As a mum on a budget, it is not always the penny pinch of Christmas that I feel the most but rather the January broke blues soon after. With the last of the tinsel being packed away and relatives returned to their rightful places, the promise of payday seems a million miles away. Although my fridge is a little lighter and my cupboards now empty of festive fancies, I still feel grateful that I am able to afford and consume so much delicious food. Food was rationed in Britain from 1940 until 1954. With basic rations being little more than just 4oz of bacon and ham, I simply cannot imagine what on earth I would have been able to cook for my family!
Simple soup, broth, casseroles and stews all seem like firm family favourites made from the available rationed ingredients – many of which are still on my own family dinner table. Having heard stories of nettle soup, and bread and butter pudding, meal times seemed a very different tale back in wartime. With families growing their own vegetables and making rations stretch to last, those that cooked were inventive to say the least. Food back then was more about what would fill you up and give you energy for the day’s work ahead rather than convenience.
Being from Yorkshire, my chosen “go to” recipe when it’s cold, wintery and miserable has got to be a trusty Yorkshire ‘Toad In The Hole’ – its budget friendly and you can feed a family of four quite comfortably. If like me, you are in the middle of weaning your little one then it is suggested to watch the salt content in the sausages and pre-made batter mix. My little girl loves this dish as it’s squidgy enough for her to use her hands to feed herself but also a good hearty meal too. Whether you are a mum on the go, weaning little ones or trying to juggle fussy mouths with hungry tummies, you need something that is super quick to make and a good all rounder. For less than a fiver this easy, filling meal is guaranteed to have your little ones asking, “Please sir… can I have some more?”
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 pork sausages
Salt and pepper (optional)
Batter – or purchase a store own brand of batter mixture for about 50p!
165g plain flour
120ml cold water
Preheat oven to 220 C / Gas mark 7.
Spread oil in the bottom of a square baking dish. The key is to have the oil super hot before pouring in the batter. Try putting the sausages in for ten minutes on their own before adding the batter. Sift flour into a separate bowl, and then beat in the eggs. Gradually stir in the milk, water, salt and pepper. Beat well. You can also just use the packet of store bought batter at this point if you prefer and haven’t made your own. Add a dollop of Dijon mustard to make your meal awesome. Pour the batter over the sausages, bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and risen. This is easy to portion up and freeze for when you need something quick and yummy.
Many thanks to Zane Horsfall and the Horsfall family for photographs and Kelly Anne Dancer for the recipe (printed with permission.)
Words – Georgia Harrup of www.monicavalentinevintage.co.uk