I’ve got a whole bunch of notes from my grandmother that she made as a young mother, trying to eek out her rations during the war. Whilst many of them aren’t necessary these days, when it comes to cooking on a budget or cooking with reduced amounts of fat and sugar for dieting purposes, they’re really very good.
Something that has become very clear in reading through her notebooks, is how spoiled we are now in terms of not only the availability of pretty much all food stuffs but refrigeration and cooking equipment like electric mixers etc. I’ve been trying to describe food shortages to my daughter and a friend who’s been staying over and they look at me as if I’ve lost the plot but I can remember back in the late 60’s and early 70’s things like sugar being in short supply and only being able to buy one bag at a time from the local shop and my grandmother sending my poor old grandfather down to the shops every day so she could stockpile things she was expecting to be in short supply.
All that aside, her notes have me experimenting and as I do, I thought I’d share them here.
So – tip no. 1
When stewing fruit, reduce the amount of sugar you use by half and stew in the normal way. Then, once it’s stewed, take off the heat and add a level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda for every kilo of raw fruit used and stir in to prevent frothing. It will taste just as sweet but you’ve used half the added sugar!
If you are using fruit in a pie or crumble, add the bicarb before you cooking, at the same time as the sugar and cook in the normal way.