Tag Archives: potatoes

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

A delicious Sausage Stew

This is a recipe for a delicious, nutritious, easy and cheap sausage stew which is just the job for warming you up on a chilly day.  This recipe serves 6 easily and uses storecupboard ingredients.  If, as in my case, there are only 2 or 3 of you, eat the stew with the sausages on day one, then eat the rest the next day either on its own with bread and cheese or add some lamb chops, chicken legs or bits of black pudding.


1 x large saucepan or casserole dish suitable for the hob
1 x chopping board
1 x vegetable peeler

a little oil
8 good sausages
1 medium onion – chopped
1 small swede or half a big one – peeled & cubed
3 medium parsnips – peeled & cubed
3 medium carrots – chopped into chunks
2 medium potatoes – chopped into chunks (I leave the skins on)
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 pint of stock – I made half beef and half chicken
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon mixed herbs
1 flat tablespoon paprika
1 tin of baked beans
seasoning to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan
Add the sausages and cooked until nicely browned
Add the onions and soften a little, adding a bit more oil if necessary
Add all the other ingredients except the baked beans
Cook on a low heat until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally (probably about ½ hour to 40 minutes)
Add the baked beans and cook for a further five minutes
Serve in big bowls


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

Tyneside Floddies all mine, all mine…

Bacon Floddies, a sort of potato cake, are a tradition part of a Tyneside breakfast and would be served with eggs and sausages.  Apparently they originated on the canals where the navvies would cook them on their shovels over the fire.


1 x potato peeler
1 x grater
1 x tea towel – clean!
1 x mixing bowl
1 x large frying pan
Kitchen roll (paper towel) to drain

10oz / 300g potatoes – peeled
1 large onion – finely chopped
6oz / 180g bacon – rinds off and finely chopped
2oz / 60g self raising flour
2 eggs
oil for frying

Grate the potatoes onto the tea towel
Gather it up and squeeze the liquid out of the potatoes
Put the chopped onion into a bowl and add the potatoes, bacon and flour
Season to taste
Beat the eggs into the potato mixture
Heat the oil in the frying pan to a medium heat
Put ample tablespoonfuls of the potato mixture into the frying pan and flatten them out to form round cakes
Cook on each side until golden brown and cooked all the way through – about 4 minutes each side
Lift out of the pan and drain the oil off on the kitchen paper
Serve immediately with fried eggs and good sausages and shovel it down!


Filed under Food, Recipes, Regional, Slider

Unfashionable Cauliflower – a retrospective (plus a recipe for Aloo Gobi)

Yet again, the subject of the poor, ganged-up-on, unpopular cauliflower has reared its curly head on the telly.  It always makes me really cross when people talk about unpopular foodstuffs.  Would the average shopper be happier if it had ‘Louis Vuitton’ stamped on every floret?  Or perhaps the Nike Turnip would prove to be a hit?  Fendi Fennel… stop me now – I’m only pretending that I know some designers.

Cauliflower is lovely and I shall prove it.  Read this article wot I wrote in May last year.

Now go and buy a cauliflower.

Than, if you want to be exotic, try this quick and delicious recipe for Aloo Gobi, a North Indian/Pakistani dish  made with cauliflower, potatoes and Indian spices.  My friend Ila also puts a handful of frozen peas in it at the potato stage.


1 x large saucepan
1 x vegetable peeler

3 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 clove garlic – chopped
1 green chilli – chopped
1 inch / 2.5cm ginger peeled and finely chopped
2 medium potatoes – peeled and cut into smallish chunks
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1 medium cauliflower cut into florets
a dash of lemon juice
a little salt
½ tsp garam masala

Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, chillis and ginger until just tender.
Add the potatoes and fry for another 2-3 minutes
Add the spices except for the garam masala, and mix well
Add a tablespoon of water, cover the pot and cook
When the potatoes are al dente add in the cauliflower.
Replace the lid and cook until the cauliflower is just soft
Add a sprinkle of lemon juice, salt and garam masala and stir well
Serve with naan or parathas


Filed under Food, Recipes, Regional

Lancashire Hot Pot

I was listening to Desert Island Discs on Sunday morning and it featured the wonderful actress Betty Driver who plays Betty in ITV’s ‘Coronation Street’.  In the programme, she is famous for her ‘Ot Pots and her presence on the wireless prompted me to give you this recipe. 

Some time ago, I gave you the recipe for Cumberland Tattie Pot which is a regional variation which includes sausages and black pudding.  The great thing about this sort of dish is that it’s so versatile; see what’s cheap or on special offer at the butchers and throw that in, or see what you have in the freezer.  Substitute kidneys for liver, use pork shops or different type of sausage (look at Rate My Sausage for advice on different types), try mushrooms, carrots or thinly sliced swede.  Be wild and free!  

Betty's 'Ot Pot


1 x large frying pan
1 x large casserole dish with a lid

2 tablespoons oil
8-12 lamb chops
6oz / 180g lamb’s kidneys – cored and cut into pieces
2 medium onions – thinly sliced
a few sprigs of rosemary
2lb / 1kg potatoes – thinly sliced (I leave the skin on)
1 pint / 600ml lamb or beef stock
3oz / 90g butter

Preheat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Heat the oil to a high-ish heat in the frying pan
Brown the chops quickly on both sides to seal, remove from the pan and set aside
Put the kidneys into the frying pan and lightly brown
Remove from the pan and set aside
Layer the chops, kidneys, onions, herbs and potatoes in the casserole
Season if you wish
Finish off with a layer of potatoes
Pour over the stock and dot the top with bits of butter to brown it nicely
Put the lid on and pop it in the oven for 2 hours
Remove the lid and turn the heat up to 220 / 425 / 7
Return to the oven and cook, without the lid for another half hour until the potatoes are crisping nicely


Filed under Food, Recipes, Regional

Garden Update 2

From the pot to the pot in 5 minutes

Today I had the pleasure of harvesting the first of my carrots which were grown in pots.  I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to prepare my garden properly for vegetables earlier in the year, but I did manage to get in a few rows of onions and potatoes, one row of cabbages and a few pots of carrots.

I inherited my garden with a small raised bed and I got very excited until I discovered that it was just a large lump of clay with a couple of old railway sleepers round the edge.  Hence the spuds which are starting to break the soil up a little.  My onions are now in and waiting to be plaited into a neat hanging thingy; they are so crisp and full of flavour they make me weep.  Oh hang on…. But joking apart they really are lovely onions.

I planted my potatoes much too close together which made them difficult to earth up and they completely overshadowed my cabbages and I forgot about them until about two months ago.  Consequently, the cabbages got a bit sluggy and the last but one has bolted, but the others were all nicely tight-headed and delicious.

As I mentioned earlier, the soil in my garden is very heavy clay and therefore completely unsuitable for carrots.  If you attempt to plant carrots in clay, all you will get is clumps of fanged, knobbly monstrosities which are neither use nor ornament, unless they grown into amusingly genital shapes, but even this has limited entertainment when the family is crying out for Sunday lunch! 

I didn’t have time to organise different areas of soil, or to improve all the soil in time for planting, so I did my old trick of planting in large plastic pots.  I made a mix of half compost and half sharp sand and filled three giant pots with it.  I then carefully and thinly sowed carrot seed as per the instructions on the packet and left them to it.  I’ve just had my first crop and I can’t tell you how delicious they were and you can’t get any fresher than taking them out of the ground and into the pot five minutes later.  Do try growing things in pots if you don’t have much garden – you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

Vis a vis the other things I planted, I had a grand total of ten tomatoes, the neighbour’s horse ate the pumpkin plant and the pepper just stared at me very hard as I walked past, but did nothing.

I have grander plans for the garden next year.  As my landlord stole half my garden, there is no longer any need for the badly made and un-membraned gravel path that cuts across what remains of my lawn.  I shall remove it, use the wooden planks to edge the front flower bed, move the pathetic box plants to in front of the fence, where hopefully they will eventually form a nice hedge.  I will then be left with a decent, vaguely rectangular lawn which will be easier to mow.

I can then move the tatty sleeper edged bed, which is at the moment full of mint, and use the remaining sleeper to extend the vegetable patch.  With hard work and a following wind I may even have room for the garden swing which I bought and promised to put up for the boys two years ago.

This is not as much work as it sounds and, to be honest, I far prefer diggin’, choppin’ and ‘ackin’ work to poncing about with plants.  The Aged Parent can do that – it’ll keep her joints supple.

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Filed under Food, Plants, The Garden

Is it a Soup or is it a Lizard?

You are to be discouraged from putting this in your soup.

Cullen Skink is a Scottish soup, but it’s very thick, very hearty and wonderfully rich and filling.  I always serve it with thick chunks of granary bread and butter (don’t torment me with your margarine fakery!).  Just the job for these cold, bright days.  And it’s fish so it will make you really brainy.  Brainier – you are, after all, my readers. 

The name comes from the fishing village of Cullen, in Morayshire. “Skink” is a soup made originally from a shin of beef. But nowadays the main ingredient is smoked haddock. Och aye the noo (as absolutely no-one says in Scotland).

No lizards were harmed in the preparation of this recipe.

1 x large pan
1 x plate
1 x potato peeler
1 x potato masher

1oz / 30g butter
½ onion – finely chopped
1 pint / 600ml of creamy milk
1lb / 480g potatoes – peeled and diced
1/2lb / 240g smoked haddock (pref. undyed)
1 tblspn fresh parsley – finely chopped (or ½ tblspn dried)

Melt the butter in a pan
Add the onion and sweat for 7-8 minutes until soft but not browned
Pour in the milk and bring to the boil
Add the potatoes and simmer for 20 minutes until they are really soft
Place the haddock on the top and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the fish begin to flake easily
Remove the fish carefully onto a plate and leave it until it’s cool enough to handle
Flake the fish, removing any bones and skin as you do so
While the fish is cooling, mash the potatoes in the pan just a little to thicken the soup
Put the fish back into the pan
Stir in the parsley and season to taste.

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Filed under Food, Recipes, Regional

A Very English Dinner Party in 3 Parts. Part 2 Cumberland Tattie Pot

This is the main course following on from yesterday’s starter of Huntingdon Pears.


A note about lamb:  Hot Pots often suggest using lamb chops, but I think they’re far too expensive for what they are, and certainly unnecessary for use in a casserole that will be cooked for several hours.  Ask your butcher what he/she has – a neck or shoulder piece will melt in the mouth and is considerably cheaper.

1 x large ovenproof deep casserole dish
1 x chopping board
1 x sharp knife

2lb / 1kg of lamb – (see above) cut into portion sizes or chunks
12oz / 360g black pudding – cut into 1″ / 2.5cm chunks
6 Cumberland sausages or a whole coiled sausage
2lb potatoes – thickly sliced
3 large onions – sliced
¾ pint / 500ml beef stock
1oz / 30g butter or dripping
Salt & pepper – to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 160/325/3
Place a layer of potatoes in the casserole dish, then a layer of onions, lamb and black pudding, seasoning as you go
Then another payer of potatoes, onions and sausages
Finish off with a layer of potatoes
Pour the stock over the whole thing
Grease the lid of the casserole dish and place it on.
Put it in the oven and cook for about 2 ½ hours
Remove from the oven, take off the lid and smear the potatoes with butter or dripping
Return to the oven without the lid for a further half hour or until the potatoes are nicely browned
Serve with carrots and green beans.

PS.  I have just finished the remains of this for my Sunday lunch, washed down with a bottle Badger’s ‘Blandford Fly’, which is undoubtedly the best beer in the world.  Drink some at once.


Filed under Entertaining, Food, Recipes

Two Tasty Ways with Corned Beef

Corned beef is a very useful and cheap standby and these two dishes can be whipped up in no time at all using storecupboard ingredients.  Always buy the best quality corned beef – the more expensive brands tend to have more meat and less fat (ie £1.75 rather than 99p a tin).  To learn how to make your own corned beef, I would recommend you look at the delicious Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s  ‘River Cottage Meat Book’.

The Corned Beef Hash detailed below is a fairly standard recipe, but I have taken Hugh F-W’s advice from the above mentioned book and added beetroot in the style of his New England Red Flannel Hash.  If you don’t like beetroot, don’t use it, use an equivalent quantity of extra potatoes instead.  I do urge you to try it though.  This is a useful recipe for those of you who get beetroot in your veg boxes and don’t know what to do with it.

1 x large frying pan
1 x large chopping board

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash

1 medium onion – finely chopped
1lb potatoes – cooked and diced
250g cooked (but not picked) beetroot – cubed
340g tin of Corned Beef – cubed
1 handful of fresh chopped parsley (or ½ that of dried parsley)
1 tsp paprika
black pepper
a little oil for frying

Heat the oil in the frying pan
Add the chopped onion and cook over a medium heat until translucent
Add all the other ingredients to the pan and cook, turning frequently, until good and hot and all the ingredients are just starting to brown nicely.

Eat on its own or, to make it go further, serve with nice bright vegetables like green beans or sweetcorn.  Baked beans go beautifully with it for a heavy duty energy boost.


These are not a million miles away from Fishcakes in their method, and are a good example of how delicious food can be thrown together at the drop of a hat.

1 x baking tray
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x fish slice
1 pair of clean hands

340g tin Corned Beef
12oz / 360g mashed potatoes
2oz / 60g wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp dried parsley
1 dash lemon juice
1 good splosh of Worcestershire Sauce
black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 200 / 400 / 6
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well with your hands
Form into rissoles about 3″ / 7cm diameter
Bake for about 20 minutes until nicely browned

Serve with chips or jacket potatoes and vegetables.  These are filling so don’t overdo it.

I will add a photo of the rissoles tomorrow when I’ve cooked them for dinner.


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

Liver – It’s Offally Good!

A whole lamb's liver - shiny and richly coloured

A whole lamb's liver - shiny and richly coloured

In which the Wartime Housewife tells you how to cook Liver and Bacon, Liver with Sage Butter and Liver and Tomatoes with Rice.

is a fantastically cheap, low fat and nutritious food, which has been much overlooked in recent years.  Many of us have been put off eating liver because it’s been presented to us badly cooked; school lunches spring to mind with chunks of dark brown leathery liver one could have used to re-sole one’s outdoor shoes.  The same goes for many foods we think we don’t like and, as with so much in life, it’s knowing what to do with it that counts. 

The most important thing is to get all the tubes and sinewy bits out with a small, sharp knife before you even think about cooking it, taking care not to mash the meat up too much while you’re doing it. 

Today, I’m going to give you three delicious ways of using liver.  I prefer lamb’s liver but pig and ox liver are perfectly fine, and calve’s liver is divine but usually a bit more expensive for some reason.
All these recipes serve 4 people.

Tonight's dinner, hence a photo! It was delicious and very filling.

Tonight's dinner, hence a photo! It was delicious and very filling.


1 x large frying pan
1 x wooden spoon

1 ½ lb / 700g liver – sliced
4oz / 120g butter
1 tblspn fresh sage, finely chopped (half if using dried)

Melt the butter gently in the frying pan and add the sage
Place the pieces of liver into the pan and cook on a low heat, turning occasionally until nicely browned
This should take no more than 10-15 minutes

Serve with new or boiled potatoes, carrots and green beans


1 x large frying pan
1 x wooden spoon

1lb / 450g liver – sliced
8oz / 240g lean bacon cut into 2″ pieces (leaving the fat and rind on)
1 tblspn plain white flour
¼ tspn dried mixed herbs
¼ pint / 150ml good stock

Fry the bacon in the frying pan (you may need a tiny drop of oil to start it off) until the fat is building up nicely in the pan and the bacon is getting slightly crispy. 
Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside
Add the sliced liver and cook in the bacon fat until it is turning nicely brown
Remove the liver and put with the bacon in a warm place
Add the flour and herbs to the juices in the pan, stirring quickly with the wooden spoon in a figure of 8 movement
Gradually add the stock, stirring it in as above and until thickened.
Return the meat to the pan and keep stirring until everything is nice and hot.
Season to taste

Serve with mashed potatoes and broccoli.  I like baked beans with it too.


1 x large frying pan
1 x wooden spoon

A knob of butter or a little oil
1 medium onion – chopped
1lb / 450g liver – cut into roughly 1″/2.5cm chunks
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 splash Worcester sauce
1 tspn dried mixed herbs
8oz / 240g rice

Heat the oil or butter in the frying pan and add the onions. Cook until translucent
Add the liver to the pan and cook until nicely browned
Stir in the tomatoes, Worcester sauce and herbs
Cover and simmer on a low heat until the rice is ready
Cook the rice as per the instructions on the pack (If using brown rice, put this on before cooking the liver)
Either serve the rice in a ring with the liver and tomatoes in the middle, or stir the rice into the liver mixture in the style of a risotto.


Filed under Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes

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