Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Random Recipes - Marguerite Patten's Victory Cookbook

I'm sneaking in right at the last minute, despite having actually made this recipe and photographed it right back at the start of August! I just didn't have time to write it up, and then life got in the way, including changing jobs, a very last minute trip to Ireland to visit a new baby, a few social events and all sorts of stuff. Anyway I've hung up my chef's whites for the last time (although I've said that at least twice before) and now I will be strictly baking only for pleasure!

So this month's random recipe theme was completely random! Dom instructed us to lay out all our cookbooks and pick one but as I have far too many to do that with, I used a random number generator instead.
It came up with The Victory Cookbook by Marguerite Patten, which is a book that I bought to read, not to cook from.

Marguerite Patten is one of my heroes. I'm fascinated by the Home Front, rationing and everything to do with the home during the Second World War, and this is such an interesting book - but I really never envisaged actually making any of the recipes! But I thought it'd be interesting. There are lots of small recipes on each page so I opened it randomly and then picked a recipe with a pointy finger and my eyes closed! And I got Beetroot Pudding, which was good as I had a beetroot that was needing to be used up.


6oz wheatmeal flour (I used wholemeal)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 oz sugar
4 oz finely grated raw beetroot
1/2 oz fat (I used lard)

Method, in Mrs Patten's own words:

Just the job to make your sugar ration go further! First mix flour and baking powder, rub in the margarine, then add sugar and grated beetroot.

Now mix all the ingredients to a soft cake consistency with 3 or 4 tablespoons of milk. Add a few drops of flavouring essence if you have it. Turn the mixture into a greased pie dish or tin and bake in a moderate oven for 35 minutes. This pudding tastes equally good hot or cold.

And the verdict? Well, I was expecting it to be horrible. But it wasn't. It was okay, not gorgeous, not disgusting, just okay. Definitely nicer with a drizzle of custard though!


  1. wow, they look bizarre but interesting!... thanks so much for taking part, I know it's been a busy month for you so i'm doubly appreciative xx

  2. What a great cook book. History and baking all in one ;0)

  3. Sounds like a great book, but as you say to read rather than to cook from! The pudding sounds much like a chocolate beetroot cake, only without the chocolate ;-)

  4. I love Marguerite Patten too, always used to use her cookbook when I was young and cooking at my mum and dad's house. I bought my mum a similar book to this by MP a couple of years ago and it is fascinating reading. I love that the recipe asked for beetroot when you had some in - it was meant to be.


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