JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day


Friday, January 04, 2008

Baked shredded wheat

Last night, after Newsnight, there was a programme on BBC2 on the history of food, exploring 20th century branded foods invented before the first world war. Perrier, Tyhphoo Tea, Cadbury's Dairy Milk (known at that time, amazingly, as CDM), Marmite, Shredded Wheat. Then there was some rather bizarre cooking by the chef at Manna, a London vegetarian restaurant which claims to be the oldest in England, Europe, maybe the world (I wasn't listening too carefully). He had an Edwardian vegetarian recipe book, and made a vegetable stew (browned the onions, chucked in lots of chopped root veg) which he covered with a "stock" made from Marmite and hot water. Then he covered it in a dumpling mix, clamped on the lid and cooked the whole thing for 50 minutes. Then he said he couldn't taste the Marmite. Hmm. (This, by the way, was called Sea Pie. No, I don't understand either.) Here's a link to the original Sea Pie recipe, from The Reform Cookbook, an early (first?) vegetarian cookery book.

So the next course should be taken with a pinch of salt. Or just not cooked at all.

Baked shredded wheat

You get two Shredded Wheat, spread them liberally with butter, put them in an ovenproof dish and into a hot oven for an unspecified period of time. Not too long, because you don't want it to burn. When they come out, you pour a little of this so-called Marmite stock on and around the SW, and serve. The chef's guest said she was surprised that there was Marmite in this, and that she couldn't taste it at all.

Personally, I think it sounds utterly disgusting - I loathe Shredded Wheat with a passion, and, although I am very keen on Marmite, have never liked it diluted with water (that's what Bovril's for). And then there's the butter ...

On the other hand, my son, a student, likes the occasional Shredded Wheat, can't cook, and is living in a house with three or four other young men from the start of the next academic year, so this may be just the recipe they need. (They have decided on a single-sex house so that they don't have to worry about washing up and clearing up ... I wonder whether they will find a landlord to take them on.)

Do me a favour, let me know if you give it a try.

11 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

Haha! That reminds me of my early youth, when, as a special treat my Mother would let me have one weetabix with butter on it. An early crispbread, so to speak! I'm with you on Marmite, I would never dilute it though I know someone who drinks it like Bovril. I just can't imagine doing it. As to the Shredded Wheat, why not just add it to the stock pot and count it as roughage?

David Hall said...

Joanna - this has made me queasy, what could be worse, YAK!!!

Cheers
David

Cottage Smallholder said...

Joanna this made me laugh. Just the sort of thing that the Min Pins might run up, if the had access to the larder!

Wendy said...

Hmmmm, I read this and thought "Yum, I could totally eat that right now"!
Is there something wrong with me?

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Sounds revolting!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Sounds pretty odd but I'm sure would provide nourishment. Your writing makes be laugh the entire read Joanna.

Joanna said...

Weetabix & butter - there's another one for H to try ;)

I'm with you, David, nothing worse the SW and Marmite gravy :)

Thanks Fiona - actually, my dogs would probably like it too, so perhaps I should keep it up my sleeve for the next time we run out of dog food ...

No, Wendy, nothing wrong with you - the chef and his guest ate it up. Perhaps you'll try it and let us all know how you got on? I can see I'm not the only one who'd like to know ;)

Thanks, Tanna

Joanna

friary said...

SW OK but Marmite or Bovril. Pass the bucket!

Anna said...

Don't like the sound of baked shredded wheat - just Marmite on toast in another form?? - but I do make a vegetarian gravy with marmite and it's true, you can't taste it (I promise!). It just adds a rich, salty note to the stock. But I do only use a little of it - 1 tsp to a pint of water, poured over 2 onions which have been slowly softened and mixed with 1tbsp flour, and then simmered for as long as possible. Marmite is actually used in quite a lot of veggie recipes because it's an important source of B12, which is mostly found in meat. I add it to stews and things sometimes to add colour and saltiness, like soy sauce, it doesn't taste of what it is!

Magic Cochin said...

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, like Wendy, I would eat this!
Maybe it's because when I was very young and spent most days with my grandparents, Grandad liked bread mess (bread and hot water), the delux version had a small knob of butter melted in it, and the super delux had some Bovril stirred into it. Very nice. I suppose Grandad's taste in food hadn't changed since his childhood when times were tough!

Ed Bruske said...

I could almost eat anything, I think. But I wonder, why bother buying packaged shredded wheat or processed marmite. Just stuff some wheat berries and greens in your mouth and chew.