As usual, I am starting the year cooking in a very frugal fashion. My aim is to get to the back of my cupboards and to the bottom of my freezer by the end of the month and to have spent very little on food.
Today I was very organised; I cooked my dinner in the slow cooker, using beans that I had soaked overnight, before I left for work. Those of you who have experienced my severe aversion to mornings will be very impressed!
This is very different from the way that I would usually make chilli; because I am in serious fridge-emptying mode I used the remains of a jar of spicy tomato salsa dip and finished off a bottle of peri peri sauce for the base.
The chilli was incredibly cheap to make. However, I did spend money in the co-op on some (very unseasonal) salad, wraps and soured cream (which was in the reduced section). Steve is very good at making Tortillas, I will ask him to share the recipe with you sometime.
There was enough the next day to make enchiladas – yum.
- Two cups Black-eyed Beans – soaked overnight
- One cup of Kidney Beans – soaked overnight
- One cup of Puy Lentils
- 1/2 pot Tomato Salsa
- approx 3rd bottle Peri Peri Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chilli & Lime Flakes (you can use chilli flakes without lime – I happened to already have this and am in using-up mode)
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Vegetable Stock powder
- an Onion, finely chopped
- a few cloves of Garlic, chopped
- Water, enough to cover the beans
Soak the beans the night before. Drain before using.
Put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker on it’s lowest setting. Leave to cook for at least eight hours.
Serve with wraps or rice.
For the enchiladas – put a large spoonful of the Bean Chilli into the centre of a wrap, fold two ends inwards and then roll up. Place in an oven proof dish. When you have got as many wraps as you want into the dish put sour cream on top (I didn’t measure it out, I just used the remains of the pot from the previous day) and cover with grated cheese. Bake in the oven at 180oC for approximately half an hour.
I have learned something new today – in America Flapjacks are called Oat Bars. Who knew? To make matters more confusing, an American Flapjack is a pancake.
This isn’t a pancake recipe. It is delicious. Enjoy!
- 3.5 oz margarine
- 1.5 oz coconut oil
- 8 oz soft dark brown sugar
- 2 dessert spoons golden syrup
- 1 oz desiccated coconut
- 11 oz oats
- Handful chopped crystallised ginger
Preheat the oven to 150oC / 300oF.
Put the margarine, coconut oil, syrup, and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat; when melted and well combined stir in the dry ingredients.
Put the mixture into a lined square tin, flatten the top but don’t compress too much.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 – 45 minutes.
This recipe has been sitting in my drafts since Lent last year, probably because the photograph isn’t great. However, I think that Simple September is a good time to share it with you because it introduces a cheap cut of meat, a store-cupboard grain which I love, and a ‘using up’ approach to to vegetables.
One of the joys of supermarket-free shopping is going to the butchers and trying different cuts of meat. Today I popped into a local butchers shop to see what caught my eye and was good value and came away with a pork rib chop – something which I had never cooked before. It turned out to be an amazingly tender cut of meat and I shall certainly be cooking it again.
Cooking pork gave me the opportunity to try out an infused salt which I made at the weekend – inspired by the book Gifts from the Garden by the wonderful Debora Robertson. This book was by far my favourite Christmas present and I am very much looking forward to putting it to good use when spring arrives!
The veggies were very much a ‘what have I got’ effort; what I had was a single carrot, the tail end of a bag of frozen peas and jar of artichokes in oil – a winning combination it turns out!
Why bulgur wheat? Simply because I love it and had not shared it with you previously.
It is worth saying at this point that I have been reliably informed that I ‘could do better’ with respect to my food photography; I didn’t get the feedback until after I drafted this post so apologies if the picture doesn’t give this delicious meal justice! Please do keep giving me feedback – I’m all for continuous improvement.
- a pork rib chop
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary-infused salt
- 1/3 cup of bulgur wheat
- a pinch of saffron (not essential)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable stock
- 1 carrot, sliced
- a handful of frozen peas
- four pieces of artichoke, chopped
- mixed herbs
I have found that I am not very good at blogging in summer – I am too busy enjoying my garden! So I was rather chuffed when this little recipe dropped into my inbox from the fabulous Michelle, who has guest-blogged for me before and who coined the wonderful phrase ‘fridge gravel‘. This is a true storecupboard recipe and I will be giving these pinwheels a try next time I need to make canapés at short notice (yes, that does happen).
This is something I do when I fancy something a little different – salmon pinwheels.
It is quite a simple dish. The omelettes are just one egg, a little salt and pepper and a pinch of tarragon beaten together and cooked gently in a small egg pan in a knob of butter.
Spread the egg out until it covers the base of the frying pan and cook until set on one side, flip over and cook on the other side for about one minute.
Slide out of the pan onto a chopping board to cool.
Once cold, spread the omelette with a mix of tinned pink salmon that has been mixed with a bit of mayo and apple cider vinegar.
You could use any filling you like – chopped cooked chicken and mayo, leftover minced beef etc.
Roll up the omelettes into a cigar shape and slice into bite sized pieces. Delicious!
Adding the tarragon to the omelette works really well with fish, but that could be subbed for other herbs.
Bread and Butter Pudding is a good old-fashioned frugal recipe, which uses up dry bread which would otherwise go to waste. The traditional recipe uses bread and butter, dried fruit, sugar, eggs and milk.
There are many little twists that can be made to this basic recipe; for this one I used Almond Milk instead of cows milk and mixed coco-powder in with the demerara sugar to make nice chocolatey layers.
- Dry sliced bread (about 1/2 loaf)
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
- 2 tablespoons coco powder
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 or 3 eggs (I only had 2 which was fine, but 3 would have been better)
- 1 pint almond milk
- 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
Pre-heat the oven to 180oC.
Mix the sugar and coco powder in a bowl.
Place a layer of buttered bread in the bottom of your dish, as closely fitting as possible. Cover with a layer of the chocolate mixture and a sprinkle of raisins.
Repeat until you have at least three bread layers.
In a jug measure out a pint of milk and beat the eggs into it.
Pour the mixture onto the bread layers; all but the top bread layer should be covered. Add more milk if necessary.
Sprinkle flaked almonds and some nutmeg on the top and bake in the centre of the oven for about half an hour.
I made this recipe up yesterday.
I came back from a lovely wedding at the weekend armed with some delicious Shropshire Ale from Hobsons Brewery left over from the festivities (we were far too well behaved!), which the groom kindly decanted into a pop bottle for me. I used most of the beer on the day I returned home to bribe my neighbour James to cut my lawn and shift some topsoil for me; however, a few days later there was a half pint still remaining which was a little beyond drinking but which I didn’t want to waste.
I had a little brainwave that I could use it to soak fruit in; a little bit like tea-loaf but richer. The muscavado sugar made it richer still and, well, you can’t go wrong with lots of ginger.
- 500 g / 1 lb of mixed dried fruit
- 200 g / 7 oz dark muscavado sugar
- 300 ml / 1/2 pint of Ale (the darker the better)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 250 g / 8 oz self-raising flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground ginger
Put the fruit, sugar and beer into a bowl, cover with a tea-towel and leave for at least 4 hours (overnight if possible).
Stir the egg, flour and ginger into the soaked fruit mixture and pour into a lined 2 lb loaf tin (or, if like me you are short on time divide it between two tins so that it cooks more quickly).
Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 170oC for 1 & 1/2 hours. To check whether it is done put a skewer in and if it comes out clean it is cooked, whereas if the skewer still has cake mixture on it needs cooking a little longer.
I have decided that it is time to go back to my £5 a week food budget – I have become lazy recently, and although I have maintained the discipline of not wasting food it has become too easy to spend more than I need to and to do ‘lazy cooking’.
I have not yet spent my £5 this week, and I did not top up my storecupboard before commencing my budget cooking – no cheating! Before I spend my £5 I need to use up some fresh ingredients; my lovely lodger is working away for a week and has left me with a fridge full of yummy things which I cannot let go to waste, so what I have to start with is:
– a couple of rashers of bacon
– a bag of green salad
– an avacado
– salami & parma ham
– red peppers
I also have carrots which very much need using up, onions, garlic, a lonely potato, a lonely tomato, fresh bread, and of course my trusty spice cupboard.
So of course I started with soup.
– one onion
– one potato
– one big tomato
– one red pepper
– six carrots
– 2 cloves of garlic
– smokey paprika
– stock from the freezer (or a vegetable or chicken stock cube)
– salt and pepper to taste
Finely chop all of the vegetables apart from the tomato. Fry in a large saucepan with the paprika and a little oil or butter.
Put the tomato in a bowl of boiling water straight from the kettle; when it has been in there a few minutes you will find that the skin peels off easily.
Add the tomato to the other vegetables along with a pint of stock – I used my turkey stock from the freezer, but you could equally use a vegetable stock cube.
Simmer until the vegetables feel soft when you put a fork in them – about 20 minutes – then blend using a food processor or hand blender.
Return the blended vegetables to the saucepan and continue to cook on a low heat, adding more liquid (water or milk) if you think that the consistency is too thick.
Taste, and season with salt and pepper if required.
Serve with toast and lots of butter.
… and I have plenty left for lunch tomorrow – hurrah!