A country's history largely determines it's eating and drinking traditions and like the wide and varied ales that are brewed in the United Kingdom, there is an equally wide range of culinary choices and some recipes which can still only be found within a small radius of their origins.Many recipes originate from the British Inn as workers would often take their lunch in the local hostelry washing their food down with a good pint of ale from the cask. Now a good night out in the local inn often brings on a desire to eat and some of these dishes are made or bought after an evening's drinking and conversation.Where the inns listed on the Fat badgers guide serve exceptionally good quality food, we award them with a croissant symbol. This might mean that menu prices are a little higher than the standard 'Chicken & Chips' type meals that many pubs serve. We would normally expect an above average menu to have a reasonable wide choice and have dishes such as Duck and at least one Fish dish. We would expect the ingredients to be, where possible, locally produced and be of good quality and cooked to perfection.We would expect that an inn serving a dish such as :Rack of English Spring Lamb coated with Garlic and Herb Butter, Roasted and served with Provençal vegetables and Sautéed Potatoes to receive a croissant icon, however it is quite conceivable that a good old English Cottage pie would warrant an award if it was of excellent quality. If the best thing on the menu is 'Scampi & Chips' - it's unlikely to inspire us to award a croissant icon.
Anglesey, separated from North Wales by the Menai Strait, is a large island extending into the Irish sea. Anglesey eggs, a simple and tasty way of using up left over potatoes and heels of cheese, have been enjoyed for tea or supper by many Welsh and English holiday makers.
Arbroath Smokies are small haddock, lightly smoked. They have a fine flavour and texture and make a very good first course. Best tried in Arbroath - Scotland.
Traditional to Gateshead in County Durham, a breakfast dish made from potato, onion, bacon and flour.
An old English dish dating back to the 15th century, froise (or fraize) is a batter-like mixture, which was probably originally cooked in the hot fat that dripped from a spit-roasted joint. It is a tasty economical recipe, delicious served with mushrooms, lightly cooked in a little lemon juice flavoured with black pepper and grilled tomatoes.
Baked Cromer Crab
Cromer in Norfolk is renowned for the Quality of their Crabs. To tell if a crab is full, feel it for its weight and examine its tail end: a full shell will separate from its bottom half, exposing a white section.
Baked Ulster Ham
Irish hams are world famous for their sweetness and succulence.
A buttery mixture, flavoured with ground almonds and baked in a light flaky pastry case, is the basis of this traditional Derbyshire recipe, commercially known as Bakewell tart, the original pudding is best tasted in Bakewell and is a million times better ! It was invented accidentally at the Rutland Arms Hotel in about 1850, when a flustered cook ruined a jam tart by placing an egg and butter mixture on top of the jam
Banbury Apple Pie
A traditional recipe which uses a pie dish with pastry on the top and bottom. You can use eating apples instead of the cooking apples, they will not need sweetening.
In the 'English Hus-wife' of 1615, Gervase Markham gives a recipe for Banbury cakes that is quite different from the modern ones which are sold at Banbury and are more like the northern Eccles and Chorley cakes, though the puff pastry and rum make them seem lighter.
The famous 'speckled bread' of Wales was originally a variation of the weekly loaf, sweetened with sugar, and with raisins and currants pressed into the dough. Though some recipes now use baking powder as the raising agent, the best bara brith is still made with yeast.
An Irish fruit cake which includes tea in it's ingredients.
This is a traditional accompaniment to Haggis. The turnip in Scotland is commonly 'brassica rapa', rutabaga or Swedish turnip. In England it is called a swede. It was introduced to Scotland in the late eighteenth century by Patrick Miller of Dalswinton. He was a wealthy man, a director of the Bank of Scotland and Chairman of the Carron Iron Company, and had a passionate interest in mechanical and agricultural improvement.King Gustav III of Sweden was a satisfied customer of Carron, and he presented Miller with a gold, diamond-encrusted snuff-box bearing a miniature of himself, containing rutabaga seeds. In this way the ‘swede’ came to Scotland. The box and its accompanying letter can still be seen in the British Museum in London.
Bath Buns were originally made by Dr W Oliver, an eminent 18th century physician who treated many of the Londoners visiting the Spa at Bath to take the water. He invented a rich, sweet bun that his patients adored. Unfortunately, they ate too many and undid all the good of his treatment. Being a good business man, he then cunningly invented a plain biscuit for his patients, which was not as fattening as the buns. These are known today as Bath Oliver biscuits.The crunchy sugar scattered over today’s Bath buns is a last remnant of the crushed caraway seed comfits which were used to flavour buns as late as the eighteenth century. Comfits were made by dipping aromatic seeds over and over again in boiling sugar, until they were thickly coated. There is a recipe for making them together with a list of equipment in Sir Hugh Plat’s 'Delight for Ladies' of 1605. Sugared almonds are made in the same way.You can still eat Bath buns at Bath, one of the best known places is in the Pump Room.
A suet roll filled with steak or pork with kidney, apple and raisins and baked in the oven.
Bedfordshire Kattern Cakes
Also known as Catherine Cakes, after Catherine of Aragon, who once lived at Ampthill Castle. They were specially prepared for St Catherine's Day on November 25th.
18th century Scottish version of a Christmas pudding but wrapped in an envelope of pastry.
Boiled Beef and Carrots
Immortalised by the old music hall song, this is a truly traditional Cockney dish. The length of time the meat is soaked depends on how salty it is. The greyish colour turns pink when cooked
Brown Soda Bread
An Irish bread which is still very commonly made throughout Ireland and is made using baking soda and natural yoghurt.
Brown Windsor Soup
This is one of those soups that for years has had a terrible reputation as the dreadful 'Brown soup' served up routinely in boarding houses before and after World War II. However, properly made this is a great British soup and well worth trying.
Bubble and Squeak
This classic dish originally contained beef along with the left-over cooked potatoes and cabbage, though today people don't generally bother with the meat. The name is apparently due to the sounds that are emitted during cooking, the vegetables bubble as they are boiled and then squeak in the frying pan.
Cambridge Burnt Cream
Cambridge Burnt Cream came to the Trinity College kitchens by way of an enthusiastic nineteenth century academic gastronome. Similar to French crème brûlée, it requires care in preparation, though its ingredients are simple.
Cawl is virtually the national dish of the Welsh. Everyone has their own recipe which inevitably varies according to what is in season and available; it is generally agreed that cawl gets better and better for being re-heated, with new ingredients added to the pot the following day. The meat used is bacon, lamb or beef, or a mixture of all three.Any fresh winter vegetables that are available such as leeks, turnips, potatoes, cabbage, swedes and carrots, complete the mixture. Crunchy, raw young leeks are chopped and added to the bowl before serving.Like famous one-pot meals from other lands, the broth can be eaten first, and the meat removed and served as the main course. Many believe it is even better eaten all together in one bowl. Traditionally cawl is eaten with hand-made wooden cawl-spoons, which keep too-eager mouths from burning. A piece of cheese is generally nibbled while eating cawl.
Now found throughout the United Kingdom in most bakers, the original Old Chelsea Bun House in Pimlico Road in London was destroyed by fire in 1839 and used to be visited regularly by George III and Queen Charlotte.
Both Cornwall and Devon are famed for this delicacy. Traditionally this is made by pouring milk into shallow pans and leaving, undisturbed, for 24 hours allowing the cream to rise.
This famous 16th century Scottish soup is so substantial, it could be served as a main course. Originally, it had beef as an ingredient along with chicken.
Now commercially made on a large scale, Cornish Pasties were originally made by the wives of Cornish tin miners with an extra large crust which the miner would hold whilst eating the rest of the pasty. Now the pasty is generally filled with meat and vegetables but originally may also have contained a 'sweet' end.
Traditionally English dish of minced beef topped by potatoes.
This is another famous soup from Scotland. It's classic combination of Finnan haddock and potatoes gives a great filling chunky soup. 'Skink' refers to stock or broth but because the fish is so flavoursome, water and milk can be used rather than fish stock.
This famous sausage is usually presented coiled up like a long rope and often bought by length rather than weight. It is at its best when baked whole
Cumberland Rum Nickies
An apple pie with dates and rum.
Cumberland Tatie Pot
Similar to the better known Lancashire Hot Pot, Cumberland Tatie Pot consists of lamb, black pudding and potatoes and baked in the oven.
Cumbrian Potted Char
Char is a member of the salmon family and lives in very deep lakes, dating back to the 16th century, potted char was often eaten in the Lake District at breakfast with toast.
Dorset Jugged Steak
This traditional Dorset dish was often prepared to be eaten on days when the fair came to town as it is good-tempered enough to wait until the revellers came home, although the forcemeat balls should not be cooked for too long. Jugging is a method of slow cooking which retains all the flavours of the meat while mingling them with those of the other ingredients.
Famous light but rich fruit cake named after Dundee in Scotland, which keeps for weeks.
Baked originally at Eccles in Lancashire, but now available countrywide, these cakes are pastries with a sweet spicy mixture enclosed in a puff pastry case.
Faggots, or savoury ducks as they are called in some parts of Britain are thought to be of Roman origin. Faggots can be left until cold, if desired, then broken apart and reheated in a tin.
Fish & Chips
The United Kingdom is renowned for it's Fish & Chips and many street corners have a 'Chip Shop' at the end which are busy after a night out in the local hostelry. Very few still cook their chips in the original way, in beef dripping, but those that do become well known for the superior taste.
Scottish dish dating back to the 15th century the ingredients vary but essentially consists of soaked cereal which is discarded and the resulting liquid is flavoured with orange juice or rosewater which sets to a clear jelly - can have alcohol added.
Gloucestershire Squab Pie
It sounds as if this dish might contain young pigeons, otherwise known as squabs, but this pie has always been made with lamb. Sometimes called Devonshire Squab Pie and Somerset Squab Pie.
The haggis has been the subject of much ridicule and endless bad jokes. Scotland abounds with picture postcards of humanised haggis, or three-legged haggis being hunted through the heather!Traditional haggis recipes call for the savoury meat mixture to be boiled in a sheep’s paunch, but as this is difficult to obtain by modern cooks, it is often steamed in a basin.
Herrings in Oatmeal
Scottish fishermen first started cooking herrings coated with oatmeal and they were Edward VII's favourite breakfast when at Balmoral.
Huntingdon Fidget Pie
A lovely old-fashioned recipe, it is uncertain as to how it got its peculiar name. Bacon, onions and apples are the traditional filling and the pie was originally made round harvest time to feed the hungry workers
Known throughout the world, Irish stew consists mainly of neck of lamb, onions and potatoes.
Jellied eels are an old East End (of London) favourite where they are still sold from street stalls, to be eaten from china bowls sprinkled with hot chilli vinegar.
Hare, like rabbit is traditional East Anglian fare, the sort of field game hunted by farmers as much to keep their fields from being overrun as for the pot. Today both are available in numerous game shops throughout the country. Jugged hare is a classic English dish, so-called because the hare was originally cooked in a tall jug set in a deep pan of water.
This is the traditional way of serving kippers - and it ensures the whole house does not smell of fish!Cut the heads and tails off the kippers. Put them in a jug, head end first, and pour boiling water into the jug to fill it, making sure the kippers remain upright. Cover the jug with a plate and leave for 4 to 5 minutes.
A Scottish breakfast or supper dish from the 18th century consisting of haddock, rice and hard boiled eggs.
Kentish Pudding Pie
A sweet rice pudding dish with a pastry top originating from Kent.
Lancashire Hot Pot
This famous Lancashire dish has now become a favourite in all parts of the country. The name comes from the straight-sided brown pottery dish in which it was cooked. At one time, oysters, which used to be very inexpensive, were one of the ingredients used in hot pot, and pickled red cabbage was always served with it.
A well known Welsh delicacy using laver, a purple seaweed most commonly made into cakes by adding oatmeal.
The thick blankets of fog known as 'pea-soupers' that used to descend on London are now a thing of the past since the introduction of the 'Clean Air Act' and smokeless fuels. This Pea & Ham soup is named after those fogs and it will still keep you warm on a misty autumn evening!
Melton Mowbray Pie
Many towns in Britain have their own recipes for the humble 'Pork Pie'. Intended to be eaten cold they usually have a hard pastry crust and contain a savoury pork filling with jelly.
This famous soup is a legacy from the Raj, when Britain ruled India under the Viceroy. It was created in the 18th century by southern Indian cooks to serve to the sahibs (their masters).
In Norfolk and Suffolk, dumplings are called 'swimmers' or 'floaters' because they are traditionally made with bread dough, not suet and thus they float rather than sink.
Oasts are the brick buildings in which hops are dried. These cakes were made by the Kentish hop pickers to eat in the hop gardens. The dough was mixed early in the day and set aside. It was made into small balls and fried over the camp fire at the afternoon break. The hop pickers shallow-fried them in lard, but they are much better deep-fried.
A Northumberland supper dish simply consisting of potatoes and onions topped with cheese.
The flavour of this cake improves if it is stored in an airtight container for several days or a week before serving.
Pease pudding is an old favourite of the north-east of England. Left-over pease pudding can be fried or eaten cold, as in the children's rhyme:Pease pudding hot! Pease pudding cold!Pease pudding in the potNine days old.
This dry, crunchy gingerbread is quite different from the soft gingerbread of the south of England and is much more like parkin. It is best kept in an airtight tin for 2-3 days before eating.
A West Country 'pasty' first made at the Miner's Arms in Priddy, Somerset containing bacon, pork and cheese. Oggie is a West Country word for 'pastry'.
The same basic suet pastry is used for jam roly-poly and all its variations. It is fast and easy to make and, if mixed quickly and deftly, has a light spongy texture - a far cry from the hefty steamed puds of schooldays
An light iced loaf originating from Leicestershire.
Scottish oatcakes are a crunchy savoury biscuit often eaten with cheese.
A chunky soup usually consisting of breast of lamb with onion, turnip, leek, celery, carrots and pearl barley.
A dish of collops is traditionally served on Burns Night, 25th January. Collops are slices or pieces of meat, usually Venison but can be Lamb or Steak, fried with mushrooms in a sauce.
Well known throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, Scotch eggs are hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausagemeat and covered in breadcrumbs.
Smaller and thicker than ordinary pancakes and usually served with butter and jam.
Bannocks are round, flat loaves traditionally cooked on a griddle but now usually baked in an oven. Many Scottish towns have their own Bannock recipes.
Well known pie made with minced lamb topped by potatoes.
Well known Scottish biscuits simply made from flour, sugar, butter and salt.
Spiced beef was often prepared in large households in the Lowlands of Scotland to cater for unexpected guests. Skirt of beef, boned and rolled and spiced with salt, black pepper, cloves, thyme, marjoram, cayenne pepper and paprika.
A closely guarded recipe, Staffordshire Oatcakes are best eaten very fresh and are soft, unlike Scottish Oatcakes. Many small oatcake shops exist in North Staffordshire and serve them with any mixture of bacon, cheese, sausage and eggs.
A Cornish pie made from pilchards, herrings or mackerel so named as the heads are left outside the pastry gazing up to the sky.
Sussex Pond Pudding
A suet pudding, the centre of which is filled with butter, demerara sugar, and a large lemon, which has been pierced all over by a skewer. A suet lid seals the pudding, which is then steamed. When the crust is cut the melted butter and sugar flow out and form a pond on the dish around the pudding.
Toad in the Hole
The best sausages to use for this dish are flavoursome ones like Lincoln or Cumberland sausages. Other herby sausages can be used, including vegetarian ones.
There are many old English and Welsh Wassail recipes around. Most are served hot and they frequently use cored, mashed, baked apples, eggs, spices, Madeira, brandy and cider.
A variation of good old cheese on toast where mustard and beer can be added.
Also known as griddle or girdle cakes although Welsh cakes tend to be firmer. Flour, sugar, an egg and currants are mixed together and fried in butter.
Traditional dish from Whitley Bay which is simply baked onions cheese and cream.
Wiltshire Lardy Cake
Warm or cold, this recipe is sweet, filling and delicious. Lardy cake originates from Wiltshire, and in the West Country local bakers still make it to their own recipes, cramming in as much lard, sugar and fruit as they or their customers choose.
World renowned favourite which was originally served just with gravy as a first course.
Often derided by comedians and some foreigners British food has a long history of interesting & locally sourced ingredients and it’s true that some pub food in the 1970’s was dreadful (as was the beer) but today you’ll find a wonderful variety of good food and ales in many British pubs & inns.