St George’s day, 450 years of Shakespeare and the start of the British Asparagus Season





I was on my own yesterday for St George’s Day (Well me and Drake the Cat should I say),  So I wasn’t sure wether I was going to do something Patriotic or not? I should though! ( I thought to myself), being English! 

   Last year I made a Hearty Beef Pie dish but I couldn’t possibly attempt to eat that all to oneself and I believe most of my friends were busy doing something or other.
  It was wonderful to see also the fact that we were celebrating 450 Years of William Shakespeare! I actually felt rather guilty that I had hardly read any of his work and shock Horror…never seen a play. I did feel quite disappointed in myself and began to scour through “Kindle” to see what I could buy and to my astonishment, some of his most famous work was free! Brilliant! I would have preferred a “real book”  of course! but this was convenient for me. 

   Earlier that morning I had already made some homemade Wild Garlic and Fennel seed bread along with some Pesto, just to start using up the vast amount I already had of Wild Garlic in the fridge. So I had a rather nice looking loaf which would be ready to slice by lunchtime.  Whilst pottering about at this time I was listening to BBC Radio Leicester, Rupal Rajani was on and asking people what makes us predominately “English”? or rather, what springs to mind when you think of the English? It then came to me, what my dish would be for St George’s day.  A Ploughman’s Lunch, with a couple of Modern ingredients added for my taste.  I then imagined Shakespeare ripping some bread and Cheese apart with a big Glug of Ale. I’m not sure wether he would have liked the ingredients of Bread, Chutney and cheese (The basics of a Ploughman’s).  But I do know that since the first mention of this dish in “Pierce the Ploughman’s Creed” (c.1394) of Bread, Cheese and Ale it is still a great Lunch for any Worker now. Something so simple yet hearty and stable.  Shame our Patriot St George couldn’t have experienced it back then after Slaying the Dragon! 
  Here’s my version of this great Pub Lunch that I had in My Kitchen diner instead.




My Ploughman’s Lunch with Homemade Wild Garlic and Fennel Seed Bread:

Bread Ingredients:

–  500g of Crusty Wholemeal bread mix consisted of Wholemeal flour, Chickpea Flour and the Dry yeast. (I used this because it needed using up and I wanted Wholemeal flour for this, not White Flour) 
–  A big Handful of Wild Garlic leaves finely chopped.
–  340 ml of lukewarm water.
–  Salt and Pepper.
–  Sprinkle of Fennel Seeds for on top of loaf.


This is the first time I have used a Packet Bread mix and I was pleasantly surprised.  I still had to knead the dough and do all I would have anyway so that still made it fun.  Here is the process to the packet instructions.


Here as you can see I have Kneaded the dough and placed in a greased Loaf tin, covered with a wet Tea Towel and placed in my airing cupboard for 15 mins.

 After 15 Mins I took out the dough, folded and kneaded it again with the Wild Garlic in and let it rise for another 30 mins in the airing cupboard.

 Placed the Fennel Seeds on top and into a preheated oven at 220c for approx 30-40 minutes.

                                                               

As you can see regarding the rest of my Lunch, it consisted of Boiling an English Egg, blanching some English Asparagus, placing some lovely English Ham onto the plate. Popping my Local Tomato Chutney into a Ramekin.  Chopping My English Spring Onion, Slicing my English Cheese, picking my Home grown Salad leaves and Pouring My English Ale! … I think you get the Gist now! 





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