WWII Rationing Challenge: Week 4
The last week of rationing has more challenging, as we have restricted ourselves to what is available locally and seasonally as well sticking to rationed items. So no bananas, oranges, lemons, olives this week. Lunches have been salads with some bread and Marmite or chutney, evening meals have been easy because the range of vegetables and soft fruit available has given us lots of variety, but breakfast! Oh dear! Porridge oats (uncooked because I do not like porridge) with just a spoonful of jam or cooked soft fruit and milk are decidedly soggy and unappetising, and I reverted to wholemeal toast with a scraping of marmalade for two days.
On Saturday we invited some friends for a World War Two rationing supper – I have to say not all of them were entirely enthusiastic, but they were brave enough to try. We served split pea soup, followed by breast of lamb, rolled and stuffed with oats, onion, celery and rosemary, Lord Woolton pie topped with mashed potato, and steamed cabbage.
The stuffing for the breast of lamb was made by combining gently fried onions, celery, rosemary, French sorrel leaves with oats and making into a paste with a little water. This was wrapped in the lamb, tied with string, covered with foil, and cooked in a low oven for a couple of hours on a trivet inside a baking tray to catch the fat. The fat can then be kept and used for cooking – it adds delicious flavour to roast potatoes, or fried onions to add to a vegetable stew.
Lord Woolton Pie can be any mix of root vegetables, but the secret seems to be to cut them in slices, and take the time to fry the slices in a little oil before adding them to the bottom of the pie dish. We used parsnip, carrot, celeriac, leek, spring onions and a few mushrooms. It can then be topped with either pastry or mashed potato, and baked in the oven until the top is golden.
For dessert there were strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries, accompanied by rolled oat macaroons, mock cream and some banana bread (using up leftovers) brought by one of the guests. It was a veritable feast, and I’m sure no-one left feeling hungry.
We were discussing the ideal meal we would like to celebrate the end of rationing, and we are planning scrambled eggs on toast (for me), a cheese omelette (for Ian) followed by a banana split with ice cream and chocolate sauce. For breakfast, back to muesli with fruit, nuts and seeds for a much more appetising start to the day.
For the future, I would like to maintain the proportions of different foods we have been eating over the last month, i.e. not too much butter or fat, a limited amount of meat and sugar, more pulses, and a greater proportion of fruit and vegetables. I feel healthier, and both of us have lost some weight. If more people adopted a similar diet, it would make such a difference to our food footprint, and I am sure it would be healthier too.