It’s the fifth week of The Great British Menu competition and, after spending last week in Northern Ireland, we’ve hopped back over to England and the North West region.
Here's a reminder of what we’re doing. Each week we nominate five foods from a different part of the UK, roughly aligned with The Great British Menu episodes. We think these foods are either quintessentially linked to the area through history, or they are more modern staples that began in that region, with many subsequently spreading in popularity throughout the rest of the isles.
We’ll then invite you to vote for your favourite of our choices – and disagree vehemently with what we've come up with in the Comments section. Voting will remain open for each region until May 29. Then the top choice from each region will go forward into a national vote to decide the UK’s favourite food.
The North West
Blackpool, Chester, Liverpool, Manchester… take your pick of the big cities. Although let’s not forget the beautiful Lake District too. Here are our top five favourite dishes.
The hotpot – traditionally made from lamb or mutton and onions, topped with sliced potatoes and cooked in a heavy pot – is one of England’s most famous dishes, thanks to Coronation Street’s Betty, who served her hotpot at t’Rovers Return Inn for decades. In fact, in 2007 the world’s largest Lancashire hotpot was created, based on Betty’s recipe! The actress Betty Driver died in 2011, and shortly after on screen, leaving her hotpot recipe to knicker factory worker Sean Tully.
Another one for Lancashire. They’re flattened, currant-filled pastry cakes which are kind of like Eccles cakes, only less sweet and usually eaten with either butter or cheese. Apparently locals refer to Chorley cake as ‘fly pie’ – because currants can look like squashed flies, we suppose.
The easiest sausage in the world to recognise, with its long and coiled shape. Do we find this attractive? The jury’s out. Always made from rough-cut pork, other ingredients include herbs and spices, although most butchers follow their own recipe. Alas a lot of food producers outside Cumbria have started to make their own, sometimes with as little as 45% meat content. Hence why the sausage in question is currently seeking PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status from the EU.
What a compliment, to have such a famous nickname come about from a humble dish! Scouse is a lamb or beef stew, which is similar to Irish stew and was brought to Liverpool by Northern European sailors. The sauce isn’t thickened, and it can be served with beetroot or red cabbage, and buttered white bread.
Morecambe Bay Shrimps
Just to the south of the Lake District, Morecambe Bay is as synonymous with shrimps as Cornwall is with pasties. They (tiny brown shrimps) have been caught by local fishermen for hundreds of years – first by hand, then by a horse pulling a cart with a shrimp net behind, then a net-equipped tractor and trailer.
Cast your vote
Do you agree with our choices? What should have been nominated? Have your say in the Comments section.