Coronation Chicken, 2012-style: A dish fit for the Queen
Will a contest to find a Diamond Jubilee favourite delight Her Majesty?
For a woman of simple tastes, she's already had more than her fair share of recipes created in her honour. So before the Diamond Jubilee, it would be understandable if the Queen were internally groaning at the prospect of yet another fancy chicken dish to celebrate her reign.
But Her Majesty, who is believed to be partial to a traditional Sunday roast, has little choice in the creation of a new dish, as the National Farmers' Union last week launched a nationwide competition to find a new recipe to rival Coronation chicken.
The recipe for the original high-viz yellow concoction of cold chicken, curry powder, herbs and spices in a mayonnaise-based sauce, often with added raisins and almonds, was the creation of florist Constance Spry and chef Rosemary Hume for the 1953 coronation banquet. The common belief is that it was inspired by the dish prepared in 1935 for the Silver Jubilee of George V, the Queen's grandfather. This also mixed chicken with mayonnaise and curry.
The Diamond Jubilee concoction will eclipse the recipe created in 2002 for the 50th anniversary of the accession. The now largely forgotten mix of cold chicken marinated in ginger, served in a crème fraiche and mayonnaise sauce dusted with parsley and served with lime segments, was distributed in hampers to guests who attended Golden Jubilee concerts a decade ago.
The NFU Diamond Jubilee Chicken recipe will be complemented by other commemorative dishes to mark the occasion. In January, the Duchess of Cornwall launched a competition for schoolchildren aged between 10 15 to create a special menu for the celebrations. The winning four recipes will be transformed into canapés by the royal chef Mark Flanagan and will be served at a reception attended by the Queen. The Duchess told schoolchildren that her mother-in-law's tastes were "very plain, nothing too complicated. I don't dare go on about my roast chicken, but I know that's the safest thing I can cook."
The royal family may be used to attending banquets with the finest food, but the palace kitchens have been reported to lean more towards plainer fare. The Queen is believed to be a fan of smoked haddock and grapes, not necessarily together, and favours simple breakfasts of toast, butter and jam, served in her bedroom by 8am. The Duke of Edinburgh prefers granary toast and Ryvita. The royal cornflakes are stored in Tupperware, while the kitchens are stocked with organic meat cuts. Perhaps mindful of Her Majesty's taste, the NFU website suggests entrants pick something as "simple and tasty as possible".
I name this dish... Regal repasts and other celebratory treats
Peach Melba The French chef Escoffier created the dessert in 1892 out of adoration for the Australian soprano Nellie Melba. According to food folklore, Nellie loved ice-cream but dared not eat it, believing it would damage her vocal cords.
Victoria Sponge Named after Queen Victoria, who favoured a slice of the dry sponge with afternoon tea.
Crepes Suzette Created in 1895 in Monte Carlo when the future Edward VII ordered a special dessert for his young female companion, whose name was Suzette.
King Edward Potato The coronation of Edward VII in 1902 coincided with its introduction.
Tarte Tatin Stephanie Tatin created the upside-down dish at a French hotel in the 1880s when she tried to rescue a burnt apple pie by piling pastry on top.
Kate-Tea and William Tetley celebrated last year's royal wedding with a specially named brew.
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