This past weekend I met up with my friend Medusa at the Imperial War Museum to catch the very last day of the For Your Eyes Only exhibit. There’s no reason why I’ve waited so long, but I really wish I’d gone earlier as it would have been worth a second visit.
And not just to the exhibit. The gift shop is awesome! It’s as much geared towards people who like bombs and war history as it is towards those of us seeking to cut back, reduce the amount of waste we create and live a much less consumer-driven existence. There are lots of cookbooks and gardening books and compilations of the old pamphlets the British government produced during the ration years on how to stretch your budget, your garden and your daily bread.
Though I didn’t buy anything there, when I saw Eating for Victory in a discount bookshop mere moments after we left (next to In the Devil’s Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food) I knew it was fate (and bought both). Eating for Victory is a collection of reproductions of official WWII instruction leaflets on how to live for less and live healthily on rations. It’s an amazing read and great for recipe ideas. Particularly because so much produce was so hard to come by, it’s packed with crafty alternatives to what were (and still are) considered staples in cookery and baking. There are heaps of great eggless recipes for cakes and biscuits, as well as vegetarian and vegan dinners and lunches. Of course, there are pages and pages on what to do with drippings and bacon fat, but I’m fascinated by just how inventive so many of these recipes must have seemed at the time.
Plus, it’s fed my scone cravings. I’ve been longing for the lofty crumb of a good scone for weeks and finally found a recipe I could get on with. This is my twist on the basic fruit scone recipe from the Ministry of Food, Leaflet No. 30.
8 oz. plain or self-raising flour
1 oz. butter or margarine
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 oz. sugar
1 oz. mixed chopped dates and raisins
1/2 to 2/3 c. milk (dairy or otherwise)
1/2 tsp. vanilla or rum extract
Preheat your oven to about 400 F/Gas 7-8. Rub the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and butter together until they form crumbs. Fold in the dried fruit. Mix in the milk and your extract of choice until a dough is formed. Try not to over mix the dough as you want it nice as fluffy.
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a round. Slice into wedges or cut into individual rounds, depending on what you fancy. It makes about 8 either way. Transfer onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Best served on hand-painted crockery, with jam or clotted cream or both (go crazy!) and a steaming cup of tea.