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!
This was rather good. I made it up on the spot but it was based on numerous other curries that I have made in the past.
As usual, there are things that you can add/ substitute if the contents of your fridge is a bit different from mine; I wouldn’t play around with the core spices too much though.
If you want this curry to be vegan then use coconut milk instead of the coconut yoghurt; the only reason that I had coconut yoghurt is that someone brought me a pot to go with a yummy pudding (thanks again Penny – I’m making it go a long way!).
These amounts would serve 2 to 3 people; I ate two portions last night (couldn’t resist seconds!) and then had the rest for brunch this morning.
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1 or 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Vegetable stock/ 1 vegetable stock-cube
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 6 small new potatoes, halved
- 1 large mushroom, chopped
- 1/2 tin of chickpeas
- 1/2 tin tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons of coconut yoghurt
- Rice (1/2 cup per person)
- Cardamom pods (approx 1 per serving of rice)
- a pinch of Saffron
Fry the onion, carrot, potatoes, garlic and spices in a high smoke-point oil (groundnut or rapeseed/canola); you need to be reasonably generous with the oil and keep a good eye on it.
After a few minutes add the tinned tomatoes, the chickpeas and about 1/3 pint veg stock. When this is bubbling nicely turn it down to a low simmer and leave until the potatoes and carrots are cooked (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Next add the chopped mushroom and coconut yoghurt; at the same time put the rice on, I use 1/2 cup per person and add a little veg stock, cardamom pods and saffron if I have it. A good rule of thumb for cooking rice is for the ‘height’ of the rice in the pan and the ‘height’ of the water above the rice to be approximately the same; then, when the water is gone the rice should be cooked (I’m sure that some of my Asian friends would contradict me there, but that’s how I do it).
When the the rice is cooked take it off the heat and taste the curry, seasoning with a bit more salt and chilli if required.