Monday, 22 January 2018

Monday, 22-1-18

Morning, all!

I made a nice soup yesterday.  I think I'll call it bitsa soup.  Bitsa this, that and the other, specifically onion, leek, carrot, potato, lentils, stock cube, garlic and so on.  The usual stuff.  And I did what I always do now when the soup contains potato - make up the rest right to zizzing, then chop the potato into small bits and add, cook and mash in.  To zizz the soup to smooth would make the potato go gloopy and this way avoids that as well as keeping a nice potato texture in the soup..
It was perfect for a cold winter day and used up veg that needed using up.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge, marmalade or jam, natural yogurt
L:  soup - ham and split pea sounds nice
D:  I shall make a fish pie using a piece of the smoked basa I got a little while ago and use some garlic and herb quark in the sauce.  Hopefully the two will work together.  I've got mushrooms to add in and I am umming and ahing about buying a small bag of prawns and adding four or five of them for extra flavour, texture and colour (the rest will go in the freezer).
Ss:  apple and orange

From the freezer
The fish and maybe prawns but I will have bought them today so that doesn't really count, does it?
The soup - I'm running out of soup in the freezer now but I know I have a few more servings.

The frugal factor
Porridge!  Also the jam or marmalade is home made
Home made soup too.  The last time I had tinned soup - a 'good' brand too - I thought it was nothing compared to my home made and four times the price!
The fish pie won't be pound a day cheap but it won't be outrageous either.  I trawled around My Supermarket and you can't get a decent fish pie under about £3.00.  Even a value one was £1.50 and mine will be a lot nicer for a lot less.  Home made usually is more frugal, whatever the quality, especially comparing like with like but often compared to an inferior product too.

Thanks for all the comments on yesterday's crumble post.  It was lovely to hear from you all.  Welcome to my new readers too - make yourself at home.  :-)

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Recipe: simple crumble topping with variations

This is so easy and so well known, I hesitated to post it but it's my blog and I'll do what I want, to coin a phrase, so here goes.  :-)

It's a three ingredient mixture with optional extras.
For each portion of plain flour, you want about half that amount of butter and less than half that amount of sugar (the sweetness is to taste really).
So if you have 100g flour, you will need 50g butter and between 30 and 50g sugar.
(Recipes vary in their amounts so it obviously doesn't really matter all that much)

Put the flour in a bowl and add the butter cut into cubes.  Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in the sugar.
And that's it!
If you want to freeze some, just pop it into a plastic box or a poly bag and when you next need some, just spoon out what's wanted.  Dead easy!

There are loads of variations.  My mum used to add chopped walnuts and oats which was lovely.  I've seen recipes with desiccated coconut added to the basic mix and sweet spices usually go well with the fruity bottom.  Or you can use different sugars - demerara gives a nice crunch, for example, as well as a deeper flavour.  One other addition that really appeals to me is to use grated lemon zest.

Frugal tip:  if you use caster sugar (you don't have to for crumble topping), pop some granulated sugar into a zizz and grind it down to the right texture.  With granulated sugar currently £1.00 for 2k in Morrisons and caster sugar at £1.60 for 1k, it's a no brainer!
(However, only zizz down what you need each time)
You can also continue zizzing it down into icing sugar, if that's what you need.

As for the fruity bottom, all I will add is that rhubarb and strawberry is a flavour marriage made in heaven and I have both in my freezer, produce from last summer's garden and allotment. 
Do I need to say more|?

Sunday, 21-01-18

Good morning.
The Christmas dinner went down a treat and, despite the small quantities of each item, there's enough to feel one person left, two people if they cook another veg.  I'm really pleased about that - it makes the whole effort much more reasonable in price.

Today's food plans:
B:  muesli, fruit and natural yogurt
L:  toast and marmite or there's some leek that needs using up so I might make a leek and potato soup.
D:  lamb leg steak (one between three so not nearly as bad as it sounds, mash, sprouts, carrots, apple crumble

From the freezer
Just the lamb steak

The frugal factor
The main frugal thing is that I'm not paying for the ingredients!
But if I was . . .
Home made soup is rarely even close to costing much to make.
Lamb is expensive but sharing the steak between three makes it manageable and also gets each portion closer to the recommended amount of protein on the plate which is a lot less than you might think.
The apple for the crumble is from next door's apple tree (a gift, not scrumped) and crumble topping isn't expensive - just flour, butter and sugar and not a lot of any for the small amount I want.  In fact, if it were just for me, I'd make a batch and freeze most of it as you can then spoon out just what you want, when you want it!

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Saturday, 20-01-18

Good morning!  The weekend has arrived and I'm not just cooking for myself (and generally not paying either) but frugality still impacts on some meals while generally I try not to be daft with what I prepare.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit and yogurt
L:  toast with pate or marmite, apple
D:  < takes deep breath >  roast turkey, pigs in blankets, stuffing, roasties, roasted parsnips, sprouts, gravy, cranberry sauce followed by fruit salad.
S:  orange

From the freezer
The turkey and the stuffing

The frugal factor
Breakfast and lunch as usual  :-)
Dinner isn't as bad as it looks.  The turkey is part of a large breast that was bought for Christmas and cut into two.  The stuffing is leftover from Christmas, the veg are already in the fridge and it's one chipolata per person (making two pigs).  The cranberry sauce is left over from Christmas and was made from cranberries that had been in the freezer for longer than I care to mention.  It could be a lot worse - glamming it up as a Christmas roast dinner makes it look less frugal than it really is; because there's so many elements, each is a pretty small helping.

I think we will all enjoy it!

Friday, 19 January 2018

Deja vu?

This has just made me laugh.  I posted it on Facebook on Jan 19th, 2013. 

I have milk.
I have cheese.
I have so much meat in the freezer, you wouldn't believe.
I have veg and potatoes.
I have a cupboard full of tins and packets.
I have plenty of bread flour and yeast.
I have plenty of loo roll, etc.
So why on *earth* do I think, when I hear we might be getting heavy snow tomorrow, that I HAVE to go and stock up in Morrisons?????
Fighting it! 

I wonder if I'd feel the same today.
Do you?

Friday, 10-01-18

Last night's dinner - and very nice it was too!  I dipped the sweet potato chips into the chorizo and bean stew and mmmmmmmmm.  The recipes for both are in separate posts.

Good morning.  After yesterday's deliciousness, today's menu is less certain.
B:  muesli, cherries and yogurt
L:  probably toast and marmite or pate, maybe a yogurt
D:  really not sure yet.
Ss:  apple and orange or maybe banana

From the freezer:
The cherries
Bread for the toast
Probably whatever meat I decide to have and maybe the veg as well.

The frugal factor
The muesli is a gift (and I have another bag waiting when I finish this one - good old Dad!).
The cherries are frozen so, while not exactly cheap, are better than fresh ones
The bread is home made and comes to about 1p per slice.
The banana is from Aldi.

How's it going for you?  What's your favourite frugal meal?

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Five Frugal Fings

Here we go again.  A recap on five ways in which I have been (or have tried to be) frugal this week.

(thought I'd go pretty with my divider this week!)
1.  I'm on a longer term mission to use up all the old stuff in my freezer and this week I really feel I'm getting somewhere again after the Christmas/New Year blip.  Spaces are appearing as little pots and packets get taken out and used up and, apart from fresh stuff, I've not needed to shop much at all, the bank balance reflecting that rather nicely.  There's a long way to go still but that's OK, more cash into the old savings at the end of each month when I do my bigger reckoning.
2.  I mentioned about the electricity credit and the significant reduction in my monthly payments until July and, as I know it will go up again then, I've been looking to find ways of saving a bit more.  One thing I am really bad at is turning off lights so I have been making an effort to remember to switch off as I leave each room.  There's plenty of room for improvement - I've just got up to turn off the landing light and the light in the other half of this room - but, as the saying goes, every little helps.
3.  At the moment I'm having to make car journeys quite often.  It's only about seventy five minutes each way but petrol costs mount up so I've been thinking I ought to walk more locally instead of taking the car.  Now that my weight is slowly going down, my bad ankle isn't hurting so much (surprise, surprise) so I ought to be able to walk further without limping.  I could walk to Morrisons instead of driving unless I know there will be heavy bags.
I'll be honest and say that I haven't really started this.  Walking isn't a favoured thing because my ankle hurts so much afterwards, but I must hunt for some motivation.  If you have any, please send it over.  Thanks!
4.  I haven't thrown away any leftovers all week!    They've all been used up next day.  On the other hand, I have just had to throw away a yogurt that was hidden behind other things and which was too old for comfort so that's not good at all.  There's always room for improvement, isn't there?
5.  This weeks meal planning shows two fish based dinners and one vegetarian dinner which isn't bad.  I'd really like to aim for two fish and two vegetarian but I'm getting there, slowly.  Lunches have been mostly home made soups which are always very frugal and breakfasts have been porridge (dead cheap, even with added fruit) or muesli, which was a gift.  Everything has been made from scratch and has been low fat so I'm really rather pleased with the way this week has gone.
Here's to frugality!