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…
It was quite common to mash up your leftover potatoes with other vegetables during the war. One example of this is ‘bubble and squeak’.
To use up the last few potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips and swedes that maybe past their best in the larder, they were often scrubbed clean and chopped up into small pieces and boiled together until soft then mashed up with margarine/butter and lots of salt and pepper. To make it even better the mash could be put into a pie dish and browned in an oven.
Through trial and error, for my personal taste I like to make my root vegetable mash with 50% potatoes and then whatever I have left cooked in with it. I really like a parsnip added to root vegetable mash as it gives it an extra flavour boost!
Root Vegetable Mash
Ingredients (I used quadruple the amount below)
Potatoes (2 medium per person)
Parsnip ( 1 medium per person)
Carrots (1 medium per person)
Salt and Pepper
Extras: Some chopped and sauted garlic, fresh thyme and/or chives add a nice touch.
Chop up the scrubbed vegetables and boil until soft in water.
Drain, add salt and pepper, add butter (or dairy free margarine if vegan) and a drop of milk (I use organic oat milk) and mash until you achieve the consistency you like.
Place mixture in large pie dish or two small ones.
Brown in oven.
It’s the first weekend in months where I haven’t had to be somewhere, go somewhere or do something and consequently I actually have time on my hands to do something I REALLY REALLY love and that is recreating wartime recipes! I’ve had a lovely day so far! I’ve so desperately needed down time.
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?
Anyway, I made the pie for lunch and I have lots of portions left for tomorrow and because I love vegetables and pastry and added a little more seasoning than the recipe called for, I found it quite delicious!
So please enjoy the original recipe below (and my slight modifications to suit my palette in brackets).
3/4 pint of water
1 onion or small leek
3/4 lb of chopped root veg and cabbage (I used a couple of potatoes, carrots and spring greens)
4 oz lentils (I used red/orange lentils as they did not require soaking)
2 oz minced beef (I am veggie so instead I used 2 oz of marinated tofu)
1/2-1 teaspoon of meat or vegetable extract (I used a teaspoon of marmite)
salt and pepper (I also added garlic salt)
2 oz porridge oats or oatmeal
2 oz of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
water to mix
(I added an oz of margarine as I cooked the pie in the oven rather than in the pot)
Chopped parsley (I hate parsley so used chopped chives)
Bring water to boil.
Add onions/leeks, vegetables, lentils, vegetable/meat extract and seasoning, put lid on pan and cook on medium for about 10-15 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking.
Make pastry and press into a round shape enough to cover the top of the mixture in the saucepan. (I prefer a crispy pastry so once the mixture was soft and thickened which took about 30 minutes in total, I added it into a pie dish and rolled out the pastry on top and placed it in the oven).
Replace saucepan lid and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
Lift pastry with a slice and set aside.
Remove mixture and place in pie dish and put pastry back on top.
Sprinkle with parsley.
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
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 added a slug of dark rum!)
Line a 7 inch (18cm) cake tin with greaseproof or parchment paper.
Pre-heat oven to 150 C (300 F), Gas Mark 2.
Cream the margarine and sugar.
Gradually add the beaten eggs then the syrup or the treacle.
Sift all the dry ingredients together then add to the creamed mixture and then add the fruit and tea. Add a slug of rum or rum essence if you wish.
Spoon into the cake tin and make a hollow in the centre so the cake will be flatter on top.
Bake for 2 to 2.5 hours or until the top is firm and the sides are slightly sinking away from the side of the tin. (You may need to cover top with foil half way through cooking).
Cool in the tin.
When cool remove from the tin and place in airtight container.
Over the coming weeks you can feed the cake with rum/whisky/sherry and nearer Christmas you can finally ice and decorate!
“Do you enjoy my blog and recipes? I’m raising money for the Royal British Legion by running the London Marathon in April. Please consider giving a few £’s – thank you 🙂 “
This easy and delicious recipe was taken from the WW2 ‘High Teas and Suppers’ Ministry of Food Leaflet No.7. I’ve just eaten two bowls of this with a slice of bread and butter and thoroughly enjoyed every single mouthful.
Leek and Potato Soup
4 medium sized leeks
1/2 oz of fat or dripping
3 medium sized potatoes sliced
1-2 pints of vegetable stock
4 tablespoons of dried household milk
Salt and Pepper.
Cut the leeks in half long ways and after washing chop finely.
Melt the fat in a saucepan and gently fry the leeks without browning, keeping the lid on.
Add the potatoes and 3/4’s of the stock and cook until the potatoes are tender.
Mix the powdered milk to a smooth paste with the remaining stock and add to the soup.
Bring to the boil and sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving.
Calories per bowl 200 cals.
My modifications: I’ve made this soup several times and usually make it with the following modifications which I feel not only fits in better with my daily diet but also I found by making these modifications the soup turned out even more delicious. Using alternatives to dairy below make the recipe suitable for vegans.
Parsley: I just don’t like parsley. Instead I use a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs when cooking.
Milk: I use wholebean soy milk on a daily basis so used 1/2 vegetable stock and 1/2 soy milk for the liquids used in the recipe.
Fat: Dairy free margarine
Potatoes: I always mash the cooked potatoes up and add them in to the soup. Sometimes the mash is a mixture of potato and carrot. I find this thickens the soup.
Found this ‘PlayBuzz’ this morning that someone had made out of my blog… it’s kind of cool!
Which WW2 recipe should you try?
Mine came up with Sausage Stovies.
What did yours come up with?
Thanks whoever did that!