The author of The Great Northern Cookbook, is Sean Wilson. Yes, that’s a familiar name, or at least it is if you have been a follower of that celebrated Northern institution, Coronation Street. He joined the cast of ‘Corrie’ in 1985 and stayed till 2005, and has since played in Waterloo Road.
He has always had a passion for cooking and in 2009 Sean started a new career, the Saddleworth Cheese Company, which went on to win some coveted cheese awards. But his interest does not stop at cheese: he is a northerner and has a TV series to partner this book which promotes the best of northern food in general.
There are more than 90 recipes for dishes that are northern favourites. They are economic recipes and hearty. Lots of baked goods and pies but there are a couple of curries as well. It’s not a culinary history book but rather a snapshot of how we eat today.
The north of England is famed for its rhubarb, but Rhubarb Curd is new to me. This would make a delicious change from lemon curd or jam for breakfast, but only make it in small batches during the rhubarb season as it contains egg yolks so doesn’t keep more than a month. That is the joy of seasonal food, though, isn’t it? It seems like a treat and we savour the tang for just that month or so.
Although I am an enthusiastic home cook I might prefer to eat tripe cooked by somebody else. I have tried it in various guises and I can say it’s either delicious or a horror. The recipe for Deep-Fried Tripe is worth a go.
No northern cookbook could hold its head up in polite society if it didn’t include a recipe for a Lancashire Hotpot. This is simple and flavourful fare and ideal for weekends when you have guests. It’s easy to assemble and can be made in your slow cooker and finished in the oven, although the recipe here uses just an oven.
We do pies well in the UK. They are comforting and cheap but it’s just as much about the pastry as the filling. Cheese ’N’ Onion Pie doesn’t cost much to make but it’s loved by not only vegetarians but also those who would normally demand a slab of meat. It can be eaten at any temperature but I love it fresh from the oven.
The Great Northern Cookbook offers ‘proper’ food. These are dishes that won’t break the bank but they are tasty and will be loved by the whole family. It’s not about cooking innovation but a return to what has always been good. It’s a culinary reminder.
The Great Northern Cookbook
Author: Sean Wilson
Published by: Hodder
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018