Bonus Episode 31 - The Hidden Dishes of British Cuisine | Ft. Lawrence

Oct 21 / Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

Learn British English in this episode where Charlie invites a British cuisine enthusiast and cook on the show to prove how the Brits do actually have a HUGE amount of delicious dishes for everyone to enjoy. So listen to this episode if you want to challenge your perception of British food and discover sweet and savoury dishes from the British isles.

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PART THREE
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Meet today's guest

Lawrence

From "BrilliantlyBritish" YouTube Channel

Lawrence started the BrilliantlyBritish YouTube channel to change perceptions of British food and discover sweet and savoury dishes from the British isles.
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Transcript of Bonus Episode 031 - Transcript

Charlie:
Hello there and welcome to another episode of the British English podcast where we delve into British culture and at the same time teach you British English. For today's episode, we welcome a man called Lawrence on to talk about the cooking videos on his YouTube channel called Brilliantly British, where he focuses exclusively on British dishes. And as I'm sure you have heard of the stereotype and might even think it's true that our cuisine is rather rubbish, I wanted to test whether that really is the case and who better to ask than a man who has dedicated a huge amount of time to making over 160 British dishes on his channel? That's right. There are at least 160 British dishes. Just a heads up as well, we talk about food a lot and Lawrence provides us with some very nice food vocabulary, many of which are surprisingly irregular in the way they are conjugated. So listen out for them. And since we talked so much about food, you might not want to be hungry going into this one. So grab yourself a cup of tea and maybe a slice of carrot cake and enjoy. Hello, Lawrence. How are you?

Lawrence:
Hi, Charlie. Yeah, I'm very well, thank you. I'm very well. How are you?

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah, I'm good, I'm good. Thank you very much for being on the show. Just before we hit record, you mentioned that you've just popped back to the UK. Can you tell everybody where you are normally residing and why you're back in the UK for a bit?

Lawrence:
I live in a small town called Vatican in Switzerland, about 20 minutes away from Zurich just to help people and give them some reference. [Yeah] I moved there because I work there as a mechanical engineer. I'm just popping back home to for a few weeks just to see family, friends and just actually because I'm getting married in a few in about about two months time. So I just returned to the UK to get a few things sorted out before heading back to Switzerland.

Charlie:
Oh my goodness me. So I'm engaged to be married and...

Lawrence:
Congratulations. Yeah!

Charlie:
Thank you. And congratulations to you. And it makes me want to ask you a lot of questions all about weddings, but I do want to ask you, are you enjoying or have you enjoyed the process of planning the wedding?

Lawrence:
I have to be honest, my my fiancee has done the majority of the planning. She's...

Charlie:
No surprises there.

Lawrence:
She's an event manager. [Oh, wow] Well, she studied event management. So she's very much passionate about pulling strings, getting people to collaborate and work together and scheduling and things like that. So she's very good at it and and I'm more than happy to step back and just make some overarching decisions of just yes, no, you know, just things like that.

Charlie:
Very mature of you. Impressive to be so wise to do that. Yeah.

Lawrence:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And does she want to talk about it often?

Lawrence:
It did... Every conversation we've had, it has, it has come up just in with with regards to what I would need to do from my side in terms of the guests that I'm going to invite, whether I've organised things on my side, just things like that. To be honest, things were organised by her in quite... in a relatively short period of time. So now as we're in the last two months or a month and a half, we're just doing the little, little things like, well, I just really got my suits sorted for myself and my best men, just things like that.

Charlie:
Yeah, that's interesting. You're going with best men rather than a best man. Similar to me. Why? Why are you doing that?

Lawrence:
So, actually, if I could correct myself, I've got a best man. And then there's groomsmen. I'll have some groomsmen. [Yeah] My best man will have a matching, for instance, will just have like a matching matching suit to myself. My groomsmen will have something similar, but our ties will be different. Something like that. I had- I went for the set up of a best man and then groomsmen because I do have very few friends. But- and so it was quite hard for me to really single out someone and say, Right, you have got this honour, you've got the honour of responsibility. So in the end I kind of just put them on a level platform not to make anyone feel left out. Yeah.

Charlie:
Good. Wise decision yet again. Okay. You're two months away from getting married and you're back here to do a little bit of that, or back there because I'm in Australia. Did you say that you're an engineer?

Lawrence:
Yes, I'm a mechanical engineer by profession.

Charlie:
Mechanical engineer. Okay. And your YouTube channel is very far from being- showing that side of you.

Lawrence:
It is, isn't it? Yeah, it is. It's an interesting one because how it started, I guess I might as well get into that. I was doing an internship, give or take, two and a half, maybe three years ago, and I was working with colleagues of mine who are from all over Europe. And whenever the topic of food did come up, particularly national dishes, British food was just, you know, for want of a better phrase, you know, it was just getting a lot of much to be desired. Whenever they travelled to the UK and had British food, they had nothing beyond, you know, just fish and chips or full English breakfast. And I was always one of the... I found myself often being the person fighting in the corner of the UK, you know, just to kind of make a point that there's so much more to British food and it's not as bad as, as their unfortunate experiences were.

Charlie:
I love sorry I love the fact that this just like it sounds like it was an argument that came up in the pub. And you've dedicated, I think at least a couple of years and you've created over 100? How many videos now?

Lawrence:
About 160, 161. I think today's episodes still on on the journey of proving a point.

Charlie:
Have they sat down and said, 'Mate, I get it, I get it. You've made your point'?

Lawrence:
So the thing is that I can see that they watch our content and also they follow us on Instagram. I can see that. So even- no one's said it to my face as of yet. However, I think by now I think I've firmly made the point that there's so much more to British cuisine than just two dishes. You know, give or take five or six on the channel that are my own, let's say, unique creations. The rest are British dishes.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay. What were those two that you often hear? You said, you know, we're known for those two dishes.

Lawrence:
Well, full English and fish and chips. [Yeah]. Without fail.

Charlie:
Without fail. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fair. So let's see. If a non-native came to the UK and they said, right, well I'm here for a couple of days, I'd like you to prove your point. What do you think I should have?

Lawrence:
As in what they should go out and eat, or I don't know what what I would prepare for them?

Charlie:
Or let's go down both avenues separately. So let's imagine we're eating out in this case.

Lawrence:
So I'd take them to- a good question actually, because that is another point of mine, actually. It's just that I'm not too aware of British, English, Welsh or Scottish or Irish when I'm at a restaurant. Hmm. The only place I can think of in London that I've been to, I would say, yeah, actually, I'll take them to, I think, Fine Dining Room, it's called. And that restaurant is actually it's a Michelin star restaurant, but they specialise in pies and pastries. You'll get game pies, obviously, beef Wellington and some other pies like that. But this is fine dining Michelin star restaurants, and it is English. At least for anyone visiting the UK. They'll get a proper taste of and they'll actually see how passionate we are as the UK when it comes to pies and pastries of that kind anyway. [Yeah.] So that would probably be somewhere that comes to mind.

Charlie:
Yeah. So pie or pastry and what meal are we doing this for? Breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Lawrence:
This would be for dinner because it's quite it's quite a heavy thing. Personally, I avoid heavy meals for lunch just because then I'll feel quite lethargic afterwards. A bit sluggish. Yeah. It'll probably be a nice dinner.

Charlie:
Yeah. I mean, looking at your YouTube channel, you have so many dishes that I have never tried and I've never seen on a menu. Do you feel like the cuisine doesn't show up in the restaurants in the UK?

Lawrence:
I'd say so. The few times I do find myself in a restaurant, because I'll be honest, I don't eat out that much.

Charlie:
Well, why would you, when you've got such a passion at home?

Lawrence:
When I do, when I am out and I oh, yeah. For instance, when I am, let's say, at a pub, because that's where you would typically find the more traditional British dishes, some of the dishes on there, you do have things like pies. You do have, of course, fish and chips. You do have breakfasts of some sort, but the rest of the menu tends to be kind of either an American- borrowed American dish or something that we've adopted from other countries. You know, it could be an Italian dish that's been anglicised or, you know, Thai or Southeast Asian dishes or something like that. That's what I typically find. So I'm not surprised to hear you say that a lot of the dishes on the on the channel you haven't heard of. I was also- I'm still on this learning curve of myself discovering all these dishes and I usually dive straight in because I'm fascinated and want to try this dish. Apart from the fact of I want to prove a point as part of a motivation.

Charlie:
Yeah. Nice. It's interesting to hear. Yeah, I agree. We adopt a lot of other cuisines and we put it into our menus. What's the starting point for you when you when you try to think up a new video? Is it because you've you've found a new food and you're like, right, I've got to make that? Or are you deliberately searching for these dishes that have kind of been laid, been put aside and forgotten?

Lawrence:
Hmm. It's never a.... There's several ways that I go about it. So the stage that I'm at, we will often get requests from some of the people who are fans of the channel, so recently had a request for a gypsy tart. I'm not familiar with that at all. I've had to do some rudimentary basic research and something that I find interesting. Again, I've never tried it before, and so I'll do an episode, I'll do my research and I'll look up how other people have made it, see if I'm happy to make it the same way, or if I see an area where it could be made better or tweaked or adapted. And then I'll set about getting the ingredients and on during the week or on a weekend, I'll set up the lights, camera and film.

Charlie:
Very nice. Okay. A gypsy tart. I've never heard of a gypsy tart before. Can you try to describe it for people? Unless they. [Yes.] If they can't Google it.

Lawrence:
Yeah. Yeah. So this is very rudimentary research so far. I've only just made an ingredients list and based off of the ingredients list, the two main ingredients are muscovado sugar and evaporated milk. So from the get go, for those who are familiar with those two ingredients, you will know this is going to be for individuals with the sweetest tooth. The filling, which consists of those two ingredients, will be... it's going to be held in a shortcrust pastry. They'll probably be eggs in there as well, if I'm not mistaken. It'll almost have the same similar consistency of some sort of custard tart. But as I said, it will be on the extreme end, on the sweetness scale for sure.

Charlie:
Very nice. I look forward to seeing it on the- on the channel. Yeah. So Gipsy Tart. Okay, what's another dish that you'd like to talk about that you've done?

Lawrence:
So this would probably be something else- another sweet dish. Probably my favourite, if not one of, it's called Lardy cake. Quite- it's not too old. And speaking from the perspective of someone from the UK, that means not too old means around 200 years old. As the name suggests, it's a cake that has lard as the main ingredient. But it's sweet. So this is something that we're not used to. And in essence, almost, it's akin to the American cinnamon roll because you you make a yeasted dough, you roll it out into a massive rectangle, and you cream, sugar and lard together, and you spread the sugar and lard over this massive rolled out rectangle of dough, and you roll it. [Wow.] And then you just arrange it in your tray and you allow it to rise because it's used to double in size. And then you bake it. And what you- what you get is, it shocked me, was the most amazing- What you end up with is a nice crust on top, because what happens is a lot of the lard seeps out as it's as it's cooking and forms this kind of caramel at the bottom. So when you cut it, when you cut a slice of it, you've got the ring you've got the ring pattern because you rolled it. But on the underside, when you take a piece out, it's already glazed itself on the underside.

Charlie:
Wow.

Lawrence:
Yeah, it's amazing. And oh, and before you roll it on top of that cream that creamed lard and sugar, you sprinkle some candied peel or dried fruits. So there are some some raisins or fruits in there and in the oven. It was so good that I've been developing a modern recipe which will incorporate chocolate and nuts, and then that'll really make it align- that'll really align it with our modern preferences, let's say.

Charlie:
Yeah, okay, I hear you. Yeah, I'm watching it now on on fast like double speed. And it's amazing to have you narrating your show [Yeah] whilst I'm watching it, it's fantastic. What an opportunity. Yeah, very clear demonstration from both your video and from you talking through it there. So yeah, that is Lardy cake. And is there an interesting back story to Lardy cake or do you know much about that? When you research these, do you do that?

Lawrence:
So I know a little bit about it. I know for one, the reason it came into existence was because it was developed by people who didn't have so much money. That was why they use lard instead of butter. That was that was the main reason for it. And you can imagine- What I recently learned is a lot of leaven at the modern leavening the leavening agents that we use, things like baking powder and things like that, they're quite modern. When you go back in time, you realise everything that was leavened, that was spongy, incorporate, had, was yeasted, everything sweet or savoury. And it just... The thing is, I'm learning to appreciate because not only does the yeast, of course, leaven anything that it's in, it does add that aromatic element to it. And especially with that kind of cake, it's just for me, fantastic and delicious.

Charlie:
Very nice. Yeah.

Lawrence:
It's amazing.

Charlie:
Beautiful. So would you agree with the statement that you have a sweet tooth?

Lawrence:
Oh, I most definitely have a sweet tooth. Most, most definitely.

Charlie:
Do you think that we are strongest in our desserts as a cuisine, or would you push back on that?

Lawrence:
From time to time... You know, actually, I I find myself on either end from time to time, swaying from one side to the other. When it comes to heavy, hearty, rich, fulfilling meals, there's no doubt we've got them. They've got bucket loads of them. You know, if it's just a typical Sunday roast, if it's a stew, a casserole, I've recently done a few like a steak and kidney pudding, which took about four hours to prepare. You've got to slow steam that in suet pudding. So that is a very heavy, hearty dish, but it is delicious. And so if I was to base my opinions based off of that, I would say we're very strong in the savoury, fulfilling, hearty winter dish category. But then, you know, when I look at them all, the things I would describe as more elegant and refined, you know, our culture of tea drinking. I look at things like the Battenberg cake, which we've got on the channel. That was amazing to me and so rewarding for me. Anyway, when I finished it and I cut through it and you've got that cross-section of... You've got you've got the Battenberg cake, you've got coffee and walnut cakes, you've got all sorts of biscuits. The most- one of the most recent one was the Brandy Snap Biscuits, which I amended, because they're not usually shaped like that, but I made them look like the Italian cannolis and then filled them with a brandy cream again just to make it appeal to a wider audience. And it was it was amazing. So I would say I'd say we've got it all, actually.

Charlie:
Okay, here we go. Here we go. Yeah. We're the best of the best. We've got it, all baby.

Lawrence:
I'd say we were up there with the French.

Charlie:
Oh, okay. The French are going to be spitting their champagne out at this. Okay, let's go back to the Battenberg cake. So is there any interesting reason I probably should know this?

Lawrence:
The colours or...?

Charlie:
The reason why it exists?

Lawrence:
Yes. So the cake was a creation of the royal family patisserie chefs because it was to commemorate the union between Prince Albert and Princess, later Queen Victoria, because Prince Albert descended from the Battenberg family. And so those- the colours of the cake are actually the colours of, I believe, his family crest. [Wow.] And so, of course, when I first learned about the cake, I did wonder why it had a Germanic name. And it's because of that influence from Prince Albert's side of the family. And it was adopted as a British cake to symbolise the union between the two. Yes, that's, as I understand it. Yes. That's why...

Charlie:
Love it. And that makes sense. Makes a lot of sense. [Yes.] Yeah. It's not one of those cock and bull stories that you hear on a forum and you tell to your mate at the pub. That sounds legitimate. Yeah. Even though I don't know, but. Yeah. The egg banjo? What's that?

Lawrence:
Yes. So this is a term that we've kind of since dropped. We just call it egg and bacon sarnie now, you know. But in the episode I explain where the name comes from. And it simply comes from the fact that when American and British soldiers fought together, the British soldiers, when they had this sandwich, it would often be the case, because of the yolk, they would bite into it and it would spill over their clothing. And so it was called a banjo because as they dust or try and scrape off the yolk that spilled on the uniform, it looks like they're playing the banjo instrument. That's why it's called an egg and bacon banjo. I actually demonstrate it in the episode.

Charlie:
Ah Brilliant!

Lawrence:
And sacrifice a white t shirt just to demonstrate it. Yeah.

Charlie:
Gotta watch that. That's really funny. The banjo. Yeah, playing the banjo. That must mean that the banjo is more popular than any other string instrument then. The banjo is the one that looks a bit like a guitar, right? No?

Lawrence:
Yeah, it looks like a tambourine. And to me it looks like a tambourine and a guitar had had a baby almost, you know?

Charlie:
That's exactly it. Yeah. A tambourine with a guitar stick. Yeah, exactly. Very nice. I think it would be remiss of me not to mention Toad in the Hole.

Lawrence:
Yes.

Charlie:
What did... Well, the journey that you went on making that video, was it an enjoyable one? And it was early on in your YouTube channel. So I imagine it was an obvious dish for you to go to.

Lawrence:
One thing I must mention is that a lot of these videos, well, about 50% of the videos are actually made in the UK and 50 of them are made in Switzerland. So when at the beginning, when I was in Switerland, when I was making videos there in Switzerland, I had to do dishes that required me to find... that required ingredients that were easy for me to get hold of in Switzerland, Toad in the Hole being one of, you know, a dish that everyone knows and will have had at some point in their lives and the ease being able to get the ingredients, I just thought, yeah, it was it was a no brainer. I'd just do it and then do a little- do some research as much because I try as much as I as possible to do some research and add some context and some background to- for the viewers as to where this dish originates from. But I don't want it to skew too much in the direction of history because I want it to still be primarily a cooking channel. If I do want to add more information, I can put that in the description of the episode because I have to balance being aware of the fact that people do have a relatively short attention span. I have to just get straight to the point as soon as possible. Toad in the Hole- the name is quite strange. When I'm... Based off of the research I did, I learned that it just simply came out of just... It was just a fun way of naming the dish. I've seen a lot of forums and a lot of discussions where people say, Yeah, if you... Back then the belief was that if you really, really squinted your eyes and looked at the dish, it looked like toads coming out of the hole. You know, I thought to myself, yeah, I don't really see it.

Charlie:
Were you squinting when you were...? [Yeah.] 'I don't see it!'

Lawrence:
But I'll play along, you know. But yeah, that was that was a fun, fun dish to make. And yeah, that was one of the early ones you mentioned. And the thing is, I struggle now to watch some of the early ones because I wasn't as comfortable in front of the camera as perhaps I am now, probably in the not too distant future. I will revisit some of those episodes and do them justice. Let me let me say.

Charlie:
I know what you mean. I have the same feeling when I look at my stuff. I feel like in a year's time I'll also look at my stuff that I'm making now and I'll still cringe. But I think it's a natural process. [Yeah] Yeah. There's loads and loads of dishes that I highly recommend everybody to go over to Brilliantly British the YouTube channel and check them out. I'd like to ask you a couple of questions that some of my students had for you, though. One of them was, um, what's up with mushy peas?

Lawrence:
My theory on this, I don't know too much about where mushy peas were cooked... Mushy peas were the result of the mistake of leaving the peas on the stove for just far too long. And it just happened to be something that was adopted. Or maybe it wasn't a mistake. It was just that peas were often served with fish and chips, and as the day went by, they were always left on. And so as a result, they're being served from this big pot, and as a result, they just keep cooking. Maybe at the beginning of the service when the shop opens, they're fresh and they're not mashed. But let's say by the time you're the last customer, this thing is... This pot has still been over the heat. And it's just...

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah, you've got a heavy handed server and he's like bored of his job. He's smashing the pot [Yeah] to bits and by the end of the day it's all soupy. Yeah.

Lawrence:
Yeah, exactly. And I guess we just learned... We've just become accustomed to it. Now it's just a no brainer for many of us. Of course, there are many people that don't like it. Understandably, just from visual appearance alone, it'll turn a lot of people off, but it's a strange one. [Yeah] It's definitely quirky.

Charlie:
Yeah, it is. And do you... I'm thinking of the other option that you can have with your chips. Gravy. Would you have gravy with your chips?

Lawrence:
I don't have any objection to it per se. It's just I don't want gravy with fish personally. Just. I can see why you do it. Gravy. It's just. It's nice. It's a sauce. We do love our condiments in the UK. I don't object to it. I mean, the other alternative is curry sauce, isn't it? You know, I've never had curry sauce. I've always opted for mushy peas and tartar. Tartar sauce. [Yeah] yeah.

Charlie:
Funny. Condiments. Yeah, you mentioned condiments. Let's go in that direction. So do you feel like the Brits are proud of their condiments?

Lawrence:
Yeah, I think we are. And we've got a fair few, some of which are on the channel. We've got brown sauce, which I've had brown sauce throughout my life. There's always brown sauce in the cupboard or the fridge. However, when I did find out how the original brown sauce was made, the vast array of ingredients that it originally consisted of, I was quite surprised. I mean, at least six spices. You've got eight, maybe even ten individual ingredients. You've got apples and things like that in there. Dates... And it's just a very complex condiment. And when I did make it, it's just so much more... It just has so much more depth than the stuff that you would get than the typical H.P. sauce you'd get in the supermarket. And not to mention the fact that because it's quite acidic, you can just put it in a glass jar, you don't have to put it in the fridge and you're going to just put it in the back of the cupboard and eat away at it gradually. And as time goes by, it's maturing and getting better.

Charlie:
Without, without any food...?

Lawrence:
Not me personally.

Charlie:
I never have too much mustard. Ommmm!

Lawrence:
I've seen people do that with peanut butter, but I wouldn't do that with brown sauce personally.

Charlie:
Wow. I didn't know that it was such a complex sauce. And are you saying that the HP sauce is a watered down version of that, or just a less complex version?

Lawrence:
Less complex, and that'll be the result of reduced costs because when I think about it, if HP sauce did consist of all those ingredients from scratch, it would cost a lot more than it than it does. And that'd probably put a lot of people off. So primarily, of course, they want to sell. So I guess they've found substitutes. It's just when you have the original and you have that, you can just immediately taste the difference.

Charlie:
Yeah. And HP stands for Houses of Parliament, right?

Lawrence:
Yes, it does.

Charlie:
And is there a reason why... Was it made in the houses of Parliament for members of the parliament? Do you know?

Lawrence:
I... I'm not sure, actually. I wouldn't be able to tell you. I'd actually have to look that up myself now. I never actually questioned that, yeah. Why...

Charlie:
Because they're very proud of it. They've got it on the label, haven't they?

Lawrence:
Yes, that's the thing. I wasn't so sure about calling it HP Sauce on the Channel just because I didn't know if it would infringe on anything. So I just called it brown sauce. And so as a result of being swept up in calling it brown sauce, I didn't think to look into why it's called Houses of Parliament, HP sauce.

Charlie:
That makes sense. So another question from another student. Changed it a little bit, but it's still got the crux of the message in it. Do you think British cuisine is in fact, on par with food from other countries? I mean, you've mentioned it a little bit, but I'd like to go a bit deeper. Do you think it is?

Lawrence:
I'd say yes, given that I'm 160, maybe 60 plus episodes in and...

Are you not running out?

Lawrence:
Oh, no, not by... No. The backlog is ever growing.

Charlie:
Wow. But can I just challenge you to name ten dishes right now?

Lawrence:
You'll have ecclefechan tart. You'll have Yorkshire custard tarts, you'll have, of course the classic roast, you'll have Shropshire pancakes, you'll have Cornish pasties, scones, clotted cream, steak and kidney pudding, fisherman's pie, omelette Arnold Bennett...

Charlie:
Ding, ding. It's ten. You got ten. Wow. Yeah. There we go. That's a little snippet of how varied the dishes are on your channel and how varied the British cuisine is. Nice. [Yes]. Okay. So, yeah, carrying on, you think that there's just an insane amount out there that we can continue to discover, that you are doing so and the quality is there? Would you say?

Lawrence:
The quality is definitely there. As always, you can- you can have an amazing recipe, of course, but it comes down to the amount of effort the individual is willing to put in and the passion as well. So you can you can make a dog's breakfast of a classic meal. You know, you can attempt a beef Wellington, which is a very prestigious, elegant dish. But if you if perhaps one doesn't have the ability to make it, neither wants to put in the time. Then of course, it turns out- it can very easily turn out to be something quite underwhelming. This is what I'm realising. Things like sticky toffee pudding. There are two of them on the on the channel. Both of them - I did my research and found out there was a classic version of the dish and the simple changes of just the mould used so that when you take it off, it just has a much more astonishing shape and look to it. And that's enough to lift it because the flavour and the texture, no one, at least that I'm aware of, will have a dish like that or many of the dishes on the channel, and especially when they're prepared properly, unless it's of course, quite an acquired taste. Well, I think they'll enjoy them. What I'm learning is that a lot of the British dishes are influenced by Germanic French cultures. And it goes without saying that the French are very good at advertising their food. I think that that's one of their strengths, actually, because again, I will reiterate the fact I think British food is just as good.

Charlie:
I feel like there's a dig... I feel like there's a dig in that comment. They're very good at advertising it.

Lawrence:
They are. They are. And that's not to take... They're very good at advertising it. It's not to take away from the fact that their dishes are delicious. I feel, in the UK perhaps that's an area where we're lacking, where we don't shout about our dishes as much, because when I often... From time to time, when time allows, I do have guests over and without fail I will always cook something British for them just because I'm sure they haven't had it before. So when I was... When I first started dating my fiancee, her parents are Polish. She's she's Polish. I made a cottage pie. [Right.] And they'd never they'd never heard of that before. And they loved it. It became a family favourite. My fiancee's mother learned how to make it themselves. And yeah, it was... She loved it, but they had no idea. Again, they just knew just fish and chips and full English breakfast. And so it just comes down to the preparation and just introducing people to, to some of these dishes and even a few pies I've made for them and then actual encased pastry pies. And again, they loved it.

Charlie:
Oh, apologies for blanking there, but did you say that your fiancee's family are British?

Lawrence:
Polish

Charlie:
Polish. They're Polish. Okay, so that makes sense. The cottage pie was unknown to them. I was going to say. If they're British, they were probably force fed that before the age of five. Yeah, cottage pie is very nice. What does my mum make? Shepherd's pie. She likes a shepherd's pie. Do you like...?

Lawrence:
Oh yeah. Yes, I love that. I love that. Often confused with cottage pie, of course.

Charlie:
What is the difference again?

Lawrence:
So Shepherd's pie is called shepherd's pie because of the lamb that's associated with.

Charlie:
Yes. The mean shepherd killing his animals that he's looking after.

Lawrence:
Exactly. Exactly.

Charlie:
Keep an eye on them. Don't kill them. Yeah.

Lawrence:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Okay. So I think that's all we've got time for, for part one. We're going to do a couple more parts, if you don't mind, and we'll get back to the condiments as well. But I'd like to go into your personal favourites and maybe talk about some more desserts and mains as well. But yeah, thank you very much. If you could just say goodbye to the part one listeners who are the public listeners, and then we'll say goodb- Say hello to the premium and academy members in part two and three. But yeah, thank you very much for being on part one so far Lawrence.

Lawrence:
Thank you very much for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Charlie:
I'll put your details in the show notes. But basically YouTube, Brilliantly British. We have come to the end of Part one, so feel free to take a break from your listening practice. But if you're happy to keep going, then we're now moving on to part two of this episode. Thanks so much for being a premium or Academy member and enjoy the rest of the show.

Charlie:
We are back into part two. We have Lawrence to give us some more advice about British food. I've got another question from a student. Why do we put vinegar on chips?

Lawrence:
It's a good question. Not everybody likes it. I [yeah. I don't] personally can't do without it on my chips. I think it's fine. It depends on the individual as to how much they- how intense they want the flavour. But I think it's just another edge because fish and chips- of course fish is quite a refreshing light protein. But because it's deep fried, because everything is deep fried, it can come across as quite heavy, oily and fatty. And so I think the vinegar helps to kind of cut through that and add another element. Some people, of course, apart from adding, putting, putting vinegar on the chips, will squeeze the lemon. It's the same. It's the same reasoning or logic behind that. Or we'll just have a gherkin on the side is another, another alternative. I'd say that that's the reason that I put vinegar on my in my chips.

Charlie:
We're going into the geographical location that is far away from the UK, but is there a reason why a pickle exists on a cheeseburger? Do you know that?

Lawrence:
I think that's probably because... Is that because it's the original recipe of the hamburger from Germany? I'm not sure. And again, I think it's just to add another edge, just just to make the dish much more complex and multifaceted.

Charlie:
I really like pickle. It's always like a delightful surprise when you get to it. It's like, oh, something extra there.

Lawrence:
Yeah, exactly.

Charlie:
Why's there a pickle on a burger? But you think it's because of the hamburger?

Lawrence:
I think it's the ham... The influence from the original hamburger, hamburger recipe. And this is this is something... I had had this discussion with with my fiancee, because she was saying, what's the difference between a pickle and a gherkin? And I said, well, typically in the U.K., if you want to be proper about it, we... Pickle is something else.

Charlie:
You're definitely ready for to get married to this one now, aren't you? Your conversation has gotten to this point.

Lawrence:
Pickle's something else. It's actually a chutney, if anything, like Branston pickle. But gherkins are always the pickled... The vinegar cured cucumber that, you know, the sour cured cucumbers, [right] Yeah. That was. Yeah. Because she was asking me why, why some people call them gherkins and why some people call them pickles. And I was saying, actually, they're not the same.

Charlie:
So those that call them pickles are wrong? Or gherkins?

Lawrence:
Yeah. So Pickle is actually, as I've learned, pickle is actually incorrect. If you're referring to the the cured vegetable in a jar. It's actually a gherkin.

Charlie:
Yes.

Lawrence:
A pickled gherkin. You could...Yeah.

Charlie:
I see. So it's a it's...

Yeah. That's probably why we say pickle. Yeah.

Charlie:
It's a pickled gherkin. Yeah. I always found it difficult to get a cucumber in my gin and tonic when I lived in Germany, I would say, because I think the word is gherkin.

Lawrence:
Gurke, I'm learning German. I know. Yeah. Gurke.

Charlie:
Do they... I don't think they've got a separate word for the Lebanese cucumber. Right?

Lawrence:
No, they don't. It's Gurke, so they would say Gürk-.. Gürkchen, which- the chen indicates that it's a small one.

Charlie:
Right. Ah, yeah. How do you get around that in German? I never managed to and I was always told to shut up and just accept a lemon in my gin and tonics.

Lawrence:
No, the thing is, as of now, now that gin and tonics, for instance, have- are somewhat mainstream, now it's the norm often get, you know, I'll order something like a Hendrick's gin and tonic and you'll get peppercorns in there. You'll get a cucumber. Yeah, it's delicious. But now I don't. I don't. At least in Switzerland, I don't know what it's like maybe in Germany, although culturally they're similar, I don't know if now it would be frowned upon, or a weird thing to ask for, I think.

Charlie:
To ask for the individual food to garnish, sorry? To go in the drink because you feel like it's the bartender's job to pair the gin with the item. Is that what you mean?

Lawrence:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's what I mean. And just because it's become more common, whereas now it is, whereas before it was maybe a fringe thing that only a few people would ask for it. And so the people at the bar be a bit perplexed as to why you'd want a cucumber in your in your drink.

Charlie:
Especially a gurke.

Lawrence:
Especially a gherkin, you know?

Charlie:
Can I get a pickled gherkin, please?

Lawrence:
Yeah, exactly. You know, I think now it's just become much more mainstream.

Charlie:
Yeah. Nice. I'd like to go back to the fact that you think that we have a lot of good food to offer and why it's not in our restaurants and why we don't advertise it. Have you thought much about it, and do you think it could be to do with our culture as to why we don't show off in the way that other countries do? Or also, why do you think we've not focussed on it? Because, you know, you're not the phrase a dime a dozen. You know, most people don't focus on our cuisine like you do, do they?

Lawrence:
Yeah. I've realised that I've carved out a niche for myself, you know, establishing this channel, it's hard to say. I don't know. One, one of the things is that actually as time goes by, I'm realising it's not so simple to prepare the average British dish at home. It requires time and in some cases it does require some skill. And so perhaps that's the reason why some people are put off. My fiancee was saying this to me because she often helps me with the filming. She was saying... And she looks through the channel and she's there with me filming. She... We rarely film episodes that for dishes that can just be put together in a matter of minutes. And so given that in this day and age, you can say we're quite time poor, you could- one could argue that that's a reason that's a contributing factor as to why we're- we haven't- why we don't consume as much of our own native cuisine as we do for the others. Yeah, I think that's one of the things. I think those are the reasons that it's not the simplest cuisine to to take on. And also, yeah, I think it's just quite time consuming sometimes. It's of course rewarding when you do put the time in, but it's getting around to it, especially if the average person comes back from work and they're exhausted. But then again, you know, we've got this shift now where people are now starting to at least partially during the week, work from home. So you would you would hope that people now have got more time. So they maybe now kind of turn their attention back to British dishes again, because I think for me anyway, I find it definitely rewarding whenever I do.

Charlie:
Yeah. British dishes took on a lot of Germanic and French. Did they take on much like Italian or not really?

Lawrence:
I'd say a little bit, just because on the channel, which did spark some controversy, I've got two dishes, so two types of bolognaise dishes on my channel, which upon first looking upon first sight of those, you'd be made to scratch your head a bit and be ask yourself, why are these two dishes called bolognaise on the channel? But then for anyone that does choose to click on the thumbnail and go into the episode, you realise that we've- as time as time has gone by, we Brits have put our own twist on an Italian dish. Spaghetti bolognaise as we enjoy it in the UK it is very much different from the way it's prepared in Italy and likewise, well, tuna bolognaise doesn't exist in Italy and I learned this firsthand when I went with my fiancee to Bologna, the home of Bolognaise. It's actually the food capital of Italy I went into... I just felt so silly because I walked into this restaurant where it looked like a butcher. Imagine you walk into a very traditional looking butchers and you've got the glass counters, you know, display cabinets everywhere, but instead it's just filled with freshly made pasta of all types. So you just point at the type of pasta that you want, and they'll prepare it and make it with a tomato sauce, which in Italy, what we call bolognaise they call a ragu. But the way we prepare bolognaise here in the UK is we make much more heavy, meaty sauce than they do. And again, what we'll add as well is they just wouldn't... Theirs- their sources are a lot more simpler and focus more on the tomato flavour itself. Whereas when I prepared a British bolognaise, there are things like I've added things like Marmite in there.

Charlie:
Wow, Marmite.

Lawrence:
Yeah, yeah. It's delicious.

Charlie:
Gosh. I remember a Chinese student came over to the UK and I share one of the YouTube channels that I do with my friend Harry. He was teaching this student as well and he mentioned about Marmite to her and he told her that we have it on the toast, our toast. And then next lesson, I was in on her on Skype with her. She had it in water.

Lawrence:
The jar. Oh in water?

Charlie:
She was just diluting it in water and drinking it. And she's like, I love this stuff. This is great.

Lawrence:
I mean, it's supposed to be good for you, so I suppose [Is it?] if you're drinking it, it can't...? Yeah, it's supposedly full of B vitamins or something like that. Because it's the residual from the beer making process.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Lawrence:
So it's definitely got some goodness in there.

Charlie:
And is it literally just like the bottom of the barrel, like they've or the, the, what's it called, the brewing thing?

Lawrence:
The vats or something. Yeah, I'm not too sure what they're called, but yeah I know what you mean. Yeah. It is the residual that that settles at the bottom. I think they do remove some things from it but in essence. Yes, that's, that's what, that's what it is. And I feel that's something actually I might mention now we're quite, quite good at that in the UK. So things like golden syrup, black treacle and Marmite, these three things are actually leftovers from brewing or in the case of black treacle and golden syrup, they're the leftovers from the sugar refining process that we just found a use for them.

Charlie:
So we're resourceful when it comes to recycling foods?

Lawrence:
I'd say so, yes.

Charlie:
Are you? Naturally?

Lawrence:
Yeah, definitely. Like I'm often getting told off for refusing to throw things away. If something's in the fridge, I'll give it a sniff. I'll cut the bad bit off and I'll just leave it. I'm quite bad for that.

Charlie:
Don't want to get those mixed up. Yeah.[Yeah] yeah. And that's again, I think I understand that that's where a lot of stews come from, right? The end of the food remains. You put it into a stew?

Lawrence:
Exactly. Sausages are the same. Originally, sausages were used with the undesirable bits of meat that.. The offcuts and then just put through the grinder and just stuffed, seasoned with some herbs and kind of originally at least mask the not so pleasant taste of these leftover pieces of meat and encased in there. And of course, if you add enough salt, pepper seasoning, you've masked the flavour, you've made something that otherwise would have been thrown away taste good?

Charlie:
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Points points to Brits for that. But obviously, other cuisines might do that. Other cultures might do that as well, but-.

Lawrence:
They do. Yes, they do.

Charlie:
Okay, let's get to the big question. What is your favourite British dish? We have come to the end of part two now. So again, feel free to pause the episode to take a break from your listening practice and come back to the last part when you're ready.

Charlie:
All right. So moving on to part three now. Enjoy. Okay. Let's get to the big question. What is your favourite British dish to have yourself? Not not to, you know, go all out for somebody else. To indulge in for yourself.

Lawrence:
It would have to be a modern, the modern take on sticky toffee pudding. Sweet for- When I'm talking like a dessert or pudding, it's just so rich. And if it's made with muscovado sugar and dates, ah there's, for me, it just can't be beaten. You know, the average person will look at it and think it's a sort of chocolate pudding, but not that they'll be disappointed, but they'll be pleasantly surprised when they cut into it with a dollop of clotted cream as well. Something like that. Or ice cream. Of course, you'll feel your heart to just slowly slow down just because all the, you know, your arteries...But yeah.

Charlie:
It's clotted for a reason.

Lawrence:
Yes, yes.

Charlie:
Clotting your arteries. So sticky toffee pudding is on the top three desserts of my list as well. I really like Banoffee pie. What do you think of that?

Lawrence:
Yeah, I like Banoffee Pie as well. It's recently made an appearance on the channel. [Okay]. Yeah, that was interesting to go look into the history of it because it was. It's an iteration of an American pie that- I can't remember the name of the two individuals, but a restaurant, which I think is still in existence today. They took this American pie that centred around evaporated, boiled, evaporated milk to make that caramel. And and they felt it was lacking. And so what they did is add the banana and the and the cream to it to take it to the next level, which I think most all over the world will agree was was a welcomed addition.

Charlie:
I feel like I've listened to a podcast on on that. I can't remember. Yeah. Anyway, um. Yeah, Banoffee pie. I remember. It took my mum 50 years to realise why it's called Banoffee Pie.

Lawrence:
No.

Charlie:
She was just making it literally in the process. She was like. Oh! Banana and toffee!

Lawrence:
Yeah. Yeah.

Charlie:
Okay, so that's your favourite dessert. What about a main?

Lawrence:
So probably omelette Arnold Bennett.

Charlie:
I've got to Google that omelette Arnold Bennett. I'll search it on your channel.

Lawrence:
That was.

Charlie:
I assume it's on your channel.

Lawrence:
Yeah, I was conceived... It is on the channel. That was conceived by... The dish is named after the writer poet Arnold Bennett, who had- who was known... He was a bit of a playboy of his time. [Yeah]. And he was he was known as well to often frequent, let me say, the Savoy Hotel. And it was at the Savoy Hotel He conceived... He he asked the chef to make him a breakfast consisting of smoked haddock and a rich cheese sauce. He he conceived that in his head. And the chef came together to put things together and make this dish. The modern dish, as it exists today, is now even elevated further. It's not really an omelette anymore. It's now a souffle. But which I'll probably do on the channel. But yeah, the dish does exist in some form today, and it's something that you wouldn't think would work, you know, smoked fish with cheese sauce. But it just very... It's an intense flavour, but it's like nothing else, to be honest.

Charlie:
Wow. Okay.

Lawrence:
Very hearty breakfast, I'd say as well.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Lawrence:
A lot of butter.

Charlie:
Omelette Arnold Bennett. But again, I don't... I'm probably eating in the wrong places, but I don't see it on the menu much. Do you?

Lawrence:
Yeah, well, like I said, if you do see it on the menu now, it'll most often be in the form of a souffle. And if you were to eat it, if you were to find yourself at the Savoy, it's been served there since its first conception. But it's a souffle.

Charlie:
Wow. That's a that's a cool origin story as well. I like it. [Yeah.] Okay. So you'd have your omelette and you'd have your sticky toffee pudding. Probably not at the same time right?

Lawrence:
Now. Not at the same time.

Charlie:
Of day. I mean, not literally the same...

Lawrence:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Okay. And this is going to be my last question because I know you've got to get going, but which dishes do you think other people should try- should give an attempt to make?

Lawrence:
If individuals can get hold of the ingredients, because sometimes that is the deciding factor, I'd recommend trying some of our fish dishes. We are an island surrounded by a lot of fish and seafood, and so I'd say definitely people should try something like a fisherman's pie. [Okay]. You know, it's just got four different types of protein: salmon, smoked haddock, cod, prawns in there. You've got veg, at least the way I make it and the way my mother made it. You've got vegetables in there. You've got... It's rich. It's just... It's delicious. I feel that's one of the best dishes that really does celebrate British produce. It really does.

Charlie:
Nicely put.

Lawrence:
A fisherman's pie.

Charlie:
Fisherman's pie. There we go. Yeah, beautiful. Okay. Thank you so much. You are a fountain of knowledge. You really are. You've got so much there. Everywhere we go, you've got a little story, an origin and a dish behind it that you've made a whole video on. Fantastic stuff. And yeah, guys, if you haven't yet, go to Google Brilliantly British YouTube channel. Very, very good stuff. Thank you very much, Lawrence. I really appreciate your time.

Lawrence:
Thank you. I really do appreciate this opportunity to talk about it.

Charlie:
Yeah, I can I can tell. Yeah. It's it's a lot of topics that you are passionate about. Have you ever listened to the podcast Off Menu?

Lawrence:
No, I haven't. I will be looking that up.

Charlie:
It's one by two comedians. British comedians.

Lawrence:
Yes.

Charlie:
Ed Gamble? Yes, Ed Gamble and [Okay] James Acaster. They invite a guest on and then they give them basically it's a different spin on, you know, the death row meal, your last meal you're going to have. But it's it's a fantasy of your own design. You're not about to die and it's your favourite collection of foods, but maybe I could invite you back on. We could do something like that.

Lawrence:
It would be a pleasure. It would be a pleasure.

Charlie:
Wonderful. Okay, well, I will look forward to that day. But until then, safe travels back to Switzerland. But more importantly, [thank you] good luck on the special day.

Lawrence:
Thank you very much. Thank you.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay. All right. Take care, Lawrence. All the best. Bye for now. There we go. The end of part three, meaning the end of the episode. Well done for getting through the entirety of it. Make sure you use all of the resources available to you in your membership. Thanks once again for supporting the show and I look forward to seeing you next time on the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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