Traditional Geordie Foods and Home Cooking

We used my mam’s 100 years of BERO Baking book to make our Christmas Cake this year. I used this recipe book when I was a little girl (so that gives you an idea of how old it is!). The cake was delicious and quite light compared to our usual Delia Smith recipe that we follow.

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Looking through the recipes took me back to my childhood and I remembered many traditional things we would have at home. My mam home cooked everything from scratch, ‘TV dinners’ had yet to be invented.

Some of my favourite things growing up were Saveloy dips.

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We always bought these from our local ‘pork shop’, known more commonly these days as Dicksons. The saveloys were split down the middle and served in a soft roll, with a generous dollop of pease pudding too (is this Geordie Houmous?). If you felt posh, you could ask for a bit of mustard! You can still get them at Dicksons today, where they can also be served with gravy (too messy for me, but I’m sure there are some Geordies out there who would like this fairly ‘new’ addition to the old style).

Panackelty was a real comfort dish that we had at least once a week at home.

Apart from the debate on how it’s spelled, with people arguing between panacalty, panaculty, panackerty and too many more to mention, it is also sometimes confused with another local recipe for Pan Haggerty. My mam’s dish consisted of onions and sausages cooked in a pan with Compton’s Gravy Salt and water, sliced potatoes added to the top and then covered with a lid until everything was cooked. It was one of my favourite meals growing up.

Now, stottie cakes!! Best thing ever, do we agree?

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Bought from many bakeries and local shops they could be used for a sandwich or even just sliced across into thick strips and buttered on one cut-end. This flat, round loaf with the dent in the middle was always just known as a stottie in our house. The doughy, heavy texture of the bread seems to give it its name; ‘to stott’ means ‘to bounce’, and in theory if the stottie was dropped it would bounce rather than just lie there miserably waiting to be picked up within the 5 second window rule! Stotties have stood the test of time and are still popular now.

Lentil soup with bacon bones and dumplings, nothing better than the way my mam made it. 

Bacon bones, which can still be purchased from the deli section at the supermarket or from the butcher, simmered for an hour with red lentils, diced potato, carrot and onion. The bones are removed after the hour and the meat from them put back into the pan. Add water to Atora Beef Suet and make into a rough ball shape with your hands to make sticky, dense dumplings and leave to simmer in the soup until you can’t wait any longer.

My mam used to buy steak and hand mince it with one of these:

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Hand Mincer @Amazon

The mince was then cooked for hours on a low heat in the bottom of the oven with Compton’s Gravy Salt and water, and then the Atora Beef Suet dumplings dropped in. This made the most delicious mince and dumplings ever. I can’t even imagine having the time to hand-mince strips of meat every time I need it to cook with it, our Geordie mothers were something else weren’t they?

Do you have any recipes or foods from growing up that you miss or that you’ve attempted to replicate? I’ve tried to make all of these myself at various times and they just are never as good as what my mam used to make.

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