“It was a great relief that lunch wasn’t such a disaster after all; Maggie managed to shred a small amount of meat from the joint and was able to make a confit of lamb, and after grating carrots and red cabbage and sautéing them with onion and apple, she assembled the fastest Woolton pie that she had ever made. Even the mashed potato topping she had recycled from Rose’s over-boiled potatoes had crisped up nicely under the grill with the last of the butter and cheese ration.”
Maggie’s Kitchen, page 131
The combination of oatmeal and vegetables is what makes this dish one of the most significant from the Second World War; both foods were home-grown and both full of nutrition. Oatmeal was added to many dishes because it increased the food’s nutritional value and made it go further. The basic Woolton pie would only have contained potatoes, swedes, carrots, leeks, cauliflower or whatever was in season, but here sweet potato and broccoli are used for extra flavour, although you can use any combination of your most-loved vegetables.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Place vegetables, vegetable extract and oatmeal in a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. Allow to cool and then place in a pie dish, sprinkle with parsley then cover with potatoes or pastry crust and cheese. Bake until topping is browned and serve with steaming hot gravy. Serves 4–6.