Quick chocolate icing

Having finally found the time to clear my kitchen sink on Saturday (it’s taken weeks), it was time to fill it right back up again on Sunday..

By tea time my kitchen sink contained the discarded pots, pans and utensils used several times throughout the afternoon to make the following recipes for the 1940s Experiment

* herb bread

* bread rolls

* carrot buns

* chocolate cake

* chocolate icing (1940s style made without icing sugar)

* various vegetables and mashed potato

* and finally the most inventive make-do dish, corned beef and cabbage curry

All of these recipes will be coming to you soon, as today, I remembered to charge my camera (and the kitchen was tidy) so therefore I have photos to share.

Just for now I’ll share you the most amazing and quick to make chocolate icing- it was a HUGE hit with the children.

Quick 1940s recipe for chocolate icing

  • 2 tablespoons of Lyles Golden Syrup in UK ( 4 tablespoons of corn syrup in North America)
  • 4 rounded teaspoons of cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1/2 oz margarine


  1. Put syrup in saucepan
  2. Warm slightly over low on stove for just a minute (remove from heat)
  3. Add in margarine and cocoa powder
  4. Keep stirring gently until mixture is thick, smooth and glossy
  5. Set aside for a minute or two
  6. Pour over the top of the cake and smooth to the edge
  7. Put in cake tin and leave

The cake icing does not set, it remains moist and delicious

PS I recommend you double the quantity above to cover the top of a medium/large cake

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Cold meat pasties

I often get my 1940s recipes from old cookbooks or through modern nostalgia publications, museum information, reliable sources on the internet and from listening to people who lived through the war…

However- sometimes the ingredients and quantities given can be quite wrong. I have discovered this as I cook my way through 100 authentic recipes… this means that the second or third time I cook a dish adjustments have to be made to ‘get it right’…

Here is a ‘cold meat pastie’ recipe from ‘Feeding the Nation’ by Marguerite Patten. The original quantity in the recipe called for 2 tablespoons of chopped cooked vegetables to make 4 pasties. There was no way this was enough- more like 2 tablespoons of chopped cooked vegetables per pastie. The recipe also originally called for 2 tablespoons of gravy or water- again not needed. Using this amount of liquid just doesn’t work…

Cold meat pasties

  • Shortcrust pastry made with 8 oz flour, 4 oz fat and cold water to bind
  • 8 oz cold meat minced (whatever you have spare- I use a mixture of sausage, bacon, minced beef or corned beef)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 8 tablespoons of cooked chopped vegetables
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • milk or egg to glaze


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C
  2. Divide pastry into 4 pieces and roll out each piece into a circular shape a little larger than a saucer
  3. Mix the vegetables, onion and minced meat, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning together in a bowl
  4. Spoon the mixture into the middle or onto one side (depending on how you like your pastie to look)
  5. Apply water to edges before bringing together, flute the edges or use a fork to press together
  6. Prick a couple of times with knife or form
  7. Apply some milk or beaten egg to pastie
  8. Place on baking tray and cook for around 30 minutes until golden brown

Serve with salad or gravy and mash

Makes 4 pasties

Ideal the next day cold in lunch box!

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Wartime Welsh Cakes

Believe it or not I first started making these several years ago in a very old Welsh farmhouse! Authentic or what!

This is a delicious recipe and to me, the Welsh Cakes taste even better the day after where the flavour of the nutmeg comes through.

Wartime Welsh Cakes

  • 6 oz plain flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder added (or use self raising flour)
  • 2 oz margarine, butter or dripping
  • 2 oz sultanas (or mixed dried fruit)
  • 1 small carrot grated
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 1 fresh egg or 1 dried reconstituted egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg


  1. Rub fat into the flour and baking powder mix until resembles bread crumbs
  2. Stir in nutmeg, sugar and dried fruit
  3. Mix the egg and milk together and add to dry mix to form a stiff dough (add more liquid or more flour as needed)
  4. Treat mixture as pastry and roll out on floured surface to 1/4 inch thick
  5. Use 3 inch rounds to cut out
  6. Pre-heat griddle or heavy frying pan
  7. Grease
  8. Put in Welsh Cakes and cook until golden brown on both sides over a moderate heat (about 4 minutes)
  9. Set aside a cool
  10. Sprinkle with a little sugar
  11. Serve with butter/jam and a nice cuppa strong tea!

Makes about 12-18

PS: If you are interested in reading the blog from the beginning- be sure to check out the blog archive all set out in order from beginning to end- makes things easy! CLICK HERE

“This post is part of Twinkl’s VE Day Campaign, and is featured in their Best Wartime Recipes to Celebrate VE Day from Home post”

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Vegetable Stew

I HATE throwing anything away…. I am FRUGAL by not only necessity but because I detest wastefulness. I’m not sure where that has come from but it has. Apparently the rationing and the mending and making do philosophy during the 1940’s lived with our grandmother’s for the rest of their lives. We need some of that these days to realize that the way we are living as a species as a whole is not sustainable anymore..

So here’s my own version of veggie stew- it uses up slightly rubbery carrots and potatoes and less than perfect veggies that need disguising but taste-just-as-good-if-you-were-to-wear-a-blind-fold.

I made this stew 3 days ago and I still have enough for a hearty meal tonight with fresh bread and butter

Vegetable Stew

  • 1/2 white or green cabbage
  • small cauliflower
  • 2 large onions
  • several carrots
  • several potatoes
  • 1 large can tomatoes or several large fresh ones
  • peas, sweetcorn, parsnip or whatever else needs using up
  • oxo and bisto (or your own homemade stock and cornstarch to thicken)
  • salt, pepper, herbs such as thyme and rosemary
  • water


  1. Wash veg where applicable
  2. Chop potatoes in half or quarters
  3. Chop up rest of veg into regular size chunks
  4. Chop onions and saute in a large saucepan with a little butter
  5. Once sauted add rest of chopped veg and can of tomatoes or fresh tomatoes
  6. Add stock or a few cubes of oxo with around about a litre or so of water
  7. Add some salt and pepper and bring to boil
  8. Reduce heat and simmer until the large chunks of potato are tender enough to eat
  9. Ten minutes before you finish cooking mix the ‘Bisto’ or the cornstarch into a paste with some water and pour slowly into stew stirring all the time to thicken the mixture
  10. Once thickened, taste stew and add more herbs and spices according to taste

Serve with fresh buttered bread…

Serves 8 to 10

NOTE: You can use a homemade soup in the stew or add corned beef for extra flavour!

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Day 3: Daily diet sheet- hungry!

So here is every morsel of food consumed today as I struggle to return to a 100% ( 24/7) authentic 1940’s wartime diet based on rationing and trends of the time….. over Christmas and birthday, after having lost 35 lbs, I splurged and at times slipped back into some old eating habits as well as eating too much bread and potatoes and consequently my weight rose to 295lbs (on my home scales).

Weight loss to date is therefore 20 lbs (was 35 lbs) but I am back to strict rationing.. I will return to weighing in every Tuesday morning and record my progress as I strive to lose 100 lbs on a wartime ration diet.

I do so want to lose my weight- it makes me quite sad some days


Two slices of wholemeal toast with butter and spread with Marmite


Two big bowls of vegetable stew with a little grated cheese over both

Mid afternoon

Two slices of wholemeal bread, spread with margarine and Blackberry jam


2 cheese pancakes served with a generous portion of broccoli


3 welshcakes


Tea, water and nightime milky hot chocolate

NOTE: Full recipes for vegetable stew, cheese pancakes and welsh cakes coming soon… check back

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Danish Apple Pudding

First of all SORRY for the quality of the photo- if you stare at it for too long you’ll be heading to the nearest ‘Vogue Optical’ for an eye test…… I really miss the Canon Eos Digital (that used to take incredible photos).

So here is the recipe for ‘Danish Apple Pudding’ that I cooked yesterday. It tasted really nice and was very easy to make.

Danish Apple Pudding

  • 2lbs apples (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 2 tea cups of breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup (uk) or table/maple syrup (North America)
  • 1-2 level teaspoons sugar per apple used (according to taste)
  • 1/2 oz margarine
  • several drops of almond essence


  1. Place apples in saucepan with a couple tablespoons of water and cook over medium/high for 5 minutes or so until apples become soft.
  2. Add in the sugar and almond essence and mix thoroughly with fork until mixture is pulpy.
  3. Grease a pie dish with the margarine
  4. Add a layer of breadcrumbs to the bottom and then cover with a layer of applesauce. Continue like this until all the mixture is used up and finish with a layer of breadcrumbs (you can always make more breadcrumbs if you run out of these)
  5. Drizzle the syrup over the top
  6. Place in a moderate over (about 180 C) for 45 minutes or until the top is golden.

Serves 4 – 6

TIP: Make sure the breadcrumbs used on the top layer are quite fine. If you use larger chunks they can resemble croutons!

100 Wartime Recipes: Page has now been updated… CLICK HERE for all 1940s wartime recipes that have been recreated and photographed as part of the 1940sExperiment!

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Day 2: Daily diet sheets- lots of food!

It is a good job there currently is no man in my life …If there was, he who shares my couch and my bed would certainly be in for a night full of surprises tonight and not in a good way ( I need say no more than beans and veggie stew- a delightful combination with spectacular wind power qualities…)

Despite not having a big appetite again today and worrying about my car repair bill, I made sure to eat plenty of wholesome food for the first part of the day. Firstly a large bowl of the obligatory porridge oats (oatmeal), a huge veggie stew of which I gobbled down three bowlfuls with two slices of bread and finally a small dinner of 1/2 my bacon ration and 1/2 can baked beans followed by a delightful ‘Danish Apple Pudding’ (I’ll post that recipe tomorrow)

So here is today’s 1940s authentic wartime diet sheet


Porridge oats (oatmeal) made with just water and sprinkled with a little sugar   25 cents/ 12 pence


3 bowls of vegetable stew (included veggies like cabbage, onions, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes)

2 thick slices of wholemeal (wholewheat) bread spread with margarine  $1.25/ 65 pence


1/2 can of baked beans

2 oz bacon  $1.00/ 50 pence


Large portion of Danish Apple Pudding ( 4 portions made with 4 old bruised apples, wholemeal bread, a little sugar, syrup and almond essence)  1 portion = 75 cents/ 35 pence


4 very large cups of tea and lots of water.

TOTAL COST = $3.25 / 1 UK Pound & 60 pence

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Day 1: Daily diet sheets- hellish

Today was hellish…. and not because I ate yet more porridge oats (oatmeal).

Car blew up on my way home from work, 3 hours later I made it home from work, minus my car and $150 out of pocket and now DREADING what tomorrow may bring while I work from home (thanks boss!) waiting to find out what’s wrong..

My plans for some fabby 1940’s, lovingly prepared nostalgia dishes fell by the wayside for the following quick fixes..

PS: I have included the cost of my days food in dollars and English pounds because I know there are others out there like me that like pinching pennies either out of necessity to just get by or because you just do…


Large bowl of organic porridge oats (oatmeal) made with water and sweetened with a little sugar. 25 cents/ 12 pence


Mad rush this morning and ran out of time to make lunch. When this happens I pop into Tim Hortons and order a large wholewheat country bun, toasted with butter on it. The staff tease me mercilessly… “Not having your BIG BUN today then??” if I for instance just have a cup of tea. Sandwiches at Tim’s cost around $6/3 UK pounds…. 1 large country bun toasted with butter costs just $1.35 cents/ 65 pence

In addition I had a large apple from home 60 cents/ 30 pence


And because I didn’t get in until 8:30 pm I just couldn’t face an hours food preparation …. an ‘OSLO MEAL came to the rescue. This was a big plate of green salad (had seconds too), 1/2 oz cheese, and two bread slices with plenty of margarine spread on them. In addition I had a large glass of milk… $1.25 / 60 pence

It was a good job I had no appetite as today’s menu has NOT been very satisfying nor do I feel it was adequate.

Tomorrow it will be meat and potatoes for sure!

Total cost of food today: $3.35/ 1 UK pound & 67 pence

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Daily Diet Sheets

As I struggle to keep within my rations (the will is weak at the moment) and due to the wonderful encouragement I am receiving from people on a daily basis, I’d really like to share with you a daily record of EVERY morsel of food that passes these nostalgic lips from now until next Monday.

I’ll take a quick photo of my dinner plate each evening so you can see that it is not piled high with ‘Nachos and Cheese’ instead of 1940’s cuisine…. 🙂

Will post every evening. (starting Tuesday evening)

One day **MY KNICKERS** will be significantly smaller- I know it!

C xx