Spiced Biscuits for Halloween – Recipe No. 207

These delicious spiced biscuits are quintessentially autumnal given their warm spiced aroma and flavour. This is an old and simple recipe and with it being eggless and quick to bake, perfect during times of rationing.

Yesterday I enjoyed an afternoon of pumpkin carving and baking these delicious cookies so thought I’d share the traditional recipe with the additions I made too. I used 1/2 the ingredients below, added extra spice and a couple small handfuls of dried mixed fruit.


250g/9oz – softened butter
125g/4oz – caster sugar (or granulated sugar)
350g/12 oz – self-raising flour
1½ tsp mixed spice (or pumpkin spice)
¾ tsp cinnamon


  1. Cream together the butter (I used plant-based Flora butter) and sugar.
  2. Stir all of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar. (I also added a couple of handfuls of mixed dried fruit) Knead lightly until all of the flour mix has been incorporated
  3. Pinch off approximately 10g pieces, roll into a ball and place on a baking tray leaving space between each to allow for spreading. Depress the centre of each dough ball lightly with finger. (I actually rolled the dough out and used a cutter as I wanted thin crunchy biscuits)
  4. Bake at 180ºC / fan 160ºC / gas mark 4 for 15 minutes.
  5. Cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

I used half the ingredients and made around 20 x 2.5 inch biscuits.

Happy Halloween!

C xx

Stork Cookery Service Notes No. 28a – 1943

A rather wonderful thing happened a week or two ago and I’ll save that story once I’ve made sure it is OK to tell it. But fast-forward a couple of weeks and I am now the lucky custodian of many original wartime booklets and pamphlets and newspaper clippings which I’m going to share with you over the coming year.

Many of the books I have are very fragile and I will have to scan these in carefully and properly in high-definition to preserve them as it won’t be long before they crumble away but for now I will start with the easier leaflets and clippings which I will just take photos of with my camera. These will be available as individual images below but also a DOWNLOADABLE PDF DOCUMENT HERE. Additionally I will create an archive page to house the complete collection where you will be able to download the PDF’s and enjoy them or share them on your own websites or in your groups or print them out.

Hope you enjoy them and I am looking forward to working my way through the complete collection and sharing something every week. And I’m also looking forward to telling you the full story!

Much love, C xxxx


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FREE WW2 video recipes: On YouTube here.


Emergency Pantry Tour

Well, it’s not exactly a tour as it’s a tiny cupboard under the stairs but nevertheless, it’s now stocked fully. Add to that an unused fridge and boxes under the bed, full of supplies, and we now are prepared for an emergency such as loss of income, ill health, shortages, cost of living, or anything that gets thrown at us. This will help ease us through 3-6 months of turbulence which seems to be a sensible thing to do given the unpredictable world we currently live in.

Thought you might like to have a peek! It’s not terribly well organised but none of us are perfect!!!

C xxxxx

The N Word: Living in one room for one week

This is going to sound extreme but please bear with me as it’s only a hypothetical scenario but WHAT IF the unthinkable happened and a nuclear weapon was used in your country of residence and you were within range (depending on wind direction) to experience nuclear fall-out.

Being EVER PRACTICAL I looked at the most likely scenario here in the UK if the absolute unthinkable happened and if a Intercontinental Ballistic Missile was successfully delivered to London. While it is an awful thing to consider and while I personally cannot even comprehend and do not believe such an awful thing would happen, I still want to be informed and prepared, at least in someway. I’ve put a couple of maps and a link to an interesting site at the bottom of the page for those interested but don’t want for that to be the focus of this post.

Having spent some hours reading about practical steps to avoid radiation sickness it seems that the best thing one can do if you cannot get to a proper bunker and are likely to have to sit it out at home is to try and stay in the one room for several days if possible (and that room should be a basement or a room in the middle of the house on the ground floor and if possible a room without windows.)

In that room (according to what I’ve read) you should have the following at a minimum:

  • bottled water to drink and wash in for several days
  • food for several days, food from freezer and fridge and stuff in packets and cans is fine
  • something to cook with and heat water with
  • portable toilet with kitty litter and plastic bags and toilet tissue
  • first aid supplies and your medications and ointments for burns and injuries
  • clothing, towels, disposable wipes all stored in plastic bags until used
  • warm clothing and something to sleep on
  • wind up or battery operated light and power banks and radio
  • toiletries and eating and drinking utensils, stored in plastic, one use, throw away
  • any important documents and communication devices and money/cash/cards/car keys etc
  • Plastic sheeting and tape to seal window
  • Plastic bags to dispose of items

I’ve been giving this a little thought, I have my designated room. It does have a small window but the room contains my emergency pantry, fridge freezer, a sturdy table for a portable gas stove and for sitting at and is one of the largest rooms in the house.

As I read back through the above I actually can’t believe I am writing about this, do I sound like some nutter? I don’t know about you but actually I feel pretty safe and probably less than 5% of me thinks that this scenario could happen here in blighty. I just can’t begin to understand how the peoples of Ukraine and surrounding countries must feel right now and lets not forget the people of Russia. I always believe that there are more peace loving people in the world than ones that actively want to hurt others. We also know that coercion is real worldwide, from subtle propaganda campaigns to peer pressure and through dictatorship.

Personally for me I now have my emergency pantry completed, my medical supplies, portable camping toilet, portable cooking stove, wind up lights, radio and power banks. All good stuff for any emergency situation really. I also do have some thick sheeting and tape to seal the window (and I hope these only ever gather dust of the normal daily kind).

I’d love to hear your positive thoughts and real fears. Lets remember that we all cope with these times and situations in different ways. Some of us over prepare and that alleviates any anxiety, others don’t prepare and that is fine too. We are only human.

Much love, stay safe, be happy, C xxxxx


Download “Nuclear War Survival Skills” book from US Archive here

Download FEMA information sheet here

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (800 Mt) | Click for link to website

Blackout Britain. Prepare for winter and the cost of living.

“Ofgem, the energy regulator, has said there was a “significant risk” of gas shortages this winter because of the war in Ukraine,” according to The Guardian

“The UK is planning for several days over the winter when cold weather may combine with gas shortages, leading to organized blackouts for industry and even households,” says Bloomberg.

Judy Young remembers, “during the electricity blackouts in the 1970s, the family had to quickly adjust to the fact that they might be left without power for hours, and so make the most of the time in which the electricity was on, including cooking when they were able to.”

Let’s have a conversation. Whether we experience organised blackouts throughout the winter, or more likely self-imposed blackouts because lets face it, most of us will struggle with the doubling of energy prices and the rising cost of living, how will we reduce our costs? What changes will you make? Is it time we got back to basics?

I’ve just had a smart meter installed. I’m probably one of the last 20% of the people in the UK to get one. I’m already anxious that yesterday, the first full day on my smart meter, registered a daily spend of £3.52 (last year my average daily spend was less than £1.50 according to my bills). Needless to say that today I have refrained from running the tumble drier and nearly everything has been switched off at the wall and all my office computers and screens were turned off completely overnight too. Todays spend so far (its 8pm) is £1.94 so likely to be at least £1 less than yesterday.

Let me just say that I’m always mindful about power usage. I do try and line dry my laundry and am now hanging clothing over the bath to dry too but there will be occasions I have to use the tumble dryer. Usually its 10 minutes to finish off drying the clothes from the bathroom that are still slightly damp after two days drying!

This year we are determined not to turn any form of heating on, not even for a minute, until November the 1st. It was a rule we lived by 20 years ago when we lived in a leaky old farmhouse in Wales that seemed to have the ability to burn through half the earths natural resources during the winter, cost us hundreds of £’s in oil yet still always guaranteed that we were always feeling cold.

During WW2 fuel was of course rationed. The coal ration was set at two and a half tons per household per year and when you consider that nearly everything was run by coal, from heating to hot water, you had coal fires, coal boilers & coppers, and coal fired cooking ranges. Cutting back on coal was real hardship for most.

I’m spending October in contemplation. Mindfully creating small actions that lead to small savings, but small changes in abundance soon add up. I already have my trusted hot water bottles poised and ready to heat the bedding and warm my feet like our grandparents often relied on. Thick socks and knitted hats and jumpers and even gloves if needs be will joyfully be worn indoors uncomplainingly (we’ll see how long that lasts!)

Finally, on a more serious note, I worry for families on the poverty line that are elderly or have small children, what a miserable winter they will have. How are people who truly struggle going to make it?

Much love, C xxxxx

It finally feels like Autumn…

Ate my first squash of the year and it officially feels like autumn! I bought an acorn squash hybrid called “Mashed Potato” squash, drizzled it with a little olive oil and baked it with flesh side down in the oven for 30 minutes or so until soft. Sprinkled it with salt and pepper and ate it just like that, scooping it away from the skin. It tasted so buttery and decadent, so comforting….love it!!

I grew nothing in my garden this year apart from herbs and a little garlic but I still have a few pots of jam, piccalilli, bread and butter pickles and beetroot left which should be still OK. My main under-stairs “prepper pantry” now has basic supplies of canned tomatoes, beans, baked beans etc and staples such as pasta, rice, flour and various other things such as a years supply of soya mince set aside for the winter. I’ve got stuff stashed away in an unplugged fridge and in other boxes and tubs too. For some strange reason it gives me some comfort knowing that stuff like that is there. Maybe it was the years living so rurally in Wales and Canada and trying to be self-sufficient to a degree that still impacts me. We all have our strange ways though don’t we!

C xxxx