WWII Recipes

Mock Banana*

Banana extract
Sugar to taste

1. Select young, fresh parsnips as they are more tender and taste sweeter.
2 Peel the parsnips and leave them whole; steam until tender; dry the parsnips.
3 Slice the cooked parsnips and put into a bowl; thoroughly mash and add a few drops of the banana extract. Continue adding small drops of banana extract to taste; add sugar to taste, then mash until smooth.
4 Serve on two slices of National Loaf bread for a nice banana sandwich!
(Source: the1940sexperiment.com)

*A lady called Doreen Dunlop suggested this on our FB page. Her mum’s family used vanilla extract. Her 80-year-old mum has not tried a real banana to this day as she hated the fake stuff.

Oatmeal Soup*

1-pint (570 ml) water or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons porridge oats/oatmeal
2 medium finely chopped onions
3 medium grated carrots
1/2 pint (285 ml) of milk
1 tablespoon of margarine
salt and pepper

1. Place margarine in large saucepan and heat up
2. Add finely chopped onions and fry for 5 minutes on medium/high until translucent
3. Pour in vegetable stock or plain water
4. Sprinkle in the porridge oats and mix
5. Add in salt and pepper and herbs
6. Bring to boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring frequently
7. Add in grated carrots and milk and carry on simmering for another 15 minutes uncovered and stir frequently and add more seasoning as required
(Source: The Glasgow Cookery Book)

* This was made at Watten camp in Caithness. Jessie Jolliff found a version in her college textbook The Glasgow Cookery Book. The Dough School gave some lessons in ration-based cooking during the war.

Egg in a Nest*

1 egg (fresh shell egg or reconstituted dried egg)
2 slices wheat meal bread
salt and pepper

1. Beat the egg. Cut holes from the centre of each slice of bread with small scone cutter.
2. Dip the slices quickly into water and then fry on one side (in dripping if you have any available) until golden brown.
3. Turn on to the other side, pour half the egg into the hole in each slice of bread, cook till the bread is brown on the underneath side.
4. The bread cut from the centres can be fried and served with the slices. Serve straight away with salt and pepper to season and some HP or Daddies sauce or brown Chop sauce.
(Source: Ministry of Food, leaflet 11)

* A lady called Debbie Paterson mentioned that she was told by her mum that eggs were rationed so everything that involved eggs was made with powdered eggs. Rikki Traynor makes this with real egg! Perhaps he’s older than he’s telling us! Apparently, my Grandma Kelly had powdered eggs and camp coffee in the cupboard up till she died in ’88. My aunt used the camp coffee in coffee cake.

Black Pudding Hot-Pot*

8 oz (225g) black pudding (skinned and cut into slices)
8 oz (225g) potatoes (thinly sliced)
8 oz (225g) carrots (thinly sliced)
1 large onion, if available (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon chopped sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 oz (25g) flour
1 teaspoon gravy powder such as Bisto
3/4-pint (450mls) water
salt and pepper

1. Arrange a slice of potatoes in a greased casserole, then a layer of black pudding and carrots.
2. Blend the onion and sage, sprinkle half into the casserole. Add another layer of carrots then the black pudding and chopped onion and sage. End with a layer of sliced potatoes.
3. Blend the flour, gravy powder and water together in a pan and stir overheat until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Pour the gravy over the ingredients in the casserole and cover with a lid. Bake in a pre-heated oven 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 1 hour.
(Source: Victory Cookbook by Marguerite Patten)

*The POWs at Patterton were served hotpot the night of the Red Cross visit in 1945. I chose this version as I like black pudding. Kidding on pescatarian that I am….

Scottish Vegetable & Meat Pudding*

7ozs (200g) plain flour
3ozs (75g) oatmeal, such as pinhead medium oatmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
salt and pepper
2 to 3ozs (50 to 75g) grated suet (I used vegetable suet)
water, to bind
8ozs (225g) strewing steak
120zs (300g) mixed prepared vegetables such as carrots, swede, potatoes, turnip, leeks, onions and celery (I used a bag of Scotty Brand prepared Casserole Vegetables)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Pastry: Mix the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper and suet together and then add enough cold water to make a dough with a soft rolling consistency.
2. Roll the dough out on a floured board and use three-quarters to line a 2-pint (1200ml) pudding basin.
3. Dice the meat finely and mix with the prepared vegetables. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water to the filling mixture and season well. Spoon the filling into the pastry lined pudding basin and then roll out the remaining dough to form a lid.
4. Moisten the edges of the edges of the pastry lid and put into position on top of the pie, crimping the pastry together around the edges to form a tight seal.
5. Cover with margarine paper or greased baking paper and add a lid if using a plastic steamer. Place in a steamer and steam for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, making sure the water is topped up regularly with boiling water.

*Terry Boyle suggested bacon pudding but the above was the closest that we could find.
Source: recipespastandpresent.org.uk

WWII Spam® and Egg Sandwich*

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 slice fully cooked Spam
1 egg, beaten
2 slices bread
1 slice cheddar cheese (optional)
1 slice tomato (optional)

1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion in butter until soft.
2. Mash up the slice of luncheon meat with a fork and add it to the skillet. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until browned.
3. Pour the egg into the skillet so that it covers all of the meat and onion. Cook until firm, then flip to brown the other side.
4. Place the egg and meat onto one slice of the bread and top with cheese and tomato if desired. Place the other piece of bread on top. Bread can also be toasted first if desired.
(Source: the1940sexperiment.com)

*Gryffen Strong mentioned Spam. I will leave the jokes to Monty Python. Our respondent Mrs Warpole still keeps a tin of this in the cupboard as a guilty pleasure. And she’s Jewish…

Cheese, Potato & Onion Pie*

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

1. Scrub vegetables and scrape or peel if necessary.
2. Chop into smallish pieces (carrot needs longer to cook so if mixed with potatoes make sure the carrot pieces are smaller).
3. Simmer vegetables until tender in boiling water.
4. Meanwhile add sliced onion to a pan with a little butter/margarine/fat and sauté gently until golden.
5. 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 sautéed garlic to add extra flavour. Mix well and when you are happy with the flavour add to a pie dish.
6. Sprinkle over the top with some grated cheese and finally the sautéed long onion slices spreading out evenly over the top.
7. Place in a pre-heated hot oven at 220 C until the top is golden. This will take about 20 minutes.
(Source: Lynne Newman)

*Volunteer Lynne Newman sent us this one. She’s so happy we’ve mentioned the war and specifically the cooking of that time. It has given her lots of ideas for cooking for Layla.

Carrot cake*

200 gr flour
175 gr sugar (dark muscovado, preferably)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
175 ml oil
3 eggs
200 gr grated carrot
zest of one lemon and of one orange
50 gr of chopped walnuts
150 gr cream cheese
75 gr butter (at room temperature)
50 gr icing sugar
lemon and orange zest
50 gr of chopped walnuts

Mix all the dry ingredients for the cake in a bowl.
1. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and mix with the oil. Stir through the flour mixture.
2. Then add the grated carrot, the chopped walnuts and the zest of half a lemon and half an orange and fold it all in until it is mixed properly.
3. Grease a cake tin, pour in the mixture, and bake for 45-60 minutes, 175°C.
4. Roast the rest of the chopped walnuts for the topping in a frying pan. Do not burn.
5. Once hot, add two teaspoons of icing sugar and one teaspoon of sugar. Keep stirring and once the sugar goes soft, turn off the heat.
6. When the walnuts are coated in sugar, take them out of the pan and leave them on a plate to cool.
1. Set aside the cake to thoroughly cool.
2. Put the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and zest of half a lemon and zest of half an orange in a bowl, beat with a mixer.
3. Then apply generously to the cake.
4. As finishing touch, sprinkle over the walnuts.

*Gryffen Strong mentioned how carrots were used as a sugar substitute during the war.

Thanks to everyone who suggested recipes or gave us tips!