Vegetable Stew

I HATE throwing anything away…. I am FRUGAL by not only necessity but because I detest wastefulness. I’m not sure where that has come from but it has. Apparently the rationing and the mending and making do philosophy during the 1940’s lived with our grandmother’s for the rest of their lives. We need some of that these days to realize that the way we are living as a species as a whole is not sustainable anymore..

So here’s my own version of veggie stew- it uses up slightly rubbery carrots and potatoes and less than perfect veggies that need disguising but taste-just-as-good-if-you-were-to-wear-a-blind-fold.

I made this stew 3 days ago and I still have enough for a hearty meal tonight with fresh bread and butter

Vegetable Stew

  • 1/2 white or green cabbage
  • small cauliflower
  • 2 large onions
  • several carrots
  • several potatoes
  • 1 large can tomatoes or several large fresh ones
  • peas, sweetcorn, parsnip or whatever else needs using up
  • oxo and bisto (or your own homemade stock and cornstarch to thicken)
  • salt, pepper, herbs such as thyme and rosemary
  • water


  1. Wash veg where applicable
  2. Chop potatoes in half or quarters
  3. Chop up rest of veg into regular size chunks
  4. Chop onions and saute in a large saucepan with a little butter
  5. Once sauted add rest of chopped veg and can of tomatoes or fresh tomatoes
  6. Add stock or a few cubes of oxo with around about a litre or so of water
  7. Add some salt and pepper and bring to boil
  8. Reduce heat and simmer until the large chunks of potato are tender enough to eat
  9. Ten minutes before you finish cooking mix the ‘Bisto’ or the cornstarch into a paste with some water and pour slowly into stew stirring all the time to thicken the mixture
  10. Once thickened, taste stew and add more herbs and spices according to taste

Serve with fresh buttered bread…

Serves 8 to 10

NOTE: You can use a homemade soup in the stew or add corned beef for extra flavour!

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Carolyn’s ‘Everything IN’ wartime stew


I have to confess, I have never seen this recipe in any of my WWII cook books..

But HELL, you just didn’t waste ANYTHING in the 1940’s so I betcha that ‘Ruby Murray’ and her delightfully scruffy, scabby knee’d children would have had a meal like this now and again to use up rubbery veggies languishing in the pantry..

HELL, you didn’t waste ANYTHING in the 1940’s

Who is Ruby Murray? Lets just say you’ll see her soon. A nosey, time traveling alter ego from the 1940’s who occasionally appears in my kitchen to make long days even longer…


Click here to watch Ruby Murray back in 2006

Meanwhile- here is the recipe

Everything IN wartime stew

  • 1 lb of mince beef or a mixture of leftover meats
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 1 onion or 1 leek
  • Any veggies that need using up
  • Several soft tomatoes that are no good for anything else
  • Oxo and marmite (marmite is optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water


Brown the mince or leftover meats and onions

Chop up the remaining veg into smallish pieces

Chop up the soft tomatoes and add to meat and onions and then add water (about a 1000 ml)

Add the oxo and marmite and stir

Add the chopped veggies

Cook and occasionally stir adding salt, pepper and some dried herbs like thyme to your own taste

Cook on medium heat in the saucepan for about 20 further minutes

Enough for 8 served with mashed potatoes or bread and butter.