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A meal of hedgehog or stinging nettle sounds like a recipe for the world's worst mouth ulcer. However, these were once the ingredients of choice in Britain.

The country's 10 oldest recipes were unveiled yesterday, following extensive research into the history of Britain's eating habits.

Nettle pudding, which dates back to 6000BC, was declared the oldest recorded recipe in the study from the Food Science department of the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff.

The stodgy concoction, of crushed leaves in a dough, was not the only meal that researchers discovered dated back to the early-Neolithic period.

Experts believe Neolithic man had a penchant for chomping through an offal-heavy ancestor of haggis called meat pudding and even pastry-wrapped roasted hedgehog.

The discovery that hedgehogs were used in early cooking was based on archaeological findings where cooked spines were found in areas used for compost. An unappetising Roman concoction of fish guts and fish heads, garum and liquamen, also failed to stand the test of time, as well as a smoky stew of fish scraps and bacon.

The research team originally thought the oldest recipes would be Roman, but discovered even more ancient cuisine.

- Independent