UK Lockdown Day 9: What day is it though?

Taken in Avebury just before lockdown

I don’t know about you but I am seriously forgetting what date, what day and what time it is on occasion. It’s not a bad thing really, it’s just a little strange that’s all. If anything perhaps these things are less important right now, I’m sure most of us find ourselves preoccupied with other all-consuming thoughts.

During this time of isolation/quarantine/lockdown in the United Kingdom, whatever you want to call it, I’m finding that it’s important to keep busy, do stuff and plan forward. Despite not yet having a job yet (got shortlisted for 2 then the plug was pulled on the job positions due to the uncertainty of COVID-19), I’m still finding my days not long enough to get everything done! But that’s a good thing as these recent productive days fill me with excitement, joy and accomplishment with the simple focus on living a full and happy, purposeful life.

Happiness is to be found in the simplest of things such as planning a small abundant food garden, sowing seeds, baking, reading, writing, food preserving, photography, hearing my parents/families voices on the phone and having time to sit, watch and listen in the garden observing the busy insect and animal kingdom. Oblivious to the current global pandemic, the birds, insects and animals continue to interact intimately with their neighbours with no concept of social distancing. We are now the creatures scurrying back into our burrows, fearful, apprehensive and ever vigilant.

Today (and undoubtedly tomorrow and for the coming weeks and months) I feel very grateful. Our brave NHS workers, carers, shop workers, delivery drivers, warehouse operatives, factory workers, pharmacists, post office workers and more, continue to keep the country ticking over while coming in close contact with multiple members of the public every single day. It must be extra worrying for them but they just keep on doing it…

When this is all over, economically, most countries around the world will take years to recover. We may lose many small and large businesses, many will need to rebuild, people will struggle financially having lost jobs and it may take time for people to return to employment and to catch up with bills. It’s not going to be easy.

But there is one thing we as a human species are, and that is resilient.

There is hope…

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home

C xxxx


FREE 1939 War-Time Cookbook to Download NOW!

Hi all,

I came across this scanned wartime cookbook again. All the pages were originally on their sides which made it difficult to read so I’ve managed to rotate every page to make them readable and thought you might like to download it as there are some great historical recipes, the delightful thing is there are handwritten notes on some of the pages.



C xxxx

The original scanned cookbook came from this blog here

10 Wartime Stale Bread Recipes to Save Food from the Bin and Feed Your Family!

Don’t you dare throw that stale bread away and join the CoronaVirus panic buying throngs who are now discarding all their rotting ‘fresh’ produce. Bread is one of the foods I’m seeing a lot of photos of in dustbins. SAVE IT NOW from the mouth of the hungry metal monster due to take it away on ‘bin-day’ by cooking some of these delicious wartime recipes (mostly puddings). They’ll keep in the fridge for days once baked, and in the freezer for months!

I’d like to apologise in advance for the ‘amazing photography’ from 10 years ago (British sarcasm) in several of the recipes below, it was in the early days of the blog which started in 2009, when I was flat broke and REALLY struggling. I think most of my photos were taken on an old flip video camera but I like to keep them to remember my journey and it’s various challenges.

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home,

C xxxx

Padded Pudding with Mock Cream: Watch the video above. The stale bread mixed with milk and cooked with jam looks like poo. I felt like Letita Cropley carrying out one of her great culinary experiments with strange ingredients. It actually tasted great! A good life lesson, don’t judge something or someone on how it/they look, chances are they will taste surprisingly delicious… just sayin’! Click here for recipe.

Plum Charlotte: Here’s a super-frugal wartime recipe made out of stale bread and fruit that’s going a little soft. As I had two of these things in my kitchen and I’m always finding ways to make ends meet, when I saw this recipe I knew it was just what I needed.
Click here for recipe.

Bread and Butter Pudding: In Marguerite Patten’s “Victory Cookbook” there is always one pudding recipe that is an absolute ‘go-to’ when one needs comforting and one has spare eggs. All becomes good in the world when you take that first spoonful of sugary topped, eggy, bready, sultana sprinkled, nutmeggy deliciousness, especially if served with a little hot custard if you can overlook the fact that it looks like cockroaches are climbing all over my food in the photograph… Click here for recipe.

Duke Pudding: How can stale bread and grated old carrots possibly be decadent? Trust me they are when you make them into a wartime “Duke Pudding”… Seeing the rapidly drying bread on my countertop and the carrots beginning to get spotty in the fridge, it was time once again to turn nothing into something in true 1940s home-front style and create a truly delicious alternative comfort food, much needed today of all days. Excuse the photography, it was 8 years ago and I hadn’t a clue! Click here for recipe.

Danish Apple pudding: Possibly one of the WORST food photos I have taken in my life from 10 years ago. It’s blurred and I’m not sure what I took the photo with. It could have something other than a camera because I probably didn’t have one.. Don’t let the brown blurry blob put you off. I remember this pudding was fab! I need to re-create and re-photograph! Click here for recipe.

Bread and Apple Pudding:For pudding the request was for ‘bread pudding’ yet again. To avoid this wartime pudding permanently being referred to as “bread-pudding-yet-again” I turned to a large bowl of sorry looking apples for divine inspiration- after-all Sir Isaac Newton stared at apples for an awfully long time before being rewarded with an answer… Click here for recipe.

Bread and Prune Pudding: You know that can of stewed prunes that has been languishing in your larder for several years, that you don’t want to throw away because you have inherited your grandmother’s and possibly mother’s innate ability to have everything stored away for a ‘rainy day’, WELL, you are about to use it and it’s gonna taste pretty damn good! Click here for recipe.

Brown Betty: It was unusual to make bread pudding without raisins in, Brown Betty has none, no eggs or milk either which makes me think all bread puddings could indeed be made eggless. Instead, it has water, the juice, and zest of a lemon and a generous quantity of golden syrup, spices, two grated apples, a little sugar and of course LOTS of stale bread! Click here for recipe.

Bread Pudding: I re-created this recipe about 12 years ago. This wartime recipe is easy-peasy and tasty. And of course it all in the custard too. Click here for recipe.

Bread Stuffing: And finally a recipe made from stale bread that isn’t a pudding and doesn’t look like a formless brown blob. Bread stuffing is so easy to make! This photo is from about 12 years ago, my pre-vegetarian days! Click here for recipe.

The 1940s Experiment Social Pages

Hi there,

Just a quick update before I do some more digging in the garden. The 1940’s Experiment has several social media pages you may be interested in and find useful during these challenging times, especially my Pinterest page where you can find over 100 WW2 Ministry of Food leaflets, Cookbook snippets, and Propaganda posters!

I’ll leave the links with you below in case they may be of use to you!

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home,

C xxxx


Blackcurrant Jam – Recipe No. 184

This is such a simple wartime recipe for a small quantity of delicious, velvety, deep-purple, mouthwatering blackcurrant jam. You HAVE to try it and so crazy-easy to attempt for your first go at making jam!

Fresh blackcurrants are preferable but to make it even easier I made this small-batch from frozen fruit perfectly! (In fact DON’T WAIT for fresh berries to come into the shops. It might be wise to buy some bags of frozen berries. Our British fruit pickers (over 90%) come from Eastern Europe each year performing vital services to our fruit harvesting industry. With our current ‘Coronavirus Pandemic’ situation, our normal guaranteed and reliable agricultural workers from overseas may be restricted from their normal annual travel to the UK which could be devastating for UK farmers if they cannot recruit enough British workers.)

Next time I go shopping (trying to restrict it to a maximum of once or twice a week for fresh produce), I’ll certainly be buying myself a bag or two of more frozen berries while they are available.

I enjoyed two slices of bread I made yesterday slathered in this ‘juicy assed jam’ with a nice cuppa tea and I recommend you do exactly the same.

It will make you smile.

Take care, stay safe, stay home

C xxxx

Blackcurrant Jam (makes 3 x 1 lb pots)


  • 4 cups of frozen berries
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed (not vital)
  • 1 teaspoon of pectin (not vital but I always add to all jams I make)
  • Clean jam jars (rinse, heat in oven at 140C for 15 minutes)
  • Clean lids (rinse, place in a small bowl, cover with hot pre-boiled water until ready to seal jars)


  1. Put the 4 cups of frozen berries in a large thick-bottomed saucepan and put onto a medium heat.
  2. Stir until berries are defrosted and simmering gently (about 5 mins). Remove from heat.
  3. Mash with a potato masher a little so some of the berries burst to the consistency you like.
  4. Mix the sugar and pectin and add to the berry mix and stir until all mixed together.
  5. Add in the 1/2 squeezed lemon.
  6. Return to medium heat and keep stirring slowly adjusting the heat so as not to burn.
  7. You need to bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring all the time and maintain this for about 10 minutes until the setting point has been reached (105 C or 220 F). If you don’t have a thermometer drop 1/2 teaspoon onto a cold plate and if after a minute it thickens and becomes fairly firm instead of liquid then it has reached the setting point.
  8. Once the correct temperature has been reached, keep stirring and give the mixture another minute.
  9. Remove from heat and stir again.
  10. Remove hot jars from oven (see above)
  11. Using a ladle and funnel, add the hot jam mixture to the hot jars and twist on the clean hot lids.
  12. Set aside, the jar will be hot and will take at least a few hours to cool.
  13. Jam is ready to use once it has totally cooled down and unopened will keep for a year or two.

People have asked me where I have been getting my cute jars and labels. The links are below:

JARS: 24 jam/chutney jars with gingham printed lids


LABELS: Re-usable and removable labels for jars and containers with chalk pen.


CANNING FUNNELS: 2 sizes, stainless steel for all jam/chutney/relish making.


Lockdown Day 3: Butterflies, Bees and Veg Bed.

It’s been wonderfully sunny all week, quite cheery, almost radically in contrast to the surrealness of our current pandemic ‘lockdown’ in the UK.

I drove my car today to drop a care package off at my parent’s porch in the hope it’s one less trip they have to make in the big, bad world outside to pick up necessaries. It was Dad’s birthday. He knew I’d be popping by but I wouldn’t be going to chat from a distance or anything (we have our orders in the UK not too!) It was a quick drop off and run but Dad, always being cheeky, had left a builders tape measure at the doorway, extended out to measure the distance I was to stay away from the house, he’d had added an extra metre for safety!  Even in the darkest of moment’s, there is always laughter…

Returning home shortly after I then spent a couple of hours in the garden. I’d been laying wet cardboard down on an overgrown flower bed in the hopes of creating a no-dig bed but with the economic turndown and the fact that I’ve now been 3 months without a job, I can’t justify buying in topsoil and compost so instead, I’ve decided to start digging over the bed. I’ll do an hour or two in the garden every day now while we have the weather and hope the shady bed, once completed, will be good enough for lots of kale.

The only sunny area of my garden is the bottom corner along the wall and this afternoon I watched many butterflies playing and bathing in the sun. There seemed to be insect frolics too as I watched both bees and butterflies squabbling in the air.

I grabbed my camera and took a photo of one butterfly that stopped for a moment, long enough for me to take a snap. Can anyone tell me what it is? My thought was it’s a Comma?

C xxxx

PS: What I’ve been up to today in photos… What have you been doing?

Lentil Sheperds Pie – Recipe No. 183 (Pandemic Pantry Submission)

Dear all,

I’d like to thank several of you for sending through a number of amazing, nutritional, simple and frugal recipes for the ‘Pandemic Pantry Global Community Cookbook Project’. All recipes and messages will be added to the FREE online cookbook which everyone can download for free.

When Leanne Spencer sent this recipe for Lentil Sheperd’s Pie through by e-mail last night, noticing that I did indeed have brown lentils in a storage jar in my ‘prepper pantry’, I couldn’t resist in baking this today for my dinner.

It tasted WONDERFUL, inexpensive to make, packed with protein and fibre and VERY comforting. Much needed in current days..

Thank you Leanne!

C xxx


Hi Carolyn

Thank you for organising this.

This is the lentil version of a shepherd’s pie that I make regularly. My favourite thing about this recipe, is that it’s not prescriptive, you can use whichever veg you can get.


Leanne Spencer

(Adelaide, Australia)

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Makes 6 generous serves


  • 4 cups cooked brown lentils, drained
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • 1-2 chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups any minced, grated or finely chopped vegetables (eg mushrooms, carrots, sweet potato, celery, eggplant/aubergine, zucchini/courgette, capsicum/peppers – just use what you have)
  • 400g tin crushed tomatoes or a jar of tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 tsp beef flavoured stock powder or a tsp of vegemite/marmite
  • 2 tsp dry mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tblsp tomato paste

For the topping

  • 3 large potatoes plus an equivalent amount of other suitable mashing veg (carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, turnip, parsnip, celeriac, cauliflower etc)
  • salt & pepper
  • butter and a little milk


– Peel the root veg and cut into large chunks. Simmer in salted water until just tender and then drain well. Add some pepper and butter and mash. If the mixture is dry add a little milk (this will depend on which veg you’ve used).

– Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot and soften the onions. Add the minced vegetables, garlic and herbs and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, worchestershire sauce and stock powder and simmer for 30 minutes.

– Remove from the heat and add the lentils and tomato paste and stir through.

– Heat the oven to 180C.

– Pour the lentil mixture into a large rectangular casserole or roasting pan. Top with the mash and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.

I like this served with green veg such as beans or swiss chard.