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.


Roast Beef


  • 1.5kg topside of beef
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 bulb of garlic, a small bunch of fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

I’ve used a joint of topside here because it is by far the most widely available roasting joint, but you can also use rib of beef. The meat has to be rested after cooking for at least half an hour and sliced really thinly for you to enjoy the tenderness. The timings below are just a guide, as they can differ depending on the type of oven you have or the size of the joint.

To prepare your beef:

  • Take your beef out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven
  • Preheat your oven to 240°C/475°F/ gas 9
  • There’s no need to peel the vegetables – just give them a wash and roughly chop them
  • Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled
  • Pile all the veg, garlic and herbs into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil
  • Drizzle the beef with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the meat
  • Place the beef on top of the vegetables

To cook your beef:

  • Place the roasting tray in the preheated oven
  • Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook for 1 hour for medium beef
  • If you prefer it medium-rare, take it out 5 to 10 minutes earlier
  • For well done, leave it in for another 10 to 15 minutes
  • If you’re doing roast potatoes and veggies, this is the time to crack on with them – get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking
  • Baste the beef halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them burning
  • When the beef is cooked to your liking, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the beef to a board to rest for 15 minutes or
  • Cover it with a layer of tinfoil and a tea towel and put aside while you make your gravy, horseradish sauce and Yorkshire puddings

By Jamie Oliver (

Cottage Pie

‘This recipe is part of a Mixed Double. I believe it is worth going to the trouble of making twice as much mince filling as you need for this cottage pie (actually it's no more trouble than making a smaller quantity) and using the rest for Spaghetti with Mexican Sauce.

To do this, when the mince is cooked, divide it in half, leave one half-quantity to get cold in a bowl, then cover the bowl and store this in the fridge for use the next day.’

For the double mince mixture

  • 1 dessertspoon mushroom ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 oz (350 g) lean minced beef
  • 1 largish onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 level teaspoon mixed herbs, fresh or dried
  • 1 level tablespoon flour
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the cottage-pie topping:

  • 6-7 oz (175-200 g) potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon yoghurt
  • A knob of butter
  • 1½ oz (40 g) Double Gloucester cheese with Onion and Chives, grated
  • ½ level teaspoon mixed herbs, fresh or dried
  • Salt

You will also need a 5 inch (13 cm) ramekin or small pie dish

Mix the mushroom ketchup and Worcestershire sauce with ½ pint (275 ml) water and put to one side. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan then add the onion and carrot and cook them together for about 8 minutes until they have softened and browned slightly at the edges. Then, using a draining spoon, remove them to a plate. Now turn the heat up to high and brown the meat quickly in the pan, stirring it around until it too becomes brown and toasted at the edges.

Drain off the fat that has come out of it, then sprinkle in the mixed herbs and a seasoning of salt and pepper and return the carrot and onion to the pan. Next stir in the flour and then gradually add the mushroom ketchup and Worcestershire sauce mixture, stirring as you do so. Turn the heat down to the gentlest possible simmer, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into chunks and boil them in salted water until tender, then drain them and return them to the pan. Add the yoghurt and butter, them mash them to a smooth purée. Then preheat the grill. When the meat is cooked, taste to check the seasoning and transfer one half-quantity (for Spaghetti with Mexican Sauce) to a bowl to cool (see introduction).

Put the rest of the meat into a 5 inch (13 cm) ramekin or small pie dish. Then spoon the mashed potato mixture all over the top, levelling it off with a fork. Now combine the grated cheese with the herbs, and sprinkle this mixture all over the surface of the potato. Place the dish under the grill till the cheese is brown and bubbling.
By Delia Smith (

Toad in the Hole


  • Sunflower oil
  • 8 large good-quality sausages
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 large red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 level tablespoon good-quality vegetable stock powder or 1 vegetable stock cube

For the batter:

  • 285ml milk
  • 115g plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs

Mix the batter ingredients together, and put to one side. I like the batter to go huge so the key thing is to have an appropriately-sized baking tin – the thinner the better – as we need to get the oil smoking hot.

Put 1cm/just under ½ inch of sunflower oil into a baking tin, then place this on the middle shelf of your oven at its highest setting (240–250ºC/475ºF/gas 9). Place a larger tray underneath it to catch any oil that overflows from the tin while cooking. When the oil is very hot, add your sausages. Keep your eye on them and allow them to colour until lightly golden.

At this point, take the tin out of the oven, being very careful, and pour your batter over the sausages. Throw a couple of sprigs of rosemary into the batter. It will bubble and possibly even spit a little, so carefully put the tin back in the oven, and close the door. Don't open it for at least 20 minutes, as Yorkshire puddings can be a bit temperamental when rising. Remove from the oven when golden and crisp.

For the onion gravy, simply fry off your onions and garlic in the butter on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they go sweet and translucent. You could add a little thyme or rosemary if you like. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook down by half. At this point, I do cheat a little and add a stock cube or powder. You can get some good ones in the supermarkets now that aren't full of rubbish. Sprinkle this in and add a little water. Allow to simmer and you'll have a really tasty onion gravy. Serve at the table with your Toad in the Hole, mashed potatoes, greens and baked beans or maybe a green salad if you're feeling a little guilty!
By Jamie Oliver (

Steak and Kidney Pie


For the filling:

  • 1 lb (450 g) chuck steak (braising steak), in one piece
  • 8 oz (225 g) ox kidney
  • 1 oz (25 g) beef dripping
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1½ level tablespoons plain flour
  • ½ level teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 15 fl oz (425 ml) fresh beef stock
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the pastry:

  • 8 oz (225 g) plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter, at room temperature, cut into smallish lumps
  • 2 oz (50 g) lard, at room temperature, cut into smallish lumps
  • 1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of milk, to glaze

For the extra steak and kidney gravy:

  • Meat trimmings from the steak and kidney
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • ½ oz (10 g) beef dripping
  • 1 heaped dessertspoon flour
  • Few drops Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).

You will also need a sloping-sided tin or pie plate with a 7 inch (18 cm) base, lightly greased, a lidded, flameproof casserole with a capacity of 4 pints (2.25 litres) and a solid baking sheet.

Begin by trimming the steak and cutting it into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Then trim the ox kidney and chop it minutely small. Keep the meat trimmings to make extra gravy to serve with the pie. Now, heat the dripping in the casserole. Dry the meat with kitchen paper and, when the fat is really hot, add a few cubes at a time to brown on all sides, removing them to a plate as they brown. After that, add all the pieces of kidney and after browning these remove them to join the steak. Now, keeping the heat high, fry the chopped onion for 6-7 minutes or until it's nicely browned at the edges. Then return all the meat to the casserole and stir in the flour to soak up all the juices.

Next, add the thyme, followed by the Worcestershire sauce. Add a good seasoning of salt and pepper and then gradually stir in the stock and bring the whole lot to simmering point. Now put a lid on the casserole and place on the centre shelf of the oven for 2 hours. When the meat is cooked taste to check the seasoning and leave it to get cold.

While the meat cooks you can get ahead and make the stock for the extra gravy. Simply place the meat trimmings in a medium-sized saucepan with half the onion, cover with 1 pint (570 ml) water, add some seasoning and simmer, covered, for approximately 1 hour. Then strain the stock and rinse the pan. To make the pastry, first of all sift the flour with the salt, holding the sieve up high to give it a good airing. Then add the butter and the lard and, using only your fingertips, lightly and gently rub the fat into the flour.

When the mixture is crumbly, sprinkle in a tablespoon of cold water. Start to mix the pastry with a knife and finish with your hands, adding a few more drops of water if necessary for a smooth dough. Put the pastry in a polythene bag and place in the refrigerator to rest. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C) and place a baking sheet on a high shelf to pre-heat as well. To make the pie, first cut the pastry in half and, on a lightly floured surface, thinly roll out one half into a circle approximately 11 in (28 cm) in diameter.

Now transfer the circle, first rolling it over the pin and then over the base of the tin, and press it lightly and firmly around the base, sides and rim. Now take a sharp knife and trim the overlapping pastry and, after that, spoon in the filling. Now roll the remaining pastry out in the same way. Brush the rim of the base pastry with a little of the beaten egg and milk glaze and fit the other pastry circle on the top to form a lid. Press the edges firmly together, then trim off the excess and flute the edges.

Finally, if you want to decorate the pie, gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to cut out leaf shapes. Either way, make a small hole in the centre the size of a 5p piece (to allow the steam to escape). Then brush the surface all over with the beaten egg and milk glaze. Now place the pie on the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.

After that, reduce the temperature to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C) and cook for a further 40-45 minutes, or until it is piping hot and has turned a deep golden-brown. While the pie is cooking you can make the extra gravy by frying the remaining half onion, chopped small, in the beef dripping until soft and blackened at the edges. Next, stir in the flour and gradually add the stock little by little to make a smooth gravy, adding a spot of gravy browning if it's needed. Taste to check the seasoning and add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. Let the pie relax for about 10 minutes before serving. I like new potatoes and chopped spring greens or purple sprouting broccoli to go with it.
By Delia Smith (

Beef Wellington


  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Pinch of thyme, leaves only
  • 400 g fresh morel mushrooms
  • 100 g flat mushrooms
  • Salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • 700 g beef fillet, cut from the centre
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 200 g Parma ham, finely sliced
  • 500 g puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • Red wine gravy, to serve
  • Curly kale, to serve

Heat the butter in a heavy-based frying pan. Add in the shallots, garlic and thyme and fry gently, stirring now and then, until the shallots are transparent.

Meanwhile, place the morels and flat mushrooms in a food processor and process until very finely chopped.

Add this morel mixture to the shallots and fry, stirring now and then, until the mixture becomes quite dry, around 10 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and allow to cool.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan until it's smoking hot. Brush the beef fillet with olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and fry in the pan until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Roll out the puff pastry to half a centimetre thickness into a rectangle large enough to wrap around the beef. Set the pastry aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas 8.

Lay out the Parma ham to form a square large enough to wrap around the beef fillet.

Spread the Parma ham with the morel mushroom mix, then place the beef fillet into the centre and wrap the ham around it.

Place the ham-wrapped beef in the centre of the rolled-out puff pastry, brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and wrap like a parcel around the beef, sealing the edges well.

Place the beef Wellington parcel onto a greased baking sheet and brush with more beaten egg.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Cut into thin slices and serve with red wine gravy and curly kale.
By Tony Tobin (

Fish, chips and mushy peas


  • Sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 225g nice white fish fillets, pinboned
  • 225g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 285ml pint good cold beer
  • 3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
  • 900g potatoes, peeled and sliced into chips

For the mushy peas:

  • A knob of butter
  • 4 handfuls of podded peas
  • A small handful of fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Good fish and chips are becoming harder to find these days, but there are still some good boys out there making the real deal. However, if you want to make your own at home, here's the recipe I use. Unless you've got a really big fryer I'd say it's not really worth trying to make fish and chips at home for more than 4 people – otherwise it becomes a struggle. Other things to have on the table are some crunchy sweet pickled gherkins, some pickled onions (if your other half isn't around!) – and pickled chillies are good too. Then you want to douse it all with some cheap malt vinegar and nothing other than Heinz tomato ketchup.

To make your mushy peas, put the butter in a pan with the peas and the chopped mint. Put a lid on top and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. You can either mush the peas up in a food processor, or you can mash them by hand until they are stodgy, thick and perfect for dipping your fish into. Keep them warm while you cook your fish and chips.

Pour the sunflower oil into your deep fat fryer or a large frying pan and heat it to 190ºC/375ºF. Mix the salt and pepper together and season the fish fillets on both sides. This will help to remove any excess water, making the fish really meaty. Whisk the flour, beer and baking powder together until nice and shiny. The texture should be like semi-whipped double cream (i.e. it should stick to whatever you're coating). Dust each fish fillet in a little of the extra flour, then dip into the batter and allow any excess to drip off. Holding one end, lower the fish into the oil one by one, carefully so you don't get splashed – it will depend on the size of your fryer how many fish you can do at once. Cook for 4 minutes or so, until the batter is golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, parboil your chips in salted boiling water for about 4 or 5 minutes until softened but still retaining their shape, then drain them in a colander and leave to steam completely dry. When all the moisture has disappeared, fry them in the oil that the fish were cooked in at 180ºC/350ºF until golden and crisp. While the chips are frying, you can place the fish on a baking tray and put them in the oven for a few minutes at 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 to finish cooking. This way they will stay crisp while you finish off the chips. When they are done, drain them on kitchen paper, season with salt, and serve with the fish and mushy peas.
By Jamie Oliver (

Shepherd's Pie


  • 400g tin minced lamb
  • 1 largish onion, peeled, quartered and chopped in a mini chopper, or 4 tablespoons frozen diced onions
  • 175g ready-prepared diced mixed carrot and swede (Tesco)
  • 1 dessertspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the topping:

  • About 16 discs Aunt Bessie’s Homestyle frozen mashed potato
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed (use the white parts only)
  • 3 heaped tablespoons ready-grated mature Cheddar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200°C. Start by heating the oil in a largish frying-pan till very hot, add the onion, carrot and swede and cook them for about 5 minutes, keeping the heat high, to colour a bit at the edges, stirring them around. After that, combine the vegetables with the minced lamb, thyme, cinnamon and some seasoning and transfer the whole lot to an 18cm square baking dish (or similar). Next, arrange the potato discs on top, slightly overlapping. The leeks should be cut vertically to halfway down and fanned out under cold, running water to remove any dirt, then sliced through to the bottom, then across very finely. Sprinkle the leeks all over the potato and follow that with the grated Cheddar. Then put it into the oven for 35-40 minutes, till the top is crusty and golden.Let it settle for about 10 minutes before serving – a bag of ready-shredded spring greens would go down a treat with this. Note: for cottage pie, a 400g tin of M&S minced beef is every bit as good. If you use ready-prepared swede and carrot from elsewhere, it may be in larger chunks, which need to be chopped a bit smaller in the mini-chopper.
By Delia Smith (