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Traditional British Recipes

Toad in the Hole - sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter

Toad in the Hole - sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter

British Recipes - Good Plain Cooking

Traditional British recipes are often described as 'good plain cooking', particularly by the people who like them.

In fact, most of us over about 30 or 40 years old have been brought up on it in the days when home-cooked meals were a regular occurrence. At its best, it can be nourishing and delicious, at its worst it is horrible.

Traditional recipes have been handed down from mothers to daughters (in the days before many men cooked!) and they were good for people who were doing hard manual labour and using a lot of calories.

Nowadays, a regular diet of many English dishes is a guaranteed way to put on weight and possibly increase your cholesterol levels. Even here, we eat this kind of food very seldom. It's just that we really enjoy it when we do - for us, it's the ultimate comfort food.

Shepherd's or Cottage Pie

Shepherd's or Cottage Pie

Shepherd's or Cottage Pie

Shepherd's Pie

Some people call this Shepherd's Pie and some people call it Cottage Pie. Often, Shepherd's Pie is only used for the dish when minced lamb and not beef is used.


  • 16oz minced (ground) beef or lamb
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 large chopped, cooked carrot (optional)
  • 3 tbs peas
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 32oz (2lbs) cooked potatoes, mashed
  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 2 cups stock


1. Fry onions till soft but not brown, stir in minced (ground) meat, salt and pepper, and mixed herbs. Stir until meat is cooked. Stir in peas and carrots if used.

2. Stir in enough stock to provide gravy but do not make it too wet and sloppy.

3. Put the meat into the bottom of an ovenproof dish. It should half fill the dish.

4. Spread the mashed potato on top and spread evenly. Using a fork, make indented lines across the top of the potato - this gives a nice, crunchy top.

5. Put the dish into a preheated oven, 375 deg F (190 deg C) and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.

Serve with vegetables. This can be frozen and used within a month or two.

How to Make Steak and Kidney Pudding

Make a Steak and Kidney Pudding - A Favourite meal in my family

Like most English people in the 1950s and 60s, we had a roast dinner on Sundays - roast chicken, beef, lamb were the customary fare together with vegetables and roast potatoes. Sometimes, though, my mother would make a lovely steamed steak and kidney pudding for Sunday lunch and this was an enormous treat. She would turn the pudding out of its dish in the kitchen and ceremonially bring it to the table to be cut and served.

My mother would have made the steak and kidney pudding in a similar way to the method on the video above. One major difference is that she never rolled the pieces of kidney inside the pieces of beef and neither do I - life's too short!

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole - a traditional British dish

Toad in the Hole - a traditional British dish

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  • 8 pork sausages
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • approx 1 1/2 cup milk and water (about half of each)
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 425 deg F (220 deg C). Put sausages in a large shallow oven proof dish or pan. It should be about 2ins deep and large enough for all 8 sausages without squashing them together. Place in the oven so the sausages can start to brown.

2. Sift the flour, salt and pepper into a bowl, then make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and a little milk. You can use an electric mixer at this point, and slowly mix the ingredients into a paste. Gradually, add more liquid, beating all the time. Keep adding liquid until the batter is of a pouring consistency but not too thin even if you have some liquid left.

3. Beat hard until there are small bubbles all over the surface of the batter. You need to get plenty of air into it so that it rises well.

4. Remove the dish from the oven, turn the sausages over so the other side can brown, then pour over the batter. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until the batter is well risen and brown.

5. Serve immediately with onion gravy and vegetables.

A Great British Cookbook - Recipes for real British Food

As I've tried to show you on this page, English or British cooking can be delicious and we really do have some wonderful dishes that foreigners love too.

You don't need to have been brainwashed from a very early age to enjoy our food!

Sausage Casserole

Sausage Casserole

This is a recipe where you can pretty much please yourself what you put in it, depending on what you have in your larder or refrigerator. It tastes good, it's economical and is often served at the end of the month when money is getting tight. Another advantage is that it usually tastes even better reheated the next day.


  • 8 pork sausages (or other thick sausages) , cut into about one inch pieces
  • A few slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • Chopped carrots (optional)
  • Any other chopped vegetables that you have
  • 1 or 2 medium cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 medium cans of baked beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup stock
  • Chopped fresh or dried sage to taste (optional)


1. Fry or grill (broil) the sausage pieces and bacon to brown. Place in a large pan.

2. Fry the onions to brown and add to the sausage and bacon.

3. Add the stock, tomatoes and baked beans (you might want to try just one can of each and then decide if you need to add more). Bring to the boil on the hob, reduce heat so that the hotpot is simmering.

4. Add the seasoning, sage, and any other vegetables and more tomatoes and baked beans if needed.

5. You can either transfer the hotpot to the oven, about 350 deg F (180 deg C), and cook for about 45 minutes or you can cook on the hob but you will need to stir it regularly to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

6. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes or slices of bread to dunk.

*Vegetarians can substitute vegetarian sausages for pork.

Bubble and Squeak

Here's another recipe where you can choose what you put in and the quantities as long as you have the basic types of ingredients. .


  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cooked cabbage and/or broccoli
  • Chopped onion (optional)
  • Cooked carrot, swede, and/or parsnip (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Small amount of cooking oil (any kind)


1. If you are using an onion, fry that until it's soft but not brown.

2. In a large bowl, mix together everything except the cooking oil. Combine with a large wooden spoon or with your hands - probably easier.

3. Use a frying pan or a griddle. Heat it with a little oil in it. There should be just enough oil to stop the mixture sticking.

4. Depending on what you want and the quantity, you can make one large bubble and squeak or individual ones. Whichever you choose, it should be flattened to about one to two inches deep. Some people prefer it smooth while others like to leave the surface quite rough.

5. Cook the mixture on one side until it is browned, turn over and brown the other side.

6. Serve with a fried or poached egg, bacon or sausage. Alternatively, you can eat it on its own with tomato ketchup or other sauce.


You can chop up corned beef and mix it into the mixture before browning.

Another Version of Bubble and Squeak

Favourite Food from the Supermarket

These are the things we buy to eat

Each country has its favourite store-bought flavours, basic ingredients, condiments and canned or bottled goods.

Some of these products are controversial even in their country of origin.

Marmite is a case in point. Some people love it, others hate it. Those who love it will spread it on toast or pour hot water on it to make a drink.

Then you get people like me who absolutely detest it. I can't stand the smell, let alone the taste. You have to make up your own mind about it.

Another British staple is English mustard. This isn't like French or American mustard - it's hot. If you've never tried it, taste it cautiously. We eat it with roast beef, sausages and English pork pies.

What do you think of English food?

annieangel1 on December 12, 2014:

pinned to Recipes From Around the World

Angela Hobbs from The TARDIS on September 27, 2013:

Thank you

reluctantmoose on April 16, 2013:

This was fun. Brings me back to my British cookbook

MarcellaCarlton on November 13, 2012:

I would love to try it. Glad you gave us the recipes. Good lens!

Pete Schultz on October 18, 2012:

Interesting, I speak American English, so phrases like "on the hob" are not familiar...but then, neither is traditional English fare. At any rate, reading this lens has made me hungry, so I gotta go. Thanks.

Carol Fisher (author) from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on October 15, 2012:

@Kylyssa: I too love fried tomatoes any time, including for breakfast.

Yes, you can change the size of the toad in the hole. Use fewer sausages and the same amount of batter or halve the quantities of ingredients for the batter to make it smaller. The only thing you will have to watch is that probably you will have to use less than half the quantities of milk and water depending on the consistency of the batter after you beat in the egg and some milk/water. This is where you will have to use your judgement. Good luck - toad in the hole is one of my favourite meals.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on October 15, 2012:

I love seeing what people in other cultures eat. It is like anthropology with a side of sauce.

Fried tomatoes is the English food I've liked best so far. I could eat just fried tomatoes for breakfast every day, all by themselves. Shepherd's pie is delightful with lamb but not to my taste with beef. I'll definitely be making some bubble and squeak for my roommate and me because flexible recipes (like curry and such) are my favorites.

Does toad in the hole work if you scale down the recipe size or does it need the volume to give it the right texture and flavor?

Thankfultw on August 09, 2012:

I love the terms. I probably wouldn't eat these recipes but I would love to speak with someone who is talking about them with a British accent. The accent is most of the fun!

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on August 07, 2012:

I think many of the English recipes have filtered over to other lands lol. Gosh but it is years since I made a shepherd's pie. It just may be time to create one again. They are so delicious.

anonymous on April 09, 2012:

Toad in the hole looks like an interesting variation on a puff pancake. Same concept. I've always wondered what Bubble and Squeak is. I love the layout of your lens. Very well done.

Edutopia on January 26, 2012:

There is something to be said about uncomplicated and hearty dishes and this is really where traditional English cooking shines. Food meant to pack in as many calories as can be had for the hard working laborer rather than focus on style or presentation.

Indigo Janson from UK on November 10, 2011:

I was asked to find a good pie recipe. I reckon I've found it with your Shepherd's Pie and it sounds straightforward enough that I think my culinary skills are up to it! I'll be giving the Bubble and Squeak a go too.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on October 17, 2011:

True "English" Shepherds Pie is quite a bit different than my simple American version of ground beef, cream corn and mashed potato topping (crust). Will have to try your recipe. On my visit to England years ago, I enjoyed 'most' of your English dishes (except for Steak & Kidney Pie) :-). I DID very much like a Pub dish of 'Sausage & Onion Pie'.

This page is now featured on my 'Potholder Soup' page.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2011:

I love English food but I still have to try Bubble and Squeak.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on September 04, 2011:

What I've tried, I've liked. So I will be back to make everything here (minus the mince/hamburger) eventually. Thank you for sharing. "Blessed" by a Labor Day SquidAngel.

yayas on September 03, 2011:

I think it all looks very interesting. I don't cook much, but I will definitely be trying summa' these. Thanks so much for posting all the recipes. I especially wanted to know what Toad in the Hole an' Bubble and Squeak were. I think I will be trying those very soon. :)

RecipePublishing on August 21, 2011:

Great ideas.

anaamhussain on August 19, 2011:

Yumm everything looks so good!

anonymous on August 13, 2011:

I think I'd love everything except possibly the Steak and Kidney Pie. My boyfriend who is Australian with a strong British background loves it, and swears he'll make a convert of me when we go to England....we'll see! Terrific lens, loved it!

blanckj on July 27, 2011:

English food is part of my heritage. Of course I love it. Thanks for sharing.

AlleyCatLane on July 27, 2011:

I love Shepard's Pie. It's a common country cooking dish around my stomping ground, made with ground beef. Your Bubble and Squeak looks interesting. Might try that..

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on July 07, 2011:

I tried (slightly adapted) shepherd's pie couple of times and it was delicious... Now I have to find time in my schedule to repeat it!

dogface lm on June 18, 2011:

Aww... Looks too good.

HalcyonDaysAreNow on May 18, 2011:

I cannot believe that the ultimate comfort food, Spotted Dick, was not included!

LensSeller on April 26, 2011:

Very well presented, and tasty, lens!

photofk3 on January 30, 2011:

I like the "toad in the hole" best of all of these recipes. You made me hungry, thanks for sharing.

dreameater on January 04, 2011:

really yummy lens!

anonymous on December 22, 2010:

Awesome lens! Yummy!

kt_glasses on December 15, 2010:

wow what a delicious lens! Good job!

ZazzleEnchante on November 30, 2010:

Fabulous lens, great recipes, awesome pics. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

Cynthia Arre from Quezon City on November 29, 2010:

Of all the dishes featured on here, I've only tried Shepherd's pie (and glazed ham which is pretty common in my country) but I would love to try more of English food. Thank you for sharing your recipes, they all look delicious. Gorgeous lens. ~Blessed~

Carol Fisher (author) from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on June 10, 2010:

@VarietyWriter2: Thank you so much for blessing this lens - it's great to switch on the computer at the start of the day and see this.

VarietyWriter2 on June 09, 2010:

Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

Carol Fisher (author) from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on March 06, 2010:

@SirBinky: I was a hopeless cook when I first got married but back then, there wasn't much convenience food available so I had to learn to cook. Mostly, it's quite easy, just follow the instructions and hope for the best!

SirBinky on March 05, 2010:

Your Squid really takes me back: I miss English pub food so much! I especially miss savory steamed puddings.

Here in China, they eat a lot of steamed dumplings, but its just not the same. I'd love to try to make one using your recipe, but I know we are hopeless cooks! At least, it is nice to have the recipe and imagine having made one...

Carol Fisher (author) from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on February 21, 2010:

@OhMe: I hope you do try some of the recipes and enjoy them.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on February 21, 2010:

The only one that I am familiar with is the Glazed Ham which we have several times a year. I really ought to try some of these English recipes. We just don't stray very far from Southern Cooking and should. Thanks for sharing these Traditional English Food Recipes.

Carol Fisher (author) from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on February 15, 2010:

@LotusMalas: I can honestly say that I've made all the recipes on this lens without difficulty. Most of them are really easy. If you do try some, I hope you enjoy them.

LotusMalas on February 15, 2010:

Yum! I LOVE English food! There are some recipes I've made at home, but you offered some recipes I've only ever had in restaurants. Time to try out some new recipes - thank you!!

MerryChicky on January 29, 2010:

I really enjoyed this lens, I've always wondered what bubble & squeak was - now I know. And toad in the hole? I had an entirely different dish in mind. I thought it was a piece of toast with a hole cut out of the middle, placed in a skillet and an egg cracked into the hole to fry. The Shepherd's pie looks yummy. I made something like that yesterday, but with chicken.

oldbird on January 04, 2010:

I was looking for some recipes and came across your "delicious" lens! I will definitely be back so I can impress my wife and daughters with the meals I'll prepare... with your guidance!

You're a "fiver" in my food category!

Aloha from Hawaii!

Carol Fisher (author) from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on December 19, 2009:

@businessblossom1: I thought your lens well deserved the blessing. I was going to give it just a quick look but, once I started reading it, I had to read it all. Keep it up as I look forward to reading more from you.

businessblossom1 on December 19, 2009:

Thank you for rolling by my Sherlock Holmes lens (one of many coming, so do drop in again -- I will drop you a line later today when the "Prelude" lenses are up). Such a comment from an Englishwoman means the world to me, an American who has had to study very hard to attempt to sound like the most famous Englishman that never lived! I'm Lensrolling your English cooking lens to my lens, because it is just the information I need to figure out just exactly what Mycroft and family should be eating in the second installment of the first casebook. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the blessings, angelic and otherwise!

Sue Dixon from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK on July 04, 2009:

I've just found your really great lens on traditional English food. I've started on on Traditional Lake District food- would ove to know what you think!

anonymous on February 14, 2009:

I will try your shepherd's pie recipe--it seems delicious. English people aren't known for their cuisine, but what is better than a prime roast of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, and horseradish? Who can resist plum pudding with hard sauce at Christmas time? Chicken pot pie is so delicious, I serve it as a special treat for guests. Thank you for this lens. It is a 5* and a favourite.

Sniff It Out on January 13, 2009:

Its ages since I have had bubble and squeak, my mother used to make it using leftovers from the sunday roast dinner. Nice lens I'm happy to feature it on The Cooks Cafe group

KimGiancaterino on September 15, 2008:

I'll have to try Bubble and Squeak. You do such a nice job of organizing recipes. Welcome to Culinary Favorites From A to Z.

KimGiancaterino on September 15, 2008:

I'll have to try Bubble and Squeak. You do such a nice job of organizing recipes. Welcome to Culinary Favorites From A to Z.

Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on September 11, 2008:

Great job on this lens. Welcome to the Comfort Food Group!

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