Beetroot Pudding – Recipe No. 164


I’ve noticed that there is a direct correlation between the amount of endorphins released into my brain and how bizarre a wartime recipe is that I re-create.

Todays wartime recipe, beetroot pudding, scored an impressive 8.5 on the endorphin release scale as not only was it quick, easy and colourful but tasted good too, something I wasn’t expecting from a pudding containing grated raw beetroot!

I halved the amount of ingredients as it was a good bet that I’d be the only one eating it but it still made a good sized two portions!

Not knowing what to expect from this bizzario dish, I hastily whipped up a jam sauce made out of a margarine and flour roux, some milk and a couple of heaped teaspoons of raspberry jam. We’ve all heard Mary Poppins sing “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…”, well I figured the jam sauce would work in a similar way with this pink pudding that Mrs. Cropley would have been proud of.

I dare you to try it!

C xx

Beetroot Pudding

Ingredients

6 oz of plain flour (I used half wholemeal and half white)
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 oz margarine
1 oz sugar
4 oz raw beetroot finely grated

Method

* Mix all the ingredients together and bind together with 3 or 4 tablespoons of milk until the consistency is soft like cake mix.
* Add several drops of your favourite flavouring essence (I used the banana essence I had left over from making mock bananas – see video here!)
* Turn mixture into a greased pie dish and place in a pre-heated oven at around 180 C for 30-40 minutes

Serve with custard or sauce.

Serves 4.

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History Kitchen – Roman Army Bread


Trust me, I’m not the best cook in the world but I am curious, especially about the foods of our ancestors so when I see an interesting historical recipe I immediately want to re-create it.

I was browsing the baking section in Morrison’s today and noticed they had organic spelt flour which reminded me of a British Museum recipe I had come across for the most ancient complete bread loaf found intact (over 2000 years old) which was discovered inside an oven in Pompeii. During this time period in this geographic area, bread was probably one of the most popular foods and was baked using grains such as buckwheat, rye and spelt.

And on the back of the spelt flour bag (which by the way I got £1 deducted from the price as there was a tiny slit in the bag) was a recipe for ‘Roman Army Bread’ which was almost identical to the ‘Pompeii Loaf’ recipe except using spelt. I knew then this was a sign from the culinary Gods and today I had to make ancient bread.

Quote: “Spelt, or triticum spelta, is an ancient relative of the modern wheat. First cultivated over 9,000 years ago, it is a cousin of modern wheat. Spelt warrants a mention in the book of Ezekiel in the Bible, as well as being favoured by mystics and herbalists throughout history. Legend has it that the Roman army called spelt their ‘marching grain’. To make wholegrain flour, the inedible outer husk is removed, leaving the inner bran and grain intact. Wholegrain Spelt flour has a deliciously complex flavour and is excellent in specialist breads..” 

Despite the fact that I did not have a sourdough starter made with wild yeasts (as our ancestors would probably have used), everything else was as it should be in the recipe and a couple of hours later I was experiencing a food that the Romans ate around 2000 years ago.

It is an extremely moist sloppy dough that sticks like glue to every one of your digits during the mixing and kneading process but it is these very qualities that lend it to creating quite an airy, crumpet like interior which makes the bread surprisingly light!

Here is the recipe!

C xxx

Roman Army Bread

Ingredients

500g Doves Farm Organic Wholegrain Spelt Flour
400 ml tepid water
½ tsp salt
1 tsp Quick Dried Yeast (or use sourdough starter if you have it)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
Total time required 1 hr 45 mins

Preparation time: 1 hr
Cooking time: 45 mins

Instructions

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and quick yeast.
Dissolve the honey in the water and roughly mix it into the flour.
When the dough is craggy, add the oil and mix well.
Knead or work the dough for a few minutes, then divide between two 500g bread tins or place on a large, well oiled baking tray for an artisan-style loaf.
Cover and leave to rise for 25 minutes in a warm place.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C/180 Fan/Gas 6 for 25 minutes if using a baking tray, or 40-45 minutes if using loaf tins.

Recipe kindly provided by Doves Farm.


And here is the British Museum recipe I was telling you about…

Oaty Biscuits – Recipe No. 163


I’m in love with this wartime cookie recipe. These oaty, sweet, buttery, wartime biscuits really make you appreciate a 15 minute break with a hot cuppa tea in some old vintage china.

This recipe is super simple and quick.

 

Ingredients

4 oz (115 g) margarine or butter. (I used half and half as butter really adds that extra flavour)
3 oz (85 g) of sugar (I use unrefined caster sugar)
7 oz (200 g) of rolled oats
5 oz (150 g) self-raising flour or plain flour sifted with 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt
1 reconstitued dried egg or fresh egg (I didn’t use an egg at all and it was fine)
A little milk

 

Method

* Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F) or Gas Mark 4.
* Grease two baking trays well or use parchment/baking paper instead.
* Cream the margarine/butter with the sugar until soft and light.
* Add the rolled oats and mix.
* Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add the egg (if used) into the * mixture and mix well again before adding in a little milk to moisten. The dough should be stiff and quite dry but sticks together. Knead together.
* Divide out mixture into about 20 lumps the size of a walnut.
* Press between palms to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick and place on baking tray and press into shape.
* Bake for about 15 minutes until edges are golden.
* Leave on baking trays to cool.

Makes about 20.

 

EXTRA TIP: I divided the dough into half. The first half I left plain. The second half I sprinkled on some sultanas and some lemon extract and kneaded in. The lemon/fruit/oat biscuits were absolutely delicious!

 

Hunt Pie – Recipe No. 162


It’s the first weekend in months where I haven’t had to be somewhere, go somewhere or do something and consequently I actually have time on my hands to do something I REALLY REALLY love and that is recreating wartime recipes! I’ve had a lovely day so far! I’ve so desperately needed down time.

So I have yet to find out why this pie is called ‘Hunt Pie’. The closest I have come is finding a business called ‘John Hunts’ which established itself in 1860 manufacturing pie making equipment. Could this possibly be linked?

Anyway, I made the pie for lunch and I have lots of portions left for tomorrow and because I love vegetables and pastry and added a little more seasoning than the recipe called for, I found it quite delicious!

So please enjoy the original recipe below (and my slight modifications to suit my palette in brackets).

Hunt Pie

3/4 pint of water
1 onion or small leek
3/4 lb of chopped root veg and cabbage (I used a couple of potatoes, carrots and spring greens)
4 oz lentils (I used red/orange lentils as they did not require soaking)
2 oz minced beef (I am veggie so instead I used 2 oz of marinated tofu)
1/2-1 teaspoon of meat or vegetable extract (I used a teaspoon of marmite)
salt and pepper (I also added garlic salt)

Pastry
2 oz porridge oats or oatmeal
2 oz of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
water to mix
(I added an oz of margarine as I cooked the pie in the oven rather than in the pot)

Chopped parsley (I hate parsley so used chopped chives)

Method

Bring water to boil.
Add onions/leeks, vegetables, lentils, vegetable/meat extract and seasoning, put lid on pan and cook on medium for about 10-15 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking.
Make pastry and press into a round shape enough to cover the top of the mixture in the saucepan. (I prefer a crispy pastry so once the mixture was soft and thickened which took about 30 minutes in total, I added it into a pie dish and rolled out the pastry on top and placed it in the oven).
Replace saucepan lid and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
Lift pastry with a slice and set aside.
Remove mixture and place in pie dish and put pastry back on top.
Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4-6.


It’s all done…


I handed back the keys today for our house in Nottingham and now we are fully at our new place further up North!

This weekend will finally not involve driving back and forth, packing, unpacking, making good, painting or whatever (even though I still have about 15 bags and boxes still to unpack here! – they can WAIT!). It’s time to now knuckle down and get back on track with reducing weight and increasing fitness and enjoying good, wholesome food again!

I’ve made a start. I’ve been baking bread, eating lots of veggie dishes thrown together from the organic veggie box I get once a week from www.riverford.co.uk . All I need to get back under control is spoiling all my good work by eating horrid junk food in the evenings! No more buying the stuff from now on!

Last Saturday I dug over a weed filled flower bed and bought some herbs from my new local plant nursery. For £4 I bought chives, sage, oregano, stevia, thyme and Vietnamese coriander. The bed is quite shady so I’m not sure how they will take. It’s a long time since I last did any growing so will persevere!

Hoping to find my 1940s cook books too and start getting back on track with the recipes and rationing!

C xxxx