Thursday, 11 March 2010


A slightly odd meal today. I'd got a mixture of leftovers and shortages to make things challenging, so I had to think on my feet whilst shopping.

The other day I mentioned January's tomato shortage and the hell thereof. Well, the devil heard me: CJBS is craving cream of tomato soup, but the shelves were bare of tomatoes (there were bruised Israeli and Spanish tomatoes, but there's a war on, so they're out). There was also no evaporated milk, my favourite points spend. And his second crave, garlic pizza bread, failed epically due to there being no garlic and no pizza bread or dough.

Meanwhile, I had leftover mashed potato, having made about 3 pounds of the stuff yesterday. But we managed to eat about 2 and half pounds of mash, leaving not very much at all. So my thought of a doing something exciting with it faded away immediately.

But there was an upside. I'm such a fat miser, er, a miser when it comes to fat, I had stretched a week of butter to three weeks without even realising. So I've got lots and lots of butter suddenly (and my waste of dripping on failed Yorkshire pudding yesterday now feels better). Then I discovered a garlic bulb moldering in the back of the fridge: I don't usually go near the back of the fridge, preferring instead to just send the entire appliance to Porton Down every couple of years and asking them to help themselves to anything promising.

Excess butter and a stray garlic bulb plus some pitta bread equals homemade garlic bread. I melted a lot of butter in a pan, then added a lot of crushed garlic. Before the garlic browned, I took it off the heat and pressed each pitta into the fat. The result will be baked before I serve the meal: instant garlic bread.

Meanwhile, the soup plan was switched to mushroom soup. Now, mushrooms are an odd thing: you'd think them useful in rationing, given that they're savoury and bulking and easily fill in for meat. But Patten is silent on mushrooms. Did Britons of the 1940s not eat them? Or were they not farmed - did you have to gather them yourself and thus risk instant and painful death? Whatever, mushrooms are not something wartime recipes seem to consider.

Perhaps the mushroom soup is therefore an anachronism. But it's worthwhile. I've said this before: mushroom soup is lovely, but very very easily done wrong. To prevent that, it requires dried mushrooms (or mushroom ketchup) to get the flavour right. I made a stock from dried mushrooms, a pint boiling water and a teaspoon of cumin, left to stand for an hour. The soup is then an onion roux, made up with milk, vegetable stock and white wine - the latter a real treat in wartime - plus the mushroom stock.

So that leaves the mashed potato. I'm not prepared to waste cheese rations on it. I'm a cheese miser, too. But I did have cottage cheese and half an onion. Combine the lot with some butter and bake. That should be a useful "champ" type thing, but with cottage cheese. I'll see how that turns out.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Garlic bread, yum! Now that you mention it, I don't see mushrooms listed in the state-side WWII recipes I've been reviewing. Odd...