St George’s Day
St George’s Day in England remembers St George, England’s patron saint (and the patron saint of farmers too!). The anniversary of his death, which is on April 23, is seen as England’s national day.
St George was born sometime around the year 280 in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming a personal guard to the Emperor Diocletian. He was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303, and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel.
According to legend, the only well in the town of Silene was guarded by a dragon. In order to get water, the inhabitants of the town had to offer a human sacrifice every day to the dragon. The person to be sacrificed was chosen by lots. On the day that St George was visiting, a princess had been selected to be sacrificed. However, he killed the dragon, saved the princess and gave the people of Silene access to water. In gratitude, they converted to Christianity. It is thought that the dragon represents a certain type of pagan belief that included the sacrifice of human beings.
Also called the Feast of Saint George it is also celebrated by various nations, kingdoms, countries and cities of which Saint George is the patron saint including Bulgaria, England, Georgia, Portugal, Spain (Catalonia and Aragon). It is celebrated under the name of Hıdırellez in Turkey, as well.
St. George’s Day was a major feast and national holiday in England on a par with Christmas from the early 15th century. The tradition of celebrating St. George’s day had waned by the end of the 18th century after the union of England and Scotland. Nevertheless, the link with St. George continues today, for example, Salisbury holds an annual St. George’s Day pageant, the origins of which are believed to go back to the 13th century. In recent years the popularity of St. George’s Day appears to be increasing gradually.
Our Saint George’s Day recipe collection below features some delicious English dishes, providing perfect recipes to help you celebrate this significant day.
Traditional Fish & Chips
Time: 45 mins
This fish and chips recipe is an excellent rendition of a British classic, and you can even rustle up all your favourite accompaniments at home. Haddock fillets are coated in a light and fluffy beer batter, then served with a homemade tartare sauce, crushed peas and, of course, chunky chips.
Source: Great British Chefs
- 4 haddock fillets, each weighing 170g
- 100g plain flour, seasoned
- 200g plain flour
- 150ml lager beer
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 150ml ale
- 5g mild curry powder
- 2 banana shallots, diced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 50g butter
- 400g peas
- 3 egg yolks
- 200ml pomace oil
- 100ml nut oil
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 1/2 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 garlic clove, roasted
- 1 dash of lemon juice
- 6 potatoes
- 1.5L groundnut oil
- 1 pinch of rock salt
Lemon Tartare Sauce
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 egg, hard-boiled
- 50g cornichons
To make the fish batter recipe combine all the ingredients, flour, lager beer, salt, pepper, ale and curry powder in a bowl and whisk until smooth. The batter needs to be as thin as possible so it’s nice and light
For the mayonnaise, ensure all the ingredients are at the same temperature. Put the egg yolks in a blender with the mustard and garlic and blend for 30 seconds
This stage is critical to the process. Add both the oils very slowly while the blender is on, once the emulsion has formed you can add the rest of the oil in a slow steady stream – if it gets too thick halfway through, let down with the lemon juice and a tablespoon of water
Once all the oil is emulsified, season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice
For the tartare sauce, chop the herbs, cornichons, and capers. Next, grate a hard-boiled egg and combine with the diced shallots and the mayonnaise. Season to taste
For the crushed peas, sweat down the garlic and shallots in the butter. Add the peas and toss in the hot butter
When most of the peas are soft, pulse for 10 seconds in the blender and return to the pan and keep warm
To make the chips. Peel the potatoes and cut them into even-sized, not too thin batons. Wash under cold water to remove any starch. Drain well
Heat the oil (preferably groundnut) in a deep fat fryer to 130°C. Fry the chips for 7-8 minutes until soft. Lift out of the oil and drain
Reheat the oil to 180°C and return the chips to the pan, cooking until they are crispy and brown. Drain well and season with fine rock salt. Keep in a warm place while you cook the fish
Set the deep fat fryer to 180°C, toss the fish in seasoned plain flour and pat off. Dip in the batter and allow most of the batter to run off the fish – it only has to be lightly coated
Hold each fillet halfway into the oil for 30 seconds before lowering it in gently – if you let go straight away it will sink to the bottom and stick
The fish should take approx 4 minutes and 30 seconds to cook – ensure the batter is golden and crisp. Remove and drain thoroughly on kitchen paper, then keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining fish in the same way.
Serve the fish and chips with the warm crushed peas, tartare sauce and a wedge of lemon
Horseradish & Tomato Toad in the Hole
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
This is a wonderful twist on the classic toad in the hole. Sausages wrapped in bacon before being baked with sweet vine cherry tomatoes. It’s a real crowd-pleaser and always looks impressive once it’s puffed up in the oven.
Source: Delicious Magazine
- 8 sausages (for a veggie option, use veggie sausages and leave out the bacon)
- 8 rashers of unsmoked streaky bacon
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g plain flour
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 1 tbsp grated horseradish
- 225ml semi-skimmed milk
- 200g cherry tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Wrap the sausages in the rashers of unsmoked streaky bacon, then fry in a non-stick pan until browned.
Drizzle vegetable oil in a 30cm x 25cm x 6cm deep roasting tray and heat it in the oven for 5 minutes.
Put the plain flour in a bowl, crack in the medium free-range eggs, then stir in the grated horseradish. Gradually beat in the semi-skimmed milk. Season.
Put the sausages into the hot roasting tray and pour over the batter. Top with cherry tomatoes on the vine and cook for 30 minutes until puffed and golden.
Vegetarian Cottage Pie
Time: 20 mins
Suitable for Vegetarians
There’s nothing more comforting than coming home to a big helping of home-cooked cottage pie. Our take on this recipe is deliciously filling, but it’s low in calories and saturated fat!
- 350g Quorn mince
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 100g frozen peas or mixed veg
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 1 dessert spoon vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp salt-reduced soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cornflour, mixed into a paste with 1 tbsp cold water
- 700g potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 225g parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas Mark 4
Boil the potatoes and parsnip until tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and the carrot and fry gently until softened.
Add the Quorn Mince, frozen veg, vegetable stock, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, soy sauce and seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the cornflour made into a paste with the tablespoon of cold water and continue to simmer gently, stirring all the time, until thickened. Place in an ovenproof dish.
Mash the potatoes and parsnip with the milk until smooth, season to taste with the salt and pepper. Place the topping over the Quorn mince filling and fluff up with a fork.
Bake for 20 minutes until the topping is crisp.
Serve with a selection of fresh vegetables.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins + chilling
Serves 8 -12
Here’s a sweet northern favourite, a Manchester tart, that might take you straight back to your school days.
Source: Delicious Magazine
- 6 tbsp quality raspberry conserve
- 50g desiccated coconut, lightly toasted in a dry pan
For the pastry
- 175g plain flour, plus extra to dry
- 50g icing sugar
- 90g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 medium free-range egg yolk
- 1 tbsp ice-cold water
For the custard
- 4 large free-range egg yolks
- 5 tbsp caster sugar
- 5 tbsp custard powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 750ml whole milk
You’ll also need a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin
For the pastry, sift the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Add the butter, then pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Beat the egg yolk with the ice-cold water, add it to the bowl and process briefly until the mixture comes together to form a ball. (Or, in a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt until it resembles breadcrumbs, then beat the egg yolk with the iced water and mix into the flour mixture using a table knife until it comes together.) Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly until smooth, then roll out thinly and use to line the base and sides of the tart tin. Trim the edges, then chill for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and put a baking sheet on the middle shelf to heat. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper or foil, fill with a thin layer of ceramic baking beans (or uncooked rice), then bake for 25 minutes until the edges are biscuit-coloured. Remove the paper/foil and beans/rice, then protect the top edges of the pastry with strips of foil. Bake for 5 minutes more or until the base of the case is crisp and golden (see tips). Remove and leave to cool, then spread the raspberry conserve over the base of the tart case.
For the custard, mix the egg yolks, sugar, custard powder, vanilla paste and 3 tbsp of the milk in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Pour the rest of the milk into a non-stick pan and heat until almost boiling.
Gradually stir the warm milk into the egg yolk mixture, then return it all to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring all the time, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Pour the custard into the pastry case and lightly level the top. Sprinkle with the desiccated coconut, then chill for at least 1 hour or until cold enough to slice. Serve cut into thin wedges.
Berry & Lemon Curd Bread & Butter Pudding
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 – 50 mins
A twist on a classic British pudding.
Source: Delicious Magazine
- 400g brioche loaf (about 9-10 slices)
- Softened butter, for spreading
- 500g fresh vanilla custard
- 200ml double cream
- 100g raspberries
- 100g blueberries
- 6 tbsp lemon curd
Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas 3. Thickly slice the brioche and butter one side of each slice. Cut each slice into large triangles and layer in a 2-litre ovenproof dish (or cut into smaller triangles and layer in 6 x 300ml ovenproof dishes).
Mix the custard with the double cream, then pour in and around the brioche slices, pressing the bread down gently. Leave to stand and absorb for 20-30 minutes.
Scatter the pudding with the berries, tucking them between the brioche slices, then drizzle and dollop with the lemon curd.
Bake for 40-50 minutes if making a large pudding (or for 30 minutes if making small ones). Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving with a jug of cream, if you like.