Regional Recipe: Whitley Goose

September 30, 2019

Whitley Goose is a traditional recipe from Whitley Bay which has nothing to do with geese. It is a simple dish of boiled onions mixed with cheese and cream.  Serve it alongside a roast dinner as a side dish or with bread as a simple tasty supper.

It reminds me of another traditional Northumberland dish, Pan Haggerty which is more filling due to its use of potatoes.

I would love to know more about the origins of the name, Whitley Goose. I am sure there must be a colourful story behind it.

A dish of cheese onions and cream, Whitley goose, in a pie dish on the table

Mock Goose

Whitley Goose may be a local variation of a Mock Goose recipe. The idea behind Mock Goose is to create a tasty but cheap dish that will make you think you are dining in style. There are mentions of it in cookery books as far back at the 1740’s. Most of the recipes use sausage meat or liver with potatoes and sage in layers in a dish which is baked in the oven.

Mock goose became popular during the Second World War, when food rationing made it difficult to get meat. There are two variants of the recipe, one which uses lentils and the other uses potatoes, apples and cheese. This page lists these mock goose recipes.

Whitley Goose is slightly different as it uses cheese, cream and onions. As geese are white maybe the name came from the white colour of the dish. This is speculation, if you know where the name came from let me know.

Read more: Traditional recipes from North East England.

Where is Whitley Bay?

Whitley Bay is a coastal town overlooking the North Sea, not far from Newcastle. When I first came to Newcastle I used to hop on the metro at the weekend and go for a wander along the coastline. There is a stretch of golden beach that runs to St Mary’s lighthouse in the North. When the tide is out you can walk across and visit the lighthouse. My son spent many a happy hour investigating the rock pools when he was a child.

Whitley Bay Lighthouse

Nearby you will find Whitley Bay Caravan Park which is a good place for a holiday.

Read more: A visit to Whitley Bay Caravan Park

If you walk to the South you pass the iconic dome of Spanish City, immortalised in the Dire Straits song “Tunnel of Love”. Originally built in 1910 as a concert hall and tearoom it became a funfair. Sadly it stood empty for eighteen years. Recently it has been brought back to its former glory and contains restaurants, tea rooms and event spaces.

Further along the coast, past Cullercoats you reach Tynemouth and the ruins of the castle and priory overlooking the sea. There are plenty of shops to pop into and fish and chips in the sea air are always welcome.

How to make Whitley Goose

The Whitley Goose recipe is really simple and quick to make.

A savoury cheese onion and cream dish in a pie dish


You need the following ingredients to make this savoury cheese and onion dish.

Equipment needed


  1. Peel the onions and put in a pan of water with a  little salt
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes until soft.
  3. Drain the onions and leave to cool
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C 400 F Gas Mark 6
  5. Grease the casserole dish with some butter
  6. Grate the cheese.
  7. Chop the onions into rough segments and add to the casserole dish with half the cheese.
  8. Season with black pepper
  9. Add the cream and top with the rest of the cheese.
  10. Bake in the oven for 25 – 50 minutes until golden.


You can chop the onions before boiling. They will cook more quickly and there is no risk of burning your fingers when chopping them.

Read more: Pease pudding recipe

Whitley Goose Recipe

Whitley goose in a dish on the table - its a dish made from cheese onions and cream

Whitley Goose

This is a savoury dish of cheese, onions and cream which makes a lovely side dish with a roast dinner. It is also nice with crusty bread for lunch
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine British
Servings 4 people


  • Sharp knife
  • Pan
  • Casserole dish
  • Grater
  • Chopping board
  • Measuring Jug


  • 4 Onions
  • 110 g 4 oz Cheddar cheese
  • Black pepper
  • Butter
  • 450 ml ¾ pint single cream


  • Peel the onions and put in a pan of water with a  little salt
  •    Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes until soft.
  • Drain the onions and leave to cool
  • Preheat the oven to 200C 400F Gas Mark 6.
  • Grease a casserole dish with some butter.
  • Grate the cheese
  • Chop the onions into rough segments and add to the casserole dish with half the cheese.
  • Season with black pepper
  • Add the cream and top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.

Why not pin for later?

Whitley Goose is a simple side dish made with cheese, onions and cream. It is lovely with a roast dinner. Get the recipe

Have you ever tried this dish? Let me know below.

Read more:

13 responses to “Regional Recipe: Whitley Goose”

  1. What a brilliant name for a dish, I love quirky things like that, and England is certainly good at it.

  2. sarah hill wheeler (@hill_wheeler) says:

    Gutted Boy doesn’t like onions as this would be really good for him! I am going to substitute potatoes for half and do a half and half! #TastyTuesday.

  3. Chris says:

    This pleases the cheese-lover in me. I like the photo with the lighthouse, too. Thank you for joining in with Bloggers Around the World.

  4. Ooh, I’d never heard of this one ! 🙂

  5. Galina V says:

    I have never come across this dish, what a lovely name! Beautiful photos, Alison!

  6. Honest Mum says:

    Oh wow this looks delicious, I would dip warm baguette in their and mop up all that tasty sauce! Yum! Thanks so much for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

  7. Karen says:

    My grandmother used to make this, as well as Panackalty too, and Stotty cakes with cheese savoury! All my mum’s family come from the North East…..I miss it a lot…..Thanks for sharing a very familiar recipe with me, Karen

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