Not every meal is from a recipe book…

As it’s Friday night, I brought home some treats like a big cheese pizza for Jess and her boyfriend Cody and my youngest Hobbit Em wanted carrots and apples and ham, I of course obliged..

So what was my treat? I was craving broccoli and mushroom I bought a big fresh bunch and a tub of fresh mushrooms reduced by 50% and used up some old bits of onion in the fridge and with some seasoning, thyme,  some milk (flax milk) and bisto, I made the most delicious thick gravy which I tossed the lightly cooked broccoli in. And I had two big platefuls…

My meal was about 500 cals, packed with nearly all my daily fibre, nearly half my daily protein, 500% of my vitamin C, 200% of my vitamin A, a third of my daily calcium and a third of my daily iron. My lunch of raw corn, kidney beans and spinach ensured the rest of my protein and fibre and my breakfast of a big bowl of organic porridge oats with organic apple puree and ground flax seed gave me plenty of slow release complex carbs, a whopping amount of iron and fibre and omega 3’s and 6’s as well as more vitamins.

I sometimes wonder how come my hair is getting long and shiny and I feel so healthy, I’ve noticed these changes, especially the last couple of months, I’m soooo glad I stuck with this, I forgot how I was supposed to feel, now I know and I like it….

C xxxxx

PS And tonight I have plenty of milk (I use nut, hemp or flax milks as part of my ration being vegan) leftover for a big mug of sweet hot chocolate. Pretty perfect…

Making butter home-front style

Butter in a Jar

A comment was made by a reader this morning..

QUOTE BY STAN  “A little memory:- Every day, my Mother put the ‘top of the milk’ into a Kilner jar with salt and each Friday, my Father sat shaking the jar till the contents became a sort of butter which Mother used to eke out her butter ration.”

This reminded me that I had done this many years ago and had written about it (I photograph and write about anything new I try) and ABSOLUTELY this would have been done by many on the home-front during WW2 to find a little extra butter on occasion.

Making butter is really very quick and easy so what better way than to make your very first batch than in a jar. This is a great way of showing your children or infact younger children at school how butter is made and everyone in the family can shake their own jar and marvel at their results. (and for some reason its incredibly funny standing around shaking jars)

Save the top off the milk and try it or for quickness buy cream from your store


1 litre of single, double or whipping cream ( store bought homogenized works fine)
2-4 large clean jars with lids.
Pinch of salt


Clean wooden spoons
Clean mixing bowl
Fine mesh sieve
Waxed paper or cling film.

Butter making tip: For best results leave cream at room temperature for a few hours before hand


  • Divide 1 litre of cream into 2 1L jars or into 4 jam jars. Cream can be added straight from the fridge but a good tip is to rinse glass jars in hot water immediately before hand.
  • Tighten lids and shake. The cream will start to thicken after 4 or 5 minutes and after a few more minutes will begin to turn rapidly into the butter solids and the buttermilk. The butter solids begin to clump together and the thin skimmed type milk sloshing around is the buttermilk.
  • As soon as you have butter solids and buttermilk in the jar and the butter solids are clumping together it is time to drain the contents of the jar through the fine mesh sieve. The buttermilk will pass through the sieve leaving the clump of butter solids in the sieve.
  • Leave to drain for a few minutes and put aside the buttermilk as you can use this for cooking, drinking or giving to the cat.
  • Next run the sieve under a gentle flow of cold tap water, just for a few seconds, to wash the outside of the butter.
  • Place the clump of butter into a large bowl. At this stage add some fine salt one pinch at a time to taste. With the back of the wooden spoons, begin to work the butter to form a pat. As you squeeze the pat and reshape it, further buttermilk will be excreted by the butter pat. Drain away frequently and continue to reshape and squeeze gently.
  • When little or no more buttermilk is draining from the pat, wash the pat with a little cold water and drain and move it onto a flat surface with cling film or wax paper underneath before the final shaping.
  • Finally place in butter dish or wrap loosely in wax paper or put in bowl and cover with cling film before placing in the fridge to cool.

Footnote: 1L of cream will make around 1lb of butter.

Wartime Farm

I’m rather excited… OK I am soooo excited I could pee (a lot)

Octopus Publishing in London, contacted me and are sending me a review copy of “Wartime Farm” to read and comment on..
With my current obsession with “living history type experiments” and of course the home-front during WW2, and having in my past life run a small organic-ish farm in rural Wales with goats, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, waterfowl, horses, cats, dogs and rats (and NEVER could bring myself to slaughter any and there started my drift towards veganism)  you may well understand how excited I am to get my paws on this book and devour it.
There’s not much more I can say except I am very jealous right at this moment of my British counterparts who will be watching this TV series real soon…
Please tell me all about it!!!
C xxxxx

Weekly weigh in – August 29, 2012

Tired and sweaty at sports centre track last night

The prunes did it! OH…OK well living on a 1940s ration diet almost free of processed foods and loaded with mostly chemical free fresh vegetables and fruit helped and the 20+ miles I’ve walked and ran during daily exercise and hiking this week too. I sure did put in a LOT of effort in this week!

BUT I have a result and the scales show 4 lbs off! I am VERY happy with this especially as I have been reducing for almost a year now..

I’m down to 226 lbs (16 stone) and feel soooooo much healthier and happier than I did a year ago. If it wasn’t for all the immigration stressors in my life at the moment I’d need an anchor and a heavy chain to stop my 46 year old carcass floating high up in the sky!

Last night, I went to the sports track after work to try and do some jogging NOT on the treadmill for once. It’s sooooo much harder to jog on land… everything bounced painfully from the flesh on my hips, my tummy and my breasts and my leg muscles stung. I did 3 km walking one lap and running one lap and repeated . I NEED to do more off treadmill work if I am to realize my goal of taking part in a 5K run …. I’ll get there

Thanks for listening… C xxxx

GOAL by October 1st, 2012: Live for one year using wartime food rations- 100 wartime recipes re-created- lose 100 lbs of fat

To date: 73 lb lost- 79 wartime recipes re-created

Prune flan

I really had a stonking big prune fest the other day. Not only did I enjoy a “Beef and Prune Hotpot” (vegan alternative for me of course) but for dessert I had prepared a stick-to-your-ribs prune flan with a nice thick pastry and lashings of hot sweet custard. It didn’t matter that I ate winter food on the hottest day we had all week… I still enjoyed it.

Here is the recipe for the prune flan, which, by the way, was completely delicious and did facilitate a poop (which I am confident will mean a good weight loss for me when I weigh in tomorrow)


Prune Flan

  • 6 oz prunes soaked overnight in water to cover
  • 1 tablespoon of golden syrup (North America use 2 tablespoons of corn syrup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 oz margarine
  • several drops of lemon essence
  • 2 tablespoons of soft breadcrumbs
  • shortcrust pastry made with 6 oz of flour


  1. Simmer the prunes for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Remove from water and cut up into small pieces
  2. Put these pieces into a saucepan with all the other ingredients (not the pastry!) and stir over a low heat until well mixed
  3. Allow to cool
  4. Roll out the pastry and line a greased pie plate or tin or flan ring with the pastry
  5. Put in the prune mixture and bake in the centre of a moderate oven for 30 minutes
  6. Serve hot or cold
  7. Serve with custard or thickened left over prune juice/water

Beef and prune hotpot

At this moment you are going “EWWWWW” aren’t you…. admit it 🙂

I admit to feeling rather Mrs. Cropley-esque (The Dibley Poisoner) this morning when putting together some recipes, especially when this called for prunes mixed with beef and to mix the prune water with marmite and trickle it over the sliced potatoes.

Having just eaten every single morsel up on my plate I have to say this was absolutely delicious (even with me using a minced beef alternative) and I would have no problem serving this to anyone. YES there may come a moment when the person eating the hot pot may stop chewing and look skywards with a curious look on their face, trying to figure it out, (when they come across a pruney bit) but that adds to the mystery of the dish.

Enjoy, oh weird 1940s culinary experimenters!!!

C xxxx

Beef and Prune Hotpot

  • 4 oz prunes
  • 1/2 teaspoon marmite or 1/2 stock cube
  • 1/2 lb of minced beef (I used a vegan alternative)
  • 1.5 lbs potatoes thinly sliced
  • 2 onions or 2 leeks
  • 1 oz margarine
  • salt and pepper
  • water


  1. Put the prunes into a container, cover with water, and soak for 12 hours (alternatively you can stew the prunes over a moderate heat by covering with plenty of water and simmering for 15 minutes)
  2. Strain the prunes and set aside 1/4 pint of the prune water and add 1/2 teaspoon of marmite or 1/2 stock cube and stir until dissolved
  3. Brown the minced beef or vegan alternative in a pan. Add in the prunes and mash up with the beef
  4. Grease a casserole or deep pie dish and arrange a layer of thin sliced potatoes on the bottom, cover with the leeks or onion, add some seasoning
  5. Cover with the browned beef
  6. Place another layer of onion or leeks
  7. Cover with a final layer of thinly sliced potatoes, dot margarine over the top and season
  8. Trickle over the prune and marmite water
  9. Sprinkle over some herbs (I added some wild thyme from my garden)
  10. Place the casserole into the oven at 170C (330 F) for 15 minutes then cover and cook for a further 1.5 hours. Uncover 15 minutes towards the end and brown the top

A 10 km hike!

I’m REALLY trying to keep active these days and there is one thing I’ve steadily learned to do well during the 1940s Experiment and that is WALK! With fuel being hard to get hold of during WW2 people did a LOT of walking and I’ve tried very hard to replicate this as my weight has dropped and my agility improved…

Yesterday was a busy day..

It started at 8;30 as a greeter, for a couple of hours, for the Growing Green Festival. I LOVED doing this… having a quick chat with strangers, handing out schedules and just basically feeling happy as I watched the world go by. The festival looked amazing and the farmers market was packed…

After that I took a short break, in my car, to load up my photos to Facebook and ensure I had some water and food to take hiking with me and headed off to the MARC (click here)  I’ve lived in Nova Scotia for 8 years and had never visited. I guess I had no need to seeing I just couldn’t walk anywhere…

The MARC series of trails were awesome..

I hadn’t really prepared, infact I had took a 60 second glance at the series of trails and thought “meh”… I’ll just see where the trail takes me and deal with it. So I stuck with the main trail “home run” which took me up some steep hills and through the woods and then after 30 minutes or so deposited me in a field where the track ended…ermmm OK. It was then I realized the trail was linear and not looped and on my return I should take all the lesser signposted trails to take me deep into the woods and over more challenging terrain. So I took various sub trails signposted milkshake, cliff hanger, rapids express, graveyard gardens, la banane and others and finally returned to the car, two hours and 10 km later.

It was an easy peaceful hike. As I meandered through the 100 acre forest I was the only person there but enjoyed the company of squirrels, birds, insects and hidden wildlife that made rustling sounds but never revealed themselves..

And then I came across ‘Rhodenizers Brook” and went off trail to take myself down to the waters edge. The sun lit a few rocks and swathes of moss here and there and the sound of the running water was so peaceful. I sat down and leaned against a tree and closed my eyes….

C xxxxx

From blog to book deal- part 2

As I type, the signed author agreement with the literary agency is finding it’s way to New York

I’ve been working on the proposal. This is what the literary agent sends out to publishers in the hope that one will bite… and offer that prized book deal.

When I say working on the proposal, I had been, until my latest life circumstances took over my thought process. Unfortunately dealing with current domestic issues has to take priority at this moment in time. I’m TERRIBLY excited though, knicker wettingly excited about the whole damn thing. OK so my book won’t have sex in it, or I won’t be whipping my cream into submission (or maybe I will??) BUT there will be food porn for sure…

I have this huge plan formulated for the book. It’s not just a wartime recipe book you see.  It’s a platform to talk about the whole reason for undertaking this experiment and the big problems we are facing today, obesity, economics, environmental issues, sustainability. In addition I’m thinking as well a good dose of nostalgia and of course the very personal weight loss diary I’ve been keeping…I’m REALLY excited that a professional food chef, writer and photographer (she’s done Betty Crocker – not literally but you know what I mean) is going to re-create my favourite WW2 recipes and make the smell of the food waft from the page. Tonight I am sending her a list of 5-10 recipes for the book proposal.


At this moment in time I wish I could take a month, without any distractions, to finish this proposal. You only get one shot and I do so want to show any potential publishers that there is a market for the 1940s Experiment. Luckily I have an obsession with social media and website traffic statistics and every book proposal now, especially for non-fiction in a niche market, needs to be backed up with proof that people ARE interested in the subject matter and there is already an established platform to promote the book when it hits the stores.

I’ve always said to my children and anyone who will listen, if you have a passion and you need a voice, take up blogging. It teaches you to commit to writing regularly and teaches you perseverance.  Anyone who has started a blog and it has fallen by the wayside, will know how difficult it is to write on a regular basis. I’ve been blogging for years prolifically because I can’t keep quiet … I feel this a good start, good training!

I’m just so excited about having this opportunity to try at least.

One must NEVER give up, if you fall down, dust yourself and get right up again!

C xxxxx

Weekly weigh in- August 22, 2012

Bleh- no weight loss. Ok maybe a smidgen but as I don’t have digital scales the amount was not worth recording..

No worries, I’m kinda upset but I’ll get over it. Today would have been a good day to hit that treadmill for my second session on week 4 of “Couch to 5K” but that damn womanly curse greeted me this morning putting an end to any activity planned..

One good thing, yesterday I ran at 6 mph for a minute (for me that’s a sprint), and did 5 minutes at 5 mph as well as walking at a 10 incline for 20 minutes at 3 mph… all the endurance lights came on so even the treadmill knows that’s tough work.

Despite seeing no result on the scales this week I feel physically strong and my clothes are beginning to hang off me again. I’m pulling stuff out of the cupboard I bought to fit into one day but now they are too loose. I even have to tie my shoes tighter..

This coming week I’m going to try my absolute hardest to lose (while eating sensibly) and TRY not to eat quite so many LORD WOOLTON PIES!

C xxxxxxxx

Confession time..

Dear Weighing scales…

Please be kind to me tomorrow, you see no matter how hard I try to poop before weigh-in, it will NEVER cancel out the 3 LARGE LORD WOOLTON PIES I stuffed my face with last night and today.

Yours Sincerely

Carolyn xxxx