It’s raining and cold here today so a bit of comfort food in the form of Egg Pie, a pie with mash not pastry. This recipe is from Recipes From an Unknown Kitchen (again!). From the time of World War II and like a lot of recipes in this era, Egg Pie was born out of a necessity brought about by rationing but actually reflects British comfort food. It just shows what you can make out of the store cupboard and with an inspired veg dish this will fill the family.
4 hard boiled eggs
4 onions, sliced
A little oil for frying
150ml white sauce
Salt and pepper
A small bunch of parsley
Hard boil four eggs. Throw into cold water and remove the shells. Fry the onion slices until golden.
Boil and mash the potatoes with a little butter, minced parsley and season to taste. Spread a layer of this at the bottom of a pie dish, then put a lay er of the cooked onions spread on the potato.
Then put a layer of sliced eggs a little white sauce and more potato and repeat until the dish is full. Finish with potato on the top. Put a few bits of butter on the top & bake until really hot and brown.
I have been missing from the shop for much of the summer, partly due to a natural need to get out in the sunshine in the garden or on the allotment but also working on the last part of the Taste of the Home Front project that I have been working on with Arundel Museum.
With a team of eight volunteers we researched the availability of food locally during the wartime and how that impacted on the townspeople, farmers and shopkeepers of Arundel, how the town and castle answered the call for food and coped during shortages. We searched through local records, including the archives of Arundel Castle and local newspaper archives, and the stories we found showed how the town came together to win the war on the Home Front, from gardeners and allotment holders to the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, farmers, fishermen, shopkeepers and housewives.
I had a whale of a time and found some fascinating stories which have drawn a picture of how the people of Arundel fed themselves during the conflict. With the help of Sam Bilton who runs the Repast Supper Club we reproduced some of the recipes from the time. Sam ran a day of cooking demonstrations and produced some great recipes translated for modern day use.
We are now putting these and the stories into a booklet, so here is a taster.
Potato Pastry Mrs C. S. Peel The Daily Mail Cookery Book (1918) Ingredients
- 225g cold mashed potatoes
- 110g plain flour (you could use wholemeal flour to be truly authentic)
- 45g dripping or margarine (if using the former make sure it is at room temperature)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Following Mrs Peel’s method to make the pastry, mix the flour, salt and baking powder; rub in the dripping. Add the potatoes and mix well and lightly. Make a stiff paste with cold water. Flour a board and roll out to ¼ inch thick.
- She doesn’t instruct the cook to leave the pastry to rest but you could make it in advance and leave it in the fridge until it is required.
- The pastry has a different consistency to regular short crust but is quite pleasant. It also has a naturally sweet flavour to it.
Cook’s Comments: This pastry is as useful for sweet pies as savoury, especially a nice apple pie – Sam
From the outset of the war people were encouraged to eat alternatives to wheat flour and potatoes were popular as they were a good source of carbohydrates and easy to grow. Potatoes were used to bulk out so many recipes – from bread through to pastry, (see above) and they even found their way into puddings and cakes.