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5 Lancashire foods that only Lancastrians would know about

PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 November 2017

Butter Pie with the ubiquitous side of pickled red cabbage

Butter Pie with the ubiquitous side of pickled red cabbage


We love our food in Lancashire, and there are some famous dishes that have originated from this county. But there are some culinary delights that have remained a regional secret. We pick some of our favourites.

I can't believe it's not (just) butter - it has potato and onions in it as well. I can't believe it's not (just) butter - it has potato and onions in it as well.

Butter Pie

Don’t take the name literally, this isn’t a calorific pie with a massive slab of butter in the middle.

The butter pie is famous across the areas around Preston and Chorley and contains thinly sliced potato, onions, butter and sometimes a pinch of black pepper, all encased in pastry. Like the other famous Lancashire dish of hotpot, it is commonly served with a side of pickled red cabbage.

The centuries-old custom of abstaining from red-meat on a Friday meant that the large Catholic population would seek alternative dishes at the end of the week. It is the reason why many people believe that the fish supper became popular on a Friday and how the vegetarian Butter Pie was also known as a Friday Pie or Catholic Pie.

Eating cake is part of a Lancastrian's DNA. Eating cake is part of a Lancastrian's DNA.

Courting Cake

Long before the days of ‘Tinder’ and ‘Netflix and Chill’, there was an old adage that went: ‘The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. It wasn’t a macabre tip on how to eviscerate someone, it was the idea that people can appreciate good food and it could win the affections of your loved one.

The Courting Cake was a sponge cake, that was firmer than a standard Victoria sponge and slightly closer to a shortbread texture which was filled with strawberries and cream. A young woman could present this creation to her fiancé as a token of her love, this concept was a bit of a no-brainer as there weren’t many Lancastrians out there that didn’t like cake.

The cake enjoyed a brief return to glory when it was chosen as a technical challenge in the third series of the Great British Bake Off in 2013.

Scouse - a word that has become synonymous with a regional accent, a city of people and a style of eyebrow, is actually a hearty Liverpudlian dish. Getty Images/iStockphoto Scouse - a word that has become synonymous with a regional accent, a city of people and a style of eyebrow, is actually a hearty Liverpudlian dish. Getty Images/iStockphoto


Now some of you may point out that the word ‘scouse’ is very much associated with Liverpool, but this is a dish that is a melting pot of Scandinavian, Irish and Lancastrian influences and has been around a lot longer than the formation of the metropolitan county of Merseyside.

Scouse exemplifies the seafaring heritage of Liverpool as it was most likely introduced to the city by sailors who travelled there from Northern Europe.

While it does have similar elements and ingredients to the Lancashire Hotpot and the Irish Stew, the name of this meat and vegetable stew comes from the word, Lobscouse, of which there are many variations within Scandinavia and Northern Germany. Every household had their own recipe for scouse, and there are passionate debates on whether you should use lamb or beef and what vegetables you would add to the pan.

The Aughton Pudding - a Lancashire dessert that is rarer than pink custard in school dinners. The Aughton Pudding - a Lancashire dessert that is rarer than pink custard in school dinners.

Aughton Pudding

The famous Preston Guild is a vicennial event, but the Aughton Pudding Festival goes one better in that it takes place once every 21 years.

The last one was in 2013, but it is claimed that in the preceding festival that took place in 1992 we saw the creation of the largest plum pudding in history, weighing over three tonnes.

We can’t give you the recipe as it’s a closely guarded secret, but the cooking time is reported to be approximately 2-5 days. That means you will have to wait until 2034 before you can try an original Aughton Pudding again.

Pea Wet

Our friends from the south of the country may marvel at the size of our jumbo sausages compared to their measly Saveloys, they have even wondered why gravy is served in a chippy; a question that has bemused northerners for generations.

One thing that unites the nation is the existence of mushy peas and the place they hold in our hearts. However, there is a unique by-product of mushy peas that is considered a great delicacy in the locality of Wigan.

Pea wet is basically the leftover liquid from mushy peas. It is said to be an accompaniment with scraps or as a sauce to be poured over a pie barm. (Scraps, pie barms, smack barms and babbies yeads would involve an entirely separate discussion on their own, which we won’t go into here).

We have to admit that even we are struggling with this one, but it is a thing and we thought that people should know about it.

While you may not have heard of these delicacies before, some of you will be aware of the more famous dishes that Lancashire has given the world.

The Lancashire hotpot has inspired the name of a famous local band and was one of the longest serving cast members of the nation’s favourite soap; Coronation Street. Betty’s Hotpot was immortalised by the famous Rovers Return barmaid, Betty Turpin, who appeared on the street from 1969 to 2011.

Many countries in the world have a variation of the blood sausage and the black pudding is a key element of the British fry up. But Bury is a town that has become synonymous with the black pudding and nearby Ramsbottom is the host of the annual World Black Pudding Throwing Championships.

What lesser-known Lancashire foodstuffs do you think deserve a mention? The Chorley Cake? Vimto? Creamy Lancashire?

Send us a tweet at @lancashirelife with your suggestions.

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