WW1 Rationing – Maize Woodcock

Posted in - Breakfast & Mrs C.S. Peel's Recipes & Rationing on February 4th 2015 2 Comments


In The Victory Cooking Book, 1918, this is called Maize Woodcock.  Does anyone have any insight into why?!  To interpret this title, it is scrambled eggs on polenta with anchovy. Thinly sliced polenta, toasted on a griddle pan, with lightly scrambled eggs topped with anchovy and a little parsley or chives is more substantial than using toast, and with limited bread during WW1 rationing, an effective alternative.  It is actually delicious.

In the words of Granny Dot:

Materials. – Scrambled eggs, a round of polenta, a few fillets of anchovy.

Method. – Lay a layer of scrambled eggs on a square or round of polenta.  Place a few fillets of anchovy crosswise on the top, and heat in the oven.
(Mrs C.S. Peel, The Victory Cookery Book, 1918)

2 knobs of butter (about 30g each)
12 eggs, scrambled in butter with a little milk
12 anchovies
Chives, finely chopped

Serves 6

1.  Set the oven to 200 degrees C
2.  Cut the polenta into 6 rounds using a 9cm diameter pastry cutter.
3. Heat a griddle pan and melt a knob of butter in it.
4. When it sizzles, add the polenta, frying for about 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned.
5.  Lightly scramble the eggs, bearing in mind that they will be cooked further in the oven.
6.  Lay the rounds of polenta on a baking tray and spoon some scrambled eggs on top of each.
7.  Place 2 anchovy fillets on the eggs in a cross, and put the baking tray in the oven for 5 minutes.
8.  Remove the tray from the oven and place a round on each plate.  Serve.


As of now (2) people have had something to say...

  • Brrain - Reply

    February 5, 2015 at 6:02 am

    This dish was first served to me by my grandfather’s cook and my mother also made it quite often for Sunday evening supper. However, it was always known as Scotch Woodcock.
    Online research offers no explanation for this name – the only guess that I can hazard is that the crossed anchovy on top of the eggs resembles a little brown bird in flight…….and perhaps ‘Scotch’ because it is an economical way of suggesting that bird without producing it!

    • Victoria Straker - Reply

      February 9, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      That is so insightful, and brilliant to have a friend who has eaten this. Thank you Brrain xx

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