Black pudding isn’t a dessert – it’s a kind of sausage. I love a good quality black pudding. It’s an arcane, weird, polarising delicacy that’s a cornerstone of British regional cuisine. My British father, Ralph Bulmer, enjoyed a traditional English breakfast, and black pudding was one of the highlights. It’s British comfort food – but it’s much more than that.

And one of the many great things about the Waikato is that Jonathan Walker of Soggy Bottom Holdings makes superb black pudding. I’m sure Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall would approve.

If you are trying black pudding for the first time, you should buy it from Jono at the Hamilton or Cambridge farmers’ markets. Unfortunately you can get really tasteless, miserable black pudding in supermarkets.

Jono Walker

Above: Jono Walker makes superb black pudding and sells it at the Waikato Farmers’ Markets.

Black pudding is also known as “blood sausage”. It’s a specific kind of sausage made from animal blood. Blood sausages are traditional throughout Europe and Asia – the French boudin noir, the Spanish pudin de sangre and Swedish blodpudding are examples.

A British black pudding typically contains as well as blood (which gives it that black appearance), pork fat, oatmeal (or other cereal), onion, salt and spices. Jono says he also includes some liver in his black pudding, to give it more substance.

The blood means black pudding is high in iron and other minerals.

Black pudding has a more crumbly, cereal texture than most sausages. It’s a bit similar to the texture of haggis, which Jonathan also makes. I like black pudding better than haggis (but then, I only have a small dash of Scottish).

How to cook black pudding

It only takes a few minutes to cook black pudding, unlike other kinds of sausage.

Slice the black pudding into rounds approximately 1cm thick – any thinner and it may crumble.

Heat a small amount of lard in a heavy-bottomed frying pan – enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

Fry the black pudding slices for about five minutes on each side, just so they get a bit darker in colour and slightly crispy. If you cook it too long it’ll get dry. The flavour will still be good, but you’ll need to soften it with egg yolk or baked beans.

How to eat black pudding

Weekend breakfast

Black pudding is a superb addition to a fried breakfast. It goes perfectly with eggs and bacon. Jonathan Walker recommends slices of fried apple instead of the more usual tomato.

Black pudding sandwich

This is Jono Walker’s favourite way to eat black pudding.

A sandwich made from Volare bread, Bellefield butter, slices of fried black pudding and HP sauce. (Yet another British delicacy.)

Black pudding and scallops

A foodie favourite. I haven’t tried this, but next time scallops are in season I will.

Black pudding and chorizo

A classy, spicy combination of flavours and textures.

Fried spicy chorizo sausage, fried black pudding, baked Agria potatoes (with Bellefield butter of course) and a seasonal green salad.

Black pudding with pasta sauce

This is my husband Matthew’s recipe. Easy and delicious.

Make a simple tomato-based pasta sauce.

Cook the pasta.

Slice and fry black pudding. Cut the black pudding slices into quarters.

Serve the pasta and sauce with black pudding pieces.


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