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Kendal, Cumbria England

By Carol Montgomery

My home in England is in the far west of the Yorkshire Dales, in the county of Cumbria. Our local “big town” is Kendal in South Lakeland. The ruined remains of the 12th century Kendal Castle sit on a hill nearby. The Castle Dairy, on Wildman Street, is where I first came upon Sticky Toffee Pudding at least 40 years ago. Since then, this delectable dessert has turned up first in menus over the north west, and now everywhere in England.

Below is more information about this remarkable building. Do explore the link , http://www.orpheusweb.co.uk/lakes/kendal/dh.html, which provided this great photograph, for a detailed description.

Castle Dairy“The Castle Dairy is a medieval building located in Kendal, Cumbria. The name implies a connection to Kendal Castle and it is possibly the town’s oldest continuously inhabited structure. A Grade I listed building, it is now a restaurant.” Wikipedia

Over the 25 years I enjoyed amazing, delicious and sumptuous 6 course meals at the Castle Dairy (that was all that was offered) there was never need to advertise or even to hang a sign outside. It was always full of delighted regulars who had booked weeks ahead. Two elderly stout ladies ran the show, Elaine as the Maitre D, and Avril as the chef. Both were down to earth, forthright and enjoyed a good joke. Those with delicate sensibilities did well to leave them at home! The floor was cobbled in places and non too clean in the daylight, the huge fireplaces blazed in the winter, and the whole place was lit by candlelight. It was a magical place and was a first choice whenever special visitors showed up.

Elaine became a friend (I think she was very taken with my husband) and closed the restaurant to the public so that we could have our night before the wedding feast there. We were very sad when Avril died and then Elaine retired. She shared her most famous pudding with us and here is her recipe.

Cream together

2oz (60g) butter

6oz (170g) granulated sugar (100g is fine!)

Mix with  2 eggs and set aside.

Mix together in a bowl

8oz (230g) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

6oz (180g) stoned dates, chopped

1 teaspoon bicarb.

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ pt (300ml) boiling water
Add to the creamed mix little by little. Blend well for 1 minute. Turn into a buttered tin.

Bake for about 40 mins at 180ºC. (350ºF)
Sauce for 4 people

1 ½ oz (45g) butter

2 ½ oz (70g) brown sugar

2 tablespoons double cream

Simmer for 3 mins
Heat a slice with sauce in microwave and serve with ice cream.


The above is my sister’s “healthied up a bit” recipe.

Of course, I can’t lay my hands on the original recipe, but I remember putting the sauce in the bottom of a pudding basin with the pudding mix on top and steaming it. It came out wonderfully gooey and may have had Golden Syrup or treacle as part of the sauce. If it shows up, I’ll update this! All I know is it was REALLY good.

Below are some links to Websites about Kendal. Please feel free to browse these. Who knows you may want to visit this old beuatiful town.






Carol Montgomery DBE Centre Court Chapter, Knoxville, TN.