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Miss Windsors Wartime Farmhouse Pie

Miss Windsor’s Wartime Farmhouse Pie!

"Bringing food history alive and theatre to your table."
Hello, darlings! 
Happy British Pie Week! 
I say, my dear fellows, in the spirit of British Pie Week Miss Windsor’s been having an absolute blast reviving age-old recipes from the past! Therefore, regarding the next item on the menu, and just in the nick of time before this wonderful week comes to a close, one wished to ‘Spitfire’ back to the British wartime days and recreate something frightfully healthful and wholesome – a dish Grandmother Josie would’ve certainly approved of! 
May I present the rather delectable and exceedingly homely Miss Windsor's Wartime Meatless Farmhouse Pie - How splendid! You see, I stumbled upon two terribly toothsome and similar pie recipes in my copy of Recipes of the 1940’s by Irene Veal. Therefore, my version is a fusion of both, just minus the meat! Oh, and darlings, evidently, you’ll soon discover that the operative word for British Pie Week in the Miss Windsor household is VEAL! ​

Here's one of the recipes that my version of Farmhouse Pie is based on!

You’ll be pleased to know, that this easy, yet frightfully filling recipe is created with an abundance of vegetables such as carrots – which were plentiful during WWII, potatoes, swede, onion, seasoning, mixed dried herbs, little vegetable stock, and the piece de resistance – the wartime luxury of tinned peas!

Oh, and thank the dear Lord (Woolton!) that I had a little suet plus enough flour in my green and cream enamel flour tin to make a dough, and so I covered this delightful concoction with a thick, feathery, rather mouth-watering blanket of suet pastry – truly scrumptious! ​

My beautiful grandmother Josie (far right) enjoys a day out with the girls in Bournemouth in 1945!

Now, just a quick word about the courageous carrot! I’m proud to say that during WWII carrots played an important role in feeding the nation. The UK Ministry of Food encouraged the good folks of Britain to substitute rationed goods for carrots instead, therefore, the Agricultural Ministry increased the commercial production of this life-saving culinary asset.

I say, Lord Woolton - what a blimmin' cheek!

And thankfully, particularly orange carrots, they’re bursting with vital nutrients such as ‘vitamin A’, and so are known to be ‘good for one’s eyesight’ - How bloomin' marvellous! Also, darlings, do you have any idea how many dishes one can rustle up with our trusty carrot? Well, my dears, purely for your delectation, may I indulge you with the following:  Mrs Beeton's Carrot Pudding, carrot soup, carrot jam, carrot cookies, carrot fudge, carrot cake, carrot tart, and so on!

Mouth-watering good! Ready to be covered with a thick blanket of suet pastry!

Darlings, one of the recipes I based my spiffing version on originally required ‘very little meat’, any kind of meat, in fact, including Great Britain’s beloved bacon!

But unfortunately, Miss Windsor used every last scrap of meat from her rather sparse larder to re-create her first offering to the arena of British Pie Week - Mrs Beeton’s Veal & Ham Pie, which one discovered in one’s 1906 version of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, originally published in 1861. ​

Mrs Beeton's Veal & Ham Pie - packed to the rafters with meat, and not much more!

Now, I must divulge, in the Miss Windsor household we’ve regretfully used up all of our meat and egg rations for the entire week on that blasted pie! “Oh, dearie me!” I hear your squeal with oodles of concern! You see, as one will appreciate, Mrs Beeton’s mouth-watering recipe, evidently, is an exquisite Victorian dish of an acquired taste!

It called for plenty of veal, sliced hard-boiled eggs, seasoning, plus a dash of beef stock – and nothing more! I say, the pie dish was packed to the rafters with meat, and it took days to munch our way through this somewhat Victorian overindulgence! 

Suet pastry - made with our British household favourite of McDougalls flour!

Now, I must admit, I’ve been a trifle reckless with our precious rations, but nevertheless, Miss Windsor has certainly prevailed, and will not see anyone go hungry in wartime Britain! You see, thankfully, vegetables are not rationed here, so without further ado, I whipped up this delightful pie which is full to the brim with nutritious vegetables, plus the addition of a solitary tin of garden peas that I found lurking behind a rusty old tin of Bird’s Custard powder – How spiffing!  

​Oh, plus I threw in a smattering of garlic that I saved from dear Winnie’s allotment, which I chopped and dried during the summer months in readiness for a glorious pie moment like this!

A culinary triumph - Miss Windsor's Wartime Meatless Farmhouse Pie!

Darlings I'm feeling awfully parched now! So, before I pop off to warm up my darling Brown Betty teapot for a well-deserved cuppa, to be, of course, supped from my sage green Wood's Ware Beryl cup and saucer. I must say in the Miss Windsor household not a thing is wasted, therefore, Grandmother Josie would often trumpet, ‘waste not, want not’!

Darlings, I bet you're gagging for a nibble on Miss Windsor's Wartime Meatless Farmhouse Pie.........

Of course, she was absolutely correct, as I have very fond memories of my darling grandmother saving anything from a few grains of cooked rice, half a small boiled potato, to a handful of cheese crumbs that one would store in a Tupperware container and were used to make the suppertime classic of Welsh rarebit – I dare say, you never know when that morsel of food may come in handy!

So, come along darlings, join the jolly old war effort and Eat for Victory! ​


Miss Windsor’s Wartime Farmhouse Pie!

Preparation time: 40 minutes 

Cooking time: 30 minutes 

Serves 6 hungry guests! 


Suet Pastry: 
  • 350g (2 & 1/3 cups) self-raising flour 
  • 180g (1 & 3/4 cups) vegetable or beef suet 
  • pinch of salt 
  • a sprinkling of coarse black pepper 
  • cold water 
  • whisked egg for the glaze 
Pie Filling
  • 4 medium potatoes 
  • 4 large carrots 
  • 1 medium onion 
  • ½ large swede  
  • 1 small tin of garden peas 
  • a handful of fresh chopped parsley  
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of mixed dried herbs 
  • some fresh thyme 
  • little vegetable stock 
  • salt and pepper  
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves (or the equivalent of dried chopped garlic) 
  • smattering of flour 
  • medium pie dish 
  •  rolling pin 
Suet Pastry: 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 190*C / 170*C Fan / 375* F / gas mark 5. 
  2. First off, let’s get cracking with the suet pastry! Into a large mixing bowl sieve the flour, then add the suet, salt, and pepper. Mix well. 
  3. Add a few drops of cold water at a time and with a curving motion mix with a knife. 
  4.  Darlings, this pastry must not be dry, so add enough water and continue to mix with a knife until the dough is quite sticky. 
  5. Now using you’re pretty little mitts, bring the dough together until it’s rather smooth and elastic. Cover and rest for a while. 
The Filling: 
  1. Chop the potatoes and swede into chunky pieces. Parboil in vegetable stock, and when done set to one side and keep the vegetable stock.  
  2. Cut the carrots into small cubes, then dice the onion and garlic. Transfer to a large frying pan, season with salt and pepper and fry until browned in a drop or two of oil.  
  3. Add the fresh parsley and thyme, then scatter over the dried mixed herbs and give it a jolly good stir. 
  4. Transfer the parboiled potatoes and swede to the frying pan, add a smattering of flour and thoroughly mix together. 
  5. Darlings, now pour in enough stock to wet the ingredients and fry everything together for a few minutes until well-mixed.  
  6. Next, grab your pie dish and carefully spoon in the vegetable mixture.   
  7.  Now, take 3/4 of your dough and place onto a floured surface and start gently rolling until you’ve formed a circle or square shape to cover your choice of vessel. Oh, and please make sure that your pastry lid is rolled fairly thick – Ta very muchly! 
  8. Cover the pie filling with the pastry and carefully trim off the edges. 
  9. Now onto the creative bit – How exciting! Using the last of your dough festoon your pie with some decorative leaves and stick them onto the lid with some whisked egg. 
  10. Darlings, you will probably have some left-over pastry, which one may use if needs must, or alternatively why not make one or two jam puffs out of the leftovers! 
  11. Once festooned with pretty leaves, brush the whole pie lid with whisked egg. 
  12. Pop in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and risen. 
  13. Serve piping hot with a dash of gravy – that’s if you have a bit leftover from your Sunday roast dinner, if not then ‘hard cheese’!
All photography by Miss Windsor


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