HAVE you ever heard of Shipley Spuds, Leeds Soup, Birstall Pie Filling, Macclesfield Posh Pobs or Otley Salami?

The North of England’s culinary history is laid bare in a new book by a former Great British Bake-Off contestant in her first published book.

‘Sandy’s Great Northern Cookbook’ sees Sandy Docherty explore 70 recipes of dishes from Yorkshire and Lancashire, in particular, and looks at the stories behind each one.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sandy Docherty has fun with some of her baked creationsSandy Docherty has fun with some of her baked creations

Every recipe features a history of the inspiration behind it and a method of how to make it at home.

Sandy took part in the 2015 series of the Bake-Off and works as the child protection and welfare officer at Titus Salt School in Baildon.

She has provided her views of each Bake-Off series over the past couple of years in a column for the Telegraph & Argus.

The stories behind each recipe featured in the book are fascinating.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sandy looks through a copy of her first published cookbookSandy looks through a copy of her first published cookbook

For instance, Otley Salami celebrates a prisoner of war camp which was set up in the town around 1944. The security was lax, and the prisoners could be signed out and then worked at Bingley and Keighley train stations unloading goods. After the war they settled in the district with salami a key dish for them.

But Sandy has used this as a sweet rather than a meat recipe as it features dark chocolate and Amaretti biscuits in her interpretation.

The Shipley Spuds recipe has a heart-warming back story.


Following the Second World War, young people, particularly women, came from Italy to work in Bradford’s textiles industry.

A hostel was built for them on Otley Road, Shipley, with many taking English lessons at Belle Vue Upper School. This provides inspiration for Sandy to make ‘Shipley Spuds’ which features potatoes, smoked bacon and mascarpone cheese.

She said: “I have always had that passion for food. This is my first published book.

“This is so exciting. I always think of that phrase ‘everyone has a book in them’, but I never thought I had.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: One of the 70 recipes in Sandy's new bookOne of the 70 recipes in Sandy's new book

“I had these homespun recipes written down and I wanted to share them.

“Nothing beats North of England recipes as far as I’m concerned.

“There was this bank of recipes that I already had. It was a lockdown book.

“I looked for buzz words to attach to each recipe in the book. It was a case of writing the recipes and the story and intertwining the two in the book for something of interest.

“It has interesting and fabulous recipes for people to try. Hopefully I have created an interesting read for those who don’t cook and some very accessible recipes for families to try.

“I started to go over the border to Lancashire for things to try and include in the book.”

Elsewhere in the book, there is also a nod to her appearances on the Great British Bake-Off with the Hollywood Chocolate Pastry.

The dish commemorates when Sandy received the highly sought-after handshake from co-judge Paul Hollywood.

In the book, Sandy writes: “Paul loved this pastry so much that he gave me the famous gesture.”

The dedicated work of the NHS, particularly during the pandemic, is celebrated with Sandy’s NHS shortbread.

The book also features a foreword from Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive of Halifax’s Piece Hall Trust, who writes: “Yorkshire is bursting with many cherished recipes influenced both by its own history and the many diverse communities that live in the county and have made it their home.”

There is even a review of Sandy’s book from fellow Yorkshire TV star Julian Norton, who appears on Channel 5’s Yorkshire Vet and writes: “Full of classy Yorkshire fodder. I look forward to trying them all.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The book is split into five parts with each featuring a phrase made up of Northern dialect. An example is ‘To finish Wi’ which is translated as a term used to describe desserts.

This section of the book includes the Bronte Souffle. This recipe takes inspiration from the famous Bronte sisters, Charlotte and Emily, and their trip to work as teachers in Brussels in 1842 and how they might have enjoyed the dark chocolate delicacies.

Sandy clearly has the bug for books as she is already thinking of a follow-up with recipes from people’s experiences with food from northern England.

She added: “If I did a second book I would do featuring people’s memories and stories of food. They cross generations. It’s multi-diverse.

“The diversity and language of food, it speaks volumes and doesn’t need an interpreter.

“I’m interested in hearing people’s food stories.”

Now Covid restrictions have been fully lifted, Sandy has a summer packed full of appearances at a host of food shows and festivals. These include taking to the stage at the Great British Food Festival, held at Harewood House between June 2 and 5.

Sandy will officially launch her book at Philip Howard Books, Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds, on Wednesday, June 1 from 6pm.

‘Sandy’s Great Northern Cookbook’, priced £14.99, is available now from local book shops and other outlets including WH Smiths and amazon.co.uk.