I recently bought a copy of the Victory Cookbook by Marguerite Paton. Along with plenty of interesting facts about food rations in war-time it also contains recipes based on what foodstuffs were available at the time. I figured that I could be doing with some enforced rationing to aid my own personal war against a potentially high BMI, so it seemed like a prudent purchase.
The book is arranged in three different sections, each containing it’s own quirks depending on what ingredient was rationed or unavailable and required substitution. The word ‘mock’ is used frequently in the recipe titles. Mock Apricot Flan substitutes carrots for fruit and the recipe ends with an encouraging note that ‘the carrots really do taste like apricots’. To dine on Mock Duck you simply have to shape sausage meat into the shape of a ducks’ carcass. Even stranger, Mock Goose requires a boned leg of lamb which you are advised to stuff and ‘form into the body of a goose’. All very surreal. In the event that goose becomes unavailable I think I’ll stick to enjoying my leg of lamb in the shape of, well…a lamb’s leg.
Although tempted by the recipe for ‘vinegar cake’ I eventually settled on a quick recipe for cobs or, as I have renamed them, mini scones. We had them for breakfast with butter and jam but they would be equally tasty served as an accompaniment to soups or stews. I took Paton’s advice and used butter instead of margarine. This isn’t completely authentic but I have retained it in the recipe below because I only consume margarine as a form of punishment.
Recipe – Mini scones or cobs
- 8 oz /225 g self raising flour
- 1 oz / 25 g butter
- pinch salt
- ¼ pint / 150 ml whole milk
Preheat your oven to 220 °C. Generously dust a baking tray with flour.
Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt.
Rub the butter into the flour until you have fine crumbs, or pulse in your food processor a good few times then tip the mixture back into the bowl.
Add the milk and use a dough scraper, or your hand, to bring the mixture together. It should be a soft mix and slightly stick – do not overmix!
Pull sections of the dough until you have around ten pieces. Don’t worry about forming them into neat balls – they will look nicer and have a better textures if you leave them a little rough and don’t over-handle the dough.
Place them onto the baking tray and place in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes, or until golden brown. When you break them open they will be lovely and fluffy inside.