A 1940s Christmas – Preparations begin

This years eggless christmas cake soon to be fed vast quantities of sherry…

I made my Christmas cake yesterday. Using the eggless Christmas cake recipe from last year, I doubled the quantity and put the mixture in a square pan to cook in my table top oven (my proper round cake tin wouldn’t fit) as my full size oven is still out of action..

With dried fruit being hard  to get hold of in large quantities on the home front during WW2 in Britain, the fruitcake has much less fruit than I’d normally use in a Christmas cake but this year I’m going to moisten it up with lots of sherry (readily available during the first rationed Christmas of 1940) and this year it will be decorated with a mock marzipan AND real icing sugar (it wasn’t until a couple of years later that icing sugar was banned).

I’ve started off the blackberry vodka.. almost identical to the way sloe gin is made.

I’ve also started on making “Blackberry Vodka” for Christmas presents (although I am unsure whether this would have been a recipe used in the 1940s, I am sure as people made “Sloe Gin” that it is quite possible…) Spirits were expensive and harder to get hold of later during the war but as my Christmas is going to be based on the first wartime Christmas on rations for the British, I’d say that the drinks cabinet may well have had some spirits/liquor still hanging around.

In addition I will be making gifts of  Apple “Air-Raid” Chutney and “Mock Marmalade” and I’ll share those recipes and photos with you as I do so..

I’ve plenty of sugar for the preserves, I’ve been squirreling that away 🙂

C xxxx

5 thoughts on “A 1940s Christmas – Preparations begin

  1. I watched “The Magic of Ordinary Days” a few days ago, and I am since then slightly obsessed with the 1940s (set in USA anyway)… and while I was googling for some background information, I found your website. I have a weird relationship with the 40ies as I am German, and while I am fascinated with the make-do-with-what-you-have attitude I am obviously ashamed that my country was responsible for so much suffering. I am not proud to be German at all… I have been browsing your blog a lot in the last days (you are an amazing women!) and I am so grateful that you are so nonjudgemental, even though you could. This really means a lot to me. I am excited to try some of your recipes this week :)! Best of luck,

    • Karina… xxxxxxxx

      It was an awful time for every innocent regardless of their nationality, race, sexual orientation etc and no one should ever blame the innocents EVER!

      PS I’ve been to Germany and Austria and both are absolutely beautiful countries xxxxx

  2. Really getting to the food side of the 40’s. Resently made some apple jelly from crab apples that we collected from the ground in the local country park. Then I boiled up the mush that I strained off, stained again, making some lovely “apple juice”. I then finely cut up loads of orange and lemon peel that I had saved in the freezer ( I know they didn’t have freezers in the 40’s but didn’t want then to go bad before I could use them). I boiled these together with a couple of cooking apples, added sugar, and ended up with 8 jars of the most gorgeous marmalade I have ever tasted!

  3. I know so many people in SE Scotland whose grandads did blackberry whisky – called bramble whisky in the Borders and Lothians, ime – all these fruit-flavoured spirits have a very long history indeed – Jane Grigson gives a recipe for “Hodgkin” which is lots of different types of fruit added in layers as and when they ripen through the summer, with measures of sugar and covered in brandy – we made it once, adding over a couple of months, and then hide it til Xmas and it is delicious – that recipe goes back centuries…

    You can be pretty sure people made blackberry vodka in the war! It was a good way to make cheap, nasty vodka taste a lot better, of course…

Leave a Reply