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.
I had lots of vegetables to eat up today but as I don’t eat meat I felt that something filling was needed on my plate for dinner tonight. I had some coarse oatmeal in my pantry so when I found a wartime recipe for ‘oatmeal stuffing’ it was obvious to me that I had to make this and eat it instead of crisps or chocolate (two days this week I succumbed to the foods of the devil!).
Once again, this is a very simple and easy recipe to create although I will fore warn you that the cooked oatmeal will cling to the sides of your saucepan in such a way that you will find it rather tempting to just throw your pan in the bin rather than spend an hour scrubbing it afterwards. If you decide to let your saucepan live to see another day you might just have to leave it to soak overnight…
I think a little grated apple and some chopped sage would have been nice in this dish and will definitely make this again with these extra additions.
3 oz coarse oatmeal
2 oz breadcrumbs
1.5 tea cups of water
salt and pepper
1 finely chopped or grated onion
Teaspoon dried mixed herbs
Spoonful of margarine or dripping
- Simmer 3 oz coarse oatmeal and chopped onion in 1.5 teacups of water for 20 minutes
- Add 2 oz of breadcrumbs, margarine, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and mix well
- Set aside and cool slightly and place into a greased pie dish
- Cook in a hot oven for about 15 minutes until browned
So I hardly used any of my sugar ration this week and seeing that the elderberries were beginning to ripen in the garden and there were still some blackberries coming through, I thought it would be nice to make some jam. I don’t have a freezer and only a small fridge so whatever I pick I have to use quickly.
Only managing to pick 8oz of fruit it hardly seemed worth making the jam as in the end it made less than half a large jar full however it tastes really lovely and is nice and pippy! I love texture and pips in my jam and this was perfect for that.
Blackberry & Elderberry Jam
Equal amounts of Blackberries and Elderberries
3/4lb of sugar per 1lb of berries (I was only able to get 8oz of berries from my garden so just used 6oz of sugar)
Note: It will take about 1lb of fruit to fill a jam jar. Use a fork to strip the ripe elderberries off their stems.
– Place the berries in a large saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
– On a low heat add the sugar and constantly stir. Increase the temperature while stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
– Bring to the boil until the setting point is reached. This will take about 10-20 minutes. (mixture will thicken and a small amount dropped onto a plate will firm up when it cools)
– Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
– Put in warmed sterilized jars and store ready for use.
Note: I sterilize jars by washing and rinsing jars and lids. I place the jars in a pre-heated oven (150 C) for about 10 minutes until hot. Meanwhile I place the lids into a saucepan with a little water in and bring it up to a hot temperature and turn off the heat. I then remove the hot jars, fill with jam, screw on the hot lids.
I’m picking wild blackberries in my garden every couple of days so today when I found a simple shortbread recipe in the ‘Eating for Victory’ book (a collection of reproduction WW2 instructional leaflets) I immediately decided the shortbread biscuits would need a blackberry on top to give them an extra a burst of flavour.
Let me tell you…the blackberries worked so well! It will take me a LOT of willpower to not devour all of them!
So the recipe is incredibly simple and I didn’t even use a rolling pin and a biscuit cutter.
3 oz plain white flour
2 oz margarine
1 oz sugar
10 fresh blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
Rub the margarine into the flour and sugar.
Knead into a dough without adding any water.
Roll out to about 1/8th inch and cut into biscuits (I simply tore off a walnut sized amount, rolled into a ball and flattened it in my palms and dented the middle once on the baking tray to place the blackberry).
Sprinkle with a little sugar.
Bake in a cool oven (about 150 c) until very pale golden brown around edges.
Makes 8-10 biscuits.
Here are some photos I snapped with my phone of the process..