These traditional recipes were born during the scarce years of the Second World War… but many probably go back much farther than that, handed down by mothers and mother’s mothers in Britain ever since they began to grow potatoes and cabbages.
Don’t worry, though. All these recipes taste great. And even better, they are good for you. All are made from seasonally fresh foods from scratch and most of them feature many fruits and veggies. Because sugar was rationed during the war, sweets are at a minimum.
Best of all, because they come to you via The Redwall Cookbook, while you are waiting for things to bake, you can read all about the adventures of Mole and Badger in the Mossflower woods.
See if you can find The Redwall Cookbook at your library. This cheery little book, by Brian Jacques and illustrated by Christopher Denise, is sure to turn inexperienced Dibbuns into seasoned chefs. Dig in!
Gourmet garrison grilled leeks
- 1 ½ pound (about 4 medium) leeks, cleaned and chopped into 1 ½ inch lengths
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Preheat the broiler.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add salt.
- Boil the leeks for 10 minutes.
- Drain and transfer the leeks to a shallow oven-proof dish
- In a bowl cream the butter, mustard and cheese and spread over the leaks
- Broil until golden, about 3 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
Greathall gooseberry fool
- 1 pound gooseberries (you can use any kind of berries but, then, you must change the name…)
- ½ cup sugar (use less if you are using a sweet berry instead of gooseberries)
- 2 tablespoons water
- Cook the gooseberries in a saucepan with the sugar and water, about 10 minutes, until the berries are soft.
- Press the fruit through a sieve over a bowl.
- Let the fruit puree cool.
Make the milk sauce and assemble the fool
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons plus ½ c milk (Vinny uses skim)
- ½ cup heavy cream, whipped
- Grated chocolate to garnish
- Mix the cornstarch and sugar with 2 tablespoons of milk.
- Bring another ½ cup of milk to a boil and pour it slowly over the cornstarch mix, stirring to blend well.
- Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium low heat, stirring until thickened, about 4 minutes.
- Let cool, stirring occasionally.
- Fold the milk sauce, then the whipped cream, into the berry puree.
- Cover and chill at least an hour.
- Serve the fool in four pretty glasses and sprinkle with grated chocolate.
Caffeine-free hot mint tea
Vinny’s recipe – but how hard hard is that?
What would a British meal be without tea!
- 1 tablespoon Roibus tea leaves (or other caffeine-free tea)
- 1 small bunch of mint leaves (a nice handful)
- honey or stevia, to taste
- Put the tea and mint leaves into a teapot large enough to hold six cups.
- Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and pour over the leaves.
- Let it rest (steep) for 5 minutes.
- Strain into four mugs and sweeten with honey, as you like it.