Friday, October 7, 2022

Week Two - Day Eight - Fresh Rations, a Naughty Cheat and First Dates

Week two, and it was time to replenish the fresh foods.  

It's only the second week of my modern rationing and already I was thinking of the people in wartime going to the grocers on their shopping day each week, and buying exactly the same things week after week, month after month, year after year.  With only the amounts that they could buy with their ration stamps changing as supplies grew or dwindled, or other things were added to the list.

For instance, at the very start of rationing here in the UK ... 8th January 1940 ... the three things on the ration were bacon, butter and sugar, very quickly all the other things you see in my photo (with eggs replacing my Quorn bacon and sausages, and 3 pints of cow's milk replacing my almond milk, tea replacing coffee and lard replacing oil of course ... I told you this was 'modern' rationing!!) joined them.

Going to the shop to get your rations and expecting one thing but getting a lot less of it must have been really upsetting.  The same with the points system, getting to the grocers to find that your previous amount of points would no longer buy you that tin of Spam or full pound of lentils must have played havoc with any menu planning.  Of course, there would have been the occasional happy days too when suddenly the radio announced that the cheese ration was going up, or more sugar was available for the autumn jam making sessions.

Whereas we tend to menu plan and then shop, knowing pretty much that in our times of plenty there will be what we want or at least very near replacements, back in the rationing years I guess the housewife would shop and then come home and work out what meals she would be making and how she was going to feed her family for the coming week.  At times no doubt stretching things thinner and thinner and hoping and praying that nothing would snap!

And talking of stretching things thinner, I decided this week I would open one of my cans of beans.  At just two points per can, they were a relatively good points purchase this month I thought, but I still wanted them to go as far as possible.  

I decided that they would be the star of three meals and divided them into the portion sizes that I thought would work.  

The biggest portion being for a beans on toast breakfast.

I'm so glad I did this and that this was one of the most filling breakfasts up to date, as not long after I had eaten my son came to pick me up so we could go and visit Mum in hospital.  You'd think a two-hour visit would be just that, but when you live so far from the hospital, each visit is taking between five and six hours including the travelling time.

I do admit to taking a sneaky Deliciously Ella flapjack with me to eat at lunchtime, and it saved the day.  No one likes me when I get hangry!!

 When we got home, I made us both a coffee, offered Jason a snack but he refused as wanted to get home, he lives a good 40 minutes from me ... so his day was even longer than mine.

I fed the dogs, took them for a quick walk and then tipped the entire contents of the jug of remaining soup into the pan.  This bowlful and a little top up straight after, saved the day and filled me up with lovely vegetably goodness.

Then all I needed before I went to bed was a nice cup of coffee and a relax in front of the television watching First Dates Hotel.

Sue xx

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Day Seven - Bread, Breadcrumbs and Using up the Leftovers


Day seven and I'm already at the end of the first week, wow in some ways that went quickly.  I am getting into the rhythm now of prepping ahead for some things to save myself time or washing up ... or both.

This morning for instance I knew there were the four slices of Quorn Ham Style Slices left so they were to be my breakfast 'bacon butty'.  These slices are really tasty fried quickly in oil and eaten straight away, but I knew the first loaf was far too stale to be able to use anymore of, so while the 'bacon' cooked I whizzed up the stale bread in my Nutribullet and once it had cooked I tipped the crumbs into the oil left in the pan, added a shake of dried herbs and some onion powder and a dash more oil and warmed the crumbs through.

I turned the heat off while I went and enjoyed my breakfast, and then went back to give the crumbs another round of drying out thoroughly in the hot pan later. 

 You do have to watch them and turn them frequently to make sure that you are driving off all the moisture.  Once they were dry to the touch, I turned off the heat, gave them a final stir around and left them in the pan until it was cold.

Then I spread them out on the tray, checked that they were completely dry and cold and left them like this for a while before transferring them to a lidded pot and putting them in the fridge.

Lunch was more bread, but I really wanted to use up my cheese, and the thought of a lovely fresh cheesy salad sandwich was just too hard to resist.

Yes, this must have been about a third of this week's ration all on one sandwich ... gosh it was good!!

After buttering my bread for lunch, I decided to use the remainder of the fat ration to make a small batch of pastry reader for my evening meal.  Doing it this way meant that I could weigh the butter and add double the amount of flour and a pinch of salt to the bowl.

And it made just enough!!

My day seven dinner ... leftover Mixed Vegetable Curry hidden in a pasty and leftover rice with some celery, tomato and spring onion stirred through to make a rice salad.

What a delicious way to end week one.

Now it's time to weigh out my rations for Week Two and check through the menu plan to see if I have to buy anything from the shops.

Thank you to everyone who has followed along up to now and thank so much for all the comments.  I have tried to go back and answer them all as people have joined in over the course of the week.  

Sue xx

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Day Six - Jam, Parsley and WWII Vegetable Curry


Day six was a good day food wise.

 I started the day feeling not all that hungry, so a slice of my brick of a loaf toasted, with one half buttered and one half jammed was enough, along with a lovely cup of coffee.

Oh, and I'm really enjoying using my cups and saucers.  

The cups are designed just right if you know what I mean.  Your fingers fit through the handle perfectly, there is a little rest built into the handle, so the cup doesn't slip down if you are concentrating ... and to be honest I'm rarely concentrating on my drink when I'm drinking it, there's always something else on the go to distract me.

Lunch was equally as simple.  

As I have a good amount of cheese left, I decided on a very cheesy baked potato and at last I remembered a sprinkle of my Parsley.  

Eating parsley, which grows well in this country for a long season and dries for Winter use, was highly recommended during the war years for its high vitamin C, A and iron content, and my poor plant has been sat waving at me for days. 🌿

I set to and made my evening meal nice and early so that the flavours could develop as it cooled. I chose the Mixed Vegetable Curry from page 39 of my Food Facts for the Kitchen Front book.

It made a nice sort of spicy curry, nothing like modern flavours, but in a way all the nicer for that.  With plain boiled rice it made a pleasant change from all the potatoes and bread that I've been eating up to now.  And there are leftovers of both for tomorrow, so I have adapted my menu for the final day of this week.

I'm currently watching this via YouTube.  Although the quality of the old television series isn't to our current HD standards you soon forget that and sink into the lovely gentle atmosphere of Harry Dodson and Ruth Mott teaching us in their unique way.  Enjoy. 

Sue xx

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Day Five - Jam, Soup and the First Giveaway

This morning breakfast was just a simple slice of toast with homemade jam.

Closely followed by a couple of weetabix with milk.

The milk is lasting well and should see this week out easily.

Lunch was equally simple, just a bowl of soup and a slice of toast.  

The dish is a bit of a mess because I went all 'modern' and warmed it through in Alan's microwave, I was just being lazy and didn't want lots of pots to wash before we left for the hospital.

The first loaf that I bought is starting to get stale now, and would be no good for sandwiches ... it's really into National Loaf territory now, I could lob it at an enemy and have his eye out, but instead I decided to follow this idea and flip it over for slicing into pieces for toast.

I didn't slice it quite the same way as it's shown in the Ministry of Food leaflet as I like the 'squarer end' of loaves and not so much the rounded end, yes another foible of mine. 😄  I thought I would work my way up to that bit and then whizz all the top part into breadcrumbs for future use.

There's no evening meal for today as once again we were really tired after travelling to the hospital to visit Mum, so when Alan suggested a Chinese, I caved in and had some curry sauce and plain boiled rice while he had one of his usual spicy concoctions.

And now for the first Giveaway of this Challenge.

I mentioned when I first started this particular Challenge that there would be some giveaways for my Followers, well this first Giveaway has been limited to the people who have joined in from the beginning, leaving comments, giving me encouragement and generally cheering me on from the side-lines.  

There were thirteen of you, so I wrote your names down ...

... and used a Random Number Generator to pick the winner.

So, Catriona if you would like to have all the replica goodies shown in the photograph just contact me via the Contact Me by Email Here box at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar, your details will not be visible to anyone else.

There will be another Giveaway next week that will be open to everyone who has clicked on the Followers tab on the sidebar.

Sue xx

Monday, October 3, 2022

Day Four - Sausages, Shopping and ... Ah! Bisto


Yay, I actually took a photo of my breakfast porridge and didn't lose it ... and here it is for posterity.

I had the apple cut up into slices after my porridge with a nice cup of coffee, the apple core went into the fruit scraps bag in the freezer ready for a future jam making day.

Then Alan wanted to go and get a little bit of shopping and have a coffee in Booth's cafe, so while I was out with him I took the opportunity to buy another loaf.  This was the nearest I could get to the 'National Loaf' ... a bit seedier perhaps, but definintely wholemeal and unsliced.

Lunch was tasty.  

A simple baked potato with a tiny knob of butter and a sprinkle of grated cheese.  I had it with just one of the large tomatoes cut into wedges.  It was surprisingly filling for what looks like such a small plateful of food.

Oh my, tea was nice, and very satisfying too.

A single large potato cooked and mashed with a knob of butter, my two sausages cut in half so they would cook quicker, and so that they would look like four sausages and appear more on the plate ... after all you do eat with your eyes first, or so they say.  And then maybe a little bit of a cheat but I used some of my Bisto granules to make the gravy.  

Bisto gravy powder was first launched back in 1908 so that would fit in with any wartime rationing diet, but the granules that I have in my cupboard were only available from 1979.  It's bit of a cheat then but as I use it so infrequently, I wasn't going to go out and buy another pack of Bisto when I have nearly a full tin already. 

I bet the original Bisto Gravy Powder was popular during the war years as it's a brilliant way to impart a meaty flavour to any meal or pie without there actually being any meat involved.  Yes, the red Bisto packs along with some of the other modern flavours are completely vegan.

For supper I finally got around to eating my Apple and Blackberry Crumble, and it would have been rude not to share it with Alan after all the driving he's been doing just recently.

It went down very well. 😀

So, day four was a very tasty and successful day, and looking at my rations in the fridge they seem to be holding out very well because of my scrumping and massive amount of bread eating.

Sue xx

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Day Three - Jam, Soup, Chip Shop Chips, Scallops and YouTube


I had weetabix written on my menu plan for this morning, but I just didn't fancy it, so I made myself a slice of toast.  To save on rations I had half with butter and the other with jam.  I have never really had butter and jam on toast together it's a bit of a weird combination in my mind, so it's always one or the other.  Although thinking about it I do have butter and jam together on scones occasionally ... and I used to love clotted cream piled high on top.

I'm a strange one ... and always happily the first to admit it. 😄

Lunch was almost as per the menu, but I just decided on bread instead of toast to go along with my vegetable soup.  I think I have another three portions of this in the fridge.

As well as two bowlfuls of soup in the fridge.  I froze it this way so I would have an exact portion size ...

.. and still free up my dishes for immediate use.

Now my evening meal was to have been Carrot Croquettes, but as we were really tired after a horrendous journey in heavy rain to visit Mum in hospital, neither of us felt like cooking so we called to the chip shop on the way home.

Sadly, our chips weren't wrapped in newspaper the way they used to be, but at least the chippy has moved away from polystyrene trays to a much more environmentally friendly cardboard tray.

Who remembers chips all piled high on a piece of greaseproof paper and then wrapped in layers of newspaper.  And if you took a pile of nice clean newspapers to the chip shop where we lived when I was small, children would get a free scallop.

Not the fish sort, but a good old Northern slice of potato dipped in batter and deep fried ... and usually 2d each to buy.

And now for your Sunday entertainment here is a brilliant little YouTube film.  It's an American made and narrated film and is a brilliant description of rationing in the UK.

Hope you having a good weekend.

Sue xx

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Day Two - Missing Bowls of Porridge, Homegrown Salad and Spinach Au Gratin


Now this is getting silly ... after taking this photo and drinking this coffee I DEFINITELY took a photo of my bowl of porridge and its accompanying apple, but it has vanished!!

You will have to imagine a green Beryl ware bowl filled right to the brim with porridge... yes, I made my usual portion forgeting that the bowl was smaller ...  and sitting just behind it was a red apple.

There that was breakfast, doesn't it look lovely.  😁

Thankfully my camera did not delete the photos of my lunch.

I took my inspiration from this recipe and started with a grated carrot, then I went off on a tangent and replaced cabbage with leaves and cucumber from the Victory Garden, a single spring onion finely sliced and the merest hint of a bit of spread to stick everything to the bread.

Oh, it was tasty, very fall-y apart-y but tasty.

While I was out in the garden gathering in lunch, I picked all the remaining usable tomatoes and brought them in.  Some might ripen a bit more with the help of the few red ones I already had, but the majority will be turned into some Green Tomato Chutney to help fill my store-cupboard for winter.

I decided the next job was to process all the scrumped apples.

It didn't take long.  All the cores and peels were put into a bag and popped into the freezer, when I have more time I will make a batch of Compost Jelly, a nice mild fruity jelly/jam that's made from all the odds and ends of fruit and peelings strained so that none of the pips or bits get through.  

More food for the winter stores.

Once stewed into a glorious mushy, lumpy mess I filled one large and two small enamel pie dishes and then decided to put in some of the blackberries from the freezer into the hot apples.

For my evening meal I had chosen another recipe from the Food Facts book, this time a healthy sounding Spinach au Gratin, I decided to accompany it with a simple baked potato.

... the last line over the page reads: 'moderate oven for about 20 minutes to crisp the top and blend the flavours well'.

They were all cooked at once in the oven to save on wartime/modern fuel costs, although I did zap the potato briefly in the microwave so that I didn't need to have the oven on for too long.

My tea was tasty and very filling, but somehow didn't quite sit right, I don't know how to improve on it really, perhaps some other vegetables mixed in with the spinach.  I will have another go at it with some tweaks though, as I could almost feel the mass of greens doing me good.

Oh, the large crumble turned out lovely, unfortunately I was too full to eat it, even later for supper.

So I ended the day as I had begun it with a nice cup of coffee.

Sue x