All things English – Recipes

Why not enjoy a traditional English meal on St George's Day? Here are recipes for some of England's most delicious traditional dishes, from some of our nation's most famous chefs.


Victoria sponge


For the sponge:

  • 220 g butter
  • 220 g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 4 eggs
  • 220 g self-raising flour1 dash milk

For the filling:

  • 250 ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 3-4 heaped tbsp raspberry jam, or other jam


For the sponge:

  • preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins with butter and place a baking tray in the oven to heat (or two baking trays if both tins will not fit on just one tray). 
  • Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy (alternatively cream by hand using a wooden spoon). Add one egg at a time to the mixture and beat to incorporate. 
  • Fold in the flour and enough milk to give the mixture a ‘dropping’ consistency. Pour the mixture into the two cake tins and smooth the top with a palette knife. 
  • Bake the cakes on the hot baking tray(s) for 20 minutes or so, or until golden brown and risen. To check if the cakes are cooked through, insert a skewer in the middle: if it comes out clean, they are done. Leave to cool slightly in the tins then transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely. 

For the filling:

  • Whisk the cream in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted. Stir the icing sugar into the cream.
  • Once the cakes are cool, spread the top of one of the cakes with jam, then spread a layer of sweetened cream on top and cover with the other cake. Dust the top with caster sugar and serve. 

By Matt Tebbutt (

Sticky Toffee Pudding


  • 225g fresh dates, stoned
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 85g unsalted softened butter
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Ovaltine
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

For the toffee sauce:

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 115g light muscovado sugar
  • 140ml double cream

You are going to love this pudding – it has a rich, fantastic flavour and the sauce is amazing. Fresh Medjool dates are best to use, but dried ones work well too.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put the dates in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and cover with 200ml/7fl oz of boiling water. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes to soften, then drain. Whiz the dates in a food processor until you have a purée. Meanwhile, cream your butter and sugar until pale using a wooden spoon, and add the eggs, flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and Ovaltine. Mix together well, then fold in the yoghurt and your puréed dates. Pour into a buttered, ovenproof dish and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

While the pudding is cooking, make the toffee sauce by putting the butter, sugar and cream in a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour. To serve, spoon out the pudding at the table and pour over the toffee sauce.
By Jamie Oliver (

Spotted Dick


For the suet pastry:

  • 4 oz (110 g) self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 2 oz (50 g) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 3 oz (75 g) shredded suet
  • 2 fl oz (55 ml) milk
  • Salt

For the filling:

  • 6 oz (175 g) raisins
  • 1 medium cooking apple (weighing about 6 oz/175 g), washed, cored and roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 3 oz (75 g) dark soft brown sugar
  • Grated zest ½ lemon

You will also need a sheet of kitchen foil measuring 10 x 14 inches (25.5 x 35 cm), and a steamer.

First of all, mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl. After that, make the suet pastry: sift the flour into a bowl, add the breadcrumbs, suet and a pinch of salt, and mix to combine. Mix the milk with 2 fl oz (55 ml) water and add a little to the dry ingredients, sprinkling it here and there. Now, using a flat-bladed knife, begin to mix, adding a little more liquid until the mixture looks as if it is coming together. Finish off using your hands, adding drops of liquid until you end up with a smooth, elastic dough that feels moist.

Next, transfer the dough to a flat, lightly floured surface and roll it out to a rectangle roughly measuring 8 x 12 inches (20 x 30 cm). Then spread the filling evenly over it and roll it up gently and carefully from the narrow end. Now wrap the pudding in the kitchen foil, twisting it at each end to form a seal.

After that, fit a steamer over a saucepan filled with boiling water from a kettle and as soon as it comes back to the boil, pop the pudding in, put a lid on and steam for 2 hours, keeping the water at a steady simmer, and making sure it is topped up if it needs it. Serve the pudding in warmed bowls, cut in thick slices, with Traditional English Custard – an absolutely essential accompaniment.
By Delia Smith (

Jam Roly-Poly


  • 50g salted butter, cold and cut into chunks, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
  • 50g shredded suet
  • 150ml milk, plus a drop more if needed
  • 100g/4oz raspberry or plum jam, or a mixture
  • Custard, to serve


  • Put a deep roasting tin onto the bottom shelf of the oven, and make sure that there's another shelf directly above it. Pull the roasting tin out on its shelf, fill two-thirds with boiling water from the kettle, then carefully slide it back in. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tear off a large sheet of foil and greaseproof paper (about 30 x 40cm). Sit the greaseproof on top of the foil and butter it.
  • Tip butter, flour and vanilla seeds into a food processor; pulse until the butter has disappeared. Tip into a mixing bowl. Stir through the suet, pour in the milk and work together with a cutlery knife until you get a sticky dough. You may need a drop more milk, depending on your flour.
  • Tip the dough out onto a floured surface, quickly pat together to smooth, then roll out to a square roughly 25 x 25cm. Spread the jam all over, leaving a gap along one edge, then roll up from the opposite edge. Pinch the jam-free edge into the dough where it meets, and pinch the ends roughly, too. Carefully lift onto the greased paper, join-side down (you might find a flat baking sheet helpful for this), loosely bring up the paper and foil around it, then scrunch together along the edges and ends to seal. The roly-poly will puff quite a bit during cooking so don't wrap it tightly. Lift the parcel directly onto the rack above the tin and cook for 1 hr.
  • Let the pudding sit for 5 mins before unwrapping, then carefully open the foil and paper, and thickly slice to serve.


Eccles Cakes


For the Quick Flaky Pastry:

  • 6 oz (175 g) margarine
  • A good pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 3 oz (75 g) butter
  • 5 oz (150 g) soft brown sugar
  • 5 oz (150 g) currants
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • The grated rind of 1 large orange
  • 2 oz (50 g) finely chopped mixed peel

To finish off:

  • Milk
  • Caster sugar

To make the pastry, weigh the margarine (hard from the refrigerator), then wrap it in a piece of foil and place it in the freezing compartment of the fridge for half an hour. Meanwhile sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then when you take the margarine out of the freezer, hold it with the foil, dip it into the flour, then grate it on a coarse grater placed in the bowl over the flour. Carry on dipping the margarine down into the flour to make it easier to grate. When you have finished you will have a lump of grated margarine sitting in the middle of the flour. Then take a palette knife and start to cut the fat into the flour (don't use your hands) until the mixture is crumbly. Now add enough water so that it forms a dough that leaves the bowl clean (you can use your hands for the dough), then place it in a polythene bag and chill it in the main part of the refrigerator for half an hour. Meanwhile prepare the filling by first melting the butter in a small saucepan. Then take it off the heat and stir in all the filling ingredients quite thoroughly and leave it to cool. Next turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, then using a plain 3¼ inch (8 cm) cutter, cut the pastry into rounds. Put a teaspoon of the filling on to each round, then brush the edge of half the circle of pastry with water, and bring the other side up and seal it. Then bring the corners up to the centre, and pinch to seal well. Now turn your sealed pastry parcel over, so that the seam is underneath, then gently roll the whole thing to flatten it to about ¼ inch thick (½ cm), and pat it into a round shape. Place them all on a greased baking sheet and gash each cake diagonally across three times, using a sharp knife. Now brush them with milk and sprinkle with caster sugar, and bake them in the oven pre-heated to gas mark 7, 425ºF (220ºC) for about 15 minutes until golden-brown. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
By Delia Smith (



  • 4 oz (110 g) light brown soft sugar
  • 6 oz (175 g) butter
  • 1 dessertspoon golden syrup
  • 6 oz (175 g) porridge oats
  • A few drops of almond essence

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).

You will also need a 7½ inch (19 cm) square baking tin, 1½ inches (4 cm) deep, lightly greased.

To start, place the sugar, butter and golden syrup together in a medium saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the porridge oatsand a few drops of almond essence.

Now, press the mixture out over the base of the prepared tin, and bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before cutting into oblong bars. Leave until cold before removing the flapjacks from the tin, then store in an airtight container.
By Delia Smith (

 Eton Mess


  • 6 oz (175 g) golden caster sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 lb (450 g) fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 rounded tablespoon unrefined icing sugar
  • 1 pint (570 ml) double cream

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).

You will also need a baking tray measuring 11 x 16 inches (28 x 40 cm), lined with non-stick silicone paper (parchment).

First, have the caster sugar measured out ready, then place the egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks that slightly tip over when you lift the whisk. Next, add the caster sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, and continue to whisk until each tablespoon of sugar has been thoroughly whisked in.

Now simply take rounded dessertspoonfuls of the mixture and place them in rows on the lined baking tray. Place the baking tray in the oven on the centre shelf, turn the heat down to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C) and leave the meringues there for 1 hour.

After that, turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven to dry out overnight, or until the oven is completely cold. 

When you're ready to make the pudding, chop half the strawberries and place them in a blender together with the icing sugar. Whiz the whole lot to a purée, then pass it through a nylon sieve to remove the seeds.

Now chop the rest of the strawberries and whip up the double cream to the floppy stage. All the above can be done in advance, but when you are ready to serve, break up the meringues into roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces, place them in a large mixing bowl, add the chopped strawberries, then fold the cream in and around them. 

After that, gently fold in all but about 2 tablespoons of the purée to give a marbled effect. Finally, pile the whole lot into a serving dish, spoon the rest of the purée over the surface and serve as soon as possible.
By Delia Smith (

Elderflower Cordial


  • 20 heads of elderflower
  • 1.8 kg granulated sugar, or caster sugar
  • 1.2 litres water
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 75 g citric acid


  • Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.
  • Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new j-cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the cupboard ready to use.

By: Sophie Grigson (