The Second World War ended on 8th May, 1945 in Europe when the German Army signed the armistice, surrendering to the allies. Britain had fought for six long years and suffered tremendously due to enemy bombing, rationing, loss of soldiers and the effects of the second world war.
In the past, VE Day celebrations would have been celebrated with our friends, family and neighbours.
Street parties are a popular way of celebrating together. This year due to our current situation, we have to stay at home with our immediate family, but can still have fun and enjoy time together.
Why not plan a picnic, barbeque or special dinner?
You could make bunting to decorate the windows, dress up in red, white and blue, or design a poster to display in your home.
During the Second World War, rationing meant each person could buy only a fixed amount of certain foods each week and no more.
As a lot of Britain’s food came from other countries in ships, enemy submarines made them their target and sank many of them. This meant that there was a shortage of some foods. Rationing was introduced to ensure that everyone got a fair share of the supplies. People had to hand over coupons from ration books, as well as money, when they went shopping. When they had used up their ration of one food (say, eggs or sugar), they could not buy any more that week.
Why not recreate some of the following wartime recipes over the weekend to help celebrate VE Day with your family?
Wartime Scotch Shortbread
- Melt 4 oz margarine, add 8 oz plain flour and 2 oz sugar, mix well and knead until the mixture binds together. If it is a little dry, crumble it again and add a splash of milk and re-knead.
- Put in an ungreased baking tin and press mixture down firmly so it is about 1/2 inch thick. Prick the surface and then cut into 10-12 portions.
- Bake in centre of a moderate oven for roughly 30 minutes.
- Remove, sprinkle lightly with sugar. Serve.
The National Wholemeal Loaf
Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves)
1½ lb wholemeal bread flour
1½ tbsp salt
1½ tbsp dried yeast
1tsp honey or treacle
450ml tepid water
- Mix together all the ingredients and knead for about 10 minutes until you have a soft dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave until dough has doubled in size (around 2 hours).
- Knock back the dough, give a short knead then cut into two equal pieces. Place in 1.5 litre loaf tins, allow to rise for a further 2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 200°c then bake loaves for 30 min. To test the loaves turn them out of their tins and give the base a tap. if it sounds hollow they are ready.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Wartime Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon
1 fresh cauliflower
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 pint milk
1 onion or 1 leek
2-4 oz (1/2 -1 weekly ration) of bacon
2 oz cheese
salt and pepper
horseradish or mustard
knob of butter
- Steam or boil the cauliflower and then drain well
- While it’s cooking make the sauce. Mix the cornstarch into a thick paste with a little of the milk, add the rest of the milk and add a knob of butter.
- Place on heat and slowly bring to a simmer stirring all the time, lower heat and add in salt & pepper, a little horseradish or dried mustard
- Fry onions or leeks and chopped bacon in a separate pan
- When browned add to white sauce and mix in well
- Place cauliflower piled up in overproof dish
- Pre-heat grill/broiler to quite high
- Pour THICK sauce over the top
- Grate the 2 oz of STRONG cheddar over the top, sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Place under grill until topping is nice and browned