Seventy-five years ago on Tuesday, 8th May 1945 Winston Churchill made the announcement that the war in Europe had come to an end and the day is forever known as, VE Day (Victory in Europe Day). There were big celebrations across the country with people taking to the streets to dance and have parties.
This Friday the whole country will celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and we’ve handpicked some of our favourite traditional afternoon tea recipes, that the whole family can get involved with making for your own party in your garden or your house this bank holiday weekend.
Plus, if you are looking for some extra history lessons for your children’s home schooling, take a look at our fun facts about VE day.
Whenever we celebrate, we generally do so with a glass in our hand, whether that’s Champagne, wine or a soft drink. It was no different on VE Day, Churchill made sure there was enough beer to go around, however despite his best efforts most of the pubs ran dry of beer by the early afternoon.
To join in the celebrations this weekend you can enjoy one of those drinks above or you could have a classic cup of tea, or a refreshing homemade lemonade to drink in the sunshine.
Scones are the centre piece to any afternoon tea cake stand and have been for many years. During the war an alternative scone was also eaten and this version is one of Scotland’s best loved breakfast foods, the potato tattie (scone). Potatoes were a cheap source of energy during the war and with only one egg allowed each week, it couldn’t be wasted in a cake!
BBC Good Food have put together a classic scones recipe, all you need to decide is what goes on first, jam or the clotted cream?
There’s always plenty of sandwiches to enjoy at an afternoon tea, but did you know that one of the fillings during the war was dripping (fat produced from beef or pork when cooked)? It doesn’t sound very appealing, however when you’d been rationing and had very little fat in your diet, dripping become a tasty alternative.
Thankfully there’s lots of options to enjoy now, so here’s our top three classic sandwiches for you to eat on VE Day, just don’t forget to cut the crusts off and shape them into fingers:
Egg and cress club sandwich
Smoked salmon sandwich
To ensure food was distributed fairly during World War II rationing was introduced. This was firstly on bacon, butter and sugar before most foods being covered by it apart from fruit and vegetables. The carrot became a staple vegetable during the war, it’s even where carrots got their ‘super power’ from, that they help you see in the dark.
As sugar was rationed to 230g per week, carrots were used to naturally sweeten both cakes and biscuits. Here is a carrot cake recipe from the National Trust for you to enjoy at home.
Make a fruit cake this weekend which is fit for a Prime Minister. The National Trust have shared a fruit cake recipe which was Sir Winston Churchill’s favourite during the war. It was created by his own cook, Georgina Landemare who looked after him, his family and delegates at Downing Street throughout the war.
On the evening on VE Day Churchill thanked Mrs Landemare for her creations, saying he ‘could not have managed throughout the war without her cooking’.
Prue Leith from Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off has shared a recipe for some delicious flapjacks. Now this recipe wouldn’t have been a common treat during the war, especially because sugar and butter were rationed but it’s a great option to use up those ingredients in the cupboards. It’s particularly a good choice if you’ve not managed to get hold of any flour.