- Plain flour, 4 teacups
- Caster sugar, 4 tbsp
- Semi-skimmed milk, 2 teacups
- Eggs, 2
- Bicarbonate of soda, 2 tsp
- Cream of tartar, 3 tsp
- Melted butter, 2 tbsp
- Beat together the eggs, sugar and half of the milk in a large bowl.
- Add the flour to the mixture, then mix well until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Pour in the remaining milk, along with the bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Fold the butter into the mixture.
- Then, when you’re ready to make your drop scones, place a large frying pan over high heat, then add in a small knob of butter. Drop in a dollop of batter to form a thin disk, then after a few minutes (or until the batter-up side is covered in little bubbles) flip your drop scone to cook on the other side.
These drop scones make a wonderful way to upgrade your Sunday brunch plans, as you and the family whip up some divine scotch pancakes, then pile them high on everyone’s plates - along with plenty of different yummy toppings to choose from.
You could serve these in the classic English fashion with lemon and sugar. Or, make your drop scones an extra-luxurious affair by serving with chopped fruits (like bananas, berries or kiwi), maple syrup, honey, jam, granola or even your favourite sweet spread (Nutella or Biscoff work a treat).
Next up, we’ve got a rich recipe for the chocolate cupcakes that were made for the Queen’s 94th birthday party. The royal pastry chefs who created this recipe even designed these scrumptious cupcakes to be easily recreatable for all of us at home.
Recipe for Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Cupcakes
Makes 15 cupcakes
For the cake:
- White Vinegar, 15g
- Semi-skimmed milk, 300 ml
- Vegetable oil, 50 ml
- Butter, 60g, melted and then cooled
- Eggs, 2
- Vanilla essence, 5 ml
- Self-raising flour, 250g
- Cocoa powder, 75g
- Caster sugar, 300g
- Bicarbonate of soda, 10g
- White chocolate chips, 100g
For the buttercream:
- Good quality dark chocolate, 90g
- Butter, 100g
- Icing sugar, 125g
- Preheat the oven to 150°C. Firstly, make the sponge by combining the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, melted butter, oil, milk and vinegar. Then add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients, a bit at a time. Beat the mixture well, ensuring that there are no lumps.
- Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and bake for around 15-18 minutes, until the sponges are springy to the touch. Leave the cakes to cool - meanwhile, you can make the icing.
- To make the chocolate buttercream, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Melt the chocolate and allow it to cool slightly. Then fold the chocolate into the butter-sugar mixture.
- Decorate the cupcakes by piping the icing on top - or, if you don’t have a piping bag, you can swirl the icing on top by using a spatula.
If you’ve taken a bit of royal inspiration from our recipes and you fancy having a go at home, these super simple recipes just require your basic kitchen staples. You can whip up the Queen’s puds in a jiffy, ready for your next Sunday brunch. However, if you find that raiding the fridge and cupboard is proving to be a pretty daunting task, a bit of extra organisation may be in order. That’s where we can help.
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