I wasn’t exposed to Yorkshire puddings when I first came to London as a student at SOAS, mostly due to working part-time jobs that often had me working on a Sunday, as well as being terribly out-of-pocket most of the time. In fact, my first Sunday roast experience was my staff meal at the pub I used to work at. It was a novelty, this tradition of what to my American eyes was a mini-Thanksgiving held weekly, ideally in the company of family and/or friends.
After several Sundays of having the same (generally good) roast dinner from the same pub, I am now eager to explore the wide, prismatic world of the Sunday roast–particularly the Yorkshire pudding, which I feel is a good indication of whether or not the place you are in is serving a good roast.
I haven’t managed to expand much out from the Sunday roasts from my old pub, having only sampled two other pub roasts. Being vegetarian, the venue in question needs to serve a nut roast or something similar. Nut roasts, again, are something I hadn’t encountered until I came to London this second go-around, but I’ve generally had good ones from the three pubs I’ve been to here in Hackney.
Most recently, I went to a pub near Haggerston Station that served me this:
The Yorkshire pudding was as big as my hand.
The rest of the meal was great as well–ample amount of gravy, nice roasted potatoes, tasty nut roast, happy carrots (I love carrots)–but by god, that Yorkshire pudding was awe-inspiring.
Although I am eager to explore other pub roasts, I’m also inclined to learn how to make my own veggie Sunday roast in the cosy kitchen of my home, so if anyone has any recipes for nut roast, Yorkshire pudding or vegetarian gravy, that’d be much appreciated. There is a Yorkshire pudding recipe on Great British Chefs, but it contains lard so I’ll have to replace it with butter or vegetable shortening, or a blend of the two. I’ve made mushroom-based gravy before, with my Christmas roast seeing me glug some beer in from The Kernel Brewery because I didn’t have any vegetable stock, which turned out so well I’m tempted to do it again with some of their Export Stout I have (yes, I do like booze in everything). I’m also quite a fan of the pickled red cabbage, but I was told recently by a coworker that it’s actually not a traditional roast component.
Which begs the question: what are the traditional elements of a roast dinner? I know, technically, a nut roast isn’t one, but hey.
Until I actually have some free time to create the Epic Sunday Roast of My Dreams, I’ll be on the hunt for more Sunday roasts to sample to get inspiration. Anyone had any good veggie roasts in pubs here in the Big Smoke? Preferably ones with Yorkshire puddings that have plans for world domination like the one from The Fox on Kingsland Road? Oh, and lots of gravy.