Chocolate Fudge Cake

This is a recipe from my mother. She made it when we were children and whenever I make it now, people always ask me for the recipe!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

4oz / 125g butter

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

200g crushed digestive biscuits

100g plain chocolate

1) Melt butter, sugar and syrup (do not boil). This can be done in a microwave or saucepan. 2) Mix in the cocoa and crushed biscuits and press firmly into a (approx) 16cm tin
3) Melt the chocolate and then spresd thinly over biscuit mix and leave to set.
4) Cur into small squares and serve

Lesley Clayton

The Politics of Food

Rachel Rich and Lisa Smith spoke to Matt Chorley (Times Radio) about ‘The Politics of Food’–from Robin Cook’s Chicken Tikka Masala speech to Ed Miliband’s sandwich, with our eighteenth-century knowledge sprinkled on top!

Berry Delicious Baked Oats

Contributor: Melanie Chan

This is a recipe that can be adapted in all sorts of ways, it can be vegetarian or vegan.  This is my regular breakfast dish, now that I have more time to make and eat it due to working from home most of the time – during lockdowns. I also follow the well known saying, breakfast like a king! In other words eat a hearty and substantial breakfast.

Berry Delicious Baked Oats

Prep time: 10-15 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

Preheat oven to gas mark 6


½ cup of jumbo oats (not instant or rolled oats)

Handful of berries – blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and grated apple (or you could use chopped medjool dates or dried apricots)

5 or 6 tablespoons of coconut milk (or use oat milk, soya milk, or cow’s milk)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

A tablespoon of mixed seeds as garnish (sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds)


Pour jumbo oats into an oven proof dish and cover with freshly boiled water – soak for at least 10 mins

Once they have soaked add your milk (of choice) and fruit

Mix together with the cinnamon

Put in the oven gas mark 6 for 20 minutes

Once cooked, remove baked oats from oven proof dish and transfer to a bowl. Garnish with seeds and top with yoghurt.

Our virtual chat on The New British Cookbook

Did you miss your chance to watch Rachel Rich and Lisa Smith speak at the Being Human Festival? Never fear! The British Academy recorded the hour-long event and you can catch up with the project here. We’re happy to continue the conversation if you want to send your questions on to us!

And we’d be delighted if you sent on your favourite everyday (or special day) recipes to us for inclusion in our New British Cookbook here. Please send on your questions, comments and recipes to us at: . Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cheese Pudding

Contributor: Christine Cleveland

I was introduced to this famous cheese pudding by my husband’s Norfolk Granny King (who died in her 90s in about 1980!). I think she adapted it from a recipe by Mrs Beeton but whereas she used breadcrumbs in the mixture Granny King used Sunnybisk, which she swore by, as she bought it at a health food shop.  I don’t believe Sunnybisk is still available here so I use Weetabix. I have made it for many years.  I do feel it is a dish she might have made for her daughter when small. Her recipe was never exact as to measurements. I am afraid mine is the same !

Here is the recipe: Mix three large eggs in the dish you are going to cook the pudding in. Then add several handfuls of good quality cheese – cheddar will do and/or any cheese you want to use up. Add about a teaspoon of mustard, Dijon or English. Add about three quarters of a pint of full fat milk or thereabouts. Then crumble in three or four Weetabix biscuits and mix well. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top. Cook in a warm oven on 150c for about two hours. The longer you bake the dish the crisper it will be. You can vary this though and cook for a shorter time and have it softer. 

I sometimes now add partially cooked leek slices or mushrooms to the mixture, and sometimes bacon lardons. 

Lemon Roulade

Contributor: Hilary Clayton

This recipe for a lemon roulade was given to me by a dear friend who is now no longer with us.   I think of her every time I make it.   It can either be as a dessert or cake with coffee.  It is not too rich after a big main course, and as no flour is involved is ideal as a gluten free dessert.


4 eggs

4 oz (110g) Caster Sugar

Rind and Juice of a Lemon

2 oz (55g) Ground Almonds

10 fl oz Double Cream

2 Tablespoons of Lemon Curd

Whisk 4 egg yolks and 4 oz Caster Sugar till thick and creamy.  Add the rind and juice of a lemon and 2 oz Ground Almonds. Then whisk 4 egg whites in a separate bowl till stiff and then fold into the lemony mixture. Pour in this mixture into a lined swiss roll tin and bake at 170 degrees Centigrade (fan) till golden, usually about 20-25 minutes.   Leave to cool in tin with a cloth over.   Turn out onto sugared paper. Fill with 10 fl.oz whipped Double Cream and mix in 2 tablespoons of Lemon Curd. Then roll up and put on a plate.    Raspberries are very nice to serve with this dish is you are using it as a dessert.

Miscellaneous Fried Rice

Contributor: Aaron Andrews

Choosing a recipe to contribute to the ‘New British Cookbook’ is difficult. 2020 has been filled with lots of different attempts to make interesting new foods—sometimes even successfully—including the obligatory sourdough and banana bread loaves. But this year has also highlighted the importance of cobbling something together from store cupboard basics or a random assortment of leftovers—hence Miscellaneous Fried Rice.

This isn’t really a recipe, but more of a list of things you might have lying around. Miscellaneous Fried Rice can be eaten at any time of day or night (it’s 2020, there are no rules anymore), as a meal, or a side depending on what you’ve got in the fridge and whether you can be bothered to cook a more lavish feast.


Leftover rice, enough for everyone

Garlic, crushed or finely chopped

Ginger, finely grated

Whatever vegetables need using up

Neutral oil for frying

Sesame oil (can be a nice addition if you’ve got any in the cupboard – see also, a dash of rice wine vinegar)

Egg(s), beaten

Soy Sauce



  1. Rummage round the kitchen and cobble together an assortment of vegetables. Slice, dice, or chop as needed.
  2. Heat some neutral oil and sauté or stir fry the garlic and ginger (to taste) before adding the vegetables.
  3. Once the vegetables are nearly done, add the leftover rice. This should preferably be cold because otherwise it clumps together.
  4. Cook the rice for a couple of minutes before adding a bit of sesame oil (it can give a toast-y background flavour).
  5. Add the beaten egg and stir through, cook.
  6. Add soy sauce and stir through the rice.
  7. Serve in a bowl and (if it’s your thing) top with a bit of Sriracha for a bit of heat.

Auntie Jean’s Chocolate Cake

Contributor: Helen Craig

This is such an old family recipe that the Auntie Jean it refers to is actually my Grandma’s cousin! It’s a really good basic chocolate cake that I make every time I need cupcakes or similar. 

7oz flour

2 level tsps baking powder

8 oz caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 rounded tablespoons cocoa powder

4 oz margarine

2 eggs

10 tablespoons milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

Mix dry ingredients, rub in marg. Mix liquid ingredients and stir in – beat until smooth. Bake in 2 x 7 inch tins at gas 4 for 30 minutes. Cool and ice with chocolate buttercream or whatever else you fancy! 

Weeknight Noodles

Contributor: Helen Craig

We make this at least once a week on average. Interestingly, during the first lockdown, it was impossible to get pasta or rice – but our local asian supermarket always had noodle supplies! 

1 ramen/ramyun pack (the IndoMie brands and Nongshim Shin Ramyun are favourites.)

Frozen peas

Frozen cooked chopped chicken 

Soy sauce

Chilli flakes

Splash chicken with soy sauce and chilli flakes and griddle until defrosted (roughly 5 minutes) 
Put noodles in saucepan and cover with enough boiling water to 2/3 fill your favourite noodle bowl. Add seasoning packet and any other flavour/oil packet that came with noodles. (Add less seasoning if you prefer a lighter or less spicy broth.) 
Boil for three minutes, then add frozen peas and return to the boil. 
Pour straight into the bowl along with the broth, add chicken, and eat – preferably with metal chopsticks! 

(Note that all ingredients other than the ramen can be substituted with whatever you have in your fridge or freezer – this is not a recipe that demands accuracy! A soft boiled egg, spring onion cut on the bias, and fresh coriander are all brilliant, and you can also just have the ramen and peas for an even lazier, one pan version.) 


Contributor: Tracey Loughran

I am an inveterate recipe-trier and usually cook something new two or three times a week. Not much of this experimentation sticks in the long-term – I’ll go through phases of eating the same recipe once a week for a month or so, then drop it; if I really like it, I’ll remember that it exists, and eat it again in the future, but my kitchen is mainly in a state of perpetual revolution. So, about 80% of the time I’m a very ‘New British Cook’ (for which read: l always have lemons in the fridge; I have ground my own baharat; and my winter experiment is fermenting my own kimchi). 

But… what I go back to when I need comfort, or just when I’m cold and tired, is one of three family recipes (or I get my husband to make spaghetti bolognese or lasagne). But the family recipes are very plain, very British (Scottish in fact), and very working class: chicken soup (mainly vegetables, with chicken for flavour more than anything); mince and potatoes; and stovies. All are designed to feed a family and to be eaten with lots of bread and butter. All were passed down from my Scottish nan to my mum; my mum, 18 when she married, four kids by the time she was thirty, and of the age to benefit from convenience food, did not make much from scratch. These are the only real ‘recipes’ she had (most of the time it was processed stuff with potatoes and frozen veg).

I’ve chosen stovies as the recipe to give you because the Scottish origins of this always seemed very exotic when I was a child growing up in south London. I didn’t meet anyone else who knew what it was. A few years ago, I was at a restaurant in Edinburgh (The Dogs) and saw it on the menu, so thought I’d order it. It was only when it arrived that I realised that my nan’s recipe was clearly the poor person’s version of stovies, completely pared down to stretch very basic ingredients as far as possible. I hadn’t realised that other versions had gravy and lots of meat. So, here is my mum’s/nan’s version (which I actually prefer, though no doubt that’s nostalgia). 


Quantities vary according to how many you’re feeding, and it’s quite an intuitive process, but basically pork sausages, potatoes, and onions.

Skin the sausages, divide each one into four, and roll the quarters into little balls.

Peel the potatoes (no particular type, but not salad potatoes), and cut into halves or quarters, depending on how big they are.

Slice the onions thinly-ish from root to tip.

Put everything in a pan, with water covering maybe a couple of inches above the contents.

Put a pinch of salt in.

Bring to the boil, then simmer until the potatoes have broken down, but are not mushy, and the sausage balls are cooked.

The broth should be thickened with the potato starch.

Serve with white bread and butter. 

It’s very weird writing this recipe down! Anyway, it’s not something that I eat very often now, but it is something that I really yearn for at times. I never particularly yearn for anything that I discovered myself in the same way; all my comfort foods are things that other people have cooked for me in the past, even I end up making them myself when in need.