Tag Archives: Ovaltine

I must sleep now….

I’m so sorry my dears, I am simply too knackered to write anything.  I’ve had a seriously crappy day and I need my bed, a mug of Ovaltine and my book.  Plus the fact that I’m writing this in the dining room where Boy the Elder has been making WW2 battle scenes a la Saving Ryan’s Privates and the reek of enamel paint and white spirit is making me wheeze.

Just in case you’re interested, I’m reading the last of Steig Larsson’s Milennium’ Trilogy, ‘The Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest’.  I finished the second one two nights ago and couldn’t bear to read anything else until I got my sticky paws on the next.  Last night I was forced into reading Enigh Blyton’s  ‘Five Go to Billycock Hill’ as an interim measure

Good night. xx


Filed under Life in general

Malted Cinnamon Cake with Ovaltine

I had two ideas for today’s post but have been completely thwarted because I don’t yet have Photoshop installed on my machine as my old version is not compatible with Windows 7. Curses.

Instead I will treat you to a very simple recipe for a cake made with Ovaltine.  We buy Ovaltine in sacks as it is our bedtime drink of choice, winter and summer alike so we always have it in.  This cake is lovely and is made using storecupboard ingredients.  I always use mock cream instead of buttercream as it is less sickly and you can find the recipe by clicking on the link below.  You will also find there a lovely recipe for a Banana & Walnut Slice.


2 x 1lb loaf tins
2 x mixing bowls
1 x electric mixer or a wooden spoon
1 x wire rack

4oz / 120g butter
4oz / 120g brown sugar
2 eggs
4oz / 120g self raising flour
2oz / 60g Ovaltine
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 quantity mock cream or buttercream
Icing sugar for dusting

Pre-heat the oven to 180/4/350
Grease and flour the loaf tins to prevent sticking
Cream butter & sugar together in a mixing bowl
Beat in the eggs, one at a time
Slowly add the flour, Ovaltine and cinnamon
Divide between the loaf tins, making an indentation in the top so that it rises flat
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until risen nicely
Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely
When cool, sandwich together with the creamy filling of your choice
Dust with icing sugar


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

What you need is a nice Milky Drink: a comparison of bed-time drinks

I’m a bit of a purist myself. Every night I have a hot mug of Ovaltine, which I mix with hot (skimmed) milk and drink it while I’m reading my book.  Occasionally, if I’ve run out of Ovaltine, I’ll have a mug of cocoa, made with milk and half a teaspoon of sugar, but I prefer cocoa during the day, perhaps to warm up after a brisk walk in the cold and preferably accompanied by something with jam in it. 

I have only strayed into the realm of the Instant Hot Chocolate in cafes where one is hard pressed to get anything else.  Sister the Second only drinks the instant varieties and, on close questioning of my friends, I find that loyalties to the hot, ostensibly milky, beverage are strong and divided.  I have not ventured into the badlands of the ‘flavoured’ chocolate drinks – orange, mint, caramel etc or we’d be here until Domesday and I would be sick in a bucket.

With so many variables, I think it’s time to Compare and Contrast! 
BTE means Boy the Elder who tried some of them.




Type Calories with water Sugar Comment
Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate Instant – add hot water 120 16.3g Slightly burnt smell, quite chocolatey, aware of a thickener, tastes nice, not too sweet but the sweetness tastes artificial
BTE: This is what we have a Scouts. Lovely
Ovaltine original Light Instant – add hot water 102 9.3g “Nutritiously delicious” “for an instant break in your day”
Nice colour but no smell. Rather watery with an indistinct but not unpleasant flavour. Slightly metallic aftertaste.
BTE: Nice enough, but real Ovaltine is nicer
Horlicks Light Instant – add hot water 114 16g approx “Unwind for a good night’s sleep”
The beige colour really put me off. It was very thin and I’d be hard-pressed to tell you what it tasted of.  Not too sweet though and it went down easily.
Galaxy Instant – add hot water 98 17.3g This almost tasted like real hot chocolate with milk. It was very chocolatey, thick but not gloopy. Not too sugary.
BTE: Too much like hot chocolate with milk – didn’t like it.
Cadbury Highlights – Fairtrade Instant – add hot water 40 3.1g This tasted of soya and sugar and chocolate ‘flavour’. Didn’t like it.
BTE: Gorgeous, just like real chocolate
The Skinny Cow
Instant Indulgent hot chocolate
Instant – add hot water 37 3.9g This had a nice dark colour but no smell.  It felt powdery in the mouth and the overall taste was of cardboard with an aftertaste of saccharin.  Nasty.
Weight Watchers Hot Chocolate Drink Instant – add hot water 50 3.2g “With real chocolate”
This smelled of chemicals, had a nice colour but looked very thin and powdery. Strong chocolatey flavour which was nicer than expected. A bit sweet, but no nasty aftertaste.  Not bad.
Options Belgian Chocolate(Interestingly, made by Ovaltine) Instant – add hot water 37 4.4g “Some stupid pseudo-sexual phrase” on the front.  Smelled of chocolate and developed a ‘crema’ type froth. Really chocolatey, quite thick but not gloopy.  It was not too sweet and the sweetness seemed to come from the chocolate not sugar or sweetener.  I really liked this and would have it again. 

Type Calories using semi-skimmed milk Sugar Comment
Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate Add hot milk 165 22.9g This was how I remember it as a child; great jugs of it at break-time in the Junior Com. (with jam doughnuts on Wednesdays). Comforting, gentle on the palate and unexpectedly not too sweet. Lovely. And if you don’t stir it, you get a nice chocolatey sludge at the bottom.
BTE: Nice at bedtime but not sweet enough.
Ovaltine Original Add hot milk 191 22.5g Lovely froth, smells malty. Nice malty flavour, creamy and comforting. Surprisingly un-sugary.  It does contain barley, malt, eggs and added vitamins and minerals so I guess this is where the extra calories come from.
Horlicks Original Mix with a little water and hot milk 187 19.1g “Unwind for a good night’s sleep”
I’ve always had a thing against Horlicks, no reason, just didn’t like the idea of it, but it was lovely.  It smelled nice, it was a wholesome, wheat-y colour with a nice froth, and it tasted creamy and malty.  It contains barley malt and added vitamins & minerals.  Really comforting. I am converted.
Cadbury’s Bournville Cocoa Mix with a little water and hot milk 112 0.5g Nice rich colour, smelled chocolatey. Strong cocoa flavour, bit powdery, slightly bitter. Very nice.
Green & Blacks Cocoa
(Organic & fair-trade)
Mix with a little water and hot milk Don’t tell you ? Purply brown colour, smells of chocolate, slightly powdery texture.  Tastes of rich chocolate, no bitterness.  My favourite.
BTE: Too rich and gritty
Sainsbury’s Cocoa (Fairtrade) Mix with a little water and hot milk 113 0.5g Rich reddy-brown colour and chocolatey smell.  Rich, cocoa flavour although the texture was a little powdery.  Really nice.


Filed under Food, Product comparisons

I have finally Lost the Will to Live

Boy the Elder was given an iPod for Christmas.  Lucky boy.  But I already have an iPod which is linked to my PC.  Therefore I had to open a separate account for the boy so that he could do his own thing with his own iPod.  After all, how much Andrews Sisters can a 12-year old take? Except that I couldn’t work out how to do it.

The Wartime Housewife is not afraid of technology; I embrace it whenever it makes my life better (eg, iTunes, Amazon, ebay, blogging, email).  But I am hampered by two things.  Firstly, my PC is running on 1/4 of the RAM it needs to anything at all (this is in hand) and secondly, I’m just a bit crap.

So at 4pm today, after school. I began the process of Sorting Out the iPod.  I tried to contact Apple to find out how I could run two separate accounts on one computer but after an hour, I gave up and rang the Apple shop in Leicester.  The chap was terribly helpful and emailed me an information sheet telling me how to get started.  Unfortunately, it didn’t make clear which area of the PC I needed to be in, in order to accomplish the first task.  The Apple help menus just kept sending me round and round, but I didn’t understand where they wanted me to go or what information I would need when I got there.

Eventually  I worked out that I needed to establish Boy the Elder as another user on the PC itself and it made sense to make sure that he had all the relevant icons on the screen to do whatever 12-year olds do.  (I have excercised my parental controls by banning Rap Music and Drum & Bass but allowing Porn.  Was that wrong?)  And of course, it was all so gut-wrenchingly slow and at one point the whole thing stopped and I had to unplug everything at the mains and start again. 

I returned to iTunes only to discover that if he wanted to actually buy anything, he had to have a separate email account as well.  Right then, back to TalkTalk except that nowhere did it tell you how to open another email account.  It kept telling you that you could, but not how.  After another hour and a half of trying to get through to them, it transpired that Talktalk was down for maintenace and all accounts were inaccessible.  When I finally got through to the right menu, it made me log on for email bills rather than paper ones and complete a survey before it would let me go any further.  Did it.  Moved on.  Got an email account.

Boy the Elder bought his first track at 11.23 tonight.  Other than a break to drive into Harborough for fish and chips, then eat the fish and chips, it has taken me approximately seven hours to add one MP3 player to one PC.

I’m going to have another glass of Sloe Sherry followed by a mug of Ovaltine and then bed.    I tried to have an early night last night, but a recently bereaved friend rang me at 11.30 and stayed on for 2 hours and then Boy the Younger woke me up at 5am, because he’d had a nightmare about a scary blue man, and he didn’t go back to sleep until 6am.  Up again at 7am.

You will forgive me if I don’t do a blog tonight, won’t you?


Filed under Children, Technology

The joy of singing in a choir

This will only be a short message as I am rather tired.

Last week, I trundled along to the Village Hall for a meeting about a new musical which is going to be performed next year and to which I felt I could make a contribution.  Unfortunately the hall was in darkness as the meeting had been postponed and no-one had let on. 

There was, however, a choir practice in the church and when the choirmaster arrived, he cunningly suggested that as I was already dolled up and out, I might as well join in.  He has been trying to get me to join for some time now, so I gave in and pulled up my singing trousers. 

I used to be reasonably good (2000 years ago) and was even considered to be quite promising, had lessons as an outpatient at the Royal College of Music etc but for one reason and another I never carried it on.  This was, then, the first choir practice I had been to since 1983 and I can’t tell you how much fun it was.  We are practicing furiously for a Christmas concert in four weeks time and I don’t know half the songs, but the joy of singing again is beyond words. 

So now, with a piece of toast and a mug of Ovaltine, I am climbing the wooden hill to Bedfordshire a Happy, if slightly Hoarse, Housewife.

Good night!


Filed under Indoor Activities, Leisure, Poetry, Literature, Music and Art

An Apology

It has been a really busy week.  The boys are on half term, but one still has one’s normal work to do including the writing of this blog.  I have a list, which I constantly update, of ideas which I think will interest the readers of the Wartime Housewife, but this evening I just stared and stared and stared at it. 

I am off to London this weekend to visit The Aged Parent, Sister the First and Sister the Second and, most excitingly, to see my nephew performing in an opera on Saturday night.  I have never heard him sing and as he is now thirteen, his time as a soprano is running out.  I shall be staying with the Aged Parent and she will then be returning with me to The Midlands on Sunday night. 

This has meant having to pack for me and The Boys for four days (bearing in mind that we will be on the move), clean the house so that it is fit to be seen by the Aged Parent, do washing, make arrangements for Smog and The Fish, do a huge basket of ironing for someone else and, last but not least, clean up the huge milk spill that Boy the Elder caused when making Ovaltine earlier this evening.  It has gone under the fridge and he tried to hide it by laying a sheet of newspaper carefully on the top.  Imagine if I hadn’t found it for four days.  No, go on.  Imagine.

Unsurprisingly, having posted the Sunday Poem and a recipe for Chocolate Brownies, I have run out of steam.  It is 1.45 in the morning, the computer is on a ‘go-slow’ (six and a half minutes to save a document) and I still haven’t packed, had a bath or washed my hair.  I am hungry but the fridge is empty because I won’t be here and the idea of getting up any earlier fills me with dread.  But it must be done.  I shall have a large mug of Ovaltine (without spilling it), a bowl of Special K (low fat and easily digestible!), a chapter of my current Boris Akunin novel and make do with a shower in the morning.

I will leave you with this lovely sentiment, sent to me by Lady Somerset.

c. Keith Allen of Cath Tate Cards

c. Keith Allen of Cath Tate Cards


Filed under Children, Cleaning, Family and Friends

Micro Messiah

Having had three late nights on the trot, plus the additional exertion of pew cleaning, bar tending and glad-handing, not to mention the pre-concert party, I confess to being a little tired

The Handel concerts at Church Langton were more wonderful than I can possibly tell you.  Sunday night’s ‘Messiah’ was an historic event, as it was staged exactly 250 years to the day after the first performance in that church. 

Music makes me very emotional and Michael Chance’s counter tenor had me sobbing by the second bar.  Together with Felicity Lott  their ‘He shall feed his flock’  was almost too much to bear.   Everyone dutifully stood up for the ‘Halleluja!’ chorus, but although it is wonderful to hear, I still think that the last chorus ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain’ knocks ‘Halleluja’ into a cocked hat.

I still can’t quite believe that that we had such an array of stars in our little church and the Harborough Singers were as good as any choir I have ever heard anywhere.  If you live in the area, make a point of hearing them.  Have a look at Saturday 26th’s post for more details. 

I have put some rather grainy photos at the bottom; I obviously couldn’t use flash and was using a long lens, but at least you can have a glimpse.

I need Ovaltine now.  Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Felicity Lott

Felicity Lott

Martyn Hill

Martyn Hill

Michael Chance

Michael Chance

Michael Bundy

Michael Bundy


Filed under Poetry, Literature, Music and Art

In which the Wartime Housewife is a little Run Down

I’m sorry to say that the Wartime Housewife is not always very good at taking her own advice and has become a little run down.  I know this because in the last week, I have had three sties on my eyelids (which I have never had before), a permanently sore throat and I have fallen asleep on the sofa every evening, which I never normally do. 

I seem to remember a naval manual for dealing with a shipwreck which read “Number 1.  Do not get yourself into this situation” (or somesuch teeth-gnashingly self-righteous statement).  Of course we should all look after ourselves because we are very important, both to ourselves and to those who rely on us.  We should go to bed early, always have breakfast, drink lots of water, don’t drink too much alcohol, watch our fat and carbohydrate, take regular exercise and don’t get cross.

But no matter how hard we try, life has a nasty habit of sticking its grubby fingers up in a most un-gentlemanly way and we fall by the wayside.  Coupled with that, what would life be without, wine, chocolate, Badger Beers, late nights, the odd scrap and the occasional Marlboro red? 

The Wartime Housewife insists upon courtesy at all times, but the other day, when interrupted in the queue at The Pictures by a young woman asking if I wanted to enter a prize draw to win a week at a Butlin’s Holiday Camp, I am ashamed to report that, without drawing breath, I replied “Do You Know? I would rather sit in a bath of acid” and walked away.  It was rude and unforgivable, but Do You Know, I felt just that tiny, tiny bit better?  However, my swollen, suppurating eyes are clearly God’s way of telling me to count to ten.

In case any of my dear followers are in the same boat, here are a couple of home remedies for those who have fallen by the wayside.

Just for interest, the official name for a stye is a ‘hordeolum’, which sounds suspiciously like a bedding plant to me…

Not my eye

Not my eye


What you need
1 medium sized bowl
2 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Chamomile essential oil
1 clean flannel

Wash your hands very thoroughly.
Pour some boiling water into the bowl and leave it until it is hot enough to put your hands in.
Put in 2 drops of lavender and 2 drops of chamomile essential oil and stir well
Put the flannel into the water in readiness
If possible, find the eyelash sticking out of the pustule and try to pull it out
If you can’t do this, pull your eyelid out with one hand and apply pressure to the pustule with the other.  The pus should come out quite easily.
Even if it doesn’t, wring out the flannel and immediately apply it to your closed eye
When the flannel has cooled, put it back in the hot water, wring it out and apply again
Keep doing this until the water has cooled.  Put it in the fridge.
When the water is cold, wring out the flannel and apply it to your closed eye
Do this for about 10 minutes, then put the bowl back in the fridge.
After an hour, do it again
Keep repeating this process until you go to bed.  EARLY.

My sties went completely within 36 hours.

Neither is this my throat

Neither is this my throat



What you need:
1 small bottle or jam jar – very clean
3 tblspn cider vinegar
1 tblspn honey
3 drops ginger essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil
2 drops thyme essential oil

Blend well and mix 1 (one) tablespoonful of the mixture into a tumbler of warm water and gargle energetically.  Do not swallow.
Put the remaining mixture into the jam jar and seal tightly.
Repeat ever two hours


Put a few drops of grapefruit essential oil somewhere near your head ie. behind your ears or on your collar.  Grapefruit is a brain stimulant and will help to get you going.  Try sprinkling a few drops around the boardroom before a potentially dull meeting – it works wonders!  It is also a powerful antiseptic.  If you can’t get grapefruit, lemon oil is a reasonable substitute.


Have a warm bath into which you have added 10 drops of lavender and 5 drops of chamomile essential oil.  Turn down the lights and soak. 
Make a lovely mug of Ovaltine or Horlicks and sip it in bed whilst reading something light and unchallenging.  This way, if you feel sleepy, you can simply snuggle down and nod off.

If you wake up in the night, don’t immediately start fretting about not being asleep.  Get up, make yourself a warm drink, go to the loo, go back to bed and read or listen to the radio.  Television is too stimulating and the programmes that are on in the middle of the night will probably encourage you to gamble, which will really give you something to worry about.

Herbal preparations such as Kalms and Natrasleep are unexpectedly effective.

Sleep 29.08.09

This, however, is my bedtime drink


Filed under Family and Friends, Natural Home Medicines, Nutrition & Sensible Eating