Fishfingers and Custard: Planning Your Doctor Who Evening

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Dr. Who T-shirt from
Dr. Who T-shirt from

Whether you are gearing up to watch a finale, a Christmas special or just run a ten hour David Tennant marathon, there are certain culinary delights from across the pond that you should consider adding to any potential menu.

  1. Fish fingers and Custard. I am not endorsing the idea of dipping fish sticks, or fish fingers as the Brits call them, into custard, but as separate parts of an epic Dr. Who feast they would be delightful. I would whole heartedly endorse Jamie Oliver’s Fish Finger buttie for the main course, but when it comes to custard you can’t beat Bird’s. Birds Custard Powder is a staple in any good British household, I like it hot and steaming, but according to my dad and the eleventh Dr, it’s just as good cold.
  2. Image: Sarah Pinault
    Scotch Eggs. Image: Sarah Pinault

    Scotch Eggs. These pack a powerful protein punch that will help your stomach deal with the disorienting affects of the Tardis. A whole hard boiled egg, wrapped in pork sausage, dipped in breadcrumbs and then fried. Don’t tell my mom, but I have been baking these for years.

  3. Prawn Cocktail. A classic British appetizer, and certainly something that would have been enjoyed by the Brigadier back in the day. Take a large wine glass and half fill with shredded ice berg lettuce. Then, in a separate bowl mix up 2 cups of peeled and deveined shrimp (prawns if you are British) , and mix together with 4 Tbs Mayonaise and 2 Tsps Ketchup. Top each wine glass with the prawn cocktail.
  4. Bassetts Jelly Babies. A must have for the fourth Doctor, no evening is complete without a bag of jelly babies. Firm on the outside, squidgy on the inside, and tasting not quite like fruit flavors.
  5. Party sandwiches. Any party spread involving time travel must take into account the prevalence of tiny triangular party sandwiches at British functions since the 1970s. You will need plain white bread, nothing fancy, Wonderbread will do. The sandwich must be slathered with the butter or oil spread of your choice, and the fillings must be either shredded cheese or egg salad mixed with sprouts (cress in Britain). Then it must be sliced into quarters, and the sandwich must be displayed not flat on the plate but standing up on it’s longest side like a series of pyramids. Best served on a foil platter.
  6. Cheese and Pineapple Hedgehog. Take an Iceberg lettuce and lop the bottom of it off, so that it does not roll away but is a small green hill on your kitchen counter. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil. Take two grapes and two toothpicks (cocktail sticks in Britain) and create eyes on one side of the mound. Chop an entire pineapple and a two pound block of cheese into half inch cubes. Slide a piece of cheese onto a toothpick, followed by a piece of Pineapple. Insert the other end into the tin foil covered lettuce, voila – hedgehog!
  7. For drinks choice, you really should be providing a decent cup of tea. PG Tips or Tetley works best, but you really need to find the imported kind and not the sort they are now carrying in most US grocery stores. And please, you must boil the water and use it immediately, your water should never be within ten feet of a microwave if it is intended for a teabag.
  8. Cottage Pie. If you need a more substantial meal in your repertoire for the start of the evening then a Cottage Pie is in order. In the US this is known as Shepherd’s Pie, but to settle a long standing arguement, Cottage Pie is made with ground beef while Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground lamb. It is also wise to include diced parsnip in your meat mixture for a truly authentic British dish.

Be sure not to have the following at your soiree, as it will decidedly un-British the evening for you:

  1. Peanut Butter, but Nutella is okay in a pinch
  2. Tortillas/Salsa/Nachos – it should be plain Lays or Kettle Cooked.
  3. Coffee – unless it’s instant.
  4. Ham salad should come nowhere near your sandwiches.
  5. Meatballs. Meat should be in miniature sausage form and wrapped in pastry at all times.

For further British recipes, BBCFood is an excellent source as are the websites of Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver.


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