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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A FREE 160 page book of wartime Ministry of Food leaflets.

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

QUOTE:
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

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

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

 


 

10 Wartime Stale Bread Recipes to Save Food from the Bin and Feed Your Family!

Don’t you dare throw that stale bread ( or breadcrumbs ) away and join the CoronaVirus panic buying throngs who are now discarding all their rotting ‘fresh’ produce. Bread is one of the foods I’m seeing a lot of photos of in dustbins. SAVE IT NOW from the mouth of the hungry metal monster due to take it away on ‘bin-day’ by cooking some of these delicious wartime recipes (mostly puddings). They’ll keep in the fridge for days once baked, and in the freezer for months!

I’d like to apologise in advance for the ‘amazing photography’ from 10 years ago (British sarcasm) in several of the recipes below, it was in the early days of the blog which started in 2009, when I was flat broke and REALLY struggling. I think most of my photos were taken on an old flip video camera but I like to keep them to remember my journey and it’s various challenges.

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home,

C xxxx

Padded Pudding with Mock Cream: Watch the video above. The stale bread mixed with milk and cooked with jam looks like poo. I felt like Letita Cropley carrying out one of her great culinary experiments with strange ingredients. It actually tasted great! A good life lesson, don’t judge something or someone on how it/they look, chances are they will taste surprisingly delicious… just sayin’! Click here for recipe.

Plum Charlotte: Here’s a super-frugal wartime recipe made out of stale bread and fruit that’s going a little soft. As I had two of these things in my kitchen and I’m always finding ways to make ends meet, when I saw this recipe I knew it was just what I needed.
Click here for recipe.

Bread and Butter Pudding: In Marguerite Patten’s “Victory Cookbook” there is always one pudding recipe that is an absolute ‘go-to’ when one needs comforting and one has spare eggs. All becomes good in the world when you take that first spoonful of sugary topped, eggy, bready, sultana sprinkled, nutmeggy deliciousness, especially if served with a little hot custard if you can overlook the fact that it looks like cockroaches are climbing all over my food in the photograph… Click here for recipe.

Duke Pudding: How can stale bread and grated old carrots possibly be decadent? Trust me they are when you make them into a wartime “Duke Pudding”… Seeing the rapidly drying bread on my countertop and the carrots beginning to get spotty in the fridge, it was time once again to turn nothing into something in true 1940s home-front style and create a truly delicious alternative comfort food, much needed today of all days. Excuse the photography, it was 8 years ago and I hadn’t a clue! Click here for recipe.

Danish Apple pudding: Possibly one of the WORST food photos I have taken in my life from 10 years ago. It’s blurred and I’m not sure what I took the photo with. It could have something other than a camera because I probably didn’t have one.. Don’t let the brown blurry blob put you off. I remember this pudding was fab! I need to re-create and re-photograph! Click here for recipe.

Bread and Apple Pudding:For pudding the request was for ‘bread pudding’ yet again. To avoid this wartime pudding permanently being referred to as “bread-pudding-yet-again” I turned to a large bowl of sorry looking apples for divine inspiration- after-all Sir Isaac Newton stared at apples for an awfully long time before being rewarded with an answer… Click here for recipe.

Bread and Prune Pudding: You know that can of stewed prunes that has been languishing in your larder for several years, that you don’t want to throw away because you have inherited your grandmother’s and possibly mother’s innate ability to have everything stored away for a ‘rainy day’, WELL, you are about to use it and it’s gonna taste pretty damn good! Click here for recipe.

Brown Betty: It was unusual to make bread pudding without raisins in, Brown Betty has none, no eggs or milk either which makes me think all bread puddings could indeed be made eggless. Instead, it has water, the juice, and zest of a lemon and a generous quantity of golden syrup, spices, two grated apples, a little sugar and of course LOTS of stale bread! Click here for recipe.

Bread Pudding: I re-created this recipe about 12 years ago. This wartime recipe is easy-peasy and tasty. And of course it all in the custard too. Click here for recipe.

Bread Stuffing: And finally a recipe made from stale bread that isn’t a pudding and doesn’t look like a formless brown blob. Bread stuffing is so easy to make! This photo is from about 12 years ago, my pre-vegetarian days! Click here for recipe.

Blackcurrant Jam – Recipe No. 184

This is such a simple wartime recipe for a small quantity of delicious, velvety, deep-purple, mouthwatering blackcurrant jam. You HAVE to try it and so crazy-easy to attempt for your first go at making jam!

Fresh blackcurrants are preferable but to make it even easier I made this small-batch from frozen fruit perfectly! (In fact DON’T WAIT for fresh berries to come into the shops. It might be wise to buy some bags of frozen berries. Our British fruit pickers (over 90%) come from Eastern Europe each year performing vital services to our fruit harvesting industry. With our current ‘Coronavirus Pandemic’ situation, our normal guaranteed and reliable agricultural workers from overseas may be restricted from their normal annual travel to the UK which could be devastating for UK farmers if they cannot recruit enough British workers.)

Next time I go shopping (trying to restrict it to a maximum of once or twice a week for fresh produce), I’ll certainly be buying myself a bag or two of more frozen berries while they are available.

I enjoyed two slices of bread I made yesterday slathered in this ‘juicy assed jam’ with a nice cuppa tea and I recommend you do exactly the same.

It will make you smile.

Take care, stay safe, stay home

C xxxx

Blackcurrant Jam (makes 3 x 1 lb pots)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of frozen berries
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed (not vital)
  • 1 teaspoon of pectin (not vital but I always add to all jams I make)
  • Clean jam jars (rinse, heat in oven at 140C for 15 minutes)
  • Clean lids (rinse, place in a small bowl, cover with hot pre-boiled water until ready to seal jars)

Method

  1. Put the 4 cups of frozen berries in a large thick-bottomed saucepan and put onto a medium heat.
  2. Stir until berries are defrosted and simmering gently (about 5 mins). Remove from heat.
  3. Mash with a potato masher a little so some of the berries burst to the consistency you like.
  4. Mix the sugar and pectin and add to the berry mix and stir until all mixed together.
  5. Add in the 1/2 squeezed lemon.
  6. Return to medium heat and keep stirring slowly adjusting the heat so as not to burn.
  7. You need to bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring all the time and maintain this for about 10 minutes until the setting point has been reached (105 C or 220 F). If you don’t have a thermometer drop 1/2 teaspoon onto a cold plate and if after a minute it thickens and becomes fairly firm instead of liquid then it has reached the setting point.
  8. Once the correct temperature has been reached, keep stirring and give the mixture another minute.
  9. Remove from heat and stir again.
  10. Remove hot jars from oven (see above)
  11. Using a ladle and funnel, add the hot jam mixture to the hot jars and twist on the clean hot lids.
  12. Set aside, the jar will be hot and will take at least a few hours to cool.
  13. Jam is ready to use once it has totally cooled down and unopened will keep for a year or two.


People have asked me where I have been getting my cute jars and labels. The links are below:

JARS: 24 jam/chutney jars with gingham printed lids

>>CLICK HERE<<

LABELS: Re-usable and removable labels for jars and containers with chalk pen.

>>CLICK HERE<<

CANNING FUNNELS: 2 sizes, stainless steel for all jam/chutney/relish making.

>>CLICK HERE<<






Cheese, Potato & Onion Pie – Recipe No. 169

Two ounces of cheese and some sliced onions, sprinkled over the top, go a long way in adding flavour to this simple, tasty and comforting wartime dish.  Don’t limit yourself to just potatoes though. Throw in any leftover root vegetables to add to the potatoes and it will be delicious! Today I added chopped carrot and turnip.

Cheese, Potato & Onion Pie

Ingredients

3 lbs of potatoes chopped (or make up to 3 lbs with any chopped root veg)
2 onions chopped in half and very thinly sliced
2 oz grated cheddar cheese
tablespoon of margarine or butter (or fat saved from bacon)
Thyme, salt and pepper

Method

Scrub vegetables and scrape or peel if necessary.
Chop into smallish pieces (carrot needs longer to cook so if mixed with potatoes make sure the carrot pieces are smaller).
Simmer vegetables until tender in boiling water.
Meanwhile add sliced onion to a pan with a little butter/margarine/fat and saute gently until golden.
When potatoes/vegetables are cooked and tender drain well and then mash with a tablespoon of margarine/butter and lots of seasoning. At this stage you can add extras such as some garlic powder or some chopped sauted garlic to add extra flavour. Mix well and when you are happy with the flavour add to a pie dish.
Sprinkle over the top with some grated cheese and finally the sauted long onion slices spreading out evenly over the top.
Place in a pre-heated hot oven at 220 C until the top is golden. This will take about 20 minutes.

Serves 4 as a main dish with a few green vegetables on the side or 6 as part of a meal.


Baked Fruit Pie – Recipe No. 168

Simple. Quick. Frugal. Delicious. This wartime pudding is basically summer sunshine on a plate.

Using some nectarines from my ‘Riverford Organic Fruit and Veg Box’, freshly picked wild blackberries and two slices of bread, I was able to make a mouth-watering, sweet pudding in no time at all. I whisked up the double cream I had left from a week ago (during the war you would have had to make mock cream unless you had a cow!) and added a generous splodge to top it off. Let me tell you the combination of warm pudding and fresh cream was delightful. It made me smile…

Any fruit can be used but I always think the addition of berries to the dish adds so much taste and colour.

C xxxx

Baked Fruit Pie

Ingredients

2 lbs fruit, bottled or fresh
4 oz stale bread (about 4 slices)
3 tablespoons of milk or water
2 level tablespoons of sugar

(I used half of all the above measurements to make less pudding)

Method

If using fresh fruit stew and sweeten to taste (I chopped my 4 nectarines and added the blackberries and once bubbling, stewed for about 5 minutes with about 3 teaspoons of sugar).
Put the fruit and juice in a pie dish.
Cut bread neatly into small cubes and place on top of the fruit.
Sprinkle the milk over the bread until damp.
Sprinkle the sugar over the top.
Bake in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes.

Serves 6

I took some photos of the process on my mobile phone including the best bit, tasting it!





Oaty Biscuits – Recipe No. 163

I’m in love with this wartime cookie recipe. These oaty, sweet, buttery, wartime biscuits really make you appreciate a 15 minute break with a hot cuppa tea in some old vintage china.

This recipe is super simple and quick.

 

Ingredients

4 oz (115 g) margarine or butter. (I used half and half as butter really adds that extra flavour)
3 oz (85 g) of sugar (I use unrefined caster sugar)
7 oz (200 g) of rolled oats
5 oz (150 g) self-raising flour or plain flour sifted with 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt
1 reconstitued dried egg or fresh egg (I didn’t use an egg at all and it was fine)
A little milk

 

Method

* Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F) or Gas Mark 4.
* Grease two baking trays well or use parchment/baking paper instead.
* Cream the margarine/butter with the sugar until soft and light.
* Add the rolled oats and mix.
* Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add the egg (if used) into the * mixture and mix well again before adding in a little milk to moisten. The dough should be stiff and quite dry but sticks together. Knead together.
* Divide out mixture into about 20 lumps the size of a walnut.
* Press between palms to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick and place on baking tray and press into shape.
* Bake for about 15 minutes until edges are golden.
* Leave on baking trays to cool.

Makes about 20.

 

EXTRA TIP: I divided the dough into half. The first half I left plain. The second half I sprinkled on some sultanas and some lemon extract and kneaded in. The lemon/fruit/oat biscuits were absolutely delicious!