Saturday, 28 April 2012

Yummy Lakeland Food

The traditional food of the Lake District area comes from its farming background – lamb, pork, beef and dairy products. The moors, mountains and lakes provide wild game, duck, deer, and grouse. The lakes and sea give herring, trout and salmon.

Perhaps the most famous Cumbrian product is Cumberland sausage – pork meat seasoned with spices and herbs. The sausage comes coiled like a rope and is sometimes sold by length.

Cumberland ham is traditionally dry-cured: first salted and rubbed with brown sugar, cured for about a month, then washed, dried and hung for another couple of months to mature. Chemical additives and preservatives are never used.

Cumberland sauce, a traditional sauce served with ham or lamb, is made from the juices of an orange and lemon, together with redcurrant jelly, mustard, port and ginger.

Shepherds Pie is traditionally made with lamb, to which mushrooms, carrots, pureed tomatoes and spices may be added. Once cooked the mixture is topped with cooked, mashed potato which is then browned in  the oven.
Cumberland Tattie Pot is a kind of stew. Lamb is mixed with swede and black pudding and is then layered with sliced potatoes.

Cumberland rum butter is another favourite. The butter is mixed with brown sugar, nutmeg and rum. An old tradition attached to this is that the butter was served with oatcakes to celebrate a baby’s birth, after which the guests would leave coins in the butter bowl, supposedly to ensure prosperity for the new baby.
I already mentioned Grasmere Gingerbread in my G post. Another famous Lake District 'sweet' product is Kendal Mint Cake, which isn't 'cake', but a mint-based candy bar containing glucose. According to legend, its original development is said to have been a mistake. In 1869 Joseph Wiper was trying to make a clear mint bar at his small factory in Kendal but was distracted from stirring the mixture and found it had become cloudy instead of clear.
Today’s Kendal Mint Cake is produced mainly by two companies, Quiggin’s which is the oldest surviving mint cake company and Romney’s which bought Wiper’s company in 1987. The exact recipe is kept secret but basically it’s made from sugar, glucose, water and peppermint oil boiled together and continuously stirred. It’s poured in moulds and allowed to set then broken into individual bars. Because of its energy-giving glucose, it's popular with climbers and mountaineers, and was used by Edmund Hillary and his team on the first successful ascent of Everest in 1953.

Damsons, grown in the Lyth Valley, south of Windermere, are used for making and flavouring tarts and pies, and also to produce Westmorland plum chutney, not to mention damson wine and gin.

There are many different kinds of bread traditional to the Lake District. Every village seeming to have its own variation. Tea bread is like a fruit loaf to which tea (as a liquid not as leaves!) has been added  and Hawkshead Whig Bread is traditionally flavoured with caraway seeds. Nothing to do with any political parties, but evidently each Norse settlement prayed to its own God, known as a Wigg or Whig, and made special offerings. The Christian church adopted this custom, with the ‘whigs’ being baked around Easter time. The whig bun was said to have been one of Wordsworth’s favourite.

And finally a 'shout-out' to Maria and Mark at Hawkshead Relish - I'll come up to see you sometime soon! And if anyone's in Hawkshead, do call in at their shop in the square for a wide range of yummy relishes, chutneys and preserves.


  1. Oh, yummy indeed, Paula! Love most of those foods.

  2. I'm so hungry right now! ;)

  3. I amalso hungry :) would love some pie!

  4. Certainly sounds yummy! Your posts make me feel like I am traveling right along with you.

  5. That ham looks amazing, and I'd love to try that bread, too.

  6. The sausage and the rum butter sounds awesome. Wish there'd been recipes! :)

  7. Glad you all like the yummy food! Recipes for most of them can be found online!

  8. The butter looks interesting. I don't, however, eat pork so will have to pass on that.

    Catch My Words

  9. Oh yummy Paula! Now I am hungry! :D


  10. Okay it's dinner time here now and I am actually off to make some sausage of the polish variety! LOL Yummo is all I have to say about this post. ♥

  11. You've made me hungry with this post. That Cumberland Tattie Pot looks particularly scrumptious.

  12. Joyce, they do make vegetarian Cumberland sausage, but I've never tried it so don't know if it tastes the same or not.

    Kathy, Jo and Lynda - I'm feeling hungry every time I check my blog for new comments!

  13. Interesting that the food is so specific to regions and villages.

  14. Paula the whole post made me hungry. The ham, potatoes, all of it. When are we going to go for dinner. I can catch a flight!! LOL. :)