Regional Recipes: Canal or Bacon Floddies

Canal floddies or bacon floddies are a traditional breakfast dish from North East England. Cheap and easy to make they will set you up for the morning.

Cold January mornings can leave you feeling a little bleak. Christmas has been and gone. Mornings are still dark and frosty, making it hard to get up.

A nice warm breakfast is the perfect way to start the day. It lets you face the cold feeling full and content. Canal floddies make an ideal breakfast on these colder days. They are cheap and quick to make but leave you feeling full.

Canal or bacon floddies. A breakfast dish made from grated potatoes onions and bacon.

What is a floddie?

Floddies are a type of potato cake, a distant relation to the Germanic rosti. They are made from grated potato rather than mashed which makes them quicker to make. Ingredients also include grated onion, flour and a little streaky bacon. This is a dish to make a little bacon go a long way. A dish of the poor which will fill the stomach for the hard days work ahead.

Mix the ingredients with an egg to bind them together and a little seasoning. Drop a dollop of the mixture into a hot pan and flatten. Cook until golden on both sides and serve with an egg.

Read more: Ulster potato cakes

Canal or bacon floddies. A breakfast dish made from grated potato, grated onion and bacon

Canal or bacon floddies

Canal or bacon floddies were a common breakfast in the North East, particularity Durham and Gateshead,  in the 19th Century. This was the time of the Industrial Revolution. In the North East at this time men would be working in mines, on the shipyards and building canals. These were jobs that required hard work. Cheap filling food kept them fuelled for the hard days ahead. Recipes like leek pudding and pan haggerty are also filling and cheap meals.

Bacon floddies were perfect for breakfasts. Cheap local ingredients go into them, potatoes, onions, bacon, eggs and flour. Wild herbs are sometimes thrown into the mixture for a little flavour.
The dish became popular with navvies digging the canals. They would make them and cook them on their shovels over a fire. This is where they got the name canal floddies. You don’t need to use a shovel, a frying pan will work just as well.
Canal or bacon floodies. A dish made of grated pototo, onion and bacon for a delicious breakfast.
Potato floddies were popular during the second world war. Rationing meant food was scarce. Potatoes and bread were always the staple food of poor people. During the war the government discouraged the consumption of bread. Flour was an import and hard to get. To encourage people to eat potatoes the cartoon character Potato Pete was created. He appeared in leaflets giving advice on cooking and growing potatoes.

Potato floddies do not contain bacon. To make a sweet dish they were spread with jam. The addition of mixed herbs made a savoury dish.

Canal Floddies recipe

5 from 2 votes
Canal or bacon floodies. A dish made of grated pototo, onion and bacon for a delicious breakfast.
Canal or bacon floddies

A traditional recipe from the North East of England

Ingredients
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 egg
  • 25 g self raising flour
  • 75g streaky bacon
  • salt and pepper to season
  • oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Grate the potato and squeeze out any liquid

  2. Grate the onion and add to the potato with the chopped bacon

  3. Beat the egg and add to the potato mixture with the flour

  4. Stir well and season

  5. Heat the oil in the pan

  6. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and flatten

  7. Cook slowly until both sides are golden brown

Why not pin the recipe for later?

CAnal or bacon floddies. A traditional recipe from North East England. Made from grated potato, grated onion and bacon they are great for breakfast. Click for the recipe

Have you ever tried canal floddies? Let me know below.

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8 Comments

  1. January 8, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    I’ve never heard of floddies, but oh my goodness, they look gorgeous! I love potato cakes, and these ones are so tasty. I would be very happy to have some for breakfast or lunch.

  2. January 12, 2018 / 10:29 pm

    These look lovely but I’d eat them for lunch rather than breakfast, I think 🙂

  3. January 26, 2018 / 9:04 pm

    My mum is from the north east and as a child, I probably had potato floddie at least once a fortnight. She never made the bacon one though. I now make various variants on floddie myself and did blog a floddie recipe a couple of years back

    • February 5, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      I’ll have to have a look. Its a new recipe for me, I guess every region has their own variants

  4. February 9, 2018 / 2:08 pm

    I remember these from my childhood in the NE of England, and my grandmother’s recipe will be in my new cookbook I’m writing! These look great! Karen
    PS: They can be made with no bacon too……for YET ANOTHER BLOGGING MUMMY above!

    • February 12, 2018 / 9:15 am

      I am looking forward to your cookbook. It is so much fun discovering traditional recipes.

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