April 2020


VE Day

Friday 8 May is the Early May Bank Holiday, although at the moment every day is much like another! 8 May is also the 75th anniversary of VE Day, marking 75 years since the guns fell silent across Europe at the end of World War 2. Sadly, the Coronavirus has put paid to the planned three days of national celebrations (they seem set to be moved to 15 – 16 August to coincide with VJ Day)

But there’s no reason we can’t celebrate in our own NNU3A self-isolating way! Here are two typical WW2 recipes for inspiration and a reminder of the deprivation and food shortages that a generation endured.

First Woolton Pie. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it but did you know it was invented by Savoy maître-chef François Latry (1919-1942), and named after the Minister for Food, Lord Woolton. It was offered on Savoy Restaurant menus but was intended to be a dish which ordinary housewives could recreate in their own homes in spite of the rationing restrictions. This recipe has been translated from an original Savoy Restaurant kitchen copy.


For the filling:

  • 1 lb potatoes – King Edward
  • 2 lbs carrots
  • ½ lb mushrooms
  • 1 small leek
  • 2oz margarine
  • 2 spring onions
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg, chopped parsley
  • Bunch of herbs made of 1 small bay leaf, 1 small sprig of thyme, parsley and celery

For the pastry

  • 80z (220g) plain wheatmeal flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2oz (50g) margarine


Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Blend 8oz (220g) plain wheatmeal flour with ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Rub in 2oz (50g) margarine or cooking fat or dripping, then add enough water to make a rolling consistency, although one that is slightly softer than when making pastry with white flour. Roll out and use as in the individual recipe.

For the filling

Peel the potatoes and carrots, cut them into slices of the thickness of a penny. Wash them well and dry in a tea-cloth. Fry them separately in a frying pan with a little chicken fat (or vegetable or butter if making for vegetarians).  Do the same for the mushrooms, adding the finely chopped onions and leek. Mix them together and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg and roughly chopped fresh parsley. Fill a pie-dish with this mixture, placing the bundle of herbs in the middle. Moisten with a little water. Allow to cool. 

Cover with a pastry crust and bake oven for 1½ hours.

And now for something sweeter - how about a wartime carrot cake, where the natural sweetness of the carrots made up for the sugar rationing. Here’s the National Trust recipe


  • 230g self-raising flour
  • 85g margarine or cooking fat
  • 85g sugar
  • 115g finely grated carrot
  • 55g sultanas
  • A llittle milk or water
  • 1 reconstituted dried egg or 1 fresh egg


Preheat oven to 220˚C / 200˚C (fan) / gas mark 7.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.  Rub in the margarine or cooking fat.  Add sugar, carrot, sultanas and egg. Mix well and then add sufficient milk or water to make sticky. Pour mixture into a lined baking tin and cook in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until golden in colour.

No excuses! Let’s get baking and enjoy a virtual tea party on 8 May. Dig out the bunting and flags, have a ‘bit of a do’ and send us your photographs. We will print a selection in the next newsletter.


If your group is planning an event which you could open to other NNU3A members, do let us know and we would be happy to help promote it. And do please let everybody know what is happening in your groups by sending us news and, even better, pictures of events which we will ensure are published in the Newsletter and on the Website