Cookbooks Meat Recipes

Cooking the books: good eating – suggestions for wartime dishes

Sausage Pie from Good Eating wartime recipe

I’ve just managed to squeeze Cooking the Books in before the calendar ticks into a new month. June has been a bit up and down here, with lockdown taking its toll. We want to get back to normal but we don’t. I’m disappointed by the fact that for huge swathes of the UK, lockdown seems to just be done – the beaches in Bournemouth on the news and similar scenes at Bristol’s parks and lakes fill me with horror. For now, we’ll stick to what we’ve been doing until we feel safe to start returning to usual.

Anyway, one perk of being at home so much is of course, having the time to blog more and this month’s cooking the books  (<– see here for a reminder of the rules) is a simple but tasty sausage pie recipe from Good Eating: suggestions for wartime dishes. Yep, once again, you guys voted for something with a wartime flavour. I have to thank my good friend Karen from Lavender and Lovage for sending me this book as part of a fantastic box of wartime themed goodies as a little pick-me-up last month. It’s a lovely collection of reader’s recipes from the Daily Telegraph, collected during the second world war. They are all really simple and in some cases, pretty ingenious, making do with what they had to try and create something delicious.

My favourites include marrow and elderberry jam “an excellent jam of out-of-the-ordinary flavour” and mock capers which are actually dried and pickled nasturtium seeds. A wonderful little book which really captures a moment in time, when women in this country stretched their imaginations and their ingredients to feed their families as best they could. However hard we’ve found cooking in lockdown, I think the vast majority of us has had it easy.

Wartime recipe for Sausage Pie

Good eating: sausage pie by V Storey of Maidenhead

Serves 2 with green vegetables on the side. I’ve translated the measurements into modern day weights.

  • 6 pork sausages
  • 400g sliced tomatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 400g cold mashed potato
  • 100ml gravy


  • Preheat your oven to 190degrees / gas mark 5.
  • Fry the onions until golden and spread them across the bottom of a small ovenproof dish.
  • Place the sausages on top of the onions and pack the sliced tomatoes between and around them.
  • Add the gravy (you may not need all of it depending on how deep your dish is).
  • Top the mixture with the mashed potato.
  • Bake in the oven for around an hour to make sure the sausages are cooked.

Making sausage pie with layers of sausages and tomatoessausages with tomatoes and gravy

We ate this with minted peas and extra gravy. It was surprisingly yummy as I’ve never paired gravy, sausages and tomatoes before. The tomatoes melted away to help create a delicious gravy. The crispy mash top added a crunchy something needed alongside the sheer comfort food mush.

Notes for next time – it would be better to brown the sausages first as they look a little anaemic otherwise (but taste great).  It was also quite novel to have them whole underneath the mash. That’s not something I’ve seen before in a sausage pie. I also added seasoning before and after cooking, note there is no salt or pepper listed in this recipe. I was a little indulgent and used butter and milk in my mash too – which would have been considered extravagant in her day, I’m sure! Finally, I would love to find out a little about this mysterious V Storey and tell her that now, 80 years later, her sausage pie recipe is still a good’un!

Sausage pie and gravy with a copy of a wartime cookbookSausage pie with peas and gravy


  1. My mother’s sausage pie was a real family favourite. She started with sausagemeat rather than whole sausages. I seem to remember her mixing the meat with chopped onions and seasoning. Then, a layer of tomato, then a layer of mash. Pretty much this recipe but using sausage meat not whole sausages…I’ll try it again when my brother is around and see whether I get a thumbs up!

  2. What a great recipe. I imagine it’s a bit like cottage pie only loads easier to make! I’ll have to give it a go with veggie sausages. Yum.

  3. My mum used to cook this, with sausagemeat though. I think a layer of onions on the bottom, then the sausagemeat, then a tin of chopped tomatoes, topped off with mash. So comforting and delicious. I now replicate for my husband who loves it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.