From pond pudding to dead man's arm, here in Britain there are some dishes we love no matter what the rest of the world thinks
Celebrate British Food Fortnight (20 September – 5 October) with these eccentric British dishes. Come on, grub's up!
Popular with hangover sufferers nationwide, only Brits would think to start the day with this meaty feast. Up the ante with black pudding (an aqcuired taste for some) then mop up with a few slices of fried bread. Yum.
2. Spotted dick
Stop laughing at the back. They've tried calling it "sultana sponge" and "spotted Richard", but why? It's always been spotted dick! This soft suet sponge studded with currants is even better smothered in custard. And it was served at Hogwarts. Must be magic.
Britain's more homely version of the snooty Swiss roll – well, why leave out the fat? This classic pud was once known as "dead man’s arm" because sometimes it was steamed and served in an old shirt sleeve. THAT's British humour for you.
How does a sausage look like a toad? We don't know either. Created sometime in the 18th century, we're sure toads have never been used in this recipe, but it has managed to scare small children ever since. Try it with veggie bangers or poshed up with bits of Parma ham. Serve with mash, gravy and a dollop on hot English mustard (Dijon has no place here).
Snobs may turn their noses up at this pud, but we love it all wobbly and warm from the oven. One of the earliest recipes was recorded in 1723 in cook and author John Nott's The Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary, and it's been a childhood staple since Victorian times. These days top chefs are using their loaves too, creating posh versions in restaurants up and down the country.
Ale, mustard and melted cheese – the Rolls Royce of toasties. Even the French have taken this frugal dish to their hearts; it was once all the rage at the famous Criterion restaurant in Paris (they know a good thing when they see it).
7. Lardy cake
A sure-fire way to pile on the pounds, lardy cake has definitely gone out of vogue. But why? Filled with luxury dried fruit and oozing with caramelised sugar, it tastes sublime – just think of those lardy layers as a country-style croissant.
The first recorded recipe for the Sussex Pond Pudding was in Hannah Wooley's The Queen-Like Closet (1672), and the recipe suggested encasing a whole apple. When the lemon was swapped in is anyone's guess, but sometimes it was deliberately left unpierced and exploded (aka the ‘lemon bomb’). Maybe that's what they did before TV.
9. Scotch egg
Only a Brit would think to take an egg, cover it with sausagemeat and batter it with breadcrumbs. Fortnum and Mason claim to have invented them in 1730s for travellers in need of tasty snacks when they undertook long journeys. They've been a Brit-pic essential ever since.
10. Eton mess
Myth has it that this pud came about after a dog sat on a picnic basket crushing the strawberries and cream inside. Everyone cried "Who let the dogs out?" leading to the 1998 pop chart sensation (OK maybe not, but the first bit's true). What we do know is that the mess is traditionally served on 4 June at the prize-giving picnic at Eton College and is reported to have been sold at the school tuck shop since the 1930s. A posher pud, there cannot be.