Spilling The Royal Tea: Queens’ Favourite Food Throughout History
Know what the Queen’s favourite fast food is? Neither did we until now.
So alongside the street parties, afternoon teas and royally-themed jubilance, I decided to honour HRH’s Platinum milestone with a look back at dishes enjoyed by legendary queens of the past.
Because when a Platinum Jubilee rolls around, not just any tea will cut the mustard. This is the food our most famous queens ate – from Tudor times to today.
For starters, oysters à la Queen Elizabeth I
Few foods rival raw oysters. Just a quick shucking, and you’ll be knocking back briny shots of bliss in seconds. Even Queen Elizabeth herself was famous for making the most of these molluscs.
Random royal fact: In 1563, the Queen decreed that English citizens must eat seafood in place of meat on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. If you were found without fish on your plate, you could be slapped with a hefty, life-ruining fine.
To take your ocean jewels back to Tudor times, drizzle over the Renaissance-spiced plum sauce, tilt your head back and slurp like your livelihood depends on it.
Oyster plum sauce ingredients
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
Pit the prune and thinly chop it. Chop the shallots very finely. Mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar and soy sauce in a bowl with the chopped plum.
Open the oysters right before serving and serve with the dressing sauce, finely diced shallots and a sprig of chive or sorrel.
Queen Victoria’s Sumptuous Summer Pudding
It’s no surprise that the Victoria Sponge was an iconic cake of the Industrial age. But I like to think that summer sweets for history’s greediest queen came in the form of this vibrant pudding. Sodden with dark fruit, it’s the true taste of British summer and despite its white bread base, is anything but claggy.
This uncooked sweet originated at health spas in the 1800s, and was seen as a rejuvenating way to cool down on hot days.
And it’s deceptively easy to throw together. It only takes 15 minutes to prep, you don’t need an oven at all and works with whatever berries are in season.
1.25kg mixed berries and currants of your choice
175g caster sugar
7 slices of day-old white bread
Step 1: Wash fruit and gently dry on kitchen paper – keep strawberries separate. Gently heat sugar and 3 tbsp water in a large saucepan until the sugar dissolves – stir a few times. Bring to a boil for 1 min, then tip in the fruit (keep the strawberries back if using). Cook for 3 mins over a low heat, stirring 2-3 times. The fruit will be softened, mostly intact and surrounded by dark red juice. Put a sieve over a bowl and tip in the fruit and juice.
Step 2: Line the 1.25-litre bowl with cling film (this will help you to turn out the pudding). Let the edges overhang by about 15cm. Cut the crusts off the bread, then cut 4 pieces of bread in half, a little on an angle, to give 2 irregular rectangles per slice. Cut 2 slices into 4 triangles each (quarters) and leave the final piece whole.
Step 3: Dip the biggest slice of bread into the juice for a few seconds to coat. Push this into the bottom of the basin. Now dip the irregular rectangular pieces one at a time and press around the basin’s sides so that they fit together neatly, alternately placing wide and narrow ends up. If you can’t quite fit the last piece of bread in it doesn’t matter, just trim into a triangle, dip in juice and slot in. Now spoon in the softened fruit, distributing the fresh strawberries as you go.
Step 4: Dip the bread triangles in juice and place on top – trim off overhang with scissors. Keep leftover juice for later. Fold the overhanging cling film on the top and loosely seal. Put a side plate on top and weigh it down with cans. Chill for 6 hrs or overnight. Flip over to serve.
HRH’s Bunless Venison & Pork Burger With Cranberries
Rogue, but apparently QEII loves a burger. A bunless venison burger, that is.
According to former palace chef, Darren McGrady, he would craft burgers from deer shot by the royals at Balmoral. For an indulgent twist, he would then stuff the venison with cranberries.
Why no bun? Inline with her Victorian upbringing, Queen Elizabeth is not to pick anything up with her fingers – aside from afternoon tea.
If a Queen Tea sounds like just the ticket for a Jubilee, head to the menu for royally-inspired delights like HRH’s Bunless Venison & Pork Burger stuffed with cranberries (there’s also a vegan version), our infamous Rodda’s Cream Tea Burger and more. Available for a limited time.
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