I really hope everyone is enjoying a day of commemoration and celebration today.
A quiet day here. I’ve sat in the back garden for carrot and date scones with whipped cream, rhubarb jam, and strawberries and I have 1 bottle of beer in the fridge for when I get back from my walk. Joined in the 2 minutes silence, watched Churchill’s speech and will sing inside the house later, I fear I would burst into tears in the company of others even if we are all at a distance.
I must apologise for this very brief post as some of you may know my laptop needs replacing. I get 10 minutes from it before the screen gives out. I hope to get this sorted out next week.
Take care, have a lovely evening.
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.
- 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
- Wash and peel apples and cut into chunks.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Continue to boil rapidly for a further 10 mins stirring regularly.
- 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)
- If not boil for another 2 mins and repeat the test until ready.
- Remove excess scum with a slotted spoon.
- Ladle hot jam into hot sterilised jars having first made sure glass rims of jars are spotless. Clean with white vinegar if not.
- 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.
- Makes several x 300 ml jars.
I bought an electronic copy of ‘Eating for Victory’ from Amazon the other day for just 99p (even though I already have a treasured hard copy which I bought at Castle Museum in York). It’s been invaluable to have it with me to give me ideas when rummaging around in the kitchen wondering what to cook with leftovers or make things stretch further.
The book is essentially jammed full of ‘Ministry of Food’ recipe and instruction leaflets from WW2 in full colour, not only a fascinating piece of social history but so very useful too for now and in the future. I’ve included some snapshots so you can see more, I simply HIGHLY recommend it!
Since buying the book online (which I read via a free download Kindle app) I realised that actually I could have got this for free as Amazon are currently doing a 60 day FREE Kindle Unlimited promotion so yes, you get to read FREE books during lockdown and you can, of course, cancel at anytime. Needless to say I’ve signed up to that now having made a note to cancel before the end of June should my job situation not improve but for now, I’ll make the most of it!
Much love, stay safe, C xxxx
You can buy the 99p Kindle app version HERE ON AMAZON
OR You can sign-up for 60 days Kindle Unlimited and get it for FREE HERE
“How would you survive on wartime rations? Eating for Victory (subtitled Healthy Home Front Cooking on War Rations) makes for absolutely fascinating reading — and may answer the question as to what the reader might have made of these more straitened times.
The book reproduces official Second World War instruction leaflets (which have never before been published in book form) and demonstrates how millions of people in Britain endured food shortages during the hardships of WWII. With a perceptive foreword by Jill Norman, Eating for Victory shows that the government endeavoured to keep morale high by producing a host of the upbeat leaflets included here on such subjects as ‘using up stale crusts’ and ‘foods for fitness’ (the leaflets are most amusing in this area, showing how much thinking has changed over the years — the use of fats and lard looks very quaint in these more enlightened times). But what gives particular pleasure here is the verbatim reproduction of the original artwork and typefaces, which vividly conjures a lost era. To read this entertaining little book is like climbing into a time machine to take us back to the 1940s.” –Barry Forshaw
When Justine Jacob messaged me on the1940sExperiment Facebook Page HERE and shared with me that “Bletchley Park have created a VE Day celebration guidance pack on their website, with useful ideas from hairstyles to food,” I immediately went to check it out. I have to say it sounded exciting so I thought it would be brilliant to pass the information on although I’m sure you probably already know! If you didn’t (like me) you do now!
I think it would be wonderful to share some lockdown photos of us all dressed/baked/decorated up on May 8th commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day! Infact Bletchley Park are hoping people will do this too AND they have some fantastic VE Day packs to download!
On Friday 8 May 2020 Bletchley Park will be marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day online with a digital ‘Nation’s Toast’ at 3pm, and a special recording of a VE Day speech by ‘Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill’.
There are many ways to join our celebrations and this celebration pack should give you a few ideas on how to celebrate with us at home. Remember to share your photos and videos of your activities and celebrations with us #BletchleyParkVEDay75 and find out how you can be part of our celebration film in the activity pack.
Don’t forget to revisit our website where you will find more activities and fascinating VE Day archive material in the run-up to VE Day 75.
We need YOU to help us to create 1,945 metres of red, white and blue bunting to celebrate VE Day! We want you to adorn your houses and streets with bunting on the 8 May. Then, once the site is reopen to the public, we’re asking you to send us your bunting so we can create a real celebration atmosphere when we open.
Click here to download your #BuntingForBletchley template and how-to guide.
We can’t wait to see your VE Day creations at home! Make sure you share them with us on social media using #BletchleyParkVEDay75 or #BuntingforBletchley.
DOWNLOAD VE DAY ACTIVITY PACK HERE
CHECK OUT SOME GREAT VE DAY CELEBRATION RECIPES HERE