Tag Archives: recipes

Ration Week: Day 7

My final day on rations and I started with my coveted fresh egg! If you have been following along you’ll have seen that I have been forced to use a couple of fresh eggs previously but they were stand ins for the unobtainable dried egg powder. This one was the real deal, no way you can recreate a fried egg with that stuff! I had leftover Bacon and Potato Cakes from last night and some leftover baked beans so together it was breakfast! 

I popped into town to run some errands and hit the old fashioned sweet shop for my sweet ration. I should have done this at the beginning of the week but I had been saving my sweet ration for chocolate. On further thought though, chocolate is for in a flash. Rhubarb and custards, on the other hand, last much longer! 

The other reason I forewent my chocolate ration was that I knew I had these waiting for me at home. For my final day of rationing I was planning a picnic high tea to honour with a bang, these Bourbon Biscuits were perfect for it!

Economical Bourbon Biscuits: Cream 3oz margerine with 2oz caster sugar and 2 tbsp golden syrup. Sift in 6oz plain flour, 1oz cocoa powder and 1oz corn flour. Mix with your hand to form a dough. Roll out the dough to 3mm thick and cut into equal rectangles. (*cough* equal, smeaquel!*) Place on a baking tray and prick with a fork. Bake at gas Mark 3 for 12 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray. For the icing cream together 1 1/2oz butter, 1 1/2oz cocoa powder and 2oz icing sugar with a few drops of milk. Spread thinly on half of the biscuits before sandwiching together.

The rest of my High Tea (which ended up having to be taken in the conservatory because we’re British and if you plan a picnic it rains!) consisted of the Honey Tea Loaf from Day 5 with finger sandwiches (One of the ladies I spoke to about her memories of rationing said that you always knew when it was a special meal because the sandwiches got smaller!), sausage rolls and pies, fresh berries from the garden and tinned peaches with custard. I felt it was definitely a proper send off to ration week! 

I’ve really enjoyed this challenge and I hope you have too. It’s been such an experience seeing what I can work with to make things go furthest! But I have never once been hungry or felt a lack of anything. That being said, it has been exhausting! Planning 3 meals a day and cooking them has been a time consuming endeavour and that’s without having to do all the washing up by hand too! I look forward to cooking things that only require one pan again!

I hope I’ve shown you a good cross section of what was available to people living in 1951. I’ve tried to come up with different foods every day to show you the breadth of foods on offer. I could easily have made most of these recipes go further and make at least 2 meals rather than just one. I am very proud of my puddings and cakes though and all of that was achieved with just one person’s rations! I’ve rediscovered a love of mashed potato and have got some new recipes to add to my repertoire. I’m especially looking forward to eating the Sausages In Cider from Day 4 again!

The Festival of 50s is happening at Beamish Museum from the 14th to the 17th July so if you fancy more of a taste of 1950s life get yourself along!

http://www.beamish.org.uk/events/festival-fifties/

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Ration Week: Day 1

Today started off well with me measuring out how much tea I had for the week.  More than I thought actually.  There are enough teabags there for 3 cups a day, and it’s Yorkshire Tea so you can easily make 2 cups from each bag.  So, I’m happy about that.  (For those wondering why I’m not having coffee given that it was available, I have 3 sugars (sweetener actually) in my coffee so I’d go through my sugar ration in no time!)

Ration Week Day 1: Tea

Breakfast was this very cheerful bowl of porridge! Fresh berries from the garden and honey from the bees set it off nicely.  I used water with a splash of milk to make it and I actually think I preferred the flavour to that of porridge made with all milk!
Porridge: 60g porridge oats, pinch of salt, 300ml water, splash of milk: simmer until thick and creamy, stirring constantly

Ration Week Day 1: Breakfast

Lunch actually caused me some issues.  I was going out walking and needed something I could pack up and eat on the go.  My usual sandwich preferences would be ham (I’m saving that ration!) or cheese, (which would probably have used the whole ration in one go!).  Chicken would have been ok but I didn’t have any cooked.  I looked at a few other options but without detouring to do a shop I had one: Jam Sandwiches! So it was a nostalgic picnic lunch of jam sandwiches and elderflower cordial in the delightful surrounds of Parceval Hall.

Ration Week Day 1: Lunch

I was quite excited about dinner.  Chicken Stew and Herb Dumplings. I hadn’t ever cooked dumplings before so I was keen to try something new.  They’re rather pleasing to watch as they cook.
Dumplings: 4oz self raising flour, 1 oz lard, large pinch salt, chopped parsley, a few tbsp cold water: rub the lard into the flour, salt and parsley, add water gradually, mixing by hand until a soft rollable consistency is reached.  Shape into 4 balls, place in a pan of boiling salted water, boil vigorously for 10 minutes, then turn down and simmer for a further 10.  You can also place them directly on top of a stew in the oven to cook for a more crispy, browned dumpling.

Ration Week Day 1: Dinner

The stew was as basic as they come: 1 chicken breast, 1 small carrot, 1/2 stick celery, 1/3 of a leek, 1 medium potato, all chopped up and a couple of radishes I had from the garden.  Put everything in a heavy saucepan with a lid and fry (with only the tiniest sliver of lard) Pour in water just to cover everything, add a good amount of salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.  Take 2 tsp cornflour and mix with a little water, add to the stew and stir until thickened.

Ration Week Day 1: Dinner

I served this with broccoli and cauliflower too.  It was extremely tasty! You didn’t notice the lack of fat at all, and the flavour base of the vegetables and the chicken browning first meant you didn’t need stock either.  All in all an extremely frugal dish that filled me right up! We used to eat things like this when we were kids, stew and dumplings in the slow cooker used to feature regularly for us kids but it’s been years since I had dumplings! They’ll definitely be making a come back in my kitchen and this stew served as a nice reminder that things don’t have to be complicated to taste great!

 

 

 

 

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Last Minute Sweet Gifts Roundup!

If you have left it too late, or have an unexpected guest arriving tomorrow here are some ideas for quick, easy sweet gifts that you can throw together. Or may be you have superpowers and somehow have some free time to whip together some sweets for the hoards about to descend. Either way, here are my favourite sweet recipes!

Fruit and Chocolate DropsChocolate FudgePeppermint Puddings'Fakewell', ginger and chilli and chocolate and peanut cookiesSpice Biscuits

Fruit and Chocolate Drops
Fudge
Peppermint Creams
–  Chocolate Truffles
– Condensed Milk Cookies
– Spice Biscuits

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Christmas Recipe Roundup!

30 Christmas Recipes

Tis the season to stuff our faces!!!!!! Here are all of the recipes I think you need to see you through the festive season! Don’t forget to check out my Recipe Index too if you’re looking for some inspiration for cakes, bakes, mains and sides and everything in between!

Christmas Bakes:

Christmas CakeSpice BiscuitsChristmas MuffinsChristmas Tree Chelsea BunsGinger Bread HousesGalette des RoisMincemeat!Mince PiesKugelhopf

Christmas Cake
– Spice Biscuits
Christmas Muffins
Christmas Tree Chelsea Buns
Gingerbread
Galette des Rois
Mincemeat
Mince Pies
– Kugelhopf
Christmas Pudding

Nibbles:

Honey Mustard Glazed SausagesAnna's Breakfast BitesWheat ThinsGougeres / Palmieres

– Honey Mustard Glazed Sausages
Breakfast Bites
 Wheat Thins
– Gougeres
– Palmieres

Starters:

Christmas Tree RavioliMushrooms in Garlic Butter
-Christmas Tree Ravioli
– Mushrooms in Garlic Butter
– Chicken Liver Pate

Mains:

Pork PieRoast PartridgeTurkey Wellington!Turkey Wellington RouladeChristmas Pie

Christmas Pie
– Pork Pie
– Roast Partridge and Pears (Partridge in a Pear Tree!)
Turkey Wellington
Turkey Wellington Roulade

Desserts:

Cranberry Fool Clementine Syllabub

Cranberry Fool
– Clementine Syllabub

Edible Gifts:

ArancelloFruit and Chocolate DropsChocolate FudgePeppermint Puddings

– Arancello
Fruit and Chocolate Drops
Fudge
Peppermint Creams

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Halloween!

Halloween Collage

With Halloween this week I thought I’d bring together some of my ideas from Halloweens gone by.  I usually have with er a special dinner or a big part for Halloween but this year I’m keeping it low key.  Some scary movies and spooky snacks will do me just fine, although I may have to take Darcy Trick or Treating!

I have a whole Halloween Menu here, a more grown up take on the season with seasonal squash, a delicious main and tempting dessert.

Whole Baked Butternut Squash

For baked goods how about some Spooky Butter Biscuits?

Butter Cut Out Biscuits

Or may be a Graveyard Cake?

Graveyard Cake

Or a variety of Spooky Halloween Cupcakes?

Spooky halloween cupcakes

The Carnation Milk Jelly makes the perfect colour for hands or brains if you have such a mould (also good slime or snot if you use green Jelly!!!)

Carnation Milk Jelly

 

And the Vegan Surprise Inside Cake is a lovely addition to a spooky spread and super quick to whip up!

Vegan Surprise Inside Cake

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Linguine with Pea Pesto, Grilled Asparagus and Chicken

I accidentally managed to make this delightfully green meal on St Patrick’s Day, which just shows what your subconscious can do when you let it!  The actual purpose of the meal was so that I could serve something vegetarian but that could easily have meat added to it with neither party losing out of flavour as my sister was coming for a surprise Mother’s Day visit.  This fit the bill nicely.

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I originally got the idea for pea pesto into my head and went searching for inspiration.  Smitten Kitchen’s one popped up and I trust all her recipes implicitly… doesn’t mean I can resist tweaking things though!  We tend to favour more sauce in my family… or, my Dad does and so we go with it!  I also thought the addition of asparagus and grilled chicken rounds it out nicely to make it a proper meal.  I am on a budget so salted cashews work nicely as you don’t add salt later.  And I’m sorry for mixing my units in the recipe but it’s the easiest way to measure each one I find!

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Serves 4

2 cups frozen peas
5tbsp salted cashew nuts
90g parmesan or hard cheese, finely grated (Sainsbury’s is veggie)
1 large clove garlic, very roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large bundle asparagus
4 chicken breasts
500g linguine, cooked as per the packet

– Boil a small pan of water and add about 1/4 tsp salt.
– Add your peas and cook for 4-5 minutes until they’re floating.
– Drain and immediately rinse with cold water.  Set aside in a pan of cold water.
– In a food processor blitz your cashews until they’re very finely chopped.
– Add the peas (reserving about 4 tbsp), parmesan and garlic.
– Blitz for about 2-3 minutes until totally smooth, adding the olive oil down the funnel at the end.
– To prepare your asparagus, grasp the base of the stalk with both hands and run one hand up the stalk, bending slightly until it snaps off the bottom 1 1/2″ or so.  This removes the tough lower stalk leaving you with tender bits.
– Spray/drizzle the asparagus and chicken with olive oil
– Grill your asparagus and chicken.  I think about 7 minutes per side for the chicken and about 10 mintes all told for the asparagus.  I use a health grill for the asparagus and a regular grill for the chicken.  If you only have one, cook the asparagus first then set aside in a warm oven while you do the chicken.
– Drain your linguine and reserve about 1/2 cup cooking water.
– Toss the linguine and pesto, adding enough water to loosen it a bit.
– Scatter the top with the reserved peas and asparagus, cut into thirds.  You could also slice the chicken and serve in with the pasta if you aren’t worrying about keeping things veggie.

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Gougères

Another cheesy nibble for you here.  Gougères are also French and also delicious! They also fit the bill for something light but tempting and so, they were added to my French Menu last weekend.  I’d had some, very limited and ultimately unsuccessful, experiments with choux pastry a few years back.

Luckily, I didn’t let this dissuade me and I threw myslef into making these with no fear… it would have been good if the recipe I had chosen had actually worked! I ended up having to tweak it on the fly because it was, quite simply, rubbish! I’m quite proud of the fact that I am now at the point with my cooking where I can do this.  Unexpected results don’t phase me and I can adapt recipes as I’m going along.  I think I’ve come a long way!

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I have to confess that I think they’d be better with some cheese inside them, if you want to do that just split them with a sharp knife, add what you like and then pop the halves back together.

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Makes ~30

1/2 cup water
40g butter
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup plain flour
2 large eggs
100g grated cheddar

– Heat the oven to Gas mark 7/220C and line two baking trays.
– Put the water, butter, salt and pepper in a pan and heat until the butter in melted.
– Add 1/2 cup of flour and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.  You may well need to add more flour, I certainly did!
– When it has formed a proper ball, which doesn’t look wet, remove it from the heat and then leave to cool for a few minutes.
– Beat the eggs on a separate bowl or jug.
– Once the mixture has cooled add the eggs in about 4 goes, beating thoroughly until it combines to make a smooth batter.  You don’t want the eggs to ‘cook’.
– The mixture should not be too mobile as you want to shape it into balls, not have it flow away.  You can add more flour if neccessary at this point if it’s gone wrong.
– Add about 90g of the cheese to the mixture and stir through.
– Shape into balls the size of a walnut, either by using a piping bag or using two teaspoons to shape the mixture.  Place the balls on the lined baking trays.
– Add a small pinch of cheese to the top of each one.
– Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes before turning to oven down to Gas mark 5/190C and baking for a further 20 minutes until completely golden brown.
– Serve warm as they are or split and filled.  You can keep them warm in the oven for a little while if neccessary.

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