Back in 2008 the world famous Lea & Perrins factory in Worcester held a competition to herald the creation of an 'Official Dish for Worcestershire', where the Worcestershire Warmer was crowned the winner by a panel of judges who sampled a variety of dishes cooked fresh in their kitchens.
The creator of this inspiring dish was Jill Jessop, a local cottage hospital nurse who sadly died in 2014 due to cancer, aged 67. However, her husband and family are keen to re-kindle the public’s awareness of the dish she lovingly created and achieve the recognition it so rightly deserves, and, in doing so, keeping Jill’s memory alive. The dish is a lamb-based steamed suet crust pudding filled with spices such as cinnamon, cumin and ginger, to give it a nice warm kick – particularly fitting as we enter the colder months in the year. The recipe also includes local perry and pear, and has, of course, a dash of Worcestershire Sauce in it too!
Jill had always enjoyed cooking, honing her skills by running her own small catering businesses Taste Buds and Flash in the Pan, winning a national competition run by Tesco/Good Housekeeping, appearing on the first generation of BBC's Masterchef and in more recent times on Britain's Best Dish TV show.
Jill’s husband Andy, who lives in Worcester, explained that he felt that with the increasing popularity of food programmes, Worcester was perhaps missing out on a great promotional opportunity, and the public were missing out on a great dish. He said that it may not look an easy dish to make but people could adapt the recipe by substituting shortcrust or puff pastry for the suet – thus making it a pie that can be baked in the oven rather than steamed over a hob. He proudly boasted that he was the one who gave Jill’s dish the name 'Worcestershire Warmer'.
Councillor Lucy Hodgson, now Cabinet Member for Localism and Communities at the County Council, was Mayor of Worcester at the time and was part of the judging panel.
She said: “I remember the day well, the judges met in the Lea & Perrins factory and were able to watch the dishes being cooked before the judging began.
"We had 8 dishes to taste and Jill’s dish was a clear winner. It has a lovely herb crust with a tasty lamb filling. I was also lucky enough to meet Jill again a few years ago when she came to talk about her dish of Worcestershire to my Rotary Club.”
Don’t let this dish be a 'flash in the pan'! Send pictures of your efforts into firstname.lastname@example.org