A Dinner Back In Time

I just love living in an older house. I often wonder about who has lived here before us, what kind of lives they led, what these walls have seen. In particular, I wonder who this house gave shelter to in the war years. Did a housewife live here with her husband, or was he young enough to be away fighting?

Sometimes as I am walking back from town, I realise I am retracing the steps of whoever lived here before us, and I imagine a housewife with a basket on her arm, going home to cook the supper.

Tonight I made a dinner which would have been familiar to her – a Woolton Pie inspired dish.

I peeled and diced a variety of vegetables – you could vary these, they are just what I had:

1 each of leeks, potatoes and celery sticks.

2 each of carrots and parsnips.

I sautéed in a little butter, then covered with boiling water and stirred in a teaspoon of marmite (I hate marmite on its own but it is useful in cookery).

I set them to simmer gently for 15 minutes, and made a small amount of white sauce. I melted a knob of butter in a pan, stirred in 2tsp of flour, and then added milk slowly, stirring well until I had a thick White sauce.I seasoned with white pepper, nutmeg, and oregano. It would have been dried mixed herbs but I had used them up earlier.

When the timer for the vegetables went off I drained them (saving the liquid for soup making) then stirred in the white sauce. I added a small amount of leftover cooked chicken which I had roughly cubed.

I divided this mixture between two individual enamel pie dishes and a ramekin, then sprinkled a little cheese over the top. I added short crust pastry lids, made three slits in the lid of each with a sharp knife and then glazed with a little milk. I baked them in a hot oven for 15 minutes. They were delicious,mbut I think the oven needed to be a touch hotter or they needed 5 minutes more to get the pastry a richer colour.

I love dinners like this, taking a recipe as inspiration and following the thread of your thoughts and inspiration to make it your own.

I was inspired by this blog and recipe today.

I wonder what my wartime housewife housemate would have thought of it?


One thought on “A Dinner Back In Time

  1. Yum, that sounds good. A wartime wife would have done similarly I’d think; using what she had on hand; making do, substituting b/c of rationing. My motto as a young wife was ‘use it up, wear it out, make it do, do with out’. I had to be frugal b/c of the economic recession in the U.S. in the 70’s. In the 80’s we bought a home and the mortgage interest rate was 15%. Today it is around 3.5-4% if you have good credit. A far cry from 15%. When it dropped to 7% in the 90’s I thought it was wonderful. Below 5%—thought I’d never see the day. However, when the mortgage interest rate was 15% the bank was paying 10% interest on money in bank savings accounts. That was risk free. Today, the mortgage rates are very low, but savings accounts are paying less than half a percent interest. Being a saver who prefers to pay with cash I’d rather have the high rates all around.

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