By Mrs Robot
When you think about it, the only reason people ate a ration book diet during the second world war was because they didn't have any option. Nonetheless, it seems to be a period people have great curiosity about, and when we were in Devon at the start of May I picked up a little book called Favourite Ration Book Recipes. One simple recipe was these corned beef fritters, which mainly consist of mashed potato and corned beef, plus some onion. They were very tasty, but one of the least-appetising-looking things I've cooked in a very long time. Bless him, Mr Robot ate his too.
Making the fritters was a simple matter of mashing everything together, and it's there that I suspect I went wrong: I overworked the mixture so it was very well blended but also extremely soft. (That said, it tasted pretty good at this stage.) The recipe called for a bit of milk, but I didn't add any, and even so the mixture was very moist. Chunkier bits of potato and beef would have had more texture, and might have fried up better. Also, the recipe said nothing about coating the patties with flour, which is something that I think might have improved the frying process, and might have stopped them sticking in the pan. Flour was rationed during the second world war, but bread was not, and breadcrumbs would have made a good alternative coating for the patties. I often turn leftover cottage pie into little mashcakes and they work really well, but these were too soft and attached themselves firmly to the frying pan.
As I had plenty of leftover mash, I fried up another onion with some cumin seeds, and worked it into the mash along with a finely-chopped green chilli, chopped fresh coriander and a little garam masala. This mixture was made into balls, dipped into a batter made of gram (chickpea) flour and water and deep fried. Much more satisfactory - and here's a photo, just to prove I can cook with leftover mash!