Rationing Recipes 3- Bakewell Tart

A slice of wartime goodness.

A slice of wartime goodness.

I used to hate bakewell tarts when I was younger. Children’s birthday parties would have these exciting tiny cakes covered with icing and a glace cherry… but take a bite and you get almond flavour, bleugh. Massive disappointment to a five year old. Here there are no cherries so no lies.

This is a rationing version of a British classic. Sweet enough but not too much, sadly no hidden vegetables this time though.


Shortcrust pastry:

6oz self raising flour (to use plain and add 1.5 tsp baking powder)
1.5-2oz margarine
Water to mix


2 tbsps jam
2oz margarine
2oz sugar
1 tsp almond essence
1 egg
2oz self-raising flour (add 0.5 tsp baking powder if using plain)
2oz breadcrumbs
2oz soya flour*
2 tbsps milk

*I struggled to find this so had to substitute with ground almonds (which I’m told would have been available but limited). The internet suggests it may be in ‘world foods’ or ‘free from’ sections of supermarkets but I had no luck… It may be available in health food shops but I suspect that it’s been replaced with other gluten free alternatives that aren’t GM in mainstream supermarkets.

1. Rub together the margarine and flour to form a consistency like breadcrumbs, then add water until you can make a firm dough. This pastry seemed very dry and crumbly to me (I normally use double the fat) so be careful not to overdo the water and get something too sticky.

2. Line a pie/flan tin with the pastry- it was so crumbly I found it easier to mould it to the tin rather than rolling out first.

3. Spread the jam over the pastry.

4. Cream together the butter, sugar and almond essence. Beat in the egg.

5. Fold in the flour and stir in the breadcrumbs, soya flour and milk.

6. Cook for 40 mins at 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.




Antarctica in the news: Ice is being lost now and at twice the rate previously thought

What’s happened?

Radar measurements have shown that Antarctica is losing ice at twice the rate previously estimated- it is contributing to 0.45mm of sea level rise per year.

This work was carried out by the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at Leeds University- CPOM are the group I’m part of but I’m in the Reading branch so this is extra exciting.


Ice loss from Antarctica- look towards the West, the area that was in the news last week. Image ESA/CPOM/M.McMillan/Leeds Uni

Ice loss from Antarctica- look towards the West, the area around the Amundsen Sea was in the news last week. Image ESA/CPOM/M.McMillan/Leeds Uni

How much is being lost?

0.45mm of sea level rise  might not sound like a lot but in terms of the amount of ice involved that’s 159 billion tonnes of ice disappearing each year- to use a media favorite comparison I make that over 6 million Olympic sized swimming pools of ice.

Isn’t  Antarctica supposed to be gaining ice?

Sea ice around Antarctica has been increasing recently (this could be for several reasons including changes in ocean circulation and weather) but this is only sea ice- frozen sea water, floating on the sea. The ice loss in this study is ice coming from off of the land and going into the ocean.

 Extra bit of cool science

The reason this radar information is so much better than anything we’ve had previously is because the satellite involved, Cryosat can penetrate cloud. Previous satellites couldn’t do this so estimates had to be made wherever there was cloud suing information from cloud free areas. We now have 96% satellite coverage of Antarctica which makes monitoring future changes much easier.

Antarctica in the news: The ‘unstoppable’ collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Thwaites glacier (Image from NASA ICE)

Thwaites glacier (Image from NASA ICE)

What’s happening?

Two studies hit headlines (confusingly several media articles reported either one or both of them with similar headlines) this week that suggest that glaciers on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which was already thought to be vulnerable, are shrinking and are set to contribute significantly to sea level rise.

Map of Antarctica showing the Amundsen Sea, which glaciers of the WAIS flow into.

Map of Antarctica showing the Amundsen Sea, which glaciers of the WAIS flow into.

The outcome isn’t certain: we don’t know enough about Antarctica, it’s history and the Earth’s climate system to really say very much to 100% certainity- but here we have one study that is based on modelling a key glacier on the ice sheet (Thwaites Glacier) and one that is based on observations so the combination of the two provides strong evidence.

The first study models changes in Thwaites Glacier for different levels of melting and for all but the lowest level of melt the onset of rapid collapse of the glacier happens within a millenium (current observations match the higher end of the melting levels they melted, this would have collapse somewhere within the next 300 years or so). The second study  is based on observations that several glaciers are melting faster than most scientist had expected.

Thwaites Glacier meeting the ocean (Image NASA ICE).

Thwaites Glacier meeting the ocean (Image NASA ICE).


How much ice are we talking here?

The loss of the whole West Antarctic ice sheet would contirbute 3.3m of sea level rise, and just the glaciers in the 2nd study could contribute over 1.2m between them. However, as mentioned above this is over potentially long time scales but that still doesn’t mean that significant changes could happen, potentially within our lifetimes- these glaciers are already releasing the same amount of ice annually as Greenland.

So why is the WAIS so much at risk?

A simplified diagram of a grounding line (www.AntarcticGlaciers.org).

A simplified diagram of a grounding line (www.AntarcticGlaciers.org).

As the ice shelves coming from the glaciers are melting, they become lighter, meaning that they can float above areas where they used to be grounded. The point where the ice flows off of the land and becomes a floating ice shelf is called the grounding line and the grounding lines of the glaciers studies are moving further back towards the sources of the glaciers.

This retreat can be held back by “pinning points”, hills or bumps beneath the ice- a lack of these and the gerneal shape of the land below the ice reduced that WAIS’s ability to slow the glaciers down.

Bonus extra bit of cool science

You can watch a video by Eric Rignot, author of one of the 2nd study, with lots of exciting graphics and images of what’s underneath the WAIS here:


If this sounds interesting and you’d like a more in depth explanation I’d recommend heading here.



1st study (Joughin et al.): http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6185/735

2nd Study (Rignot et al.): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060140/abstract

Potential sea level rise from the west Antarctic ice sheet: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901



Antarctica in the news: B31 iceberg

Satellite images of the B31 iceberg as it heads out of the Pine Island Bay (original image NASA, edited S.Buzzard)

Satellite images of the B31 iceberg as it heads out of the Pine Island Bay (original image NASA, edited S.Buzzard). The white stuff in the bay in the first picture is sea ice/ cloud, not part of the ice shelf.


What is it?

The B31 iceberg (which to use my favorite comparison is half the size of Greater London) hit the news last year when it broke away from the Pine Island Glacier on Antarctica. It hit headlines again more recently as it was observed that it had left the bay around the glacier and is therefore entering open ocean.

The location of Pine Island Glacier (image BBC).

The location of Pine Island Glacier (image BBC).

Is this going to cause sea level rise?

Not directly. The iceberg itself was part of an ice shelf which means that the ice had flowed from the land on Pine Island Glacier and was floating on the water. So at the time it left the land and became part of the ice shelf it displaced water which would have contributed to sea level rise (in the same way that the level goes up in your glass of water (or in my case more likely G&T) when you add ice cubes to it). Ice shelf creation is balanced by other processes taking water out of the system, it’s when the ice shelves collapse or change this can lead to an imbalance, such as was the case for Larsen B.

Schematic of the pine island glacier demonstrating how the ice shelf floats on the water. (Image from antarcticglaciers.org- go there, it's excellent)

Schematic of the Pine Island Glacier demonstrating how the ice shelf floats on the water. (Image from antarcticglaciers.org- go there, it’s excellent)

If it’s not sea level rise then why does it matter?

The issue is that the iceberg is now floating into open ocean, causing a shipping hazard. The iceberg will also end up melting, adding cold, fresh water to the ocean where it wouldn’t normally be, potentially affecting ocean circulation, biological habitat, etc.

Bonus extra bit of cool science

(Yes I used the word cool deliberately here. No I’m not ashamed) The iceberg is being tracked via GPS monitoring devices contained on ice javelins which were dropped onto the iceberg out of an airplane.

Rationing Recipes 2- Carrot cookies


Potato Pete’s best friend- although I hear it’s tuna that helps you see in the dark these days.


My second experiment with a WWII recipe was these carrot cookies. I found them a little bit unexciting but then I do like my sugar- they all got eaten so are probably a good shout as a healthier treat especially for those who don’t like overly sweet things.

Makes 12-15


1 tbspn margarine

2 tbspns sugar (plus some extra to sprinkle on top)

4 tbspns raw carrot (grated)

6 tbspns self- raising flour (add half a tspn of baking powder if using plain flour)

a few drops of vanilla flavoring, orange or almond also works here.


*Tip* To get an exact tablespoon of margarine first dip the spoon into hot water so that it will cut out the exact amount. Useful for all recipes not just in war time!


1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

2. Grease a cupcake or muffin tin. The recipe calls for a patty pan- not something I’ve ever seen around these days but in this case any tin with indentations will do.

3. Cream the margarine and sugar together until pale and light.

4. Stir in the carrot and flavoring.

5. Fold in the flour.

6. Add spoonfuls of mixture into each hollow and sprinkle with sugar.

7. Bake for 20 minutes.




The final product- not the prettiest but you get a lot for the amount of ingredients you put it.