Monday, 21 July 2008

Day Eight

- ha, never expected a "day eight" did you?!

Just to say that our frugality hasn't flown out of the window today. Lunch is homemade coleslaw and leftover rabbit on the last of the unsliced wholemeal loaf.

By request from the other half, dinner will be a big juicy steak...

Sunday, 20 July 2008

A few words from the long suffering "other half"

When Sue first mentioned it quite some time ago, i thought it was a strange idea. but knowing the types of hobbies we have had over the years, I said I would go along with it.

Sue did all the planning and research, cleared all our wonderful food we wont be able to touch. The first look at what we had to eat for a week didn't shock me that much, some good pieces of meat and a little offal (MMmmm)

This experiment was well worth doing, it would be interesting for the 20 - 30 year olds to give this ago..sadly I know this will not happen in the whole. Mainly because of work, and time to plan and time to cook.

Everybody takes for granted there will always be plenty to go around and money to buy the things that you want, micro, ready made meals, kebabs. I hope this is the case.

The thing from all this is that I really DON'T LIKE POWDERED EGGS..creation of the devil!! they smell bloody awful and tastes..well you'll have to find out yourselves.

Now I will be ready for something more exotic and looking forward to large steak (al least 2 weeks rations worth) medium rare with a rich peppered cream sauce.....oh ma god HOMER MOMENT!!!!

Please if your reading this please leave us your thought good or bad, its always good to hear other peoples thoughts.

Kind regards all

Mark

Day Seven

Bacon and egg breakfast, what a treat!

Being Sunday morning, I saved our bacon and two fresh eggs for today. I fried up left over vegetables from yesterday to serve with it. With a breakfast that large, we probably won’t need to eat until evening.

Reviewing the cupboard to see what we have left I noticed we had a reasonable amount of margarine left, and had done well with out sugar. Bearing in mind I still had some frozen fruits in the freezer from autumn, I thought a treat was in order, and made a crumble for later.

Chicken and bean casserole

I used rabbit and veg stock (from yesterday), and the beans I soaked last night. This morning I put it in the slow cooker, where it has sat since 10.30am. At 4pm I chopped two potatoes and added them to the pot. It all smells very good.

Followed by crumble.

What’s left.

Well, obviously the store cupboard still contains cereal, flour, dried egg, dried milk, most of a pot of jam etc. but for the main food items, we still have some food left over. I didn’t use all the beef dripping, we have ¾ litre of milk left, a little sugar, 2 beetroot, a pak choi cabbage, and we have some salad, a large tub of homemade coleslaw, a plate of cooked rabbit meat, some homemade salad cream, and the tail end of our bread ration.

I think it will be rabbit salad sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.

So. Conclusions.

It’s perfectly possible to provide filling healthy meals on rations. If you can cook.

By “if you can cook” I don’t mean if you can pick up a Marco Pierre White book, buy all the ingredients, and follow the instructions. I mean, do you know enough about cooking to look at what you’ve got and put it together. Can you pick up a recipe, look at it, and go “well, I haven’t got any of that, but this should work”?

The reason we spend so much on food nowadays is because there is so much to tempt up out there. We are spoilt. If we have something in, and don’t fancy it, we feel we can let it go off, bin it, buy something else. Although there is a “food crisis” of sorts, and prices are increasing, we don’t feel the impact as we look at the shelf in the shop.

Was rationing as bad as it seems? Well, I would say it depends where you lived. The diary of Nella Last describes how some items were just not available, yet she describes a visit to Blackpool where she was amazed at the plenty in the shops. I think Barrow in Furness is very isolated geographically and suffered more. This area seems to have been lucky, as it is a farming community.

Will I be doing the same next week? NO! I’m ready for a nice curry! I think I will continue keeping an eye on the portions of food I cook, but I really missed my more exotic menu. We are very used to eating Mediterranean, Caribbean, Indian foods, and I think I could easily incorporate these into a similar regular menu plan.

Was it worth doing? Oh yes, certainly. The only problem is it isn’t people like ME who need a greater appreciation of food waste, and how to adopt some of the more frugal behaviours of our mothers and fathers. It's the people who find out about our little experiment, look at us like we are daft, and go "why?" that maybe need to think a bit more. The ones who think the worst will never happen, and there will always be an affordable plenty.

How many people will ever see this blog, learn and grow from it is debateable. But from a personal perspective, it was a very interesting week. I even lost three pounds… not bad!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Day Six

Experimental Breakfast

Mock Fried Egg.

I reconstituted some dried egg, cut a hole out of two slices of wholemeal bread, and fried one side in beef dripping. When I turned the bread over, I poured the egg mixture into the hole. All in all, it was rather nice, although not a healthy breakfast by modern standards.

It's funny what you find out. Chatting with neighbours today, the Mock Fried Egg breakfast came up in conversation. We live somewhere pretty rural, and it turns out our neighbour, during the war, was involved in black market eggs. An area near to here was just filled with chicken sheds. Throughout the whole war he never had dried egg. It wasn't until after the war, staying at a hotel in the south of the country, at breakfast he was presented with something he didn't recognise, and had to ask what it was.... dried egg.



Lunch

We had a sandwich when out shopping today. This is the first food we have bought “out” all week. I had a corned beef and onion sandwich, Mark had tuna and onion.

Dinner

Baked Rabbit with carrot and coriander mash, steamed potatoes & onion gravy.

Rabbit was stuffed with a standard sage and onion stuffing, placed on a rack in a baking pan, with its legs folded under the body. The rabbit was then rubbed all over with a Rabbit Seasoning I get when I’m over in Malta. In Malta rabbit is eaten as regularly as chicken is here in Britain… it’s the staple meat really. [Note: if you think WE had it rough during WW2, look up Malta sometime!]

I put a cupful of water in the bottom of the baking pan, because rabbit is quite dry. I then covered the pan with foil, and cooked at about 190/400/mk 5 for an hour. (I removed the foil and cooked the rabbit uncovered for a further 20 minutes)

Meanwhile, I used my steamer and steamed some potatoes (skin on) and carrots. I also gently cooked 2 small onions in a little beef dripping. When the veg was steamed, I mashed the carrots in 2 tablespoons of the vegetable water from the steamer. Vegetable water was never wasted during WW2, as it if full of nutrients (great for gravy or making stock). Adding a tiny knob of butter and a handful of chopped coriander to the carrots finished them off.

I then added the remaining vegetable water to the onions, and with a little Bisto made an onion gravy.

Yum was the verdict.

We weren’t done though. The rabbit carcass was put in a large saucepan of water with the rest of the chopped coriander and some black pepper. That should make a nice stock I can use tomorrow for my chicken and bean casserole. I’ll soak dried split peas (yellow and green) and a handful of dried butter beans tonight to add to the stock and chicken.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Day Five Additional

Tonight I wanted to make coleslaw with my remaining cabbage. Then it struck me. Mayonnaise! I usually put mayonnaise in my coleslaw. So of I pottered to “Eating For Victory” and found a recipe for “Creamy Salad Dressing”. I had everything needed to make it. Flour, dried egg, mustard powder, sugar, salt and pepper, vinegar and milk.

Have a look…..

Hey, we made “Salad Cream”! Just waiting for it to cool properly. That should be great with our coleslaw.

Day Five

Due to total disorganisation on my part, I didn’t have time for breakfast this morning. So I had my lunch pretty early. But hey, if I get hungry later, I can have a bowl of cornflakes!

Lunch: Salad w/ a small piece of Lancashire cheese.

Luckily I had already portioned out the cheese for tonights welsh rarebit so I knew how much I could spare for lunch.

Dinner: Welsh rarebit with salad.



This is one of my all time favourite meals. I could have made the cheese go further by adding toasted oats (recipe from We’ll Eat Again), but as I was only catering for the two of us, the cheese we had easily made two generous pieces each.


1oz margarine, creamed. Add 1 tsp mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, sprinkling of paprika, a good dash of worcestershire sauce, 6oz grated lancashire cheese, and 2 tbsp milk. Mix thoroughly. Spread on top of toast, and grill until it starts to brown.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Day Four

The day started with a couple of slices of wholemeal bread generously spread with my homemade elderberry and blackberry jam. I’m glad I made so much last autumn, and I’d forgotten how nice it was compared to bought.

Lunch was a salad of lettuce, beetroot tops, sliced beetroot and a little onion. I had plenty of leftover pilchard to go with it.

I noticed today my work trousers feel a little looser than they did. Another thing I’ve noticed is I am ready to eat at each meal. I’m sure in the past I’ve eaten because it is meal time, not being truly hungry. I certainly appreciate each meal this week, as I am more than ready to eat when the time comes.

Braised Goats liver and onions.

I chopped some onion and coated the liver in seasoned flour. The onion was fried first, then the liver browned off. I added a little water, and made a nice gravy for it to simmer in. This was served with steamed potatoes and broccoli



Offal was unrationed during WW2, and I’ve found it to be pretty cheap these days too, as I think a few people are squeamish about eating internal organs. If you’ve never eaten goats liver, it’s very similar (i.e. mild tasting) to lambs liver. I eat goat regularly, as there is a goat farm (Capra Products) in the area, who raise goats in an ethical way. Goat offal is a little more difficult to get than the meat though. So few goats go through the slaughter house, and the meat inspector is obliged to test a set percentage of things like liver and heart etc for health reasons.


Capra Products are a "local food hero".