The 23rd April brings what should be the English day of celebration in St George's Day. I often wonder how many of us English people will actually raise a glass to our patron saint as well as get stuck into a good old English meal. Not many I reckon.
Whilst we don comedy 'Guinness' hats for St Patrick's Day and have a 'wee dram' of the single malt stuff for St Andrew's Day, we all seem to forget our heritage when it comes to our special day.
Can we please bring it back oh folk of England? Can we please just retain some heritage and tradition and remember where we come from for one day of the year? I don't mean rampage down the street with faces painted destroying all in your way - we have enough of that around International footy day. I mean have some food and drink with your loved ones, feel positive about your heritage and be proud to be English for a change. I'm all for a multi-culturist society, love it in fact. But we should not be afraid to be proud to be English. Perhaps a bit of pride and a positive outlook is the key to this damned recession eh?
I'll be celebrating with some local food, pease pudding to be precise. I'm getting into making large batches of our most famed Geordie split pea concoction and freezing it for rainy days. I'll be simmering a load of split peas in a muslin bag along with a ham hock before toasting some stottie cakes, another one of our traditional foods, smearing liberally in English mustard and making the best ham and pease pudding butties in town. All washed down with a bottle of Jarrow Brewery Rivet Catcher.
You will have a load of local traditional dishes where you come from. As we don't seem to have one dish that describes our wonderfully diverse food in England, it's time to look local and knock one up for you and your family this Thursday. Enjoy it and tell the world that it's okay to be English.
250g yellow split peas
1 ham hock
2 sticks of celery
2 bay leaves
A handful of fresh thyme
5 black peppercorns
1 - Place the yellow split peas into a muslin cloth and tie securely. Place them along with the rest of the ingredients into a stock pan.
2 - Cover with water, bring to the boil then simmer for 2 and a half hours.
3 - Drain the split peas then mash with a fork or blend depending on how smooth or rough you like them.
4 - Serve spread thickly in buttered thick bread, slithers of ham hock and English mustard.