Recipes From A Yorkshire Woman

Posted at 16:31pm on 4th October 2008


Consistently produce the perfect Yorkshire pudding; one that rises majestically into crisp pinnacles on the edges yet retains a moist base. Nick says mine are great, but unlike me, he doesn't come from the north of England where a housewife is judged on the quality of her Yorkshire puddings!

This was one of the comments left on Day 14 of the competition: 5 Things I’d Like To Do Before I Die so I thought I’d respond by giving the Yorkshire Pudding recipe which was passed on to me by my children’s great-grandmother, a Yorkshire woman through and through. Then I realised that she had more than a foody recipe to offer: she had a recipe for life which might answer two of the other comments: Regain memory & brain cells! and Learn to be content in all things.


Gran – as she was known to everyone except her contemporaries – was a delightful old lady and, despite being under 5ft tall, was as feisty as they came. I recall an occasion when I was newly married, and she – well into her eighties – had taken me out to show me round the city in which I was then, newly, living. Busily pointing out the sights whilst in a queue of traffic, she ran her Bentley into the car in front. The damage was minimal, but the driver stopped, got out of his car and, with fists clenched and fury written all over his face, marched back to have words with her.

I was occupied in retrieving my first-born, whose carry-cot had fallen upside down off the back seat, depositing her, screaming, on the floor of the car. I had no option but to leave Gran to deal with the matter alone. She duly stepped down from her car, all 4ft something of her, and from the corner of my eye I saw the driver of the other vehicle crumple.

‘I’m terribly sorry, Madam,’ he said, his face and fists relaxing. ‘It was my fault entirely. I shouldn’t have stopped so suddenly.’

And that was that!


Raised voices and aggression were as much an anathema to Gran as was despair. Yet quietly and firmly she succeeded in everything she tackled. Years after the collision event, when she was aged about 90 and had taken her sisters-in-law out for a drive, she was stopped on the way home, for speeding. Facing down the police-officer who had pulled her over, she wound down her window and said, amiably,

‘Young man, I have been driving since before you were born. Besides I have to get these old ladies home in time for their dinner.’

She was waved on without further ado.


Born before the days of domestic electricity or the automobile, Gran lived through two World Wars, became a proficient driver, an excellent golfer and bridge player. Nothing fazed her! She embraced all that life had to offer. She would speak on the telephone to relatives on the other side of the world, and watched, with me, the televised landing of the first man on the moon. Her generation probably saw more change in a lifetime than any other. Yet she was as modern as was good for her, and as old-fashioned as was beneficial to others.

It was less a case of regaining her memory and brain cells, and more a case of retaining them. A regular church member, she took an interest in everyone and was loved by all. In her time, she had known the name of every member of her husband’s workforce, plus those of their families. She knew who was sick and who was struggling at school. She ate well and kept active. Every meal was a feast, every ingredient the finest and freshest. She made her own bread; recycled everything; insisted on living in a first-floor flat so she’d have to climb stairs to keep her knees active. At the age of 93, she died as she had lived: in the company of family and friends, with a winning hand of bridge. A real Grand Slam!


Mrs Beeton:

1 egg
¼ lb plain flour (110 g)
½ pt milk (275 ml)
½ tsp salt

Delia Smith

1 egg
3 ozs plain flour (75g)
3 fl ozs milk (75 ml)
2 fl ozs water (55 ml)
salt and pepper


Ratio: 1-3-6
1 egg
3 rounded dessertspoons plain flour (approx. 40g)
6 tablespoons liquid - half milk, half water (approx. 140 ml)


Sieve flour and salt, break egg into centre and beat, gradually adding liquid, until frothy.
Stand in fridge (batter, not you!) for at least half-an-hour (Delia says not but I was told this relaxed the elastin – or should it be elastase? in the flour).
Turn oven to High (No. 7, 425ºF, 220ºC).
Use beef dripping, sunflower oil, corn, rapeseed or groundnut oil, as these heat to a higher temperature than olive oil.
Pour into metal dish, preferably cast iron (heats better than ceramic) and pre-heat in oven.
Pour batter into hot tin, cook on top shelf until risen and browned (approx. 25-30 mins)

Eat as soon as possible.
The Yorkshire way is to have it as a first course unaccompanied (the pudding, not you) except for gravy.

Enjoy! Let me know how it works out, or if you've any other tips/recipes

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