Regional Dishes of North-West England
Bakewell 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.
See "Parched Peas" below.
Blackpool Rock 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
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.
Simnel Cakes, 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
Butter 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.
Said to 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
The 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.
Similar in many ways to many other
steamed suet puddings, but with the addition of blackcurrant jam.
Similar to Eccles Cakes but generally
larger and flatter and without the glazed sugary top. Thought to originate,
(logically), in Chorley.
Made originally 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.
Possibly first 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.
The company 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.
So-called due 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.
Hindle Wakes 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.
Baxenden 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
The softest 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.
The 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
Lancashire 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:
Originally 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.
Or 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.
A rare and ressurected dish from around
the Pendle district of Lancashire. Based on ingredients thought to have
been consumed by the so-called Pendle witches at the Good Friday 'Great
Feast' of Malkin Tower. Lamb was one of the better known contents of
the feast as it was recorded that James Device, the grandson of Demdike,
stole a sheep from a farm in Barley. It is also thought that the Malkin
coven feasted on beef, bacon, and wicca dumplings made of suet and herbs.
Cooked locally it can be served hot or cold and was traditionally served
with red cabbage. Relaunched in celebration of the 400th anniversary
of the Feast of Malkin Tower, a local company now offers it around regional
Farmer's Markets. See. www.malkinpie.com/malkin-pie.
Manchester Tart 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 and 1950s.
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 local delicacy.
Sometimes spelt '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.
Sometimes 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
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.
Created 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.
Netted, peeled, 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).
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):
"There 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, 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.
Boiled 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 beetroot.
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
Somewhat out 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,
(notably the Lancashire and the UCP Tripe Factory Shops), were a common
sight in the northwest - now, sadly, all but disappeared.
William Santus & 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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