1940s ration recipes: piccalilli scone whirls


Trying to become more self sufficient and discovering more about my own Australian food history, I have been researching more and more about rationing in Australia during World War II.

With action in the Pacific increasing, food in Australia was in short supply from 1940s onwards. Reasons for the shortages were varied. Enemy action in the Pacific disrupted the normal supply of goods by ship to Australia. Australian troops abroad needed to be supplied with food produced in Australia, and when American troops arrived in Australia to fight the war in the Pacific, they also had to be fed.


My grandparents in 1942


From 1942, tea (which most Australians tended to drink at the time instead of coffee) and sugar were both rationed. The average person was allowed 2lb (.907kgs) of sugar per fortnight and 1/2 lb (.226kgs) of tea per 5 weeks. Butter was rationed from 1943 and meat from 1944. Most rationing lasted well into 1948 and 1950.

My grandmothers were both newly wed in 1942 and started their careers as wives and mothers during the period of rationing. My grandmother would often recount how she would search hard to find recipes that required limited ingredients or used small amounts of rationed foods. She became very creative in making alternatives to more expensive items and also ensured that there was no waste. Both my grandmothers and their friends and families commenced ambitious vegetable gardens (or focused more intently on the ones they already had) - in an effort to 'dig for victory'. They also continued to raise chickens and generally were incredibly self sufficient.

Mr K and I have been considering the possibility to see if we, as a modern day couple, could live on WW2 rations in an effort to live more self sufficiently. While we think over the possibility, I have dipped my toes into the waters of rationing, by making these delicious savoury scones, which come from a 1940s ration recipe clipping that was tucked away in my grandmother's recipe book.



Cheddar Cheese, Chive and Piccalilli Scone Whirls

1/2 cup self raising flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of powdered mustard

1/4 cup of chopped fresh chives

1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

2 & 1/2 tablespoons of milk

2 mashed boiled eggs

2 tablespoons of piccalilli or sweet mustard chutney

1 teaspoon of butter

Pinch of cayenne pepper


1. Sift flour, salt and mustard into a large bowl.

2. Rub in butter and add half the cheese and chives.

3. Mix to a medium dough with the milk.

4. Turn onto a floured board, knead lightly and roll out thinly.

5. Combine eggs, piccalilli and cayenne pepper. Spread over scone dough and sprinkle over half of the remaining cheese.

6. Moisten edges of the dough and roll up.

7. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Brush with milk. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

8. Place on a greased baking tray and bake in a hot oven for 10 - 12 mins. Serve hot or cold.



We enjoyed our scones as a part of a picnic, with home preserved spring vegetables, home grown tomatoes, some left over roast pork (and a little wine) in Kiama, a favorite family picnicking spot for many decades. We used my grandparents old anodized picnic cups and took in the incredibly wild seas.







  1. I love the look of your picnic and those scone whirls look delicious. I have been in a baking mood lately so your post is very timely!

  2. What a great story!! I love all your pics too, so beautiful. I had to look a few times at the photo of your grandparents as I really thought it was my nan and pop!! So similar!!

    Yummy looking pinwheels :)
    Oh I am also adding you to my Foodie Friend Blogroll :)

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely words - and adding me to your blog roll!! : )

  3. These look gorgeous! Lovely post!


Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate every single one!

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Maira Gall