Wartime Recipes

We would like to share a few wartime recipes with you which you may like to try out.  All of the recipes are from original 1940s books and I include the names of some books as reference.

The National Loaf

This is the home made version of the National Loaf, without the added vitamins.

Makes one 2 lb. loaf

1 lb. wholemeal bread flour
1 dessertspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon honey or treacle
½ pint tepid water

Mix together all the ingredients and knead for about 10 minutes until you have a soft dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and leave until dough has doubled in size (around 1 hour).
Knock back the dough, give a short knead then place in an oiled loaf tin, allow to rise for a further 20-30 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 200°C (400° F) then bake loaf for 40-50 mins. To test the loaf, turn it out of the tin and give the base a tap; if it sounds hollow, it is ready.
Allow to cool on a wire rack

Boiled Beef and Carrots
(Good Fare)                                                     

Small piece of fresh or salted beef (silverside in latter ase is preferred. 1 or 2 small onions. Parsley, thyme, bay leaf. Pepper, salt. Carrots

Carrots can be the chief vegetable of the meal.  Put meat in saucepan with tepid water to cover, bring to the boil, then add carrots and onions, sliced, also herbs and seasoning.

This homely dish can be made most attractive if garnished with halved gherkins and small mounds of well-drained cabbage moulded in egg-cups or with unbroken Brussel sprouts.


½ pig’s head or sheep’s head
Bouquet of herbs
½ lb shin of beef
3 cloves
2-3 peppercorns

Get the butcher to clean the head for you.  Soak it overnight. Steam the beef, herbs, peppercorns and cloves, cover then boil until the meat completely falls off the bones.  Remove the lid and boil until the liquid is reduced. Remove the bones. Mash up the meat and fat, adding a little stock to moisten. 
Press into moulds and leave to set.  Skim off the fat from the remaining liquid.  The liquid is good for soup.

Lord Woolton Pie
(Food Facts)

1 lb. of diced root vegetables (whatever is in season such as potatoes, swede, carrots and cauliflower)
3 or 4 spring onions
1 teaspoon vegetable extract
1 tablespoon oatmeal

Cook together for 10 minutes with just enough water to cover.  Stir occasionally to stop from sticking.

Allow to cook and put into a pie dish, sprinkle with a little parsley and cover with potato pastry.

Potato Pastry
(Food Facts)

8 oz. sieved cooked potatoes
4 oz. flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 oz. cooking fat

Sieve the flour with the salt. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the potato and mix to a dry dough (add a little water if necessary). Roll out and use for either sweet or savoury dishes.

Potato Floddies

2 large potatoes



Frying Fat

Scrub the potatoes then grate them into a bowl. Add sufficient flour to form a batter (no need to add liquid).  Heat a frying pan, add the frying fat and make it very hot. Drop the mixture into the pan and fry until brown then turn over and cook the other side.  Herbs or a dash of cayenne pepper can be added to give more flavour or can be served plain with jam for a sweet dish.

Eggless Mayonnaise
(Cooking in Wartime)

¾ cup olive oil                               1 teaspoon mustard

1 small baked potato                      1 teaspoon icing sugar

1 teaspoon salt                               2 tablespoons vinegar

Peel and mash the potato.  Stir in mustard, icing sugar and salt.  Add half the vinegar.  Rub the mixture through a fine sieve.  Slowly stir in the olive oil and the remainder of the vinegar.  Use as required.

Mock Salad Dressing
(Cooking in Wartime)

¼ pint sour milk                            1 teaspoon cornflour

½ teaspoon mustard                      2 dessertspoons vinegar

½ teaspoon sugar                          Salt and pepper

Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with cold water.  Stir in milk. Bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Remove pan from stove. Leave till cool then stir in mustard mixed to a smooth paste with the vinegar and salt, sugar and pepper to taste.

Emergency Salad Cream
(Cooking in Wartime)

1 small tin condensed milk            2 tablespoons salad oil

1 cup vinegar                                  Pepper, salt and mustard

Turn milk into a basin.  Mix in vinegar and oil alternatively till all are used up.  Season to taste with pepper, salt and French or English mustard diluted with water. Good substitute for mayonnaise. 

Vinegar Cake (without Eggs)
(War-time Recipes)

¾ lb. flour; ¼ lb. ground rice; 6oz. margarine or dripping; 6oz. sugar; ½ lb. sultanas or currants; 1 breakfastcup milk; 3 tablespoonfuls of vinegar in milk; spice and salt, 1 teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda in milk when the cake is ready for mixing. Mix and bake in the usual way.

Apple and Pear Betty

1 ½ lbs Apples and Pears
2 oz Butter
1 gill Water
Grated rind of 1 Lemon
2 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
6 oz Breadcrumbs
¼ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Nutmeg

Butter a pie dish. Mix lemon rind with spices and crumbs. Core and slice apples and pears into a basin. Place a layer of fruit in the pie dish covered with a layer of crumbs. Dab with dots of butter.  Repeat layers until all crumbs and fruit have been used up. Put the water and syrup into a saucepan and heat until combined, pour over the crumbs and fruit.  Sprinkle with sugar and dot with remaining butter.

Place in a pan with and inch of water and cook in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour.

Wartime Mincemeat

Perfect for mince pies, so simple and very morish.

Mix together grated carrot, eating apples cut into small chunks, sultanas or mixed dried fruit, spices to taste (cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice) and put into a jar with lid.  Keep for about a week before using.

Wartime Carrot Cake

6 oz flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
3 oz fat (butter or margarine)
3 oz oatmeal
3 tablespoons finely grated carrot
1 dessertspoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried fruit (sultanas)
1 fresh egg
1 dessertspoon syrup or honey
Water to mix

Add the baking powder to the flour and mix thoroughly.
Cut the butter or margarine into chunks then rub into the flour.
Add the rest of the dry ingredients
Add the egg and the honey/syrup
Gradually add the water until it is a stickly (but not runny) consistency
Bake in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes.

Tip:  If you soak the sultanas in a little juice or even just water for a few hours it will make them plumper.

Bread Pudding

This recipe came from my Grandmother who used it throughout the war.  Bread Pudding was a great filler and is absolutely delicious.  You will find very many similar recipes for it as every housewife put her own twist on it.

16oz Bread (preferably stale)
4oz Suet
12oz Sultanas
2oz Brown Sugar
Mixed Spice
2tbsp Golden Syrup
2 Eggs

1.    Soak the bread in a little water until soft

2.    Squeeze out as much of the water as possible (very important)

3.    Mix all other ingredients with the bread thoroughly

4.    Place in shallowish tray

5.    Sprinkle with sugar

6.    Cook in moderate oven for 1 ½ - 2 hours

7.    Eat and enjoy.