Cumbria is a county in the north-west region of England, and these are a collection of local and regional recipes handed down within families who have lived and worked in the Cumberland and Westmorland (Cumbria) areas. All of the recipes below are regionally authentic, originally coming from recipe books published in the 1800s or 1900s, with the weights and measurements adjusted (alongside the old standards) where appropriate for the modern kitchen.
1 lb (500g) fresh butter, 1 1/2 lb (750g) soft brown sugar, 1 wineglass rum, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Melt the butter in a pan, then pour it onto sugar and beat until it begins to thicken. This does not take long. Stir in rum and grated nutmeg. Pour into a bowl worthy of this feast.
2 handfuls M’Giants (Bistort can be bought from herb farms) 2 handfuls young nettles, 2 handfuls cauliflower sprigs, 2 handfuls cabbage leaves, 3 leeks or some chives 1/4 lb (125g) pearl barley, 1 egg.
Chop all the vegetables, tie in a muslin bag with the barley and boil for 2 hours. Turn into a casserole and season. add beaten egg and a good dab of butter. Serve piping hot.
Alternative method: Boil barley first, then tie in a bag with the chopped vegetables, boil for 1/2 hour and finish as in first method. This is excellent and can, of course, be adapted to another herb and the vegetables you have.
Cut neat pieces the shape of a pear from a cold leg of mutton about 1/2 inch thick, lay them in some cold gravy left from the mutton, or a little nice stock, to soak for 1/2 hour. Then drain quite dry, rub with egg, roll in breadcrumbs and fry a nice light brown. Drain on kitchen paper. have ready some tomatoes stewed and seasoned with salt and pepper; place them in the centre of the dish with the fillets put round them and a little thick gravy.
CHRISTMAS STANDING PIE
3 lb (1.4kg) plain flour, 1 1/2 lb (750g) butter and lard mixed, 1 pint (600ml) milk, pinch salt, 1 tablespoonful chopped suet.
Melt butter, lard and suet in the warmed milk but do not let it boil. Have ready the flour and salt in a bowl. Skim off as much fat as possible from the warmed milk and fat and mix in the bowl with the flour to a soft dough. Leave to cool and then work with the hands into rounds, 3 inches deep and 6 inches across. Tie greaseproof round to keep them standing up. Make lids from the pastry to fit after filling.
Filling: 2 lb (1kg) finely-chopped mutton (raw) 1 lb (500g) currants, 1 lb (500g) sultanas, 1 lb (500g) chopped apples, 1 lb (500g) brown sugar, pinch salt, 1 teaspoonful spice and a little grated nutmeg
Mix all together with 2 tablespoonfuls of rum. Fill the pies and put on lids and decorate with pastry leaves etc. Bake for 1 hour in a moderate oven 350F (180C). Enough for three pies.
BAKED BLACK PUDDING
Blood from 1 pig, 2 lb (1kg) groats ( groats are the hulled grains of various cereals, such as oats, wheat, and barley), 3 lb (1.5kg) fat, marjoram, mint, sage, small bunches of each, 1 quart (1.1 L) milk, 1 dessert spoonful pepper and clove, 1 teaspoonful black pepper and cayenne, handful salt.
Day before making: Cook groats in pan until tender. Leave in pan all night. Cut up the fat into small pieces. Stir blood until cold and leave in cold place.
Next day: Boil milk, add the cold groats. Add milk and groats to the blood (strained). Add seasoning and fat. Put into roasting tins and bake in moderate oven until black. Leave until cool. Cut into squares and fry in fat or grill.
DOUBLE DECKER PUDDING
Pastry: 1/2 lb (250g) four, 4 oz (115g) fat, pinch salt.
Filling: 10 oz (285g) currants, 1/4 lb (125g) moist brown sugar, candied peel, butter.
Rub fat into flour and make into paste with water. Cut pastry into three equal parts and roll each out thinly to fit plate 10 inches across. Put one layer of pastry on the plate, Put half the currants onto this and sprinkle with sugar and grated candied peel. Dot with pieces of butter. Wet edges of pastry. Cover with remainder of currants, sugar and peel and utter. Damp edges of pastry and cover with remainder of pastry. Press edges well down with a form. Trim edges of pastry with sharp knife and prick top of pastry with a fork. Bake in a moderate oven 350F (180C) until nicely browned.
Take 1 quart (1.1L) cream, one manchet grated (a manchet is a home made fine white bread). The yolks of 10 eggs and 4 whites. A little salt, Some sugar and a little spice. Then cut your apples in round thin slices and lay them in your frying-pan in order. Your batter being hot when your are fried, pour in your batter and fry it on one side. then turn it on a pie plate and slide it into the pan again and fry it. Then put it on the pie plate again and squeeze the juice of a lemon over it and strew it with fine sugar and serve it at table.