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.

Mock Brains – Recipe No. 191

Mock recipes were created during the war because people missed the ‘real thing’ during times of rationing. Forgive me for saying this but SERIOUSLY, were brains so popular before the war that people really missed eating them? It would appear so…

Someone had posted this recipe on a 1940s food group on Facebook. Once I had recovered from the image of ‘Anthony Hopkins’ as Hannibal Lecture exhibiting a ‘Flehmen Response’ to the thought of human flesh and fava beans with a nice Chianti, despite being a vegetarian, I HAD to try this weirdness. Thankfully the massacre of oats was the only heinous crime I was about to commit…

Let me tell you, these mock brains were TASTY (but only with lots of seasoning and browning in fat). I was impressed as much as I was with the ‘MOCK BLACK PUDDING’ so don’t be afraid of trying these. They are so cheap to make which isn’t a bad thing right now with no work and no jobs!  I greedily ate these ALL for my lunch with a salad. I’d even go as far as to say if you added some garlic and extra spices like hickory smoke and paprika, you could cook them in fat in smaller nugget shapes and once they had cooled slightly, enjoy them with a nice tomato sauce or dip as a treat. I’d go for it and quite easily forget this was actually porridge!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of leftover porridge
  • 1 tablespoon of self-raising flour
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 egg
  • large pinch of thyme
  • salt and pepper

 

Method

Chop the onion very fine, mix into the porridge, add the flour and flavouring, bind together with the beaten egg, form into rissoles, roll in flour then fry in hot fat until brown.

 

My tips: Don’t skimp on the frying fat, this will help give it some flavour. Add lots of salt and pepper and herbs and spices you like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackcurrant & Bramley Apple Jam – Recipe No. 190

This jam was just lovely! I used the recipe from one of the Ministry of Foods ‘Jams and Jellies’ leaflets (see below) substituting elderberries for blackcurrants (as I had a couple of bags in my freezer). I have 3 jams on the go right now, plain blackcurrant, this blackcurrant and apple and a rhubarb, apple and berry (recipe coming soon). I’m particularly enjoying a teaspoonful in my morning porridge or a dollop on my fresh homemade bread 2 or 3 times a week.

I sterilise my jars for these jam recipes by washing the jars, rinsing in hot water and then placing the empty jars in a pre-heated oven at 150C for 20 minutes, removing them on the tray moments before ladling in the hot jam. The lids I rinse, place in a bowl, pour over very hot water from the kettle until the lids are submerged, and leave them there for several minutes before the jam is added to the jars.

Enjoy!

C xxxx

PS: There are useful jam making supplies on my Amazon shop HERE

 

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Blackcurrants washed & drained (frozen berries are fine)
  • 1.5 lbs Bramley apples peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch sized chunks
  • 2.5 lbs Granulated sugar (maybe only 2lbs of sugar if using sweet apples)
  • 300 ml Water

Instructions

  1. Put the water and apple chunks in a preserving pan (or similar) and simmer gently, stirring slowly until soft (about 5-10 mins).
  2. Add the blackcurrants, bring to the boil and simmer, stirring slowly until soft (about 5-10 mins).
  3. Add the sugar and keep stirring to dissolve the crystals.
  4. Once dissolved boil rapidly for 10 mins stirring regularly.
  5. 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)
  6. If not boil for another 2 mins and repeat the test until ready.
  7. Remove excess scum with a slotted spoon.
  8. Ladle into sterilised jars. Makes several x 300 ml jars

Caveat: You can further process the jams after bottling (submerged in hot water and simmered for a further 15 minutes for a jars up to 500mls and 25 minutes up to 750 mls). This is often used to ensure a proper seal/vacuum once removed from the hot water. Although I usually further process with pickles etc I don’t always with high sugar jams as long as everything is clean and piping hot and the rims of the jar are absolutely clean when placing the lids on. Although botulism is quite rare these days you can’t be too clean and too careful so feel free to process further… xx

BOOK UPDATE: “The Pandemic Pantry cookbook is about half completed now. It is taking longer than I thought mostly because I’ve been using the nice weather to work in the garden to try and prepare for planting a victory garden. With no job and an uncertain future right now I HAD to put this first and make it a priority knowing that the nice weather wouldn’t be with us forever (we are forecast nearly two weeks of rain starting tomorrow). I feel that our food supply is important especially if prices rise over the coming months and hopefully, a garden of sorts will help my economic situation a little if times get tough…. hope you understand. I’ll be catching up with the book this week. Thanks for all the great recipes and messages. It’s been AMAZING!” C xxxx

Wartime Spiced Biscuits – Recipe No. 189

Dear all,

I found this recipe online from a woman who wrote that this was her Grandmother’s recipe she used during the war for a special treat. At the moment I’m finding most of my untried wartime recipes online as all my cookbooks remain up north under my sons’ bed at his flat. It may be a month or two before I’m able to collect them too due to our current pandemic restrictions.

These biscuits came out quite soft, almost scone-like but delicious nevertheless. Grated carrot (or grated lemon or orange rind) would have been nice to include too so I will bear that in mind next time!

BOOK UPDATE: “The Pandemic Pantry cookbook is about half completed now. It is taking longer than I thought mostly because I’ve been using the nice weather to work in the garden to try and prepare for planting a victory garden. With no job and an uncertain future right now I HAD to put this first and make it a priority knowing that the nice weather wouldn’t be with us forever (we are forecast nearly two weeks of rain starting tomorrow). I feel that our food supply is important especially if prices rise over the coming months and hopefully, a garden of sorts will help my economic situation a little if times get tough…. hope you understand. I’ll be catching up with the book this week. Thanks for all the great recipes and messages. It’s been AMAZING!” C xxxx

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 dessertspoon dried egg
  • 180g margarine or butter
  • 4 tablespoons chopped sultanas plus raisins (I used mixed fruit instead.
  • 1 dessertspoon milk, or more if needed

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Grease a baking tray or use baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the dried ingredients. Rub the margarine or butter into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the fruit and then the milk to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll out to 1cm thickness.
  3. Cut into rounds using a fluted biscuit cutter. (I actually put dollops on the tray as the mixture was quite moist so this could be why mine was more cake like – see photos) Arrange on the baking tray.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool and serve.

Makes around 15

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Bread & Butter Pickles – Recipe No. 188

Bread and Butter Pickles really are one of those synonymous Great Depression recipes. The origins are likely from the 1920s, a few years before the crash and subsequent depression.

QUOTE: Bread-and-butter pickles are a marinated pickle produced with sliced cucumbers in a solution of vinegar, sugar, and spices which may be processed either by canning or simply chilled as refrigerator pickles. The origin of the name and the spread of their popularity in the United States is attributed to Omar and Cora Fanning, a pair of Illinois cucumber farmers who started selling sweet and sour pickles in the 1920s and filed for the trademark “Fanning’s Bread and Butter Pickles” in 1923 (though the recipe and similar ones are probably much older).[3] The story attached to the name is that the Fannings survived rough years by making the pickles with their surplus of undersized cucumbers and bartering them with their grocer for staples such as bread and butter.[4]

It makes sense that after a plentiful harvest and a glut of cheap vegetables available in stores/markets, people started preserving without the need for refrigeration for leaner months during the winter and of course, this behaviour came into its own during the Great Depression and WW2 (however home canning dated back into the 1800’s). When nothing much else was available, some salty and sweet pickles sandwiched between bread and butter was much welcomed and enjoyed.

Bread and Butter Pickles were in many recipe books in North America during WW2. I have a strong nostalgia for these pickles as when I lived in Canada, a small group of volunteers would congregate in the Lions Club community kitchen in Mahone Bay to make hundreds of pickles and jams to fundraise for the Mahone Bay Settler’s Museum. I loved the times I helped out with this amazing bunch of women and the smell of processing Bread & Butter Pickles still remains with me.

So I HAD to include them on my blog, they are absolutely worthy. I have just eaten a bread and butter sandwich filled with the pickles and it was delicious.

C xxx

PS: You can buy jars, implements and pantry ingredients for this recipe via my online Amazon recommended list CLICK HERE

 

 

The original recipe was said to contain just cucumbers, onions and green peppers as the main vegetables. The recipe has changed in the last 100 years but the one below I have based on a handwritten note I found online from someone’s Grandma during WW2 in North America.

Ingredients

  • 8/10 small firm cucumbers (or 4/5 large firm cucumbers)
  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of sugar ( you can use a little less)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons of kosher or pickling salt
  • 1 large mild onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mixed or black peppercorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (I didn’t use as I had none)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves (I didn’t use as I don’t like cloves)

Method

  1. Chop the cucumbers into 1cm or 1/4 inch slices after having removed and discarded both ends.
  2. Chop the peppers into long slices
  3. Chop the onions into very thin half-round slices
  4. In a large bowl mix the chopped vegetables above with the kosher or pickling salt (table salt will make the pickling brine cloudy)
  5. When all the vegetables have been mixed thoroughly, cover with some cling film in contact along the top and place on a cold shelf in your fridge for 2-4 hours so the liquid will leach from the vegetables making them crispier for pickling.
  6. After 2-4 hours you need to thoroughly rinse the vegetables several times in copious amounts of cold running water to remove as much salt as possible. Set aside to drain while you make your pickling brine.
  7. Get a large stockpot and fill with water, enough to cover the jars you will be using for the pickles as you’ll need to place the jars in once you have filled them. Bring to the boil. You can boil your empty jars in this for 5 minutes before filling or alternatively rinse the clean jars and place on a tray in a preheated oven (160 C) for 15 minutes until hot. You should always ensure that your jars are hot when you add in hot liquids.
  8. Place jar lids in a bowl of boiling water ensuring they are covered. Set aside.
  9. In a large saucepan put in your vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, peppercorns, ground turmeric, celery seeds and ground cloves (if used).
  10. Bring to a very gentle simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and ensure everything is well mixed in.
  11. Fill each jar with a mixture of the vegetables.
  12. Add in the hot brine leaving a head-space of about 1/2 inch to allow for expansion during the processing in hot water.
  13. Clean top of each rim of the jars with some kitchen roll and white vinegar.
  14. Place lids on jars, finger tight. Do not over tighten however they should be firmly on.
  15. Place jars into stock-pot (not directly onto the bottom, you can stand them on a silicon muffin tray or place a damp tea towel in the bottom of the pot).
  16. Simmer for 15 minutes for 500 ml or less jars and longer (about 25 minutes) for 1 litre jars.
  17. Remove from pot with a jar lifter and place on a tea towel and leave undisturbed for a couple of hours. The lids will depress and form a safe seal.
  18. Once cooled, clean up the outside of the jar, label and place somewhere out of direct sunlight for storage.
  19. Leave pickles for at least a week although I opened up a small pot the day after pickling and they tasted great!
  20. Makes 8 smaller pots or 4 large ones!

PS: You can buy jars, implements and pantry ingredients for this recipe via my online Amazon recommended list CLICK HERE!

 

 

 

Vegan Smokey Bacon (a whole pack of bacon made from 1 carrot for only 1p per slice)

I saw a video pop-up on Facebook today of a lady with a carrot. She made vegan bacon from it. YES REALLY!

I’m always curious when people do strange things with vegetables so immediately went to see if I had any of the ingredients to make my own. I didn’t really so not to be defeated I used ingredients from my pantry that I thought would work and they did so I had to share!

FIRST, if you want to use the exact spices I used (smokey bacon powder and hickory smoke powder), you can get them via my 1940s Experiment recommended list on Amazon. CLICK HERE.

The ‘carrot bacon’ is really easy to make and one large carrot makes a whole pack of vegan bacon! I cooked mine in the oven at around 170C for 20-30 minutes turning once about 15 minutes in. The ends crisped up in the oven and at that stage I removed them, placed them on some kitchen paper on top of a wire rack and left them to cool for about 15 minutes and they crisped up some more. I think I was lucky to get it right the first time so it might involve some trial and error to get it how you want it. Although I cooked it in a conventional oven an air fryer would work I’m sure!

These strips of vegan smokey bacon would be wonderful in a bun with a homemade vegan burger, vegan mayo, salad, pickles and onion! Alas I didn’t have a burger BUT I did have some avocado and salad and lot’s of Hellman’s Vegan Mayo and the carrot bacon topped it off perfectly!

Afterwards I, of course, nibbled on all the rest until they were gone. I WILL be making these again!

Assuming you already have the ingredients in your pantry, the vegan bacon, not including the cost of electric, is about 1p per slice.

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home,

C xxxxx

PS: I’ve had a very busy week in the garden trying to dig beds before the ground gets too hard. I am now back working on the ‘Pandemic Pantry’ FREE community cookbook and I hope to have this online and ready to download this weekend. THANK YOU for all the e-mails and submissions. They are much appreciated.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 teaspoon smokey bacon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of hickory smoke powder (or smoked paprika or liquid smoke)
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder (or onion granules or onion salt)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any)
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or golden syrup, any type of mild sweet syrup.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder or garlic salt.

 

Method

 

  • Peel the carrot
  • Using the julienne peeler press down firmly and slowly along the shaft of the carrot from thick to thin end to create a long bacon shaped slice
  • Place slices in a dish
  • Next mix all the other ingredients above to make a marinade (mix all ingredients adding water in last)
  • Pour over the carrot slices in the dish and mix so all slices are coated.
  • Heat oven to 170 C, leave carrot slices to marinade while oven heats up.
  • When oven has reached the correct temperature place the carrot slices onto baking paper on a large baking sheet.
  • Place in middle of oven for 20-30 minutes (turning over half-way through) until browning and the ends look crispy
  • Remove and place on kitchen roll on a wire rack. The vegan bacon should crisp up further after about 15 minutes.

 

 

Hot Cross Buns – Recipe No. 187

A chilled Easter this year. It has seemed so quiet not having my family around me so I didn’t do much baking but I did make some ‘Hot Cross Buns’ which tasted delicious. I really should have renamed them ‘Rock Cross Buns’ as I had run out of strong white bread flour so resorted to self-raising to make them. This, of course, gave them a scone-like consistency. BUT I am finding myself running out of a few ingredients, our local shop has mostly sparse shelves, so it’s a case of ‘doing-your-best-with-what-you’ve-got’ and today that even involved serving tinned peas at Sunday dinner! But hey if these are the worst of my problems then I am a very lucky woman.

I’ve used the recipe below several times using strong white bread flour so I can really recommend it. Warm water and caster sugar can be mixed together for the final glaze but warmed golden syrup is a lovely alternative.

There are many stories about the origins of ‘Hot Cross Buns’ that go back several hundred years. Infact, possible origins as far back as the Anglo-Saxons where bread loaves were decorated with dried fruit in honour of Eastre, goddess of spring. As Christianity developed it is said that the small fruit loaves/buns were marked with a cross by 12th-century monks to commemorate Good Friday. We know that ‘Hot Cross Buns’ and the recipe we see variations of today was first noted in the 18th century

QUOTE: The first definite record of hot cross buns comes from a London street cry: “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns”, which appeared in Poor Robin’s Almanac for 1733.[9] Food historian Ivan Day states, “The buns were made in London during the 18th century. But when you start looking for records or recipes earlier than that, you hit nothing.”[3]

Happy Easter,

C xxx

 

Ingredients

  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
  • 85g/3oz caster sugar
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Finely grated zest of an orange or lemon (if available)
  • 2 large pinches of salt
  • 2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 40g/1½oz butter or margarine
  • 300ml/10fl oz milk (warmed)
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 225g/8oz mixed dried fruit (that has peel in it or add extra candied peel)

For the top

  • 85g/3oz plain flour
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup for glazing

 

Method

  1. Put the flour, sugar, spices and zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast.

  2. Melt the butter and warm the milk separately. Add the melted butter and half the warm milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).

  3. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the dried fruit/mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 5 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball.

  4. Divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking or roasting trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them very slightly.

  5. Cover roasting trays with oiled cling film (or put in a poly-bag if a flat baking tray) until the buns have doubled in size.

  6. Preheat the oven to 200C.

  7. For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml/3½fl oz water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into an icing bag or just a polythene bag and cut the corner.

  8. When the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.

  9. Melt the golden syrup (ping in microwave for 10 seconds) and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12 large buns

 

Virus Fighting, Vitamin C and Antioxidant Loaded, Zingy Blackcurrant Smoothie Bowl

Blackcurrants are a powerhouse of Vitamin C, polyphenols and antioxidants. Per 100g of fruit, blackcurrants have almost 4x the amount of Vitamin C than an orange and 30x the Vitamin C content of an apple!  Did you also know that Blackcurrant has the 29th highest antioxidant content (and even higher for polyphenols ref: this paper) per 100g of any wholefood on the planet! (Cloves are the highest).

We’ve all been worryingly reading about the Coronavirus. I’ve been reading that one of the complementary treatments in addition to pharmaceutical and oxygen therapy has been large doses of Vitamin C. (Ref: New York Post Article) 

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) especially in its natural form, is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. (Ref: NHS)

I figured if there was any time to ensure a daily boost of natural vitamin C and antioxidants it was probably now. Quite frankly anything to hypothetically lessen the chance of being stricken severely with COVID-19 (at the very least a help psychologically) in addition to all the physical safety measures individual citizens should be taking. In all likelihood, ramping up the vitamin C in its natural form has to be a good thing…

On a pure and utter whim, and about 30 seconds of thinking time later, I created a delicious smoothie bowl containing over 200mg of vitamin C, bursting with antioxidants and polyphenols and an absolute joy to devour on a bright sunny day. I topped the smoothie with shavings of toasted coconut and a sprinkling of an omega seed mix and put my coconut bowls to good use (I knew the perfect day would come).

Enjoy!

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home,

C xxxx

Ingredients

  • 100g frozen blackcurrants
  • 100g of fresh ripe banana
  • 100 ml of fruit juice orange/mango juice/pineapple juice (whatever is your favourite- I used orange juice)
  • Toasted coconut and omega seed mix to top (you could use granola or a topping of your choice but the toasted coconut is amazing! Hell why not swirl in some vanilla yogurt too!)

Method

  1. Put the 100g of frozen berries and chopped banana and 100mls of fruit juice into your blender.
  2. Pulse until the fruit is mixed and then for longer until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately into a bowl and top with whatever you like.

Cost to make per serving: Around 50 to 60p (not including toppings)


I purchased my Coconut Bowls here (affiliate link with Amazon)

WW1 Ration Scones – Recipe No. 186

I can tell you now, follow this recipe EXACTLY, and you will want to do nothing but feed these scones to ALL your floods of visitors once the UK lockdown has been abolished!

I used the basic WW1 Ration Scone recipe from 1918,  adding wild garlic leaves and 1 oz of hard grated cheese to create a delightfully aromatic and delicious savoury scone.

Behind my old house up North, there was a small wooded area that grew an abundance of wild garlic which I regularly used in salads or wilted in stews. So you can imagine how delighted I was when my Riverford Organic Vegetable Box arrived this week with a bag of wild garlic leaves perched on the top, waiting for me to scream in delight! (I actually squeaked). I have yet to find a source of free wild garlic down South where I now live so this really was a treat to receive this.

I found the original WW1 Ration Scone recipe from 1918 in an article in ‘People’s Friend Magazine’ and I immediately thought I bet that would taste AMAZING with a little chopped wild garlic leaf and some of the hard vegetarian cheese (Parmesan type) I had waiting to be used up. Seemed silly not to try.

I adapted the recipe slightly as I fancied savoury not sweet, you MUST give my version a try!

Hope you enjoy, and your floods of visitors too!

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home

C xxxx

PS: On your daily walk you may be able to source wild garlic for free. It’s typically found in woodland, quite near the edges and abundant in April/May. Watch this video HERE

Wild Garlic & Cheese Scones (based on WW1 Ration Scones from 1918 above)

  • 5 oz of white self-raising flour
  • 2 oz of butter or hard margarine
  • 1 egg and a little milk
  • 1 oz grated hard cheese (cheddar would be fine if you have no Parmesan)
  • Several wild garlic leaves chopped very finely
  • Large pinch of salt.

Method

  1. Sift flour and large pinch of salt into a bowl
  2. Dot in the butter and then rub into the flour
  3. Add the grated cheese
  4. Add the chopped wild garlic leaves
  5. Add the eggs and milk mixture leaving a spoonful to brush tops of scones before baking
  6. Form a dough that is not too sticky and can be handled.
  7. On a floured surface roll out to about 1/2 inch thick and use cutter or end of glass to create 6 scones (you may get more if you are lucky)
  8. Place on baking tray, brush with egg mixture and sprinkle a little more salt on the top of each scone
  9. Place in pre-heated (200 C) oven for about 20 minutes until a nice mid golden colour.
  10. Remove and place on wire rack.
  11. Enjoy while still slightly warm with butter. Would also be lovely served in a bowl with stew!

Makes 6 or 7