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!
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
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)
- Place the onion is a saucepan with a teaspoon of margarine and fry lightly until starting to brown
- Add in the marrow, chopped tomatoes, red lentils, chutney, herbs and mix.
- Add in some boiling water to cover veggies and ad salt and pepper to taste.
- 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.
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
- 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)
- Chop apples into small pieces and slowly soften for 5 minutes in a large saucepan with a little of the vinegar.
- Add the two chopped onions, add more vinegar, cook for another 5 minutes stirring when needed.
- 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.
- Hold some vinegar back to add later on if mixture gets too thick.
- Add the sugar, salt, sultanas, pickling spices and stir bringing to a simmer.
- 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.
- 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.
- When mixture is ready removed from heat and remove jars from oven.
- 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.
Just the other day I was offered some rhubarb out of the boot of a work colleagues car.
For anyone that knows me, if it’s free I’ll make use of it and enjoy it even more knowing that it’s cost me nothing. It’s the mend and make-do philosophy innately ingrained in my psyche. In this case the immediate thought of mouth watering apple and rhubarb crumble with custard that entered my head as soon as my work colleague opened the boot of his car to display his mountain of rhubarb, absolutely solidified this transaction and if he had, at that moment changed his mind, there is no doubt that I would have grabbed an armful and made a run for it.
Today I made the crumble. I made a portion for everyone, I even made a small dish for my work colleague.
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…
Apple and Rhubarb Crumble
1 lb rhubarb
1 lb tasty apples
2 tablespoons of golden syrup or 2 oz sugar
7 oz plain flour
3 oz oats
3 oz margarine or butter
3 oz sugar for topping
1 oz of light brown sugar to sprinkle on top
pinch of salt
Wipe the rhubarb and cut into small pieces. Simmer in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water for about 10 minutes until cooked.
Slice the apples into small pieces. Simmer in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water for about 5 minutes until cooked.
Mix rhubarb and apple together when cooked and mix in the golden syrup or sugar.
Grease a pie tin and spoon in the mixture.
Place plain flour, pinch of salt, 3 oz sugar and 3 oz of butter or margarine (in small pieces) into a bowl together.
Rub between fingers to create a breadcrumb like mixture and spoon over the top of the stewed fruit thickly.
Sprinkle with the brown sugar.
Place in an oven at around 170 C for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with custard.
And as well as eating apple and rhubarb crumble for my dinner I also took some photographs from my garden this afternoon. I picked some of the herbs I grew last year and took photos of the most beautiful dragonfly (I’ve been told its a Migrant Hawker)…it was too beautiful not to share.
PS: It’s good to be back…
So at lunch I was experimenting in the kitchen. I wanted to come up with something I could make up and keep in the fridge for a few days to use in recipes as an alternative to animal mince meat. I looked at a few recipes on the web and decided to make my own only using simple, frugal wholefood ingredients that would have been around on the home front on a good shopping day!
To be honest I wasn’t expecting much with my first attempt but this came out incredibly well. Obviously it’s not a WW2 ration book recipe but I really had to share this because it is very healthy and VERY frugal.
I didn’t have my camera with me just my phone to take a snap shot but hope you can still see that the burger looked quite delicious!
Cost: The mixture makes 6 large burgers (or more smaller ones) and based on 6 big burgers the cost is about 5p per burger without mushrooms or about 13p per burger with mushrooms.
Calories: Each burger is about 150 cals and about 10g of protein and over 10% of daily iron requirement and 25% of daily fibre…high in potassium too!
- 1 cup dry lentils (I used red split lentils but any will do)
- 2 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (you could use garlic salt or powder)
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 oz brown mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
- 1 or 2 teaspoon dried sage (depending on how much you like it)
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon mild chilli powder
- 3 rounded teaspoons of sweet chutney
- Few shakes of ground black pepper
- Wash the lentils then place in a saucepan with the two cups of water, the chopped garlic and onion, ½ the salt, the chilli powder, sage and rosemary. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile in a food processer, put in the mushrooms and pulse 4 or 5 times for just a second or two until finely chopped, add in the oats, chutney and the rest of the salt. Set aside.
- Drain the lentil mixture then add to the food processor and pulse again several times for a couple of seconds until a thick coarse paste is formed.
- Remove mixture and form into burgers. Will make six large thick burgers or 8-10 smaller ones.
- Fry on medium in a pan with a little olive oil until nicely browned on the outside.
Today I have had bread rolls for lunch and bread rolls for dinner because these ‘oat topped bread rolls’ were so delicious that I couldn’t stop. I’d run out of bread at home and it was easy to knock up a small batch of rolls and cheap too!
Using the basic home-made bread recipe used on the home front during WW2 (fat free) it didn’t take long before 6 large bread rolls appeared out of the oven and filled my tummy.
Instead of using plain flour I used one of my favourite flours (which was open in the cupboard already) and that is Allinsons Country Grain Bread Flour which is so tasty, chewy and malty with whole grains in.
Total cost: I worked out the cost to be under 5p per roll using a store brand strong bread flour and it was under 10p per role using the ‘Allinsons Country Grain Bread Flour’.
Oat Topped Bread Rolls (makes 6)
- 3/4 lb (340g) plain flour (strong bread flour for best results although this was not for sale during the war!)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4/10th pint (225 mls) of warm water
- 1.5 teaspoon dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Handful of porridge oats
- Place flour, yeast, sugar and salt into mixing bowl and mix.
- Add in the warm water and mix well adding more water or more flour as needed until it is the right consistency.
- Remove dough onto a floured board and knead until it feels nice and stretchy and elastic.
- Use parchment paper to line a baking tray (with sides) and divide the dough into six round balls and slightly flatten.
- Cover the tray with a clean damp tea towel or cling film and place somewhere warm to prove (should nearly double in size)
- Remove cover, sprinkle with some oats, and place in a pre-heated oven at 180c for about 20 minutes or so.
- Leave to cool on tray once removed from the oven.
175-200 cals per roll.
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Here is a nice tasty wartime flapjack recipe which I’ve made twice in the last two weeks as I had lots of oats to use up and some hard margarine. I divided the mixture up and added a handful of mixed dried fruit into the second half. You could anything you wanted like some chopped nuts or shredded coconut.
Flapjack (makes 8 large or 12 regular slices)
- 250g Porridge Oats
- 100g Butter (or hard margarine)
- 100g Light Brown Sugar
- 2-3 Tbsps Golden Syrup (or any thick table syrup)
- Put the butter or margarine and the golden syrup into a saucepan and melt gently. When the mixture becomes liquid mix in the sugar and stir.
- Remove from heat and add in the oats. (and any additional ingredients you want to add like dried fruit or coconut).
- Grease an appropriate size container and press in the flapjack mixture with the back of a spoon.
- Place in a pre-heated oven at 160-180 C for 20-30 minutes until edges are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and set aside. Cut into slices while still warm. Leave to cool completely before removing from tin.
Cost = 80p in ingredients.