Just in the nick of time for National Cream Tea Day (Friday 28th June 2019), I excitedly present Miss Windsor’s Wartime Girdle Scones – How spiffing!
Also, I wholeheartedly dedicate this recipe, admittedly a trifle late, to the recent celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, which took place on the 6th June 2019, of course, the actual real thing took place on the 6th June 1944.
“Ummm, excuse me Miss Windsor, you mentioned “girdle”, but isn’t that a ladies undergarment worn to disguise one’s jelly belly?” Well, my dears, you’re absolutely correct, but not in the case of wartime cookery, also most folks were at their healthiest and about 10 pounds lighter back then! So, please do read on to find out more……..
Darlings and I must divulge, this triumphant recipe originally goes by the title of Quick Scones (traditionally cooked on a GIRDLE), which I discovered on a fat splattered, sepia tinged, discoloured page, lurking near the end of Irene Veal’s spectacular cookery book called Recipes of the 1940’s – first published in 1944 – I say, I do wonder if I own a copy of the first edition?
By the way, Mrs Veal dedicated her book to Lord Woolton – who evidently, TAUGHT BRITISH WOMEN to COOK WISELY – well, thank you, kind sir!
Moving swiftly on, I recreated this recipe with self-raising flour, a little warm milk, a small handful of chopped sultanas, 1oz (30g) of one’s 8oz sugar ration, a pinch of baking powder, and our British favourite of “beef dripping’, which I collected from last Sunday’s roast dinner – a one off treat for the Miss Windsor household!
And may I just mention, Grandmother Josie often recalled that a slice of bread slathered with beef dripping was one of her ultimate favourite wartime treats!
You see, luckily one was able to get one’s hands on a beef joint – of course, with the aid of our weekly meat rations of “1s. 2d” (1 shilling & 2 pence) per adult, which in wartime Great Britain during the year of 1944, equated to a little over “1 lb.” (450g) of meat including the bone.
Also, may I remark, that I only decided to rustle something up for National Cream Tea Day on Wednesday just gone. Therefore, in search of something hasty, relatively easy, and in the spirit of cream tea and British wartime cookery, one was delighted to stumble across this gem of a recipe!
Darlings, but to Miss Windsor’s utter dismay, after several hours slogging away over Grandmother’s Josie’s, vintage, wrought iron GRIDDLE pan (that's right, Miss Windsor actually doesn't possess a GIRDLE!) one soon realised, that Mrs Veal’s recipe wasn’t so easy and hasty after all!
And for those gagging to know what a girdle is, it’s merely similar to a griddle, except it’s suspended over the fire/stove by a long metal chain – and there you have it!
You see, after two jolly good attempts of Mrs Veal’s recipe I was clean out of beef dripping – Oh, dearie me! As one can imagine, Miss Windsor was on the brink of despair, and so muttered to oneself, “Darling, just Keep Calm and Carry On!”
I say, thank goodness for positivity, quick thinking, and a British stiff upper lip! and so I reached into my refrigerator and emerged with the last of my “margarine” ration – phew! panic over.
PHOTO CREDIT: CLICK HERE
Also, as I discovered nigh to the end of my bakeathon, a moderate heat, as suggested by Mrs Veal unfortunately burnt the dough, not just once but twice. Therefore, at the start of my third and last round, I vowed to keep the heat as low as possible, even if it took an age for it to thoroughly cook through. Thus, nearly 30 minutes later, Grandmother Josie’s, vintage, wrought iron griddle pan eventually produced a culinary triumph!
In fact, when I consulted Mrs Veal’s marvellous book, I soon realised why my scone dough ended up burnt. Well, to start, during the wartime years there was something called National Flour, which was different from our usual white type because ultimately less wheat was being imported to Great Britain.
Therefore, in order to feed the nation, more flour was extracted from the grain, thus produced a nourishing and rather off putting greyish coloured flour!
Also, Mrs Veal actually advised the reader, “When, and if, white flour is again used, a little less liquid, rather more fat and slightly lower oven temperatures and longer cooking will be necessary” – Miss Windsor couldn’t agree more; just a shame one had no knowledge of this until three whacks later!
Darlings, and for those who may be wondering, “Who the heck is Lord Woolton?” he, my dears, was the wartime Minister of Food (glorious food!), who chummed up with Sir Jack Drummond – a nutritional biochemist and scientific adviser to the Ministry of Food.
You see, their shared passion to improve the nation’s diet and to eradicate malnutrition, eventually led to a national food policy. Thus, measures were put in place to feed the British public back to good health. Therefore, during the chilly month of January 1940, every man, woman, and child was issued with a ration book for butter, bacon, and sugar.
Soon followed in March 1940 by meat, preserves, tea, margarine, cooking fats, milk, and so on – so whether you were rich or poor, all members of society received adequate nutrition to survive the war. In fact, meat rationing finally ended many years after WWII, on the 30th June 1954 – Hallelujah!
Enjoy recreating a British slice of wartime food history!
MISS WINDSOR'S WARTIME GIRDLE SCONES RECIPE:
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes (depending on thickness of dough, type of stove, level of heat)
Serves 8 wartime food enthusiasts!
a griddle, girdle, or thick based frying pan!
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