Top 5 Great British Foods: History, Ingredients and Recipes

Published by richard sands on

Are you a lover of food? Or more specifically, British food?

There are a lot of English delicacies available to buy in supermarkets up and down the country at reasonably cheap prices, but what you should be doing is going to the places where these foods originate.

Not only will you get to know the history of the food, you’ll also be able to see it being made in the traditional ways it used to be, with the original recipies.

If you’re not sure what to do or where to go, we’ve compiled a list for you. It includes a little history about the food(s), how they are made and where you should go to enjoy the traditional version.

The Cornish Pasty

The Cornish pasty is a wholesome pastry filled with roughly diced or minced beef, sliced or diced potato, swede, onions and seasoning. (typically salt and pepper).  

Once it’s assembled, the edges are sealed by crimping them  to one side, creating the characteristic Cornish pasty shape. If it’s not crimped, it’s not Cornish.

Any product sold using the Cornish pasty name must be produced west of the Tamar in the county of Cornwall. If it isn’t, it can’t be branded as Cornish.

For more information, recipes and latest news, check out the Cornish Pasty Association website.


Scotland’s iconic haggis has been around for generations.

Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach though now often in an artificial casing instead.

If you want  to try some of the best, then you should go to either the Amber restaurant and whiskey bar or MHOR in Loch Lomond.

For some stunning haggis recipes, check out the BBC Food website.  

Stilton cheese

Stilton is an English cheese, produced in two varieties: Blue, known for its characteristic strong smell and taste, and the lesser-known White.

Both Blue Stilton and White Stilton have been granted the status of a protected designation of origin by the European Commission.

The PDO status requires that only cheese produced in the three counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire and made according to a strict code may be called “Stilton”; thus cheese made in the village of Stilton cannot be called “Stilton”.

For the best variety of cheeses, visit the Bell Inn, which is unsurprisingly situated in the town of Stilton.

And if you have some leftover Stilton, check out these recipes by the Guardian.   

Lancashire Hot Pot

Like many staple British dishes, the hot pot was born as a necessity and made from everyday products like potatoes, carrots and lamb or beef.

Traditionally a winter dish, the hot pot tends to come with pickled red cabbage on the side and a local beer.

In Lancashire before industrialisation, families would work at home spinning thread while scrags of mutton stewed slowly over a low fire. Family members could superintend the cooking over many hours.

In the initial stages of industrialisation and urbanisation, both men and women of all ages had long strictly regulated work hours that made it impossible to cook food that required extensive attention and preparation time.

Often lacking their own cooking facilities, housewives would carry a pudding or stew to the baker’s oven and leave it there to cook.

Enjoy one of the best hotpots in Lancashire at the Three Fishes pub. It was that good, we ordered seconds!   

Bakewell Tart

The tart is a shortcrust pastry case lined with jam, on top of which is a sponge flavoured with ground almonds. On top of that is a thin coat of fondant icing topped by half a glace cherry. This commercial dainty pastry seems to have originated in the early 20th century.

Some confuse the bakewell tart with the bakewell pudding, which is a similar pastry cake – also originating from Derbyshire.

This pudding was invented by Mrs Greaves, landlady of the White Horse Inn around the late 18th or early 19th century. Three shops in Bakewell now sell puddings that each claims to be made using the original and highly secret recipe. These are; The Bakewell Pudding shop, The Bakewell Pudding parlour and the Bakewell Tart shop. So go to Bakewell and see which you like best!

Alternatively you could make your own? Check out this recipie from

Categories: Advice