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5 Traditional Guernsey Recipes To Try At Home

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5 Traditional Guernsey Recipes To Try At Home

If you are missing your visits to The Islands of Guernsey, why not get into the kitchen and try out one of these traditional recipes?

There is more than one way to travel and exploring the food of your favourite destinations from the comfort of your kitchen is just one of them. We miss welcoming our wonderful visitors from all over the world, so we wanted to share these warming winter recipes, traditional to our islands for you to try out, to reminisce over and to plan your future visits to our islands with. Do let us know if you try them out.

Gâche Mélée

(pronounced Gosh Mel - are)

Gâche Mélée is a traditional Guernsey apple dessert and an absolute favourite with locals. It is particularly satisfying to enjoy it in the autumn, when the cooler nights are drawing in and apples are freshly picked. It is wonderful eaten hot or cold and with a dollop of Guernsey cream or custard. 

Ingredients

½ lb plain flour
¼ lb suet or Guernsey Butter
1½ lb apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
½ lb demerara sugar
¼ tsp of nutmeg
¼ tsp of cinnamon
¼ tsp of mixed spice
½ teacup of water
1 tsp salt
1 free range egg

Preparation

  1. Rub the butter or suet into the flour until like breadcrumbs.
  2. Add all other dry ingredients, apple and mix well.
  3. Add egg and water and again mix well.
  4. Place in a 7 inch (18cm) square tin and cook in a low oven for 2 hours until golden brown. 

Tip: Prior to making this dessert all dry ingredients and apple can be mixed together and stood in the fridge to improve the flavour. Also, why not keep back some sugar to sprinkle on top prior to cooking – this makes a crunchier top.

Coffee and Gache

Guernsey Gâche

(Pronounced Gosh)

One of Guernsey’s definitive delicacies is the Guernsey Gâche. Tune in your tastebuds before you visit with this genuine recipe that's really easy to make too.

Ingredients
I.5 lbs wholemeal or plain flour
1.5 lbs Guernsey butter
Two free range eggs
4 oz candied orange peel
1 lb sultanas (currants may be used, if preferred)
Quarter pint of Guernsey milk
2 oz yeast
Pinch of salt
2 oz dark brown sugar

Preparation

  1. Wash and dry the fruit.
  2. Cream the butter with sugar, add the eggs and then mix in the flour.
  3. Warm the milk, add the yeast and a pinch of salt.
  4. Make a depression in the dough and pour in the milk with the added yeast and mix well, adding the fruit and kneading like bread.
  5. Leave to rise for two hours in a warm room. Knock back and then knead again.
  6. Grease a loaf tin and put in the prepared gâche.
  7. Cook for one hour in a moderate oven, until golden brown.

Best served with cider from the jug, whilst hay making.

Bean Jar

Traditional Guernsey Bean jar

(Guernsey French: enne Jarraie d'Haricaots)

Bean Jar was never designed to be a delicacy, but rather a cheap wholesome winter meal designed to feed a hungry family. Traditionally, the dish would be started on a Friday night with the soaking of dried beans. Then on the next day, Saturday, cheap cuts of meat, such as pigs trotters would be added. The beans and meat would be briefly boiled and transferred to a pottery jar, the Bean Jar, covered with thick brown paper, tied with string and marked with the family name. Then families would drop their jars at their local bakery where they were put into the cooling oven on a Sunday, as no bread was baked that day. The Bean Jar was then stored and eaten on a Monday, traditionally washing day, as the women were too busy washing clothes to cook and then the jar would be often reheated on a Tuesday, as this was ironing day and they were still too busy. Luckily, many people believe Bean Jar always tastes best once it has been reheated on the second day!

On the island, you'll note that every family has a recipe for Bean Jar, passed down through generations with no two recipes the same, often due to ingredient availability, but generally 'the simpler the better' is the advice. There is also a vegetarian version these days.

Ingredients
1 lb Haricot Beans
1 lb Butter Beans
1 lb Belly Pork
1 lb Onions                            
Stock
Seasoning

Preparation

  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water before draining.
  2. Place beans in fresh water and boil for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Add pork, chopped onions and stock cube and boil for a further 20 minutes.
  4. Place in a low to medium oven for min 3-4 hours - or try a slow cooker.
  5. Once ready, beans should be soft and meat should fall off the bone.

Enjoy with a thick slice of farmhouse bread and Guernsey butter. Delicious!

Ormers

Ormer Casserole

(only to be used seasonally)

The Ormer is an abalone found on Guernsey shores, and the traditional way to cook Ormers is in a casserole.

Ingredients

As many ormers as possible
A strip or two of belly pork
2-3 carrots
2-3 shallots
Guernsey butter
Bay Leaf
Salt and Pepper

Preparation

  1. Soak your ormers in fresh water for an hour, before removing it from the shell, scrubbing, trimming and beating it with a steak hammer.
  2. Flour the ormers and brown in a frying pan with the Guernsey butter.
  3. Place the Ormers in a casserole dish with the cubes of belly pork, sliced carrots, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place in pre-heated oven at 160/170 °c for two hours, before turning down the oven and allow the casserole to simmer until cooked.

Enjoy with a Guernsey Biscuit (See below!)

Guernsey Biscuits 

A Guernsey Biscuit is a savoury roll with a firm crust and soft, fluffy centre that can be filled with Guernsey delicacies such as crab, beef or a beautiful local cheese.

Ingredients
1lb Plain white flour
1oz  Fresh yeast
½ oz of salt
4oz Guernsey butter and/or lard
8 fl. oz warm Guernsey milk (or combination of water & milk) 
½ oz of sugar

Preparation

  1. Sieve and mix the salt and flour.
  2. Cream the butter, yeast & sugar and add the warm milk. Leave for ten minutes.
  3. Mix the creamed butter and milk mixture with the flour and knead it well.
  4. Cover the bowl and leave to stand in a warm place for 1½ hours to rise.
  5. Kneading the dough again lightly on a floured board and form into round shapes.
  6. Flatten the balls or roll them into biscuit shapes.
  7. Place on a greased baking sheet and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  8. Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven 200°C (400°F) Gas mark 6 for 20 minutes.

Guernsey Whiting Pie

Ingredients

12 oz Guernsey whiting, or other locally caught white fish
1pt Guernsey Milk
2oz plain flour
4oz butter
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1tbsp lemon juice
Seasoning 

Topping

2lbs freshly cooked potatoes
¼pt Guernsey Milk
1oz butter
A little nutmeg

Preparation

  1. Cook fish in 1/2pt milk. 
  2. Pour off cooking liquid & preserve it.
  3. Remove skin and flake fish into fairly large pieces.
  4. Make sauce by melting 3oz butter in a saucepan, stirring in the flour, gradually adding fish liquid and remaining milk. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add fish, then pour mix into a well buttered 2 ½ pt baking dish.
  6. Cream cooked potatoes with butter and 1/4pt milk, add some freshly grated nutmeg, then spread evenly over the fish.
  7. Bake at 200 degrees C, Gas Mark 6 for 30 mins, until potato is golden.

To make extra special, add 4oz peeled prawns or 2oz chopped fried mushrooms and some sweetcorn.

 

If you try any of our traditional Guernsey recipes, please do share your pictures with us on social media. We would love to see what you create from across the world!