Wartime Recipes – WW2 recipes by Andy Hamilton and Mrs Flibble

Misitry of food poster

The generation that lived through World War 2 are sometimes referred to as the Great Generation. Indeed they suffered hardships we can no longer imagine. To us this latest recession means that we might have to do without a night at the pub, sky television or a foreign holiday;  at worst it means changing our shopping habits or using the car less. It is unlikely that many will starve in this country (UK).

We could learn a thing or two from the greatest generation and although tastes have changed there are still some tasty (and very cheap) war time recipes out there.


This recipe was posted on our web forum by Mrs Flibble, she was not born during the war but it was a response to the request for war time recipes. It is a great way to use up last nights mash.


1 lb (450g) Last night’s mash potatoes (this can be topped up with fresh mash).
2 tablespoons butter (or margarine, or an egg yolk, or a bit of water) plus some fat/oil to fry in
1/2 teaspoons butter
a bag of rolled oats (no you won’t use all of them)


Sprinkle potatoes with salt and drizzle with the butter, or beaten egg, or water- enough to make it sticky, like a very thick batter.
Knead in handful after handful of oats until you can make balls of the potato-oat dough in your hands.
Flatten and fry until brown on both sides.

Woolton Pie

This dish was invented at the Savoy Hotel in London where our Granddad, Dennis Hamilton worked for a while after the war. It was named after the Minister of Food at the time Frederick Marquis, 1st Lord Woolton.

IngredientsAn make shift air raid shelter

2lb (900g) peeled and diced potatoes
1lb (450g) peeled and diced swede
1/2lb (225g) peeled and diced carrots
1/2lb (225g) chopped cauliflower
1 medium onion
1-2 tsp vegetable extract or Marmite
1 tablespoon oatmeal
Mixed Herbs (parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary if using your own)
Season to taste


Put half the diced potatoes into a separate pan and cook. Put the rest of the diced vegetables in a saucepan with just enough water to cover them. Simmer until tender and drain away half the remaining water (or save as a vegetable stock). To save even more money if you are using an electric hob try bringing to the boil then instead of reducing the heat, switch off the hob. Sometimes there is enough heat left in the ring to cook the vegetables, it depends on your oven.

Add herbs, vegetable extract, oatmeal, salt & pepper, and stir over heat for a few minutes, leave to cool.

Make the mash with the half of the potatoes put aside. Place pie filling in deep pie dish and top with mashed potatoes and season.

Place in oven at 430 Fahrenheit, 220 centigrade until potato topping browns. This dish can be served with gravy.
Serves 3 average people, one person with a huge appetite or 8 people with very tiny stomachs.

Brown Betty

Although this recipe was wartime fare the origins are thought to date back to American Colonial times. It is similar Womens land army post and my headto a cobbler and is a great way to use up stale bread. It is very easy to make and even the novice should be able to give it a go. A great dish for the autumn months when neighbours’ trees are overflowing with apples just waiting to be scrumped. This is one of my favourite war time recipes as I normally have an old tin of golden syrup and the end of a loaf floating about, along with scrumped apples this dish can be almost free.


4 slices of stale bread, whizzed up in the blender to make breadcrumbs. This can also be done by hand if you have more time
2lb (900g) apples any will do but obviously cookers work the best
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2oz (50g) margarine or butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 cup water
1 lemon


Grease a pie dish and layer with breadcrumbs. Grate the apples into said pie dish and pour syrup over. Dot with marg or butter. Sprinkle over cinnamon and nutmeg (if you have neither then ground allspice will do). Grate half the lemon rind and add that too. Repeat this process for another layer then juice the lemon and pour that over the whole pudding. Sprinkle a last layer of breadcrumbs over the top.

Bake at 180c or 350f for 45 mins

Will happily feed a family or two large people.

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