Diversity. It’s never been such a hot topic. Unfortunately it’s often in the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late, but let’s not forget this great island of ours has a rich history of immigration making it what it is today.
Nowhere is that more evident than in our fantastic food scene. Take a look at Spitalfields, a tiny area in East London. This one spot has been home to Irish and Huguenot silk weavers in the 17th century, Jewish refugees who also worked the rag trade as recently as the 1970’s, and is now more recently famed for Brick Lane, where you’ll find tons of restaurants serving Indian and Pakistani curries – which have in turn been lovingly adopted as our national dish.
So what has this got to do with anything? Well I think most of us have some interest in where it is that we come from and Ancestry can tell us exactly that, going back THOUSANDS of years.
Sounds like it would be complicated, right? Wrong! A tiny kit arrived on my desk with easy to follow instructions. It told me not to consume any food or drink prior to the test as it could affect results (I also refrained from snogging – surely that would have impacted things??) So that’s how I found myself in my PJs, still in bed, spitting into a test tube. The glamour. You just seal it up and pop it back in the post for analysis.
A few weeks later and the results were in!
My mum’s from Yorkshire and my Dad’s from Kent – so I wasn’t really expecting anything too exciting. However, I was pleasantly surprised by what came back…
35% Great Britain
17% Europe West
I’ve teamed up with Ancestry to create a recipe based on my results….
Scandi Smørrebrød with British Roast Beef on German Rye Bread
A smørrebrød is just an open sandwich to you and I, and very popular all over Scandinavia. In fact we couldn’t get enough of them on a recent trip to Copenhagen – perhaps it was a sign of my heritage!
We took this Scandi concept, merged it with a German base, layered it with British ingredients and sprinkled it with a little French flavour.
Traditionally made with a thin slice of dense, nutty rye bread, we’ve decided to use German Rye instead, which is slightly bouncier. There’s no need to toast this bread as it can make it dry – and no one wants that!
The Danes always start with a good layer of butter before anything else. We used British butter, before adding Horseradish Cream. Next came the Rocket, a very ‘English’ leaf, which has been used in salads since Elizabethan times. Now onto the meat! You’ll need thin slices of British roast beef, cooked rare. This is a great recipe for using up your Sunday lunch leftovers but if you don’t have any to hand, it’s just as good with pre-cooked slices. We used and recommend M&S’s cured roast beef with coriander and garlic which was perfect.
French cornichons add bite and height. This is not your average sandwich and presentation is key. Don’t even think about using your hands, knife and fork are very much needed. Finish with salt & pepper.
In fact this recipe would make a great DIY brunch! Get the gang around, make sure there’s plenty of rye bread, as well as roast beef, (cured smoked salmon also works really well), and plenty of toppings – think cornichons, crispy shallots, lemon zest, dill, raw beetroot, pickled cucumber – and assemble, based on your own results!
German Rye Bread
Rare British Roast Beef, thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper
Start by cutting a slice of rye bread (not too thick!) Give it a slick of butter, followed by a more generous layer of horseradish.
Add a handful of peppery rocket.
Pile high with plenty of slices of British roast beef. Sprinkle over cornichons and finish with a twist of freshly cracked salt & pepper.
Have fun assembling all the ingredients, there’s really no right or wrong but presentation is a key element in a traditional smørrebrød. After all, the danes are known for their design.
Enjoy with a glass of your favourite French wine – we think this is perfect with a full-bodied Bordeaux.
The AncestryDNA Kit costs £79 (+p&p) and can be purchased here: https://www.ancestry.co.uk
For more recipes: Download free Ebook by AncestryDNA
In this book, you’ll find more than 30 recipes inspired by the different places in our past. Some draw on the essence of a particular part of the world, while others are delightful fusions of several regions’ culinary cultures.
Whether you have a hint of Scandinavian in your DNA, or you’re an eclectic mix of distant locations, you’ll find dishes here to suit your unique profile.