The British Sunday Lunch

Wednesday 31 August 2022


Sunday Lunch


One of the most iconic British traditions is that of "Sunday Lunch", also known as the "Sunday Roast" or "Sunday Dinner."  Its a pretty good reason to look forward to Sundays, and can be great if you have a large family or group of people coming around that you want to sit down and share a meal with.  

Typically it will be eaten around 3 in the afternoon, although these days you will find more and more people sitting down to it around supper time, due to their big Sunday breakfast. Its also quite popular these days for people to go "out" to a carvery or a pub for Sunday lunch and give mom a day off.  

At one time it typically would have consisted mainly of Roast Beef and all the trimmings, but other meats are now becoming more popular, probably due to the rising cost of Beef.   

Historically Roman Catholics and Anglicans abstained from eating meat on certain days of the week. This made having the Sunday roast a bit of a celebration because on Sundays all meat and dairy products could be eaten.  It is widely believed that the first Sunday roasts were instigated during King Henry VII's rule in 1485. 

In fact Royal Body Guards became known as Beefeaters due to their love of eating Beef and you will still see Beefeaters guarding the Tower of London. 

A Sunday roast usually consists of roasted meat of some sort, the most traditional being Beef. It is not uncommon to also see people enjoying roast lamb, pork or chicken. All will be served with roasted potatoes, a variety of fresh vegetables, gravy and Yorkshire puddings, or batter puddings as they are also known. 

Interestingly, Yorkshire puddings historically began as a starter dish, served with lots of gravy.  I suppose the thought was that once people had filled up on the puddings, they wouldn't have as much room to stuff themselves with the meat, therefore helping it to stretch that much further. These days you will see them served along side of the meal.  To the British a roast dinner is not a roast dinner without a crisp and light Yorkshire pudding to enjoy! 


Butcher Shop

Ingredients for Sunday lunch can be picked up locally at any large supermarket, or (best scenario) your local Butchers and farm market.  

Saturday mornings will find the local Butcher in most British communities filled with customers and often a line-up of people wanting to pick up their Sunday roast spilling out onto the pavement.  There is something quite familial about picking up your meat at your local Butcher, which hearkens back to the days when people knew their neighbors and had a strong sense of community. 

Whatever is served, the most important thing is that Sunday lunch remains a wonderful time to gather together around a table, relax, and catch up on the going's on of everyone's week just gone.  Its a beautiful tradition that I hope never dies. 

Today I am sharing my Sunday Lunch favorites, for both main and side dishes!


Perfect Cooked Roast Beef

PERFECTLY COOKED ROAST BEEFThis is more of a technique than it is a recipe. There is a lot more to cooking a roast than just banging into an oven. Whilst it is also very simple to cook, there is a proper way to do it and helps and tips that can produce the perfect roast every time. (if you follow them!) You can use this technique for any roasting cut of beef. I used to cook the Prime Ribs for the people at the Manor in this way every time. 

Roast Pork with Crispy Crackling

ROAST PORK WITH CRISPY CRACKLING Crispy brown on the outside, the tender meat studded with slivers of garlic, and dusted with plenty of salt and pepper, this is a real favorite Sunday Lunch around here. Served with Crispy Roast Potatoes and all the traditional veg, not to mention a tasty gravy. If you can remember, take it out of it's wrapping the night before and store open to the air in the fridge. This helps to make a nice dry and crisp crackling!

Perfect Roast Chicken

PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN - A perfectly cooked roast chicken, with moist and succulent meat and a crispy skin.  This is my favorite way to roast a chicken. It turns out moist and delicious each and every time. There are plenty of tasty drippings to make a lush gravy with as well.

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

SLOW ROASTED LAMB SHOULDER - This succulent  piece of meat melts in the mouth it is so tender. This is my favorite cut of lamb.  Tender deliciousness that falls apart at the touch of a fork. Delicious and simple to make.

Leg of Lamb

PERFECT ROASTED BONELESS LEG OF LAMB -These instructions depend on how large your piece of meat is and servings will vary accordingly.  You will want approximately 1/2 pound of lamb per person. Mellow and deliciously tender.

Apricot Glazed Gammon

APRICOT GLAZED GAMMONPerfectly glazed . . .  nice and sticky . . .  tender, perfectly cooked meat. Tender ham with a lovely fruity glaze.  Gammon is uncooked ham.  Once it is cooked it becomes ham. Or so I am told.


Yorkshire Pudding

YORKSHIRE PUDDING - Lets begin with everyone's favorite. Yorkshire Pudding. Crisp and light as air, these are the perfect puddings. Its my late FIL's recipe. He was an army cook so you know they are beautifully delicious!  I've been making these for over 40 years now!  There is an art to getting nice puffed and tall ones, but I share all my secrets.

Classic Roast Potatoes

CLASSIC ROAST POTATOES - Next to the Yorkshire Pudding this is one of the favorite sides in a roast dinner. Also referred to as "Roasties" these potatoes are crisp and golden brown on the outsides and fluffy inside.  Parboiled, roughed up, and roasted to the perfect crisp finish in hot goosefat, dripping or hot oil.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

CREAMY MASHED POTATOES - Light and fluffy with just the right amount of butter, milk and seasoning. I like to enjoy mine with a pat of butter in the middle, but a pool of gravy is just as nice! 

Honey Mustard Roasted Parsnips & Carrots

HONEY MUSTARD ROASTED PARSNIPS & CARROTS - Coated in a mix of melted butter, Dijon mustard and sweet honey. These are roasted to perfection, coming out sweetly glazed, beautifully caramelized in places and perfectly crispy tender. 

cooked cabbage

PERFECTLY COOKED CABBAGE Cabbage really only needs about 3 to 5 minutes of cooking time, just so long as you prepare it properly in the first place. Finely shredded, lightly salted and cooked quickly in boiling water, it comes out perfect every time.   

Creamy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts & Bacon

CREAMY PARMESAN BRUSSELS SPROUTS & BACON - Sure you could just boil your sprouts, but why settle for that when you can be enjoying crispy tender brussels sprouts in a creamy garlic sauce. This lovely side dish, topped with bubbling cheese and smoky bacon will be right at home with any roasted meat!  

Turnip Swede Rutabaga

SAUTEED SWEDE (TURNIP/RUTABAGA)These are quite simply delicious.   There is no other word to describe them.  Buttery.   Slightly sweet.   Oh so tasty. I could sit down to a plate of these and nothing else, but they do make the most fantastic side dish with a roast dinner . . .  pork, beef or turkey or chicken.  Take your pick.   These simple old fashioned dishes are my favorite kinds of dishes.  They just never get old.

Honey Dill Glazed Turnips & Carrots

HONEY & DILL GLAZED CARROTS & TURNIPS - These are a little bit more special than just plain boiled vegetables. Being lightly glazed with some butter and honey, then flavoured with dill . . .  these arrive at the table glistening like jewels. 

Melting Onions

MELTING ONIONS -These will be the star of the show! These delicious onions melt in your mouth.  Four simple ingredients. One fabulous dish.

Roasted Onions with a Parmesan Cream

ROASTED ONIONS WITH A PARMESAN CREAM These are delicious and so simple to make.   You can have them as a side dish, or a vegetarian main with a grain and a few other vegetables.

Sage & Onion Stuffing

SAGE & ONION STUFFING - This is my favorite of all the stuffings. It is Mary Berry's recipe. You can bake it in a flat dish, ready for scooping,  or roll it into balls and bake it that way.  Why settle for a mix when the real thing is so easy to make and a hundred times more delicious!


PERFECT GRAVY FROM SCRATCH - Why use Bisto when you can make a perfectly delicious gravy from the drippings. No drippings? You don't need them. You can make this gravy easily just using simple ingredients that you probably already have in the house. 


People also really enjoy a condiment with their roast dinners.  This could be horseradish sauce, apple sauce, English mustard, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, mint sauce, etc.  What you choose will largely depend on what meat you have chosen to roast.  

It is typical to enjoy horseradish sauce with beef, apple sauce with pork, mustard with gammon, bread sauce or cranberry sauce with poultry and mint sauce with lamb. This is not a die hard rule and you can just have whatever sauce you want to enjoy with whatever meat or no sauce at all!

fruit tart

I could not personally eat a pudding (the British term for dessert) after a Sunday Lunch, well not right away anyways. Maybe a bit later in the day. Many do however.  I will do a pudding post at another time.

In the meantime please enjoy my take on Sunday Lunch. I hope that it will inspire you to cook up a roast dinner for your family!  They will be over the moon if you do!  

Not all of the dishes need to be recipes. Quite often I will only cook a roast and then have boiled new potatoes, peas, carrots, and mashed swede with it along with some gravy.  Those are delicious dinners too. The important thing is to enjoy it.  Together. As a family!

As Julia would say Bon Appetit!

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  1. I am drooling at your photos ! My Mum used to make THE best Sunday roasts, sadly she passed away 18 months ago. I do occasionally do one, but it must be my French oven, never comes out quite like Mum’s ! I will follow your instructions and see if that makes a difference. Thank you for sharing !

    1. You are very welcome. I do hope that you enjoy it! Let me know how you get on! xo


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