Around the UK in tenRegional Dishesby Phoebe Taplin

While we can’t travel as far and wide as we’d like at the moment, there are some creative ways to recreate the fun and novelty that good journeys can bring. I’ve been thinking about a few favourite places and making food that reminds me of them. These are quite flexible recipes and can be adapted to fit the ingredients you have at home. Happy virtual travels!

  • County: by Phoebe Taplin
  • Great for: food and drink | local food |
  • Refreshments: to eat at home
  • Please note: researched/updated in May 2020. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch:
  1. 4. Welsh Rarebit

    Near Carmarthen last year I had a really good Welsh Rarebit at a little restaurant in the village of Ferryside. The Pryd o Fwyd is still doing a delivery and takeaway service during lockdown if anyone lives nearby. I tired instead to recreate this fancy version of cheese on toast at home (it wasn’t as good as the Ferryside one, but it will do for now.)

    Ingredients: 8 slices of bread (thicker is best), 200g strong grated cheddar, 1 beaten egg, splash of beer, dash of Worcestershire sauce, small spoon English mustard and pinch cayenne pepper

    • Toast the bread lightly.
    • Mix all the other ingredients together and heap them onto the bread.
    • Put under the grill until golden brown and bubbling.
  1. 5. Cornish Pasties

    My favourite kind of pasty is bought warm from Chough’s bakery in Padstow (made with a dollop of clotted cream), carried along the coast path, past the herring tower, and eaten on the thrift-covered headland. I’ve had a few good pub pasties too. But – failing that – I thought I’d have a go at cooking them, using ready-made pastry.

    Ingredients: pack of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry, 1 big potato, 1 big onion, chunk of swede, ½ lb diced beef, 1 egg, butter, seasoning.

    • Cut round a plate to get pastry circles.
    • Dice the veg and put a small heap on each circle, topped with a knob of butter and seasoning.
    • Fold the pastry edges together. Janie from Hedgecombers has info on how to crimp them so they look right. And lots of other useful culinary tips.
    • Brush the pasty with beaten egg and cook at 160° for 45 minutes or until they look cooked.
  1. 6. Cream tea

    You’ve eaten your pasty some miles back, put a decent stretch of windy coast path behind you and arrived in a town or village. Time for a cream tea. Traditionally, a Cornish cream tea has the jam applied to the scone first with the cream on top while a Devon cream tea has the cream spread underneath (like thick butter) and the jam on top. I find both ways taste good. I did make the scones at home, but – frankly – I think bought ones might have been as good. The main thing is to take your time and – if possible – sit somewhere pleasant and relaxing to enjoy it. My travels for Good Journey over the last couple of years have been dotted with excellent cream teas in a range of lovely settings, from Prior Park near Bath to Scampston gardens near Malton in Yorkshire.

    Ingredients: scones, jam, cream, pot of tea

    • Cut scone in half and layer up with jam and cream as preferred.
    • Pour a cup of tea and enjoy.
  1. 7. Cockle Chowder

    A couple of years ago, I walked a fabulous long distance route called the Saffron Trail that leads from Southend-on-Sea northwards through Essex to the town of Saffron Walden. On the first day, we stopped off at Leigh-on-Sea for a bowl of creamy cockle chowder. I’ve since made the dish at home several times and it’s always tasty.

    Ingredients: 10oz shelled cockles, ½ lemon, butter, 1 chopped onion, 3 sliced-up rashers bacon, I bay leaf, sprig of thyme, 1 leek, 2 big potatoes, tablespoon of flour, ½ pint milk, ½ pint chicken stock, glass of white wine, parsley

    • In a saucepan, fry the onion, leek and bacon in butter with bay leaf and thyme until soft.
    • Dice potatoes and stir them with flour into saucepan.
    • Add milk, wine and stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
    • When potatoes are soft, add cockles and cook for another couple of minutes.
    • Season and serve with chopped parsley and bread.
  1. 8. Richmond Maid of Honour Cakes (vegan version)

    One of the kids has gone vegan so I’m trying to find ways of reinventing some recipes. I’d had in mind for a while to try making Maid of Honour cakes of the kind they sell in the venerable cafe near Kew gardens. They are a kind of lemon and almond custard tart, apparently invented in the royal kitchens at Hampton Court Palace. I’ve had a lot of idyllic days out around Richmond and thought this might help recreate the riverside bliss. These vegan ones were more like marzipan than custard, but surprisingly good.

    Ingredients: Ready-rolled puff pastry (most kinds are vegan anyway), 6oz cashew nut butter (you can make this by whizzing up soaked cashews), juice and zest of a lemon, 2oz caster sugar, 4oz ground almonds.

    • Cut out circles of puff pastry and put them in an oiled muffin tray.
    • Mix all the other ingredients together and spoon into the little pastry circles.
    • Cook for about 15 minutes until looking golden.
  1. 9. Yorkshire puddings

    There have been so many unbeatable food experiences in Yorkshire in recent years, from chocolate trails around the walls of York to cherry studded fat rascals in the lovely gardens at RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate. When I wrote a car-free cake-based feature to coincide with a new season of Bake-off, four of the venues were in Yorkshire. This time, for a change from cake, we tried Yorkshire puds. They’re not vegan, but they go well enough with meat or with veggie nut roast.

    Ingredients: 6oz plain flour (if you can get it!?), 4 eggs and pint milk, plus seasoning and sunflower oil

    • Heat the oven to 220° 
    • Put a little bit of sunflower oil into each hole in a muffin tray and heat in oven.
    • Beat all the ingredients into a lump-free batter and season. Let it rest for a bit.
    • Pour batter carefully into hot tray and put back for 20 minutes – peer in to check they do not burn, but don’t open the door until they are ready!
  1. 10. Pease pudding

    I actually made this to test out a recipe for a friend who was writing a history of food. It turned out surprisingly well and I wondered why I’d only heard of it in the nursery rhyme:

    Pease pudding hot, Pease pudding cold,
    Pease pudding in the pot – nine days old.

    Then I learned people are still enjoying it with ham in the North East – I’m going to have to go and eat some there when we can travel again. In the meantime, here’s a basic veggie version.

    Ingredients: 10oz yellow split peas, ½ litre of veg stock, 2oz butter, 1 egg, seasoning.

    • Cook the split peas in the stock in a big pot, skimming off any white foam, for 45 minutes or until soft. (You can eat it at this stage if you like).
    • Add butter egg, seasoning, mix, put in a bowl and cover with foil.
    • Steam like a Christmas pud over a steamer for about half an hour until set.