Tag Archives: pastry

Woolton Pie

No, M'Lord, that's where I wash me smalls!

Woolton Pie was created in 1941 at The Savoy Hotel in London and was named after Lord Woolton who was head of The Ministry of Food.

It can be made with just about any vegetables that you have to hand; fresh bought, leftovers, odds and ends, roasted veg, frozen mixed veg. – the decision is yours.  This recipe is about as Wartime Housewife as it gets, using all the elements of  leftovers, using what you have in the fridge or cupboard, and is very, very cheap.

The basic elements are:
Mixed vegetables
A sauce
A topping of pastry, crumble or potatoes – mashed or sliced


A deep-sided pie dish or casserole

*   Mixed vegetables cut into similar shapes if possible eg julienne strips or cubes
*   White sauce flavoured with cheese or herbs or both (see HERE for recipe)
*   A quantity of shortcrust pastry OR mashed potato OR sliced potatoes
OR savoury crumble mix (see HERE for crumble recipe)
*   Beaten egg to glaze pastry or grated cheese and butter for the potatoes

Pre-heat the oven to 375 / 5 / 190
If using fresh vegetables, steam them very lightly until they are just cooked
Put the vegetables into the dish
Pour over the sauce
Top with mash, sliced potatoes, crumble mixture or pastry
Top potatoes with grated cheese or brush the pastry with beaten egg
Bake in the oven until whichever top you’ve used is golden brown



Filed under Food, Leftovers, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Storecupboard

Coconut and Banana Tart

Sister the First ‘phoned this evening and I was immediately inspired to give you a tart recipe.  This is a lovely tart that I have made for many dinner parties over the years.  Tarts, sweet or savoury, are always impressive on the table, whether they are large ones for slicing or individually served with an attractive garnish.  Don’t be afraid of making pastry or baking blind – it’s all about lightness of touch.  Follow the instructions and you’ll be as right as ninepence.


Cococnut & Banana Tart

1 x large bowl
2 x medium mixing bowls
1 x small bowl
1 x rolling pin
8” / 22cm flan dish – greased and floured
1 x lemon squeezer
2 x small pan
Piping bag and nozzle for piping cream

7oz / 200g plain flour
A pinch of salt
3 ½ oz / 100g butter
3 tablespoons cold water
7 tablespoons of milk
3oz / 90g caster sugar
3 ½ oz /100g dessicated coconut
2 eggs – beaten
1 tablespoon rum
5 bananas – sliced
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tabelspoon rum
4 tabelspoons sugar
To decorate:
¼ pint / 150ml double cream
8 glace or maraschino cherries

Pre-heat the oven to 200 / 400 / 6
Make the pastry:  Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl
Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour
Add the water and mix to a dough, keeping your movements quick and light
Roll out the dough on a floured surface and line the prepared flan dish
Prick the base lightly with a fork and place a circle of foil on top of the base of the dish on top of the pastry – this is one method ‘baking blind’
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the pastry is beginning to form a slight crust
Remove the foil from the pastry and return to the oven for about another 10 minutes, the pastry should be lightly browned
Remove from the oven and leave to cool
Now make the filling.  Boil the milk in a small pan and leave to cool slightly
Mix together the coconut and the sugar in a small bowl, then stir in the eggs
Add the milk, stirring in a gentle figure of eight
Return the mixture to the pan and thicken over a low heat, still stirring in a brisk figure of eight
Stir in the rum and set aside to cool
Toss the banana slices in the lemon juice to stop them going brown
Strain off the juice and put it aside
In a small pan, mix the rum, sugar and strained lemon juice
Heat the mixture over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves
Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly, to form a thick syrup
Pour the coconut mixture into the pastry case
Arrange the bananas attractively on the top
Pour the syrup evenly over the top of the bananas and leave for half an hour to settle down
Decorate with the cream and cherries
Et voila!

Note:  Tarts and quiches are always best served at room temperature or above and should never be unpleasantly cold


Filed under Entertaining, Food, Recipes

A nutritious wartime pie

I decided to cook a dish from a wartime cookery book that was given to me the other day by a friend.  It is made from pilchards or sardines which are oily fish related to the herring family.  When I was a child we ate loads of sardines, usually in tomato sauce and on toast.  Even though I love a fresh sardine, I find dealing with the bones a miserable business; the tinned variety have no bones to speak of and therefore pose no threat to the genteel gullet.  It can also be made from storecupboard ingredients.

They are also hugely nutritious being packed with vital nutrients like Omega 3 fatty acids as well as Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Biotin and Calcium.

We really should re-learn how to eat sardines or pilchards. There is some argument as to the difference between the two fish, but the British fishing bods seem to agree that a sardine is a young pilchard.  Either way, they come in quite close to the shore, are plentiful in number and easy to catch.  Perhaps by eating more of them, we could take the strain off the over-fishing of other species.

This pie is extremely filling and will feed four easily and probably more if you rack up the vegetables.  The original recipe didn’t have chopped egg because they were on ration, but they’re not anymore, so I put some in.  I’m a devil like that.


2 x medium saucepans
1 x medium pie dish
1 x chopping board and sharp knife

1  12oz / 360g tin of pilchards in brine
1 largish potato – peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion – chopped finely
1 oz / 30g butter
1 handful of fresh parsley – finely chopped
2 eggs – hardboiled and roughly chopped.
seasoning – I suggest pepper and a dash of tobasco
1 quantity of shortcrust pastry
a bit of milk to glaze the pastry

Preheat the oven to 200 / 400 / 6
Boil the potato until soft and mash it.  Set aside
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan and add the onion
Cook on a low heat until the onion is soft and translucent
Add the pilchards, parsley, eggs, mashed potato and seasoning
Grease and flour the pie dish
Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and line the dish
Pile in the fish mixture and flatten slightly
Dampen the edge of the pastry with a little water
Roll out the remaining 1/3 of pastry and place it on top of the pie
Seal the edges and trim off any excess pastry
Make some slits in the middle and brush with a little milk to glaze
Bake for  about half an hour until the top is golden brown
Serve with several colourful vegetables to mitigate the fact that the filling is on the grey side.
I think a little white sauce wouldn’t go amiss either.


Filed under Food, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Storecupboard

Don’t Rook Now: A recipe for Rook Pie (but you can use pigeon)

A couple of days ago I was tossed a gauntlet by the immeasurable Mr Affer.  At the end of a charming article about the delights of Rookeries, he invited me to submit a recipe for cooking the rooks.

Rooks have long been recognised as a free food source, particularly in the West Country and South Wales.  They are quite hard to acquire these days as most people, even in the countryside, are such hypocritical pansies when it comes to food.  Many people are more than happy to munch on a water injected, formerly tormented pig, but will baulk at a bit of low fat game that has had a happy life.  Bah.

The easiest way to get your hands on some young and tender rooks is to seek out a farmer or gamekeeper who is about to cull them and ask them to save you a few.  They will probably despatch them with a shotgun though, which means you have to watch out for lead shot.  A .22 rifle is a better option.  The only bit of a rook worth eating is the breast, so you don’t really want it full of shot.

The other, more dangerous, way is to climb a rookery.  I would not advise doing this yourself unless you are an experienced climber, but if you are, then make sure you take a small bag up with you.  The young rooks can be popped into the bag ready to be bopped swiftly on the head when you get down.

Sadly, this is not the right time of year to go a-rooking, as the young rooks, or ‘branchers’, are not ready until about the second week in May.  In Victorian times it was considered a perfectly suitable activity for young ladies and boys and they would gather on 12th May for a day’s gentle sport.

Therefore, as it is only mid April, I was unable to obtain any rook breasts.  The recipe below calls for half rook, half pigeon but I had to make do with all pigeon. It was so good I could weep.
I served it with parsnip puree and would have chosen to serve peas, but I had run out.

WILD THANG PIE – serves 6

1 x large saucepan
1 x 10” pie dish
1 x rolling pin
1 x pastry brush
1 x small dish for the egg
1 x bowl for the flour
1 x chopping board & sharp knife

1 packet of shortcrust pastry (or 1lb/500g of your own recipe)
8 wood pigeon breasts (or 4 rook and 4 pigeon) – chopped into biggish chunks
2oz / 60g plain flour
3 tablespoons oil or dripping
1 medium onion – roughly chopped
1lb / 480g wild mushrooms – sliced into chunks
4floz / 125ml dry white wine
½ pint / 300ml good strong stock
1 x bouquet garni
1 egg – beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 190/375/5
Grease and flour the pie dish
Roll out the pastry and line the dish.  Roll out the remains ready for the lid
Put the flour into a bowl, seasoned with salt and pepper and coat the rook and pigeon in it
Heat the oil or dripping in a large sauce pan and briefly sauté the onion
Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute, keeping them moving
Add the meat and flour to the pan, cook briefly until just browning
Add the wine and stir it around quickly
Then gradually add the stock, stirring briskly all the time, until it starts to thicken.
Add the bouquet garni and remove from the heat
Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg
Pour the meat mixture into the dish
Place the remaining pastry on top, crimp the edges to seal and make 3 slits in the lid
Brush the top with egg and place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.



Filed under Community and shopping, Ethics, Food, Hedgerows, Outdoor Activities, Recipes, Regional, Seasonal

Two Good Dinners from one Piece of Brisket

Brisket is a really tasty joint of beef and is significantly cheaper than topside, silverside or sirloin.  I bought a good sized piece from the butcher for £6.50 (I’m not sure what weight it was) and there was hardly a scrap of unnecessary fat on it.  Brisket needs slow cooking and I decided to do a Pot Roast for Sunday lunch.  At the same time, I bought 4 kidneys, which cost just over £1 in order to use the leftovers for a Steak and Kidney Pie for tonight.

Pot roasts are incredibly versatile because you can chuck almost anything in, and if you work out of the home, you can put the slow cooker on in the morning and have a mouthwateringly good dinner to come home to, with all the attendant cooking smells emanating from the kitchen.  I, however, was insufficiently organised to do this on Sunday, so I cooked it for 2 ½ hours on the hob top.  I also forgot to photograph it before we all tucked in.  I’m sure you’ve all seen a Pot Roast before!

This is what I put into my Pot Roast.


1 x slow cooker or casserole dish
1 frying pan (although if you’re using a casserole dish you don’t need this)
1 x chopping board

A little oil for searing
1 piece of brisket – remember it has to do 2 meals
1 large onion
4 carrots – cut into chunks
2 large-ish potatoes – cubed (I don’t peel mine)
1 small or half a large swede – peeled and cubed
1 ½  pints of beef stock
½ pint of red wine
Mixed herbs
Dash of  Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of plain flour for thickening

Heat the oil in the casserole or frying pan
When it’s hot, put the meat in until it is brown all over.  This seals in the flavour.
Remove the meat and either put it in your slow cooker or put to one side
Add the onions to the oil and just toss around for a minute or two to slightly brown.
Put everything into the slow cooker or casserole dish. 
Slow cooker:- Cook on a low heat according to the cooker’s instructions
Casserole:- Cook on a low heat for about 2 ½ hours
Just before serving, Mix the flour with some water to form a paste and add to the meat, stirring well until the gravy has thickened

If you serve it with green beans or cabbage, it will stretch a bit further.  Remember to leave some for the next day.

S & K pie 12.10.09STEAK AND KIDNEY PIE

1 x chopping board
1 x small frying pan
1 8″ pie dish
1 x rolling pin

Ingredients: (for the purposes of this recipe)
The remains of the pot roast
4 kidneys – cored and cut into chunks (*substitute mushrooms if you don’t like kidneys) 
A little oil for sealing
1 packet of shortcrust pastry
A little milk for glazing

Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Cut the meat remaining from the pot roast into pie-size chunks, cutting off any fat
Heat the oil in the frying pan
Add the kidneys or mushrooms and cook until nicely browned
Add to the remains of the pot roast
Cut off one third of the pastry and set aside
Grease and flour the pie dish
Roll out two thirds of the pastry and line the pie dish.
Put in the meat mixture
Moisten the edge of the pastry with water
Roll out the remaining third of the pastry and lay it on the top of the pie
Press the edges together firmly, put three slits in the top then brush with milk
Trim off any excess pastry
Bake for about 30 minutes until the top is golden brown

S & K pie open 12.10.09

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Filed under Food, Recipes

Chicken Pie

Chicken Pie 1 09.09.09This is yet another tasty way of using up leftover chicken, although of course you can buy chicken breasts and pre-cook them for the recipe if you need to. I would suggest simple grilling.  Any leftover vegetables can also be thrown in – carrots and peas are good but chopped up green beans would work, as would diced potato or swede.  As always, experiment.  And once again, most of what you need are Storecupboard Ingredients.

1 x 8″ pie dish – greased and floured
1 x medium saucepan
1 x chopping board
1 x wooden spoon
1 x rolling pin
1 x pastry brush – use your fingers if you haven’t got one

1 tablspn cooking oil
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 heaped tblspn plain flour
1 tsp mixed herbs
A good pinch of paprika
¾ pint / 450ml chicken stock
A couple of tablespoons of white wine if you have it lurking around
12oz / 360g cooked chicken – cubed according to how chunky you like your pie
1 medium carrot – diced and cooked
Some cooked peas – about 2 tbslpns -ish
1 packet (500g) shortcrust pastry
Milk for glazing – about a tablespoon

Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Take the pastry out of the fridge to let it rest
Heat the oil in the saucepan, add the onions and cook until translucent
Add the flour and stir well to form a thick paste
Gradually add the stock and white wine (if you have it) stirring with a brisk figure of 8 movement to avoid lumps
Add the herbs, paprika, chicken, vegetables and any seasoning you like.  You shouldn’t really need salt
Leave the chicken mixture warming on the stove.
Mentally cut the pastry into thirds and physically cut off one third.
Roll out the two thirds portion until it is big enough to line your pie dish.
Line your pie dish, trimming off the excess round the rim. Wet all round the edge with water
Spoon in your chicken mixture
Roll out the remaining third of pastry until it is big enough to cover the pie.
Place the pastry on top and trim off the excess round the rim
Press all the way round with your fingers to seal the top and bottom pastry together.  Make 3 cuts in the top to let the steam out.
Brush with milk or smear it on lightly with your fingers if you don’t have a pastry brush
Put in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with a nice selection of vegetables – you don’t need potatoes unless you are a manual worker, as there is plenty of carbohydrate in the pastry

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Cheese Pie

Cheese Pie - wholeCheese Pie made a regular appearance on the dinner table when we were children, but my grandmother, as far as I remember, made it simply with layers of cheese and potato with a crust on the top and I don’t remember ever being given vegetables with it.  My scurvy has very nearly cleared up.

The Wartime Housewife and her sisters (in whom she is well pleased) enhance this dish in different ways to make it a bit more interesting.  The great thing is, that like the best of home cooking, one can improvise depending on what is in the storecupboard

Cheese Pie portionThere will be half a pack of shortcrust pastry left over which could be well wrapped and frozen, or better still, while the oven is on, make some jam tarts or a few little apple pies to have with custard for pudding tomorrow. 

A note about pastry, before anyone pounces on me.  Obviously, it is always better to make your own pastry, but don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself if you’re a busy person.  Shop-bought pastry is perfectly good.    Before I had my children, my hands were always icy cold and I made the best pastry in the world.  Sadly, the hormonal assault of pregnancy has permanently warmed me up and I ruin every bowl of pastry I attempt, so I buy it.  Life is too short to fret about these things.

This evening I made Cheese Pie for me and The Boys  and it will easily stretch to another meal, perhaps with some extra vegetables or salad.  This is what I put in:-

Heat the oven to 200/ 400/ 6


1 x medium casserole dish
1 x medium saucepan
1 x chopping board


2lb / 1kg potatoes – thinly sliced and par boiled
½ onion – finely chopped
A few florets of broccoli cut very finely
½ tin of chopped tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes
1lb/500g Cheddar cheese – sliced
¼ pint of cream or full fat milk
1 tspn mixed herbs
1 packet of ready made shortcrust pastry


Place a single layer of potatoes in the casserole dish.
Alternate the layers eg onions then cheese then potatoes, then broccoli, cheese, potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, potatoes etc, finishing up with a layer of potatoes
Sprinkle the herbs on the top and pour the cream or milk over the whole thing.
Roll out the pastry to about ¼” / 1/2cm and cut to fit the dish.
Place the pastry on top of the layered potatoes
Cut three slits in the pastry to let the steam escape and brush with milk
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard