Piccalilli – Recipe No. 185

Would you believe me if I told you I’ve never tasted Piccalilli before? I truly believe, at 54 years young I am a ‘Piccalilli Virgin’ so it was with great excitement I prepared these jars of pickle, knowing that after waiting for half-a-century, I was going to experience for the very first time a mainstay of the ‘Women’s Institute’ our Grandmother’s larders and the quintessential food item for sale at English Summer Fete’s. I wasn’t disappointed…

Piccalilli is an 18th century “British” Indian style pickle that always contains cauliflower mixed with other available garden vegetables such as onion, green beans. carrots, marrow/courgette mixed with a thickened vinegar/mustard sauce spiced and coloured with Turmeric. It’s a wonderful accompaniment to bread, cheese, fresh salad vegetables, pies, cold cut meats and I will surely enjoy this as a regular dollop on my plate!

C xxx

Piccalilli Ingredients

  • 2 kg of fresh mixed vegetables (Cauliflower + carrot, cucumber/gherkin, marrow/courgettes, green beans, onions, celery)
  • 200g of sugar
  • 150g of salt (overnight prep)
  • 30g plain flour or cornflour
  • 20g ground ginger
  • 20g mustard powder
  • 2-4 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
  • 1 litre of white vinegar (although I’m sure malt would be fine too)

You will also need 9 or 10 1lb preserve jars with lids which need to be sterilised. I wash them and rinse, place opened jars on a tray in oven at 160C for about 20 minutes so piping hot. The lids are placed in very hot water (previously boiled) in a bowl.

Method

  1. Wash, peel where needed and dice all veg into small pieces.
  2. Put veg into a large bowl and mix well with the 150g of salt making sure to finally sprinkle some over the top before placing the bowl in the fridge overnight. The salt draws out the water from within the vegetables.
  3. When ready to start making the Piccalilli, wash the veg several times in cold water to remove as much salt as possible and drain thoroughly.
  4. Add the vinegar and the sugar to a large saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves, add the prepared vegetables.
  5. Stir veg, vinegar and sugar well, add in ginger, mustard and mustard seeds, bring to boil and simmer for several minutes until the veg is still slightly crunchy. Stir when needed.
  6. While the veg is cooking mix the flour and turmeric together with a little vinegar to make a smooth, runny paste.
  7. Add the mixture, while continuously stirring, to the veg in the pan and continue to stir until the mixture thickens.
  8. After a few further minutes of cooking remove from heat.
  9. Ladle mixture into hot jars and screw on hot lids immediately. Leave 1/2 to 1-inch headroom under the lid.
  10. Leave jars to cool overnight.
  11. Label the next day.

The Piccalilli is best left for 2-4 weeks to mature but I ate some the next day and thoroughly enjoyed it!

 


People have asked me where I have been getting my cute jars and labels. The links are below:

JARS: 24 jam/chutney jars with gingham printed lids

>>CLICK HERE<<

LABELS: Re-usable and removable labels for jars and containers with chalk pen.

>>CLICK HERE<<

CANNING FUNNELS: 2 sizes, stainless steel for all jam/chutney/relish making.

>>CLICK HERE<<

10 Wartime Stale Bread Recipes to Save Food from the Bin and Feed Your Family!

Don’t you dare throw that stale bread away and join the CoronaVirus panic buying throngs who are now discarding all their rotting ‘fresh’ produce. Bread is one of the foods I’m seeing a lot of photos of in dustbins. SAVE IT NOW from the mouth of the hungry metal monster due to take it away on ‘bin-day’ by cooking some of these delicious wartime recipes (mostly puddings). They’ll keep in the fridge for days once baked, and in the freezer for months!

I’d like to apologise in advance for the ‘amazing photography’ from 10 years ago (British sarcasm) in several of the recipes below, it was in the early days of the blog which started in 2009, when I was flat broke and REALLY struggling. I think most of my photos were taken on an old flip video camera but I like to keep them to remember my journey and it’s various challenges.

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home,

C xxxx

Padded Pudding with Mock Cream: Watch the video above. The stale bread mixed with milk and cooked with jam looks like poo. I felt like Letita Cropley carrying out one of her great culinary experiments with strange ingredients. It actually tasted great! A good life lesson, don’t judge something or someone on how it/they look, chances are they will taste surprisingly delicious… just sayin’! Click here for recipe.

Plum Charlotte: Here’s a super-frugal wartime recipe made out of stale bread and fruit that’s going a little soft. As I had two of these things in my kitchen and I’m always finding ways to make ends meet, when I saw this recipe I knew it was just what I needed.
Click here for recipe.

Bread and Butter Pudding: In Marguerite Patten’s “Victory Cookbook” there is always one pudding recipe that is an absolute ‘go-to’ when one needs comforting and one has spare eggs. All becomes good in the world when you take that first spoonful of sugary topped, eggy, bready, sultana sprinkled, nutmeggy deliciousness, especially if served with a little hot custard if you can overlook the fact that it looks like cockroaches are climbing all over my food in the photograph… Click here for recipe.

Duke Pudding: How can stale bread and grated old carrots possibly be decadent? Trust me they are when you make them into a wartime “Duke Pudding”… Seeing the rapidly drying bread on my countertop and the carrots beginning to get spotty in the fridge, it was time once again to turn nothing into something in true 1940s home-front style and create a truly delicious alternative comfort food, much needed today of all days. Excuse the photography, it was 8 years ago and I hadn’t a clue! Click here for recipe.

Danish Apple pudding: Possibly one of the WORST food photos I have taken in my life from 10 years ago. It’s blurred and I’m not sure what I took the photo with. It could have something other than a camera because I probably didn’t have one.. Don’t let the brown blurry blob put you off. I remember this pudding was fab! I need to re-create and re-photograph! Click here for recipe.

Bread and Apple Pudding:For pudding the request was for ‘bread pudding’ yet again. To avoid this wartime pudding permanently being referred to as “bread-pudding-yet-again” I turned to a large bowl of sorry looking apples for divine inspiration- after-all Sir Isaac Newton stared at apples for an awfully long time before being rewarded with an answer… Click here for recipe.

Bread and Prune Pudding: You know that can of stewed prunes that has been languishing in your larder for several years, that you don’t want to throw away because you have inherited your grandmother’s and possibly mother’s innate ability to have everything stored away for a ‘rainy day’, WELL, you are about to use it and it’s gonna taste pretty damn good! Click here for recipe.

Brown Betty: It was unusual to make bread pudding without raisins in, Brown Betty has none, no eggs or milk either which makes me think all bread puddings could indeed be made eggless. Instead, it has water, the juice, and zest of a lemon and a generous quantity of golden syrup, spices, two grated apples, a little sugar and of course LOTS of stale bread! Click here for recipe.

Bread Pudding: I re-created this recipe about 12 years ago. This wartime recipe is easy-peasy and tasty. And of course it all in the custard too. Click here for recipe.

Bread Stuffing: And finally a recipe made from stale bread that isn’t a pudding and doesn’t look like a formless brown blob. Bread stuffing is so easy to make! This photo is from about 12 years ago, my pre-vegetarian days! Click here for recipe.

Blackcurrant Jam – Recipe No. 184

This is such a simple wartime recipe for a small quantity of delicious, velvety, deep-purple, mouthwatering blackcurrant jam. You HAVE to try it and so crazy-easy to attempt for your first go at making jam!

Fresh blackcurrants are preferable but to make it even easier I made this small-batch from frozen fruit perfectly! (In fact DON’T WAIT for fresh berries to come into the shops. It might be wise to buy some bags of frozen berries. Our British fruit pickers (over 90%) come from Eastern Europe each year performing vital services to our fruit harvesting industry. With our current ‘Coronavirus Pandemic’ situation, our normal guaranteed and reliable agricultural workers from overseas may be restricted from their normal annual travel to the UK which could be devastating for UK farmers if they cannot recruit enough British workers.)

Next time I go shopping (trying to restrict it to a maximum of once or twice a week for fresh produce), I’ll certainly be buying myself a bag or two of more frozen berries while they are available.

I enjoyed two slices of bread I made yesterday slathered in this ‘juicy assed jam’ with a nice cuppa tea and I recommend you do exactly the same.

It will make you smile.

Take care, stay safe, stay home

C xxxx

Blackcurrant Jam (makes 3 x 1 lb pots)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of frozen berries
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed (not vital)
  • 1 teaspoon of pectin (not vital but I always add to all jams I make)
  • Clean jam jars (rinse, heat in oven at 140C for 15 minutes)
  • Clean lids (rinse, place in a small bowl, cover with hot pre-boiled water until ready to seal jars)

Method

  1. Put the 4 cups of frozen berries in a large thick-bottomed saucepan and put onto a medium heat.
  2. Stir until berries are defrosted and simmering gently (about 5 mins). Remove from heat.
  3. Mash with a potato masher a little so some of the berries burst to the consistency you like.
  4. Mix the sugar and pectin and add to the berry mix and stir until all mixed together.
  5. Add in the 1/2 squeezed lemon.
  6. Return to medium heat and keep stirring slowly adjusting the heat so as not to burn.
  7. You need to bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring all the time and maintain this for about 10 minutes until the setting point has been reached (105 C or 220 F). If you don’t have a thermometer drop 1/2 teaspoon onto a cold plate and if after a minute it thickens and becomes fairly firm instead of liquid then it has reached the setting point.
  8. Once the correct temperature has been reached, keep stirring and give the mixture another minute.
  9. Remove from heat and stir again.
  10. Remove hot jars from oven (see above)
  11. Using a ladle and funnel, add the hot jam mixture to the hot jars and twist on the clean hot lids.
  12. Set aside, the jar will be hot and will take at least a few hours to cool.
  13. Jam is ready to use once it has totally cooled down and unopened will keep for a year or two.


People have asked me where I have been getting my cute jars and labels. The links are below:

JARS: 24 jam/chutney jars with gingham printed lids

>>CLICK HERE<<

LABELS: Re-usable and removable labels for jars and containers with chalk pen.

>>CLICK HERE<<

CANNING FUNNELS: 2 sizes, stainless steel for all jam/chutney/relish making.

>>CLICK HERE<<






7 Ration Book Recipes to Beat the Coronavirus Pandemic Panic Buying!

As easy, quick, convenience foods are rapidly flying off our supermarket shelves at an extraordinary speed in recent days during the ‘Coronavirus Global Pandemic’, NOW is a good time to perhaps turn to simple foods from yesteryear to create nourishing meals for ourselves and loved ones with ingredients that still appear to be more readily available.

I’ve selected several of my re-created authentic wartime recipes below that fill tummies, are surprisingly delicious, and simple to make. Many of them use porridge oats, dried lentils, root vegetables, butter/margarine, basic fruit and flour. Add herbs, salt and spices to your own personal taste!

And if we at some stage, can’t get bananas, for a bit of fun I’ve included a video recipe to make yourself some ‘mock banana’ sandwiches out of parsnips.

Keep calm, keep your spirits up and let’s keep carrying on!

Much love,

C xxxx

PS: Check out my links to some prepping and self-sufficiency websites and YouTube channels at the bottom of the page!

Apple and Rhubarb Crumble
It’s been forever since I’ve baked a proper British pudding and every spoonful that entered my mouth was accompanied by sounds of wanton desire that were slightly obscene. There is something wrong with a pudding if it’s consumer doesn’t groan a little…

Here is the authentic WW2 recipe. Enjoy and groan a little yourself… Click here!

Marrow and Lentil Stew
Just to clarify a question that has been popping up on Facebook and Instagram… a marrow in the UK is pretty much an overgrown courgette (zucchini) and not bone marrow (but I can understand the confusion there for sure!). You can use courgettes for this recipe too!

So far out of 1 marrow I have created 3 large portions of ‘Marrow Masala’ (not a 1940’s recipe), a ‘Courgette Cake’ (not a 1940’s recipe), 3 large jars of ‘Marrow Chutney’ and today a ‘Marrow and Lentil Stew’. The stew today was delicious!

Here is the stovetop recipe. Click here!

Potato Salad with Dutch Sauce
Curious as to what (during rationing in WW2) people slathered their spuds in, I delved into ‘Feeding the Nation’ by Marguerite Patten OBE. Heinz Salad Cream became a wartime favourite like any convenience food was often in limited supply so many of the ration book recipes called for making homemade dressings which tried to replicate salad cream or mayonnaise. Click here for the recipe..

Oaty Biscuits
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. Click here!

Hunt Pie
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? Click here!

The Original Lord Woolton Pie
I’ve made a couple of versions of ‘Woolton Pie’ which you will find in my list of re-created recipes here BUT after much research I think now I’ve found the original recipe.

I love Lord Woolton Pie. Thing is I go bonkers for pastry and a generous serving of this comforting vegetable pie with a thick brown Bisto gravy made with the vegetable water, was exactly what I needed today. Click here!

Homity ‘Land Girl’ Pie
Here it is… the promised Homity Pie recipe! Let me tell you, it’s totally delicious, TOTALLY!

Homity Pie is an open-topped pie said to have first been made by Land-Girls during WW2 and supposed to have originated in the West Country.

It’s REALLY difficult finding the original recipe as there are so many bastardised versions hanging around on the internet, so after having researched for hours (yes I am a food nerd) and comparing recipes with rationing, the below recipe is likely the closest version to it’s origins taking into account the scarcity of eggs and onions. Click here!

Mock Banana
Here it is… why not try it for fun. You have to laugh, hopefully we will still have our bananas and there will be no need to resort to parsnips!

Click here for recipe and video!

SOME GREAT YOUTUBE CHANNELS & BLOGS BELOW!

Prepper Princess – Love this gal! She lives in the USA, an independent strong woman with lots of self-sufficiency skills working towards financial independence. Click here!

Homestead Tessie – She loves being as frugal and self-sufficient as possible with what she’s got and she loves creating daily videos! Click here!

Compost and Custard – I’ve known Naomi online for over 20 years. She has a passion for self-sufficiency and home schooling, nature, permaculture and wildlife. Click here!

Riverford Organic Farmers – loads of online recipes as well as supplying organic fresh veg via box. Click here!

Alaska Granny – The AlaskaGranny channel teaches how to become more resilient and resourceful. I like to use what I have to make what I need, and enjoy sharing tips and tricks to help others do the same. Click here!

National Trust Vegetable Tagine Recipe

I nearly got my feet off the ground as a National Trust volunteer. I did all my training, my induction, got my ID and even my much coveted National Trust fleece, everything was in place to work as a Creative Interpreter at Hardwick Hall and then I got that big damn gallbladder flare up.

That hit me so hard and it was so painful for many months there wasn’t any way I’d be able to stand for several hours. Before I knew it I was then on the surgery waiting list and couldn’t commit to going forward dates. To be honest I was also just EXHAUSTED… Although my full-time day job as a ‘Digital Media Coordinator’ is a desk job it’s often catch-up and chores on a Saturday and Sunday is probably the only day in the week where I have the opportunity to rest. But oh the excitement of potentially working in the glorious home of ‘Bess of Hardwick’ and getting involved in the National Trust work drew me to want to give over some of that time too….

In the end of course it hasn’t happened (apart from one day in Easter, shortly before my gallbladder attack where I worked as a ‘Visitor Experience’ volunteer with the Easter Egg hunt and also spent some hours in the National Trust restaurant clearing tables! Had a fantastic time!!). I loved so much too….

But I digress…

National Trust Vegetable Tagine Recipe

I still love to keep up to date with all things National Trust and today I saw this simple but seemingly delicious recipe on their ‘YouTube Channel’. I have a couple of squash in my pantry so this will definitely be in my tummy this weekend!

I had to share it!

As for getting back into volunteering for the National Trust? Absolutely. When I’m fit and well again, just try and stop me!

C xxxx

Useful links: Please click

National Trust – I have a membership that costs me £6 a month and with that I have free access to all 500 National Trust properties, free parking and discounts. As I don’t take holidays (being frugal) taking myself off to these beautiful places is my bit of rest and relaxation and I can go as many times as I want! https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/join-us

Volunteering at the National Trust – Even if it is just one day a month they NEED YOU! Honestly you get to meet some AMAZING people with passion! oh and you get to be up close and personal with history and heritage, so close infact you can sniff it! https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteer

Visit Hardwick Hall – You NEED to find out more about ‘Bess of Hardwick’. She was one strong and amazing woman thriving among the patriarchal society of the times. She built Hardwick Hall (more glass than wall) and was confidante to Elizabeth I oh and was custodian of ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ for 15 years after her forced abdication. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardwick-hall

Marrow & Lentil Stew – Recipe No. 181

Today I have managed to use another 1/4 of my marrow by making a delicious ‘marrow and lentil stew’.

Just to clarify a question that has been popping up on Facebook and Instagram… a marrow in the UK is pretty much an overgrown courgette (zucchini) and not bone marrow (but I can understand the confusion there for sure!).

So far out of 1 marrow I have created 3 large portions of ‘Marrow Masala’ (not a 1940’s recipe), a ‘Courgette Cake’ (not a 1940’s recipe), 3 large jars of ‘Marrow Chutney’ and today a ‘Marrow and Lentil Stew’. The stew today was delicious!

Here is the stove top recipe.

Marrow and Lentil Stew

  • 1 lb of marrow, deseeded, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 heaped dessertspoon of chutney (I added the marrow chutney I made yesterday)
  • Salt & Pepper to your own preferred taste
  • Rosemary and other dried herbs to your own preferred taste.
  • Bisto powder to thicken (or gravy granules)

Method

  1. Place the onion is a saucepan with a teaspoon of margarine and fry lightly until starting to brown
  2. Add in the marrow, chopped tomatoes, red lentils, chutney, herbs and mix.
  3. Add in some boiling water to cover veggies and ad salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add in Bisto powder (mixed into a smooth runny paste with a little water) to thicken after the stew has been cooking for 20 minutes. Continue to cook until veggies and lentils are cooked.

Serves 2

Marrow Chutney – Recipe No. 180

When I was given an enormous marrow (actually an overgrown courgette) by a work colleague the other day, I was up for the challenge it would present seeing as I am the only person in my household that appreciates a good marrow!

In my best frugal style I’ve so far lived off the marrow for three days now and have got halfway through it and so far created three dishes. The first was a ‘Marrow Masala’ which made me two main dinners and a packed lunch for work, a courgette drizzle cake of which I ate several slices at home then brought the other half to work where surprisingly my mostly male colleagues enjoyed it despite telling them the main ingredient was “Allan’s Marrow”.

Today I used a recipe for wartime marrow chutney to make three large pasta jars full of this surprisingly delicious meal accompaniment. I’ll be taking one of these as a gift to a BBQ tonight, so pretty confident that I won’t be poisoning anyone…(despite building up a reputation as the ‘Letitia Cropley’ of South Yorkshire)

Here is the recipe

Marrow Chutney

  • 2 lbs of marrow
  • 2 apples
  • 2 onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lbs sugar
  • handful of sultanas (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of pickling spices (I had none so used some dried herbs, pepper, crushed chilli flakes, turmeric)
  • 3/4 pint of vinegar (I used 1/2 malt and 1/2 apple cider)

Method

  1. Chop apples into small pieces and slowly soften for 5 minutes in a large saucepan with a little of the vinegar.
  2. Add the two chopped onions, add more vinegar, cook for another 5 minutes stirring when needed.
  3. Chop up the marrow into 1/2 inch pieces (after removing skin and seeds) and add two pounds of marrow to the saucepan with most of the rest of the vinegar and stir.
  4. Hold some vinegar back to add later on if mixture gets too thick.
  5. Add the sugar, salt, sultanas, pickling spices and stir bringing to a simmer.
  6. Cook on medium/low for about 45 minutes until everything is cooked soft and some of the mixture is getting thick and pulpy. Add a little more vinegar if mixture is too dry and thick.
  7. Meanwhile add the clean rinsed jars on a baking tray into a preheated oven at 140 C for about 10 minutes until jars are hot and steep lids in boiling water.
  8. When mixture is ready removed from heat and remove jars from oven.
  9. Add hot mixture to hot jars and screw lids on.

Makes 3 larger jars or 5 jam jars. Will keep for a year in the larder, refrigerate once open.