Chocolate Layer Cake – Recipe No 128


Apologies.. I’ve been a bit quiet. Not feeling the best right now with chills, aches and pains, nausea and a rotten old cough! My poor daughter had it first. I don’t often get a cold so complaining more about it than the average person!  On the good side I’ve been pretty much saving all my sugar and fat ration as just haven’t felt up to baking extras. This is good really as I used all my rations right up for the two weeks proceeding this having baked quite a few cakes!

So here is a recipe for one of the cakes I baked about 10 days ago. It was delicious and I sandwiched it together with a wartime recipe for chocolate spread.


Chocolate Layer Cake

  • 3 oz fat (margarine)
  • 1 tablespoon of golden syrup or treacle
  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 oz of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 1/2 pint of warm water


  1. Put fat and syrup into a pan and dissolve
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a basin and stir in melted fat and syrup, mix to a very soft consistency with warm water.
  3. Pour into two greased sandwich tins and bake for 30 minutes in a medium oven. (about 180 C)
  4. Remove and allow to partly cool in tin before turning out.
  5. When cool sandwich them with mock whipped cream or chocolate spread.

Chocolate Spread

  • 1 oz cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons of fine sugar
  • 1 dessertspoon of flour
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Mix dry ingredients
  2. Add milk gradually and bring to the boil
  3. Beat until quite smooth
  4. Use when cooled

Victory garden update and the secret room under the hole in the floor


I’ve been busy here, have lots of recipes to put up starting tomorrow morning when I wake up early and the house is quiet and peaceful. I’ve harvested apples and elderberries and have enough for some pies and preserves. Not many but it’s a start.

Today I had help clearing the overgrown back end of the garden so I can start preparing the ground for a ‘Victory Garden’  in 2014.  Alas the ground is filled with old bricks and debris and now I have hundreds of angry wasps hovering over their disturbed homes but now I have a base to work on and see what I can do.



Another interesting but scary find today was the discovery of a room underneath the house that I found by thrusting my arm down a dark hole and taking a photo. My house dates back to 1780 so inevitably there are going to be strange workings but a room 10ft underground? I am thinking it must have been some sort of an old cellar originally which has had different uses over the years. At some stage the entrance was built over and now there is no way to get to it except by dangling down a dark hole in the floor in my mud room and dropping to the debris covered old stone steps.


Curiosity is getting the better of me and if there is some way to get down there, maybe a ladder or a rope, enough courage has to be found to investigate with a torch and an axe (just incase)… I need to know!


Finally- as if all the excitement above wasn’t enough, today I received this rather wonderful gift from the 1940s UK Radio Station.  I’ll explain more soon but I am looking forward to being very creative over the coming weeks to create an extension of my blog for radio. I have a lot to learn using some open source software called ‘Audacity’ but am at a perfect time in my life now to take this on…. I can’t wait!!!

C xxxxxxx

My brother the code breaker


Before I start posting a back-log of wartime recipes,  I am sending my clever and wonderful brother Paul, a big shout out because I’m extremely proud of him. He has cracked the codes and solved the puzzle set by GCHQ ( UK Governments Communications Headquarters – British Intelligence Agency ) in an online competition “to recruit the most skilled mathematicians, code breakers and hackers…”

Read more here: 

Alan_Turing_photoAnd the reason I thought it apt to shout it out on my blog (apart from the fact that my brother is amazing and a wonderful father) is that it takes me full circle to Alan Turing

“During World War II, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre. For a time he was head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.”

For all his genius and his help in winning the war, because of his homosexuality, in 1952 his security clearance was removed, and he was barred from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)..

The irony being that the Alan Turing is part of the code/puzzle set by GCHQ in their competition..

To quote my brother: “At least they are paying homage to the late great Alan Turing, the forefather of modern computing, whose actions may have saved the world from the Nazi Menace, and whom the British Chemically castrated for being gay…”

Two years later Alan Turing committed suicide by eating an apple dipped in cyanide..

Alan Turing at least deserves a full apology and a full pardon.. ???


Homemade lavender furniture polish


This year I’m making up ‘wartime hampers’ for Christmas pressies. The food component is going to be ration book themed but also the hampers will contain a variety of homemade household goodies as gifts so today I experimented to see if I could actually make some of the things I wanted to include.

The reason I chose today to do it as I received three packages through the post this morning for beeswax, glycerin soap base and some material off cuts from my friend Sarah  for decorating jam jar tops. I knew I just had to put everything else on hold why I played…

Homemade goodies now decorated with off cut material Sarah sent me~!

Homemade goodies now decorated with off cut material Sarah sent me~!

First of all I melted small cubes of opaque glycerin soap (10 cubes for each bar) to which I added some colour and essential oils once the cubes had melted (about 4 drops of essential oil per 10 cubes and a drop or two of pigment). I made two lavender soaps and two lemongrass and bergamot soaps. Once it was mixed together (I just used an old non-stick saucepan and wooden spoon) I poured the mixture into a latex mould and one hour later the bars were hard enough to remove!



Homemade lavender furniture polish recipe

Perhaps my biggest excitement was making some lavender furniture polish. I have a couple pieces of furniture that I wanted to use an old-fashioned type of polish on without any horrid chemicals. Having done a little research on the web I purchased a small amount of beeswax off eBay and grated that into some olive oil from my cupboard. 2 parts olive oil to 1 part grated beeswax. The easiest way to do this is fill a jug with olive oil up to 200 mls and grate enough beeswax into it to bring the measure up to 300 mls (which makes 200 mls of olive oil and 100 mls of beeswax)

Place the mixture into an old saucepan and melt very slowly… it really is quick to do. Add your essential oils. I added about 12 drops of lavender. You can try to add pigment if you like but olive oil and beeswax naturally solidifies to a pale green/buff colour so you’d have to add a lot of pigment and that could then stain your wood so personally I wouldn’t add colour.

Next I took it off the heat and stirred gently and left it to cool for a few minutes, stirred again then poured it straight into a shallow wide mouthed jar (I used a salsa jar my eldest daughter had finished using).

And that’s it!  It smells great and makes a wonderful nourishing polish free from nasty chemicals and the whole jar probably cost me less than £1 to make!

This will definitely be going in my Christmas hampers!!!

C xxxxx







Bean & Vegetable Sheperds Pie – Recipe No 127



This was REALLY, REALLY scrummy. Easy to make too and enough to serve 4 people or 3 large servings… errrr OK I ate it ALL yesterday. I HAVE to try and reduce my portion size..

Bean and Vegetable Shepherds Pie

  • 1 tin baked beans
  • Mashed potatoes (I used some leftover swede in mine too)
  • ½lb. cooked vegetables (I used leek, onion, marrow, peas, carrot and parsnip)
  • ½oz. margarine
  • Thick Bisto gravy made with well seasoned vegetable stock (about a cup)

Mix cooked vegetables with beans and gravy. Place in baking dish and cover with a layer of well seasoned mashed potatoes. Put dabs of margarine on top and bake in a moderate oven to brown the potatoes (about 35 minutes).

Weekly weigh in – 10 Sept 2013



Despite often eating two platefuls at dinner time of the main meals I prepared this week, and despite enjoying lots of cake (all within my allocated rations of course- how I choose to use my rations is my choice), my weight loss has been very good. 9 lbs in 2 weeks..

Highest weight 345 lbs (24 stone 9 lbs)

Weight 2 weeks ago 279 lb (19 st 13 lbs)

Today 270 lb (19 st 4 lbs)


This is just what I needed to see to give me encouragement and now I will stride forth and get the job done. Today I’ll do some walking and gardening on the exercise front as I’m sure keeping active is an essential part of becoming healthier and walking was a key component of all the weight I lost (80 lbs) when I spent a year on wartime rations.

I’ve started back on rationing two weeks ago so will once again keep as true as I can to this for another year. It’s such a little sacrifice to make in the bigger scheme of things..

This morning I was up bright and early making a stew out of all the leftover veggies in the fridge and I’ve had three bowlfuls for breakfast. All my fat and sugar has been used up this week as I baked quite a bit so when I get my weekly rations again tomorrow I think I’m going to have a lean week and save my supplies and then cook something special in a week or two.

More recipes coming to the blog later (Pulse Savoury, Eggless Victoria Sponge and Bean and Vegetable Sheperd’s Pie)

C xxxx

Sunday food diary



I’ve had a busy day again.

Never ending laundry, a bit of a spruce up in the house,  the twice weekly grocery shop, racked off my home brewed wine into a clean demi-john, harvested a big plastic bag of elderberries, removed them from their stalks and froze them, picked some apples from the garden, helped my youngest Hobbit Em, prepare the hutch for her new pet bunny, and now I’ve just sat down (and I’m drinking a pint of home brewed stout) after syphoning off and bottling 40 pints of brown ale into various bottles. I think all my stout and ale is now done for Christmas 🙂


Food wise I started off with a nice yummy breakfast of sauted veggies on toast and a pot of tea.

Lunch was cucumber sandwiches


Mid-afternoon it was tea and cake and tonight, well I’m absolutely worn out and don’t feel like cooking as it’s 8:30 pm so for me it is just a couple of sandwiches with my beer (tomato sandwiches this time)

Tomorrow I’ll cook a nice big meal…

Night night xxxx



It’s 1:00 am and I’m baking cake

IMG_1447          Spic and span – I aim to keep it that way

I went into a downward spiral yesterday, felt sad and tired thinking about recent events, so I slept… a LOT.

Today I feel great! I woke up about 8 (after having slept 12 hours) and dusted, tidied and scrubbed the house, did a couple loads of laundry and with much glee opened up in haste the big box the courier arrived with marked ‘fragile’. It was my vintage mis-matched trio sets….something to serve tea and cake on at my 1940s Supper Club (coming soon). The little tea cups are so dainty, so fancy, so clinky (you know that sound when you place the tea cup back on the saucer)..


And then at midnight, when I should have been going to bed but just wasn’t tired, I wanted to christen my new cups and plates and what better way than with cake. I used the last of my sugar and most of what was left of my fat rations to make an eggless sponge which I sandwiched with a mock cream and homemade jam…. no more desserts or baking now until Tuesday.

So here I am at 1 am, drinking tea in a cute little 1940s tea cup, enjoying a slice of sweet eggless sponge (that didn’t rise very well but I will still eat and enjoy) and I’m feeling rather happy

It’s been a good day

C xxxxxxx






Lemon syrup sauce – Recipe No 126



Lemon syrup sauce

  • ½ lemon
  • 1 dessertspoon golden syrup
  • 1/4 pint water (add more water if sauce is too thick)
  • 2 teaspoons custard powder

Grate the lemon zest from the skin of the lemon. Cut in half and squeeze the juice from half the lemon. Put into a pan with the water and syrup. Mix the custard powder smoothly with the lemon juice and add to the liquid in the pan, stirring well. Cook for 1 minute. Add more water if needed.

This produces a zingy semi-translucent lemon sauce.

Friday’s food diary



I’ve eaten a lot today… I’ve eaten a lot all week and will be curious what the scales will show on Tuesday morning.

For breakfast I had my more-often-than-not porridge sweetened with a teaspoon of jam.

For lunch I had a yummy ‘pulse savoury’ and I’ll post the recipe tomorrow



And for dinner I had two sausages, two small baked potatoes and some peas. (I sometimes take my meat rations as meat alternatives so I can recreate authentic recipes and actually taste them!)

Today I’ve drunk gallons of tea (well not literally but an awful lot more than normal) and lots of water. I’m rather thirsty right now!

Last night I had homemade stout. Now that was a lovely treat 🙂

C xxx