Dishes of North-West England
is actually in Derbyshire, but as a noteworthy northern delicacy,
it was decided to add it here. Thought to have originated as a
kitchen accident, when in 1820 Mrs Greaves, landlady of the Whitehorse
Inn in Bakewell, instructed her cook to make a pudding. However,
when the inexperienced cook poured an egg mixture onto a jam base
set in a thin pastry case, it resulted in a flat tart, and not
the risen pudding as was intended. However, it was thought to
be so delicious that Mrs Greaves ordered her cooks to continue
making it that way and the recipe became a popular local (and
now international) favourite.
A bread roll,
or bap, made from wholemeal flour - also called 'flour cakes'. They
are soft and pliable, with a pitted texture. 'Barm' is an
old Lancashire word for the froth on liquid that contains yeast.
can still be seen being rolled and made on the seafront at Blackpool.
Actually, most seaside resorts sell rock that is still made in Blackpool
on the Fylde Coast of Lancashire. A hard sugar slightly minted confection
rolled into long lengths and cut into 30 cm pieces, distinctive
on account of the lettering that traditionally runs throughout the
whole length (eg. 'Blackpool Rock', 'Rhyl Rock', etc). Very popular
at the seaside, especially with young children.
Made from congealed
pig's blood and oatmeal and produced widely throughout the region,
with Bury boasting probably the most famous, with its traditional
methods of making the delicacy going well back into the 19th century.
Bury Black Puddings win international awards. It is still purchased
in a hot boiled form on many local markets, and eaten locally as
a takeaway snack (much as fish and chips in paper might be) and
dowsed with liberal amounts of malt vinegar. Further south it tends
to be thinly sliced and fried as part of a mixed grill.
known since medieval times, are found all over Britain, but a
particular variety was once commonly made in Bury. A light fruit
cake, similar to a Christmas cake, covered in marzipan, then toasted,
and eaten during Easter in England, Ireland and some other countries.
Traditionally, the top of the cake was decorated around the edge,
with eleven marzipan balls to represent the true disciples of
Jesus (minus Judas Iscariot). In some variations Christ is also
represented, by a ball placed at the centre. .In more recent times
they have been associated with Mothering Sunday. The word 'simnel'
is probably derived from the Latin 'simila', meaning fine, wheaten
flour with which the cakes were made.
Different towns had their own recipes and shapes of the Simnel
cake. Bury, Devizes and Shrewsbury produced large numbers to their
own recipes, but it is the Shrewsbury version that became most
popular and best known.
Pie is a traditional Lancashire delicacy, better known elsewhere
perhaps as potato & onion pie. Traditionally served on a Friday
(Roman Catholic Lancastrians did not eat meat on a Fridays) and
served with brown or tomato sauce and sometimes with pickled red
cabbage or beetroot. Butter pies had long been a matchday favourite
snack among Preston North End Football Club fans until 2007 when
manufacturers ceased trading, causing fans to mount a FaceBook campaign
for its return to the matchday menu.
have acquired its flavour from the abundance of salt marshes
throughout the county of Cheshire, Britain's oldest known
cheese, having been mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.
A crumbly, nutty cheese, originally made in Chester, but now
made throughout the county
original Cheshire pork 'pye' was made from the mid-18th century
from cuts of pork loin, seasoned with nutmeg and pepper and sweetened
with sugar. White wine and butter were then added in liberal quantities
and the whole mixture cooked in pastry.
in many ways to many other steamed suet puddings, but with the addition
of blackcurrant jam.
to Eccles Cakes but generally larger and flatter and without the
glazed sugary top. Thought to originate, (logically), in Chorley.
in the old county of Cumberland and other parts north Lancashire,
now made almost everywhere in the UK. A long slightly spiced rough
chopped coiled pork sausage, traditionally sold by length rather
than weight, and can be over a metre long.
made commercially and sold in 1793 by one James Birch in his bakers
shop in Eccles, probably based on an earlier recipe for her so-called
"sweet patties" by Mrs Elizabeth
Raffald in her cookery book of 1769. Made with shiny topped
flaky pastry and filled with dried fruits, sugar and spice. Proprietary
brands are to be avoided as they bear little resemblance to the
real thing - available at good local bakers. A round fruit filled
pastry with three distinctive slashes on its top which is brushed
with egg and dowsed in sugar prior to baking. So scrumptious was
it thought to be that it was banned by the Puritans, but locals
continued to make and eat them in secret! So called due to originating
in Eccles (now part of the Metropolitan Borough of Salford).
A sweet toffee
flavoured with a hint of lemon invented by one Molly Bush in Everton,
(Liverpool) in the mid-nineteenth century.
manufacturing "Fisherman's Friends" was established in
1865, and is now claimed to be the largest producer of lozenges
in the world. It began when local Fleetwood pharmacist James Lofthouse
created an extremely strong liquid linctus of menthol and eucalyptus,
which helped relieve problems experienced by fishermen in the frequently
freezing conditions encountered in the Irish Sea. To make it easier
to transport and to administer he converted this linctus into small
lozenges, which were popular with the local fishermen for their
evident efficacy. It is reported that they soon began referring
to the miracle lozenges as their friends and soon the
now world-famous "Fisherman's Friend" came into being.
Over 4 billion Fisherman's Friend lozenges are consumed around the
world every year, manufactured still by the family run business
from their factory in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
to originating in the Lancashire village of that name, (near Preston)
a cake, more biscuit-like, flavoured with caraway seeds and sold
around Easter and Whitsuntide.
was a very ancient Lancashire dish of exotically stuffed boiled
poultry. The recipe is thought to have been brought by Flemish weavers
to Bolton-le-Moor, (Bolton), in 1337. The original recipe used the
blood of the fowl for binding the stuffing mix. The night before
the fowl was stuffed with a mixture of prunes, nuts, suet, spices
and red wine, then simmered slowly until tender. The next day the
bird was removed from the stock, coated with a lemon and cream sauce
and decorated with prunes and lemon slices and served cold. The
name of the dish may derive from 'Hen de la Wake' ... in
Lancashire dialect a 'wake' was a fair, at which time the dish may
have been eaten.
in the Rossendale Valley of Lancashire is the Home of the famous Holland's
Pies and was first sold from their shop in Haslingden in 1851. Still
manufactured to traditional recipes, and including steak pies, cheese
& onion, steak & kidney pies, meat & potato pies, steak puddings,
etc, and nowadays found in virtually every supermarket.
of the hard English cheeses - its white crumbly texture and full,
slightly salty taste makes it an excellent cheese in cooking, and
especially favoured for Welsh Rarebit.
meat stew known as Lancashire Hotpot probably originated in the cotton
towns of Lancashire as a simple dish quickly prepared and slow cooked,
similar to Irish Stew. So named after the straight-sided brown dish
in which it was cooked - the 'hotpot'. At one time, even oysters were
included in the recipe. Traditionally, mill worker's wives would prepare
it in the morning, and leave it in the oven all day so that it would
be ready when the family returned home from work at the mill - there
are several other possible origins, but this seems most probable.
Usually eaten with pickled red cabbage as an accompaniment. Tradition
had it that a woman's ability to make a good hotpot was of paramount
importance and considerably enhanced her marriage prospects. Some
accounts have it as a dish often eaten by shepherds on the hills and
others that it was a dish prepared for pitworkers.
Sauce is a vinegar based, mildly spiced condiment, whose recipe
has been with its makers, the Entwistle family, over the last four
generations. A condiment which can be used as a marinade, or in
the cooking process itself and can be added to soups or casseroles
or to flavour stocks. It is on sale throughout Lancashire and parts
of Cheshire and it can also be purchased from its home, Entwistle's
Deli in Ramsbottom, Bury. See the website: www.lancashiresauce.co.uk.
created and brewed in Blackburn by Thwaites Brewery, this rich brown,
full-flavoured beer is traditionally hand-pumped. "Bomber"
- as it's familiarly called - is now available in inns, pubs and bars
throughout England, as well as bottled on supermarket shelves.
simply 'Scouse', a popular Merseyside dish, somewhat like a mixture
of Irish Stew and a Scandinavian stew called 'Lobscaus', from
where it probably got its name. Hence, 'scousers' became a
widespread nickname for anybody from Liverpool.
Tart (or Manchester Pudding)
is thought to be a variation on the original Manchester Pudding,
made from breadcrumbs, milk, sugar, eggs, damson Jam and lemon juice.
The recipe was first published by Mrs Beeton in her book "Household
Management". It comprises a set custard slice in shortcrust
pastry and a hidden layer of jam underneath. Served with lashings
of hot custard, it was very popular in school dinners of the 1940s
Meat & Potato
A firm local
favourite, available from most fish & chip shops. Mostly potato
and shortcrust pastry filled with stewed shin beef, onions and a
thick beef gravy.
An historic traditional Lancashire dish and a popular local starter
for any meal. These brown shrimps are harvested in the wild and treacherous
shifting sands of Morecambe Bay by intrepid shrimpers and cocklers,
an area which provides some of the worlds finest seafood. Shrimps
are then peeled, cooked and potted on site to create a buttery full-flavoured
'knodding' or even 'nodden'. An old Lancashire dish
made from potatoes and flour. Information is sketchy, but it appears
to have consisted of mashed potato mixed with flour and butter,
and baked in a pie tin until it developed a crust. It may have been
a way of using up leftover potatoes, similar to the way that "bubble
and squeak" arose.
called "black peas" or "maple peas", long soaked
overnight and slowly simmered to produce a type of mushy pea, popular
in Bolton and Preston, and traditionally sold a funfairs. 'Parching'
was an old term for long slow boiling and has now fallen almost
completely out of use. They were traditionally eaten from a cup with
salt and vinegar, they can be served hot or cold, but naturally preferred
hot in winter months. At fairgrounds they were usually served in white
porcelain mugs and eaten with a spoon. In Preston parched peas are
still availabale from a few retail outlets - still sold (at the time
of writing this) ready-cooked and served in brown paper bags on the
Flag Market, they remain a local autumn delicacy with older Lancastrians.
A dark sweet
cake made from oatmeal instead of flour. A heavy sticky cake due
to the liberal addition of black treacle, that sometimes contains
candied fruits. Traditionally eaten round the bonfire on Guy Fawkes
Night, the 5th of November. Sometimes served with a thin sliver
of Lancashire Cheese.
in celebration of the famous Lancashire Pendle Witches by the long
established Moorhouses Brewery, this hand-pumped beer is now available
in public houses throughout the county. Pendle Witches is brewed by
traditional methods and is a notoriously full-flavoured beer. It is
also available in bottle varieties.
cooked and potted near to the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay
where they are caught, and famous for being the best potted shrimps
in the UK. See Morecambe Bay Shrimps (above).
Rag Pie (or
A rag pie is
made of suet and meat, and in many ways resembles a steak pudding
except that it has a limp pastie shape. Favoured in many parts of
Lancashire and Rochdale and still available at local butchers shops...
(I eat one myself occasionally, supplied by a friend in Haslingden
- quite delicious! ... it is also widely available on Bury's famous
Market). There are references to it in Victorian times, when the
pie (or pudding) clearly had humbler and less savoury beginnings
- the following excerpt describes it being served up in an orphanage
(Mr Bogryne's establishment):
was a dreadful pie for dinner every Monday; a meat pie with ...
horrible lumps of gristle inside, and such strings of sinew, alternated
by lumps of flabby fat. We called it kitten pieresurrection
pierag piedead mans pie. We cursed it
by night, we cursed it by day: we wouldnt stand it, we said;
we would write to our friends; we would go to sea. Old Bogryne
kept Giggleswick seven hours (sitting) on a form with the pie
before him; but Giggleswick held out bravely, and would not taste
of the accursed food. He (Bogryne) never ate any of the pie himself".
(From "Gaslight and Daylight - How I Went to Sea",
by George Augustus Sala, 1859).
Sarsaparilla (Sasparilla or Sarsparilla)
an old and once very popular non-alcoholic root beer-type beverage,
is still brewed to a well-kept secret recipe, and sold at Fitzpatrick's
Herbal Health Shop in Rawtenstall, Rossendale.
Similar to the
Eccles and Chorley Cakes but larger, and popular in the Rossendale
Valley - known by local children sometimes as 'desolate cakes'.
Alternative forms often mix the dried fruit into the pastry and
present it in an envelope shape. The sad cake was traditionally
eaten after one's sandwiches or as a separate tea break snack during
the working day in the cotton mills and coal mines of Lancashire.
A spread of margarine, butter or even jam was placed on top and
sometimes topped by crumbly soft Lancashire cheese.
or Tater Hash (Potato Hash)
potatoes, chopped onions and corned beef stewed long in butter and
milk. When cooked, potatoes are mashed (or hashed). Traditionally
served as a nourishing main course accompanied by red cabbage or pickled
First launched in 1924 by Fred Pickup in Manchester, and originally
called 'Pickup's Appetizer'. Later, after Pickups death it was purchased
by the Armour Trust before being sold on to the Scottish drinks
company AG Barr in 1972. Tizer's exact recipe has always been kept
strictly secret though a list of ingredients and nutritional data
is now included on the product labelling in keeping with current
legal requirements. In the late 1990s other flavoured versions of
Tizer were introduced. Tizer was rebranded in 2011 with a new logo
and the slogan "The Great British Pop". (Source Wikipedia:
of favour nowadays, tripe is the lining of a cow's stomach, traditionally
served with onions. Smooth tripe comes from the first of a cow's
stomachs, and so-called honeycomb tripe is from the second stomach
and is considered to be the superior version. Cleaned and boiled
to a milky white colour, it is usually cut into strips and soaked
in milk with onions for several hours prior to eating. Until relatively
recent times, Tripe and Cowheels shops were a common sight in the
northwest - now, sadly, all but disappeared.
& Comoany have been making making sweets in Wigan since 1898 and
their mint balls were first introduced in October 1932. A popular
regional favourite, they are said to be made from 100% natural ingredients
and contain no artificial additives or colours, are gluten-free
and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
The story of
Vimto began in 1908 when one John Noel Nichols created a unique
and original blend of fruit, herbs and spices in his premises in
Manchester. Originally he called it "Vim Tonic" (supposedly
to give the drinker vim and vigour as a general tonic), but it soon
became a popular drink and the name was shortened to 'Vimto'. By
1920 it had become so popular nationwide, that the company had to
move its production out of the city centre to Old Trafford. By 1930
it was being exported to over 30 different countries, and its name
has become internationally famous. In 1964 it was first sold in
its present-day red, white and blue striped cans.
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