Wartime Cooking

Where possible, meals will let you know how many and what kind of rations would be used just in case anyone is eating by or wishes to try this method!

These recipes are all from Book 1 - We'll Eat Again with recipes selected by Marguerite Patten. It is in association with The Imperial War Museum and published by Hamlyn, London, 1990.

I have written to Hamlyn to ask for permission to print the recipes, but so far they haven't replied. I shall link to other pages on the internet where they are printed or print them here. If I am eventually not allowed to do so, you will need to buy this book. There are loads for sale on a certain site A-a--n, for around 1p each plus postage.


This is nothing like the lobscouse you may be used to which has meat in it. We really enjoyed it and shall make it again.

Melt a small blob of margarine in a small saucepan and add 2 tablespoons milk (we would use 1 another time) and stir in 3oz of grated cheese. Stir on a low heat until the cheese has melted and is slightly bubbling. Add 2 chopped tinned/or fresh tomatoes. Season well with salt and pepper and pour over a nice big bed of hot mashed potato. Place under a hot grill until bubbling. This amount served both of us and I used 1 1/2 lb of potato for the mash (weight after peeling).

We served it with the remainder of the tinned tomatoes which had a pinch of crushed chilli seeds added to it. Another time, we may use my grilled and frozen fresh tomatoes.

RATIONS USED: 3 oz cheese,  (a whole week's ration for one person),  6 points for the tin of tomatoes + a minuscule amount from one person's ration of margarine and milk.


There is almost 3/4 of the recipe on line from here and you should be able to figure out the rest! Make sure you do gently boil the fruit, fat and tea together for 3 minutes as it condenses the liquid amount. I left mine to go cold before pouring it into the flour base. The method says to cook it at 180C for 1 1/4 hours - far too long. Mine was ready in 45 minutes but the usual 'does it spring back or stick to a skewer' test will let you know when it is ready.

I lined both the base and sides of the cake tin (7 inch square) and the cake came out around 1 1/2 inches deep and was cut into 16 squares. We both loved it. It is not too sweet, as you would expect from a small amount of sugar but had a slightly Christmas cake taste to it.

RATIONS USED: 3oz fat (just under one week's ration for one), same of sugar (just under half a week's ration for one), and same of dried fruit (1 1/2 points). Tea hasn't been counted as it was the leftovers from the tea pot!


We have been wanting to cook this recipe for a long time and finally got around to it the other night. To all intents and purposes, it is a savoury bread pudding. We gave it 4 *!

Measure 1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs and add to them, 4 0z of grated cheese. Mix 2 eggs (or 2 reconstituted dried eggs) into 1/2 pint of milk (slightly less if reconstituting) plus 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard, no salt as the cheese is salty, lots of black pepper.

Pour it all into a greased pie dish and bake for 30 - 40 minutes at 190C. It will rise up dramatically like its sweet counterpart, then sink back down when cooling.

Fresh out of the oven it looked like this:
We had 1/4 each with mini roasted potatoes and coleslaw:
We shall finish it off tonight with beans replacing the coleslaw.

FRESH RATIONS USED: 4oz cheese (2/3 of a week's ration for two or 1oz cheese ration for 4 people). 2 fresh eggs (rations for 2 people) 

Not out of the above book but one from memory!

Wartime Ham & Potato Cakes

Serves 4
1 1/2lb - 2 lb of mashed potatoes
1 - 2 tablespoons chopped chives or parsley
1 large onion - diced finely
4oz diced bacon, ham or Spam
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely ground Polenta or breadcrumbs

Gently fry the onion until softened and the bacon, ham or Spam until lightly brown, leave to cool.

When cool, add to the mashed potatoes along with the herbs.

Using an ice cream scoop (ours measure 1.5" across) or a good tablespoon of mix, form into balls then flatten into patties.

Roll carefully into the Polenta to coat. If using breadcrumbs, you made need to dip them first into a beaten egg before rolling in breadcrumbs.

Put on a lined tray as each is done, then store in the fridge until required for frying/baking. They must be thoroughly cold as it helps them remain intact if frying.

When ready, add enough fat/oil to a frying pan to cover the bottom. Lay in half the batch and don't turn until you are sure they are crispy on one side. Turn, crisp second side and put on a plate in the oven to keep warm until 2nd batch are ready.

Serve with salad, or hot veg and a flavoursome gravy, or whatever you fancy. We ate half of them for tea and froze the others, in-between sheets of parchment/greaseproof paper, then wrapped in cling film.

FRESH RATIONS USED: 4oz ham, bacon or Spam (full weeks ration for one adult)


  1. Cheese pudding is a firm favourite in my house :-) ! Your coleslaw looks fabulous, what do you use? Xx

  2. In winter I use a little bit of grated fresh swede, lots of grated carrot and thinly sliced white or red cabbage. This is the last coleslaw to have tomatoes in as we try to eat by the seasons. Celery, winter radish (mooli) would all be good. For the base, I use 1 good tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of either wholegrain mustard, Chinese chilli sauce, horseradish or anything similar to give it a kick, plus a little salt and lots of black pepper. The base is mixed and goes in first, everything else piles on top and it is not mixed until needed. Sometimes apples, pears or sultana's are added.

  3. We have cheese pudding on a regular basis, usually served with bacon and tomatoes. My mum was thirteen in 1939, so learned to cook during the war, therefore I was brought up eating a lot of wartime recipes. Lobscouse without meat is technically called 'blind scouse', and is still a traditional meal in Liverpool, Merseyside and Lancashire. It consists of all the normal ingredients for lobscouse, just minus the meat, basically it's a veg stew.

    1. The book calls it Lobscouse so that is why I used that title. Having looked it up, true Lobscouse is what you say but guess she had to think up titles for food she had.


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