A Glug of Oil

Good and tasty recipes, home cooking comfort foods such as cottage pie, cheesy baked pasta, casserole and slow cooker dishes.

Bacon and Onion Roly Poly Pudding

How to make Bacon and Onion Roly Poly Pudding.

A traditional recipe and a very popular dish in the 1960s. It's also referred to as simply, bacon and onion suet pudding or even simply, bacon pudding.

bacon and onion roly poly pudding

Bacon and Onion Roly Poly Pudding

Rennie has launched a campaign called 'Cooking through the Decades' where they are challenging food bloggers to cook a recipe from Britain’s past or present over the past 100 years; from 1920s to 2010.

I was allocated the 60s which is great as I was born in 1962 (oh my, I feel so old) but I do remember quite a bit about the 60s and especially the food we ate.

My all-time favourite dinner from my childhood!

Bacon and Onion Roly Poly Suet Pudding

The bacon pudding is made with suet pastry, bacon and onions and then rolled up like a Swiss roll (think suet dumpling with a bacon and onion filling) steamed for about 2 and a half hours.

*Update; I notice on the BBC TV series Back in Time for Tea they cooked this while they were in 1937 but they boiled it (as did my nan) but if you steam it instead, it's far better and more traditional.

Nothing fancy is added and it's simply seasoned with white pepper, but this is good stuff. Until this challenge was given to me I'd never made it myself before and it tasted just as good as I remember.

Each decade sees iconic dishes that were popular at the time, whether because of necessity.

The dish Bubble and squeak came from the need to be thrifty in the Second World War or through economic factors; for example, in the 80s the privileged few are increasing their disposable income allowed them to spend more on exotic foods.

The 1960's

In the sixties, the younger generation was ready to start enjoying themselves again. 

Music, miniskirts and swinging London encouraged people to spend more money, while cheaper flights meant more exposure to foreign influences; especially in the kitchen.

A bit about the 1960'sThe average house price in the UK was £2,530 and most houses now had a refrigerator and a cooker.

Sliced bread went on sale and a loaf cost 5 pence.

The ever-popular television program Coronation Street first aired in December 1960 and Dr Who appeared on our television screens at the end of 1963.

BBC2 was the first channel to have colour in 1967 and broadcast its first colour pictures from Wimbledon in 1967.

Sindy Doll and Tiny Tears

Sindy Doll and Tiny Tears were just the best toy doll any little girl could wish for; I remember getting Tiny Tears one Christmas and by Boxing day I'd given her a haircut.

I can't believe I did that, but I did. I've just checked with her and my mum still has the said Tiny Tears doll!

I've always had an interest in food and cooking and I remember me and my mum used to watch Graham Kerr's cooking program 'The Galloping Gourmet' and absolutely loved it; does anyone else remember that program?

Anyone on a trip down memory lane you might remember Old Fashioned Bread Pudding.

Anyway, back to the Bacon and Onion Roly Poly Pudding!

Step by step instructions

Roll out the dough and add the sliced onions and bacon.

step by step how to make roly poly pudding

Flour a clean muslin cloth and put the pudding on the cloth and roll it up.

how to make steamed roly poly pudding

Tie both ends with string and place into a steamer basket. Cover and steam for 2 and a half hours taking care that the water doesn't boil dry.

Pudding in muslin cloth ready to steam

Slice the pudding and serve with potatoes, peas, and gravy. Simple, delicious and filling.

Traditional bacon and onion roly poly pudding

I really enjoyed taking part it this challenge and I can't wait to see what decade other bloggers were picked for and what dishes they come up with!

Bacon,onion,roly,poly,pudding.traditional,recipe,1960s,suet,pudding,
Dinner,Bacon,Suet,Pudding,Main,Dinner
English
Yield: 3-4
Author: Jan Bennett
Bacon and Onion Roly Poly Pudding

Bacon and Onion Roly Poly Pudding

Traditional Roly-Poly pudding is made with suet pastry, bacon and onions and then rolled up like a Swiss roll and steamed, not baked, for about 2 and a half hours.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 H & 40 M

Ingredients

  • 220g self raising flour
  • 120g suet - I use Atora
  • 180ml water
  • a couple of pinches of salt
  • 6 rashers of back bacon - trimmed of any fat
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • white pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the onion thinly and cut the bacon into bite size pieces.
  2. Put the flour, suet and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix together.  Add the water and stir to mix well.
  3. On a floured worktop, roll the pastry into an oblong to about 1 cm thickness.
  4. Put the bacon and onion over the pastry and sprinkle with a little white pepper and roll up like a Swiss roll.
  5. Now flour a clean muslin cloth and put the pudding on the cloth and roll it up like a Swiss roll.  
  6. Tie both ends with string and place it into a steamer basket.
  7. Cover and steam for 2 and a half hours taking care that the water doesn't boil dry.   
  8. Slice the pudding and serve with potatoes, peas and gravy.
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27 comments

  1. Never made anything like this, going to save via Pinterest to add to my To Make list!

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  2. Now I love Jam Rolly Polly but I've never had a savoury version. Definitely going to give this a try. I love retro food.

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  3. Ooh what a fun campaign. I was a 1962 baby too - where has the time gone? I used to love jam roly poly, but I bet your savoury one was delicious too.

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  4. Reminds me of Primary school in the late 70's... What a lovely recipe!

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  5. Sadly, you don't hear about suet pastry much these days. Your photo looks just like one of my mum's dinners when I was a kid. Times have changed I guess, but oh this brings back memories!

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  6. I have got to try this, it looks simply divine

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  7. Made this today mmmmm both me & my partner loved it will be making this again soon

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  8. Hi Jan I like a bit of crisp on my Bacon could I quickly flash fry first before placing in the roll ,,, cheers Steve

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    1. Hi Svanavich - I am so sorry I've only just seen your comment today; somehow it had gone into spam and I hadn't noticed it :(

      I know what you mean as I too love crispy bacon but this dish is totally different as the bacon does need to be soft.

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  9. I have been making this pudding for years my children and grandchildren love it, i found a recipe for it back in the seventies when i was a young wife

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  10. I first had this in a restaurant in Ipswich, for lunch on a bitterly cold day. It was superb. Delicious and warming

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    1. Hi Simon Thanks for taking the time to commnet. Yes it's perfect for a cold day such as today; it's freezing here!! Brrrrr

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  11. My 4 children were all brought up on this in the 60s, and in spite of the ingredients we all survived without getting overweight. I am about to make my first roly-poly in decades to share with an elderly friend who also has a craving for 'proper' food. Wish me luck! Stella Hazell

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    1. Hi Stella
      Thank you so much for letting me know you are going to make this. I hope it went well, you can't beat 'proper' food! Do let me know how it went.

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  12. great to see this wonderful dish getting some publicity but as a variation to the technique can I suggest you mince the bacon and onion together - and the bacon should always be smoked to give it some extra umph - plus a cheese sauce over the top as opposed to gravy also works wonders

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    1. Thank you Anon for your suggestion, cheese sauce would be great but my recipe is a traditional one as made by my nan and my mum who is now 82
      I'm curious as to why this has suddenly become popular again as I've noticed it has a lot of page views recently. Has it been on the TV again do you know?

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    2. Hi Jan thanks for sharing your history and this recipe.
      I run a catering company and am a keen home cook for my family. Thrifty Food and Food History particularly interests me. When we entered lockdown we were also in isolation with a few days left until we could expect a food delivery, although i had a pack of bacon so searched for bacon based recipes and found yours :)
      We were all delighted with the flavour from an incredibly simple recipe. i deviated slightly using leek and baked in the oven as we prefer a crisper roll. (hope your nan and mum would approve!)
      Making it again today with neeps and tatties and gravy.
      Thanks once again.

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    3. Hi Heather
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, I'm so glad you like this recipe!
      That's the great thing about cooking (rather than baking), cooking you can alter ingredients and cooking methods to suit.
      When baking you have to be more exact with measurments etc, and I don't have the patience!
      I love that you used leeks and baked it in the oven.

      Thanks again, Jan

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  13. Instead of white pepper, try sprinkling with a beef OXO cube. My mum did this in the War due to the shortage of dry condiments, and still does it to this day (she's 97!). Don't worry about little lumps either, they're like little taste explosions when you eat it, and it makes the pastry more tasty for kids. :)

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  14. I'm a 90s baby but my mum was also born 62 and this was always one of my favs. We added cheese to it and eat it with tomato soup instead of gravey. I still cook this for my family

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    1. Hi Trina, thanks so much for sharing this idea. I'm really happy to know you still cook this for your family!

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  15. Do you can make it the oven as well no need to for 2.5 hours

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    1. Hi Anon
      You could, but it wouldn't be traditional Roly Poly pudding.

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  16. Hi Jan
    i haven't had bacon and onion pudding in over 30 yrs but thinking about it can still taste it, my wife won't make it so i'm defo going to get my hands dirty, up to me to educate my girls, (in there 40's and grand children)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bazza,
      That's brilliant! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.
      I hope they love it, please let me know.

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I love to hear from everyone so thanks for taking the time to comment. Please note comments containing links will NOT be published.

Cheers
Jan