2020欧洲杯网站

The best wartime and VE Day recipes, from Lord Woolton pie to eggless chocolate cake

Surprisingly delicious Second World War recipes for making do

Rationing
The weekly ration of sugar, tea, margarine, 'national butter', lard, eggs, bacon and cheese as issued to an adult in Britain during 1942Credit: © IWM 

2020欧洲杯网站As Covid-19 hit Britain, some experts warned that food rationing would be introduced to prevent the UK running short of certain items. Happily, supermarkets have largely ended restrictions on purchases, following early panic-buying scenes: eggs and dried pasta, for example, now seem a little easier to get hold of than before. 

But lockdown has seen many of us raiding larders for long-forgotten or neglected ingredients, as those desired for go-to recipes prove impossible or tricky to get hold of on demand. In response to the demand for creative cookery inspiration, new shows like Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On and Jack Monroe’s Daily Kitchen Live with Matt Tebbutt have sprung up, geared towards the specific challenges of cooking during lockdown, offering tips on how to make the most of staples. 

2020欧洲杯网站It’s perhaps not surprising that parallels have been drawn with World War II, when rationing was introduced to ensure the fair distribution of scarce food and commodities (U.N. chief Antionio Guterres has even gone as far as to say this is humanity’s “worst crisis” since World War II). 

But although butter, sugar, bacon and many other foods were rationed, the Second World War was a time of culinary innovation and cunning thriftiness. As wartime era cook Marguerite Patten once urged: the Kitchen Front has the job of using these foods to your greatest advantage. Rifling through Patten’s collections of recipes from the war years for inspiration with newfound time on my hands, I’ve found not only a comforting soupçon of nostalgia, but a masterclass in improvisation: making do out of necessity, and making treasured of ingredients go further in times of austerity.

A home economist who worked for the Ministry of Food during the war, Patten went on to become one of Britain’s earliest celebrity chefs thanks to her BBC Radio programme, in which she shared recipes workable within the limits imposed by rationing, from mock goose and potato "floddies" to carrot jam and corned beef fritters.

Marguerite PattenCredit: The Telegraph

Patten died aged 99 in 2015, and wrote more than 170 cookery books over the course of her life – including Feeding the Nation and Spam the Cookbook. The book I stumbled upon, We’ll Eat Again, is out of print – although it can be scouted out secondhand online. Copies are also on display as part of the Imperial War Museum’s collections. 

Inspired by Patten’s Blitz spirit, we asked the Imperial War Museum to share (surprisingly delicious) wartime recipes from its archives with Telegraph Food, from its book Victory in the Kitchen: Wartime Recipes which can be purchased from the Imperial War Museum’s website (), and from online retailers including

Lord Woolton Pie

Woolton pie was widely served in Britain in the Second World War when rationing and shortages made other dishes hard to prepare. It was first created at the Savoy Hotel in London.

INGREDIENTS

For the filling

  • 1 lb seasonal vegetables such as potato, swede, cauliflower and carrot
  • 3–4 spring onions
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable extract
  • 1 tablespoon oatmeal
  • Chopped parsley 

For the pie crust

  • 8oz wheatmeal flour
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Pinch of powdered sage (optional)
  • ¼ pint cold milk, or milk and water 

METHOD

  1. Dice the vegetables and spring onions. Cook together with the vegetable extract and oatmeal for 10 minutes with just enough water to cover. Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking. 
  2. To make the pastry crust, mix all the dry ingredients together. Stir in the milk, or milk and water, and roll out the mixture. 
  3. Allow to the filling to cool, put in a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and cover with the pastry crust

Sardine puffs

One way to use up tinned fish, no dried pasta required.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb mashed potato
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A little flour
  • 1 can sardines
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar 

METHOD

  1. Mix the potato with the seasoning and sufficient flour to bind into a dough which will roll out easily. Roll out and cut into rounds.
  2. Mash the sardines with the vinegar and place a little of this mixture on each round. Damp the edges, fold over and seal. Fry in a pan greased with the sardine oil and serve very hot.

Eggless fruit cake

A soft, spicy cake for when eggs are hard to come by. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 8oz self-raising flour
  • ½ level teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 4oz margarine
  • 1 heaped tablespoon golden syrup
  • 4–6oz sultanas or currents (or mixed fruit)
  • Pinch of salt 
  • ½ level teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2oz sugar
  • ½ level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ pint hot water

METHOD

  1. Sieve the flour, nutmeg, spice and salt together. Put the margarine, fruit, sugar and syrup with the water in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes. 
  2. Cool, and add the bicarbonate of soda. Make a well in the centre of the flour etc., pour in the cooled mixture, stir quickly together, mixing well. 
  3. Put into a 6-inch cake tin lined with greaseproof paper, and brushed with melted margarine, and bake for 1¼ hours on the middle shelf of a moderate oven. Cool on a wire tray.

Scrap bread pudding

2020欧洲杯网站Use up leftover bread past its best for a wartime take on the classic comforting, filling dish. 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ pint custard
  • 4 oz stale bread soaked in cold water and squeezed thoroughly
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • Few sultanas

METHOD

  1. Put the soaked bread into a greased dish and cover with the custard, fruit and sugar. Put a little fat on top if possible and bake in a moderate oven for about 25 minutes.
From the Ministry of Food Leaflet No 30: Cakes, Biscuits and Scones without Eggs:

Eggless chocolate cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 3oz margarine or fat (85g)
  • 7oz plain flour (200g; for a truly authentic experience, use wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½oz cocoa powder (45g)
  • 3oz sugar (85g)
  • ¼ pint warm milk and water (140ml)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

METHOD

  1. Rub the margarine or fat into the flour, then add baking powder and salt. Add the cocoa powder and sugar, and mix with the milk and water.
  2. Dissolve the soda in the vinegar and add to the cake mixture with the essence.
  3. Mix, turn into a greased 6in (15cm) cake tin and bake in a moderate oven (180C/160C fan) for 1½ hours.  For a real VE day feel, ice in red, white and blue. 
And one from a Telegraph reader:

Kathy Thistlethwaite kindly shared this recipe for her godmother's 'overnight loaf/cake'. The late Kathleen Thomson, whom Kathy describes as 'a lovely Lancashire lass', would make this WWII recipe (similar to a fruit or Christmas cake) without using eggs. 'As from "Up Norf" I recall it being served with a piece of Lancashire cheese and a cup of tea,' writes Kathy.

Kathleen Thomson's overnight loaf/cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teacup of milk
  • ½ pound of self-raising flour 
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt 
  • ¼ pound of sugar
  • 3oz margarine [we used Stork]
  • 2oz of glace cherries
  • ¼ pound of dried currants 
  • ¼ pound of dried sultanas

METHOD

  1. Place bicarb of soda in the teacup of milk (may fizz).
  2. Sieve flour and nutmeg and add salt and sugar in a large bowl. Melt margarine in a pan/microwave. 
  3. Halve the glace cherries and add these and the dried fruits to the flour and mix well. Add the melted margarine and mix well and finally add the milk/bicarb of soda and mix well.
  4. Place a tea towel over the bowl and leave overnight (not in the fridge). 
  5. Place the cake/loaf mixture into either a greased lined loaf or cake tin, make a well in the middle of the mixture and bake in a low oven for 1¾-2½ hours until risen and cooked [depending on oven type; apologies an old recipe so no exact temperature/time].

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