Ploughman's lunch

Jill Dupleix
Mix and match your own ploughman's platter.
Mix and match your own ploughman's platter. Photo: Steven Siewert

Originally a British farm worker's packed lunch - crumbly, cloth-bound cheddar, strong pickles and tough bread - the ploughman's was promoted as a quick, easy pub meal in the late 1950s as part of a campaign to get Britons to eat more cheese. With the rise of casual eating, shared platters and craft beer - its ideal companion - the ploughman's is being put to work once again.


A good farmhouse cheddar (such as Pyengana, Maffra, Isle of Mull) is the heart and soul of a ploughman's.

300g wedge cloth-bound cheddar

6 thick slices rare roast beef or leg ham

4 pink radishes

4 pickled onions, gherkin, cornichon, etc

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved

Sea salt and black pepper

Celery stalks and leaves

Crusty bread

Fruit chutney or piccalilli


Just plonk it all on a big wooden sharing board, scatter sea salt and pepper over the eggs, and sit down and eat.

Feel free to add watercress, fresh tomatoes, Branston Pickle, horseradish, hot mustard, Scotch eggs, cultured butter, pastrami, blue cheese, apples.