Aged just 14, Megan is dock pud champ

Great gran knows best: Megan Masters with her dock pudding award
Great gran knows best: Megan Masters with her dock pudding award

Mixing spring onions and oatmeal with dock leaves and nettles might conjure up thoughts of Harry Potter rather than an international cooking competition.

But make no mistake – this is a very serious competition with a very prestigious prize.

The 40th World Dock Pudding Championship was held at the weekend at Mytholmroyd Community Centre.

The winner was Megan Masters, 14, of Sowerby Bridge.

Megan, taking part in the contest for the third year, said: “There were three past winners among the nine people taking part so I didn’t think I had much chance.

“I used my great- great-grandma’s recipe and I’m gobsmacked I won, but I don’t know if I’ll be back again next year.”

Having tasted dock pudding myself for the first time on Sunday, Megan might not be the only one giving it a miss in 2012.

I was one of over 200 people who piled in to watch the hopefuls bid for the top prize – the Halifax Courier Cup.

Contestants make the concoction by picking dock leaves and boiling them until they’re soggy. The leaves are then added to onions, nettles and stock and left to simmer.

The result is a spinach like substance (nothing like a pudding) served with bacon, mushrooms and egg.

The set-up of the competition is, just like the delicacy itself, a little unusual. Chefs stand on stage two at a time and reheat their dock pudding, which they prepared at home earlier, with a musical accompanimen. This year it was the wonderful Hebden Bridge Junior Band. The dishes are then whisked away to a secret panel of judges, who told me they look at consistency and texture as much as taste.