Wartime Christmas Cake – Ministry of Food – Recipe No. 156

Just giving this old recipe a bump! I’ll likely try and new wartime recipe for Christmas Cake this year but this one did come out well!

The 1940's Experiment

So here is the first promised Wartime Christmas themed recipe for our ‘Wartime Christmas Countdown’ here on www.the1940sExperiment.com.

This is a recommended Christmas Cake recipe from the Ministry of Food in the mid 1940’s and the rationed ingredients make a very acceptable cake. My son works in Tesco’s so I was able to go shopping last night with him and get a 10% discount on my shopping! (he has a staff discount card!). Every little bit helps!

Wartime Christmas Cake – Ministry of Food

4 oz (115g) margarine
3 oz (85g) of soft brown sugar
1 lb dried mixed fruit
2 reconstituted dried eggs or 2 fresh eggs
3 level tablespoons of warmed treacle or golden syrup
8 oz (225g) of plain flour
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
3 tablespoons of cold strained tea
(I also…

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Breaking free of the cage..

I think the last few times my weight had risen to above 340 lbs was in 2003 and 2005 and around 2007. The biggest I’ve been since then is 325 lbs several times. In 2003 I tipped 350 lbs, my feet swelled horrendously, I didn’t take care of myself as I should, was actually very anxious and depressed and felt ugly and embarrassed to be out. My state of mind now is so different now in contrast even though my journey is a little over halfway done. Losing 100 lbs has made such a huge difference in many aspects of my life. I’ve grown stronger mentally and physically and I love being a single, independent woman.

It sucks a bit leaving it this long to finally be getting things right, wish I’d felt stronger then to do something about it but dealing with it now will mean there is much to look forward to as I lose more weight. Being less limited by my physical size really does have a positive impact on my happiness.

This is an ongoing battle, it will be with me for the rest of my life but every year that passes I feel like I’m getting more control over it.

I am determined to reach my 175 lbs goal ultimately but my biggest goal has to be getting out of the 200’s forever and never returning. This action in itself will have such a positive impact on my health and right now this is what is important to me.

Sending much love to everyone who has struggled long term with morbid and super morbid obesity. There is definitely a precipice, a point when it’s far less painful to carry on gaining love and comfort and being soothed by food than the hell on earth trying to wean yourself off the false love it gives you and face the struggles and unkindness of the real world when you venture outside….

Take care, keep fighting

C xxxx

#progressnotperfection
#fattofit
#morbidobesity
#weightloss
#beforeandafter

Back on track to lose half my body weight.

Thanks for the good lucks and messages on Facebook regarding getting stuck back into my health and weight loss battle.

I appreciate that I’ve been in this very same position sooo many times in the past several years that its impossible to count BUT I honestly just keep battling…chipping away, then gaining, brushing off the dust and getting back up again. The way I look at it is I am currently almost 100 lbs less than I was when I was super depressed and super morbidly obese. Am just 10 lbs off being out of the morbid obesity category too which will mean my BMI will be 39 (my BMI at its highest was 57).

I know there is a long way to go to get to a healthy weight. NHS says I should be no more than 11st 4 lbs which is 158 lbs but to be quite honest I’d be so very happy and thrilled to reach 12st 7lbs which is 175 lbs and maintain it with a healthy lifestyle.

Just in a happier place right now in all aspects of my life.

Am happy feeling healthier and working towards adding years to my life, LOVE being single and psychologically the depression has years gone. Being without a job right now has had some benefits too, the exhaustion has mostly lifted and I have time right now to focus on getting my health sorted.

I REALLY appreciate all your encouragement and am confident that this time next year won’t be talking about my weight all the time because I will have reached goal and will have learned how to control my urges.

Thanks so much again! Off to burn calories in the garden now!

C xxx

PS: Don’t forget to check out or enter this competition to win this BEAUTIFUL cottage! I’m dreaming of this golden ticket every single day! CLICK HERE

I did a Radio Interview in the USA! (about rationing of course!)

YES! Really!

Despite my ongoing imposter syndrome, forgetful nature and several hours of nerves hoping I’d become violently unwell so I could get out of doing it, I just appeared on the John Budris Show in Boston, Massachusetts at WRKO-AM 680 talking about rationing…
It was of course pre-recorded, I think I may have ended up in an ambulance if it had been live. Nevertheless it was challenging as what I meant to say simply didn’t quite come out of my mouth correctly.

I need at this stage to THANK Rob Townsend who interviewed me over Skype, was very patient, calming, and encouraging, a great host! Rob is a talented guy. He used to work at Angell Sound studios in London and now creates professional voice-overs, as well as audio editing and creation and radio work for projects around the world. Check out his video showreel HERE!

If you’d like to hear the show in its entirety it airs again on Saturday 30th May at 10:00 am and the rationing segments start at around 10:37 am. The radio stream you need to listen too will be HERE

The two segments are also below if you’d like to listen to them too!

Rationing Interview with Rob Townsend on WRKO-AM 680 CLICK HERE!

C xxxxx

WIN a beautiful stone cottage in North Wales

I have this little dream… A sympathetically renovated, little stone cottage in the countryside, with a garden for relaxing and growing cottage garden plants and vegetables in.

I’ve not given up on my dream BUT I am a realist too and it’s likely to remain renting somewhere convenient for the rest of my life, however as long as the dream is always there it keeps you going.

Today I saw this bonafide competition to win a perfect little dream cottage and I, of course, bought my golden ticket (I felt like Charlie with his Wonka bar). £5 for a chance of a dream is worth it to me….

I thought I’d share my link if you’d like to take a look and perhaps enter.

>>>CLICK HERE TO ENTER<<<

Good luck, C xxxxx

Make Do and Mend – Kitchen Knife Repair

Over the coming months, I’m going to shout-out to people “Making Do and Mending” things to promote moving away from our modern disposable outlook on life and instead appreciating what we have and making do with what we’ve got wherever possible. Infact, it may become more of a way of life for many of us who are currently unemployed due to the pandemic.

Troy on Twitter who I follow, recently has started a series of videos on mending knives. I am loving them. Thought I’d share them below. It’s very satisfying to see people with skills and passions and for the longevity of useful implements. Great job Troy and thanks for letting me share your clip.

His home page is here https://twitter.com/Ragnargrimzen

C xxx

VE Day 75

I really hope everyone is enjoying a day of commemoration and celebration today.

A quiet day here. I’ve sat in the back garden for carrot and date scones with whipped cream, rhubarb jam, and strawberries and I have 1 bottle of beer in the fridge for when I get back from my walk. Joined in the 2 minutes silence, watched Churchill’s speech and will sing inside the house later, I fear I would burst into tears in the company of others even if we are all at a distance.

I must apologise for this very brief post as some of you may know my laptop needs replacing. I get 10 minutes from it before the screen gives out. I hope to get this sorted out next week.

Take care, have a lovely evening.

C xxxx

Rhubarb & Apple Jam – Recipe No. 193

My friend Jacquie (who I hadn’t seen in person for over 30 years) recently dropped off a big bag of rhubarb at my door. It was absolutely lovely to see her again at a distance and to receive the gift of rhubarb. Infact, I’m doing quite well because Olly, her husband (who I also hadn’t seen for over 30 years) dropped off 3 raspberry canes for my garden last month too. Needless to say, when it is safe to visit in a month or two (or three) it will be great to catch up with them properly and bring reciprocal goodies in return!

The very next day I set to work on making a rhubarb and apple jam (with a cup full of frozen berries thrown in for good measure). Using a standard recipe from the Ministry of Foods ‘Jams and Jellies’ leaflet I substituted one of the main ingredients (in this case elderberries for rhubarb) and that was pretty much that.

Maincrop Rhubarb often has stringy bits in it, you’ll see what I mean when you cut the end. Simply lift the strings and pull down the stalk to remove them. I removed some of mine not all. Everything was fine..

As always, jam with rhubarb is delicious. To me, it is synonymous with an English wartime kitchen garden. As I enjoyed some fresh homemade bread slathered with the jam after taking the main photos today, it somehow fit perfectly into a warm sunny afternoon. Despite being in the town centre, my garden backs onto ‘Queens Park’ in Swindon (where I now live) and I am lucky to have robins, blue tits, wrens, magpies, squirrels, bees and butterflies visiting daily and several curiously watched and hovered as I sat back quietly enjoying the simplicity and taste of bread and jam.

Hope you really enjoy this recipe.

C xxx

 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs rhubarb
  • 2 lbs Bramley apples (any type will do but cooking is best)
  • 1 cup of mixed wild berries (blackberry, elderberry, blackcurrants or frozen mixed berries, whatever your favourite is!)
  • 3 lbs of sugar

 

Method

  1. Wash and peel apples and cut into chunks.
  2. Wash and string (where necessary) the rhubarb and chop into chunks, cover in all the sugar, mix and set aside for 30 minutes to bring out the juice.
  3. Put the sugar-coated rhubarb, rhubarb juice and apple chunks in a preserving pan (or similar) and simmer gently (add a little water if necessary) stirring slowly until soft (about 5-10 mins).
  4. Add the berries, bring to the boil and simmer, stirring slowly until soft (about 5-10 mins). Add a little more water if necessary as you don’t want the fruit to burn.
  5. Continue to boil rapidly for a further 10 mins stirring regularly.
  6. Take off the heat and test a large drop of jam on a chilled saucer and if it crinkles after a couple of mins it’s ready (alternatively use a jam/candy thermometer until it reaches 105C)
  7. If not boil for another 2 mins and repeat the test until ready.
  8. Remove excess scum with a slotted spoon.
  9. Ladle hot jam into hot sterilised jars having first made sure glass rims of jars are spotless. Clean with white vinegar if not.
  10. Put on hot lids and twist until finger tight. Set aside to cool undisturbed or alternatively further process in a hot water bath to ensure a good vacuum and seal.
  11. Makes several x 300 ml jars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pickled Beetroot – Recipe No. 192

Who doesn’t like that beautiful deep burgundy and earthy beauty of beetroot? It is, of course, just wonderful baked and eaten straight from the oven with just salt and pepper BUT it also takes on quite a different taste and usefulness when pickled for further use throughout the year. I particularly love my pickled beetroot preserved with juniper berries which somehow remind me of fragrant evergreen forests, certainly evocative of the wild. I like that..

It really is so simple to pickle beetroot and if you don’t want to go to the extra faff of processing the filled jars in a hot water bath at the end (so you can store them for several months in your larder) then you can always place the jars in your fridge instead and just make sure to use them up within a few weeks.

Once you bake your beetroot save the juice that is in the tin foil, once strained you can store it in the fridge for a few days and use it as a food dye for cakes.

Enjoy!

C xxxxx

Ingredients

  • Several large beetroots, 12 medium or 20+ tiny ones
  • 750 ml vinegar (white, malt or pickling)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dessert spoon black (or mixed) peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of juniper berries (my own addition just because I love them)
  • 1 dessertspoon of mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf in each jar (optional)

Method

  1. Gently wash beetroots and cut some of the stalks and tails off but leave an inch or so of the top and bottom on so they bleed less when cooking
  2. Place all in a couple of large pieces of tin foil brought together at the top or individually wrap.
  3. Cook in oven at about 180 C for an hour. Tiny ones less, large ones longer. Bake until tender.
  4. 20 minutes before the beetroot has cooked place clean washed jars into the oven to sterilise for about 20 minutes.
  5. You will also need to bring a large deep saucepan of water to a simmer as you will need to process the jars of beetroot after they have been bottled (not everyone does this but for safety I do as it ensures a good vacuum and seal)
  6. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle place in water and removed the skin and top and tail. If cooked properly the skin will easily peel away. Rinse and place on non-porous plate or tray.
  7. Cut into chunks for the medium or large beetroots, tiny ones can be pickled whole.
  8. In a saucepan place the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns and juniper berries (and mustard seeds if you like those)
  9. Stir and bring to a simmer until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  10. Remove jars from oven, fill jars with beetroot leaving 1/2 inch headroom, (add a bay leaf if you like) pour on hot liquid from saucepan.
  11. Clean jar rims with vinegar then put lids onto hot jars and liquid, finger tight.
  12. Place in hot water (covered by water) and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  13. Remove safely with jar lifter.
  14. Set aside and leave undisturbed so the jars create a vacuum and the lid depresses. Several hours later you can move the jar.
  15. Leave to mature for a week before using.
  16. Makes several small jars or 3 large ones.

A FREE 160 page book of wartime Ministry of Food leaflets.

I bought an electronic copy of ‘Eating for Victory’ from Amazon the other day for just 99p (even though I already have a treasured hard copy which I bought at Castle Museum in York). It’s been invaluable to have it with me to give me ideas when rummaging around in the kitchen wondering what to cook with leftovers or make things stretch further.

The book is essentially jammed full of ‘Ministry of Food’ recipe and instruction leaflets from WW2 in full colour, not only a fascinating piece of social history but so very useful too for now and in the future. I’ve included some snapshots so you can see more, I simply HIGHLY recommend it!

Since buying the book online (which I read via a free download Kindle app) I realised that actually I could have got this for free as Amazon are currently doing a 60 day FREE Kindle Unlimited promotion so yes, you get to read FREE books during lockdown and you can, of course, cancel at anytime. Needless to say I’ve signed up to that now having made a note to cancel before the end of June should my job situation not improve but for now, I’ll make the most of it!

Much love, stay safe, C xxxx

You can buy the 99p Kindle app version HERE ON AMAZON

OR You can sign-up for 60 days Kindle Unlimited and get it for FREE HERE

QUOTE:
How would you survive on wartime rations? Eating for Victory (subtitled Healthy Home Front Cooking on War Rations) makes for absolutely fascinating reading — and may answer the question as to what the reader might have made of these more straitened times.

The book reproduces official Second World War instruction leaflets (which have never before been published in book form) and demonstrates how millions of people in Britain endured food shortages during the hardships of WWII. With a perceptive foreword by Jill Norman, Eating for Victory shows that the government endeavoured to keep morale high by producing a host of the upbeat leaflets included here on such subjects as ‘using up stale crusts’ and ‘foods for fitness’ (the leaflets are most amusing in this area, showing how much thinking has changed over the years — the use of fats and lard looks very quaint in these more enlightened times). But what gives particular pleasure here is the verbatim reproduction of the original artwork and typefaces, which vividly conjures a lost era. To read this entertaining little book is like climbing into a time machine to take us back to the 1940s.” –Barry Forshaw