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lancashire born lancashire bred red rose-search-tags-regional lancashire red-rose-0000000741

I (Fiona) grew up in Lancashire which is a county in North west England. Lancaster is the county town, but Preston is the administrative centre. The population of Lancashire is around 1.5 million and covers 1,189 square miles and we are know as Lancastrians. Lancashire was founded in the 12th century and today it borders Cumbria to the north, Greater Manchester and Merseyside to the south and North and West Yorkshire to the east.

Lancashire developed as a main profitable and manufacturing region during the Industrial revolution. Liverpool and Manchester became the largest cities and governing world commerce and capitalism as we know it today was born. Lancashire had several mill towns, one of which I was brought up in and my grandmother used to work in the cotton mill in the town. By 1830 approximately 85% of all cotton produced worldwide was processed in Lancashire. As well as cotton there were collieries contained within the Lancashire Coalfield and the pits were at their most productive in 1907, producing over 26 million tons of coal. By 1967 there were only 21 collieries. 1993 saw the last coal mine closed.Blackpool

Blackpool was a popular holiday destination for the people of Lancashire’s mill towns, particularly during wakes week. Manchester and Liverpool  grew into its largest cities, dominating global trade and the birth of modern entrepreneurship.  The county was cause to experience a significant boundary reorganisation in 1974, which saw Manchester and Liverpool and some of the surrounding urban areas to create the metropolitan counties of Greater Manchester and Merseyside. The north part of Lancashire, Furness and surrounding area, were merged with Westmorland and Cumberland to create Cumbria. During this reorganisation it lost around 709 square miles to other counties but gained a little from the West Riding of Yorkshire. The coastline is the Irish sea to the West…


The county of Lancashire is a fabulous county and a county of real taste and home to some of the nation’s best food producers, old style brewers and chefs and Lancashire is celebrated “far and wide” for its customary produce and dishes. Lancashire hotpot, obviously is originally from Lancashire and is traditionally cooked with lamb, mum used to cook that for us as children and even now when she visits will knock one together and it still tastes as good as did back 40 or so years ago. Mum was a good cook of home cooked food and we never went hungry. We had a variety of food and a lot native to where we came from…Fish and chips – yes they originated from Lancashire – first fish and chip shop in Northern England opened in near Oldham, around 1863, we obviously had Hotpot, Chorley Cakes, Eccles Cakes, Parkin and Potato Hash…when we got in from school if we were hungry we would have Butter Cake which was simply a slice of bread and butter…

we had lots of evenings with family friends and especially New Years Eve, holiday weekends such as May Day and also Guy Fawkes night/firework night, much like we are doing tonight (without the bonfire) and we had suppers of Black Peas, Potato Hash, Treacle Toffee, Toffee Apples and Parkin and bonfires and fireworks… Tonight may not be last night –  5th November –  but busy working families get together at weekends and that is exactly what we did…

I remember these evenings so well and how much we all enjoyed ourselves and the food that was cooked and prepared by mum and our aunties (parents good friends – always aunty and uncle) was amazing, tasty and soooo homely. I wanted to recreate my childhood this evening with my family and our friends and I hope I have but only time and taste will tell…DSCF2273

The black peas were sourced a few weeks ago and needed to be prepared the night before, so having consulted my mum. I put the black peas in a bowl of cold water and added 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda per 200 gms – see my recipe. Mum told me that the bicarb is important if i want them to taste as she made them – See recipe.  Easy to cook and a delicious treat for Bonfire night, whilst watching fireworks and to keep you warm on a chilly night. The addition of the vinegar to this dish is paramount.

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Potato Hash is not only a food for bonfire night, it can be cooked any evening and makes a fantastic midweek meal. I make it the way my mum taught me and it tastes exactly like hers.  The combination of minced beef, potato, onion with flour for thickening and oxo is gorgeous. It can be served on its own, as we did, with crusty bread, red cabbage and good old “HP” sauce – has to be HP – childhood memory, but am sure another brand, if thats your bag would suffice. It can also be served inside a huge Yorkshire pudding – which is a favourite of my family.

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Parkin – another great bonfire favourite often cooked by my auntie. I remember this cake getting better the longer it was left – it appeared to get stickier as the days went on. I am sure she must have made it days before our family firework parties. The recipe here seems simple enough, and for sure it was. I really should have cooked it a few days before but didn’t. However, the finished dish was received well and certainly was very tasty in my opinion..


The recipe asked for Oatmeal, but alas I couldn’t find this in the supermarket so bought porridge oats and blitzed them in the food processor – desired effect I think? This is then added to the flour with ginger


This is the added to the prepared syrup and mixed through finally adding the beaten egg and milk


The cake is transferred to a lined cake tin and bake in the oven for around 50 – 60 minutes…Beautiful smell of ginger coming from the oven and to be honest could have eaten straight from the tin when it came out of the oven.

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and enjoyed by our friends….DSCF2393 DSCF2394

Another name for treacle toffee is Bonfire toffee, associated with Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night in the UK and is described as a brittle, hard toffee…           My granny made the best treacle toffee ever… or so I thought! It was a great combination of hard toffee initially that needed to be broken up wth a toffee hammer and then as it softened in your mouth the chewy toffee, that would always stick to your teeth… Dentists nightmare I should think.


The recipe I found was easy to follow and the key is to get the mixture to the right boiling point. 
It was suggested that a sugar thermometer is used, but I haven’t got one so had to use the cold water test, which worked just as well for me. Once the toffee was poured into the lined tray leave to cool and when

totally cool, break into pieces and enjoy..If my granny was still here she would have loved it. It had everything hers did… crunch and chewy toffee…But don’t put in in the fridge…


Toffee apples were always something we tended to have around Halloween and Bonfire night. We didn’t celebrate Halloween but often did apple bobbing and made toffee apple, especially at Brownies and Guides and we would always cook jacket potatoes on a bonfire. Bonfires are organised these days and not so many years ago we shared a bonfire with our neighbours and had fireworks.. However, we always, always had toffee apples on bonfire night. I found this recipe which seemed simple enough but again the boiling point of the toffee is paramount.


Its necessary to remove any wax coating from the apples . This is done by quickly immersing them in boiling water and removing as quickly, wiping dry and will help the toffee to stick.

Sticks added and looking good


Sugar and water is dissolved in a pan and then syrup and butter are added and stirred until combined.


The mixture must reach boiling point before the apples can be coated.  

DSCF2331Once the toffee is ready – around 20 minutes you need to work quickly to get the apples coated. Coat the apples by swirling in the syrup and placing on a lined baking trayDSCF2333DSCF2332

It said the apples needed to be put in an air tight container, but for a little special touch wrapped them in cellophane bags and wrapped a ribbon around.. I thought they looked pretty neat…


Think they went down well too.. DSCF2395


We had a fantastic evening with some great friends and I think the food went down very well…

Friend and Family Verdict:                Mum (from No 1 son) – “The black peas were amazing and I thought they were going to be disgusting, but they were delicious, can you cook some more”… Result me thinks…  Our friends loved them too and thought they were filling and agreed the vinegar was an absolute must.

Potato Hash a family favourite but our friends loved it and embraced the Northern tradition of serving with Pickled Red Cabbage and “HP” sauce.

Parkin, Treacle toffee and Toffee apples – fantastic and delicious, but full from the black peas and Hash…

Loved our evening and to spend with special friends is great…