Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Leftovers: roast beef soup

On Sunday I slow roasted a small joint of beef over half a carrot, half and onion and some celery with half a stock cube and a good splash of water.

After the beef was cooked and the stock strained off, I popped the veg in a pot and on Monday I made roast beef soup.

It was dead easy.  Just put the vegetables, a handful of lentils and some water in Thermione, boiled it all up for 15 mins and then zizzed it smooth.
If I had used a saucepan I would have simmered it for 15  mins and then zizzed it with a stick blender.

It was delicious - thick and beefy and very comforting.

Thought I would share that with you!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Frugal: porridge pancakes with a fried egg

I saw this idea on Jack Monroe's site.  Follow this link to find it.

It is unusual for me to leave porridge but I didn't like it much yesterday.  I then realised that I'd used whole milk that had been left in my fridge and I much prefer semi skimmed or skimmed.  Maybe that was it.  Anyhow, I had some porridge left over so I thought I'd try the idea.  I have to be honest and say I really wasn't at all sure but I thought I'd have a go and see.  If they were yucky I hadn't lost much after all.

I think you definitely need flavoursome fat.  I used some bacon fat from breakfast on Saturday.
Jack suggests you mould the little pancakes in your floured hands but I found I couldn't do that as it was too sloppy.  Instead, I stirred in about a tbsp of plain flour and put spoonfuls of the porridge in the frying pan and hot fat.  Then, when the underneath had crisped up, I turned each pancake over and squashed it down to thin with an egg slice and that worked fine.  They do need to be very thin, I think.

When they were cooked on both sides and getting crispy I took them out and kept them in a warm poven and then fried my egg.
You know what?  It was really delicious.

The egg was 14p.  The tsp of flour was negligable, say 1p.  The porridge and the bacon fat were nothing because they'd already been costed.
15p for a jolly tasty breakfast is good by me!  Surprisingly filling too.  I feel warm and comfortable inside after that breakfast!

Thrifty Lesley has used the idea with some sauted vegetables on the side and a sweet chilli dipping sauce.  I think one could add some garlic, some finely chopped softened onion and some grated cheese to make them into jolly tasty fritters.  I might try that at some point.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Frugal fun: coronation coleslaw

For one good serving

half a medium carrot, peeled and grated,  4p
an equivalent amount (volume) of finely grated white cabbage, cut small to match the carrot,  2p
15 mls mayo (I used Morrison's Savers) 1.5p
A titchy bit of curry paste or to taste (I used rogan josh because that's what I had) estimated 1p
about 1 small tsp mango chutney, squished or cut into a mush if necessary, estimate 3p

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix really well.  Check taste and add more paste or chutney if wanted.

That's it.  Just  under 12p

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Frugal fun and store cupboard: honey, lemon and peanut butter salad dressing.

It is Tuesday evening (although I won't click 'publish' this evening as I've already posted something today) and I have just made this to go over some salad leaves, cucumber and baby tomato salad.  It was delicious so I'm sharing

The ingredients are rather vague I'm afraid, but here we go.  I'll put the missing costs up later as My Supermarket is down at present

About 1 tbsp olive oil (not EVOO, that's expensive)
almost as much lemon juice (from a bottle)
A little squidge of honey (to take the sharpness away as well as for flavour) - about 2p, hard to tell as I didn't measure
About the same amount of peanut butter (I use Morrisons savers which is a lot cheaper and is actually pretty nice) - about 1p, ditto as honey
a tiny pinch of salt and a little grinding of black pepper - negligable

Whisk the lot together, taste and add a bit more of whatever, if needed.

Pour over the salad just before eating.

The above amounts made enough for two so the rest is 'maturing' in the mini pot in the fridge as I type.  I shall be making that regularly - it was so good.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Store cupboard: a sort of caesar salad dressing

Just a quick one to point you in the direction of the blog of the fantastic Frugal Queen and a very simple and tasty (I've just had it on a salad of mixed leaves, cucumber, red pepper and mini tomatoes and it was brilliant) salad dressing.
Go here for the ingredients.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Frugal fun: cream tea

Bet that caught your eye.   Actually it should have said cream cheese lunch - not so eye catching but equally delicious so I'm sharing.

A few entries ago I blogged about a recipe for very thrifty tomato scones at 3p each.  I ate one runty one while it was still warm and, showing huge restraint, froze the remainder.

Today's school lunch consisted of one of those scones, a little pot of savers soft cheese and another little pot of a chutney I made a while ago which is now absolutely gorgeous.
These little pots are tiny - they take 1 oz or just under 30 mls.  Just perfect for a frugal portion of 1/8 of a tub of the cheese (7.5p) and a heaped tsp of chutney ( 5p at a guess as I have no way of knowing) to go on two halves of a tomato scone (3p).

 That, with a piece of fruit made a most delicious lunch as well as being delightfully frugal.  OK, I could happily have devoured another scone but I didn't have it, so I didn't.  It would have been just greed anyway as I was perfectly satisfied with the one and am only just starting to feel hungry again, while dinner is heating.

Definitely one to remember and repeat so I thought I would share with you.  Thank you again to Thrifty Lesley for the scone recipe.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Frugal Fun and storecupboard: quick and easy muffins

I found a fab website when I was looking for a frugal muffin recipe.  It is called Diary of a Frugal Family and you find it here:
Well worth a visit, I reckon.

Interestingly, Cass had just yesterday posted a link to her frugal muffin recipe, which was useful, and it can be found here:

It's one of those recipes that can be adapted but, for the first time, I made it straight.  I won't post the recipe here because you can follow the link and visit the site to read it but here are the costings.
SR flour:  9p
Sugar:  18p  (I'm sure I could get it cheaper but I used what I had - I don't get through much sugar really)
egg:  14p
Milk:  8p
Veg oil:  12.5
I suppose I ought to count the paper cases but I have no idea, they're so old, so I can't.
This added up to a grand total of 61.4p  which is a frugal very-slightly-over-5p per muffin.
I bet they will taste nicer than the shop bought ones at ten times the price.  Obviously, they are not a big as the shop ones bit that's all to the good when you are the size I am.

I shall have one with coffee and freeze the others as soon as they are cold.

And next time (yes, it has gone straight into my 'make again' folder AND into my Breadline challenge recipe folder) I will play around with different flavours.  Banana and cinnamon sounds rather good, doesn't it?  Or coffee and walnut.  Lovely!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Frugal fun: turkey, apple and sage meatballs: breadline challenge

I found this in one of those occasional slimming magazines, of which I cannot now remember the name.  I'm not sure now why this caught my eye but it did and as I am looking for recipes that will fit with the Breadline Challenge, this seems to fit the bill.

I will reproduce the recipe below at the end of this entry but I made a tomato and veg sauce rather than use the stock.  This is what I did, with costings.

The meatballs: (ingredients underlined because my waffle rather hides the important info)
450g turkey thigh mince (I prefer it to the breast mince, it has so much more flavour and it is better value)  £2.00
one packet of Morrisons Savers sage and onion stuffing.  I bought this last year when I did Live Below the Line but didn't use it and it had this month's date on it so needed using.  15p
4 tbsp from a jar of savers apple sauce.  The jar was 4 tbsp so what I used cost just under 22p
some pepper estimated at 1p   I didn't add salt because of the stuffing mix but I could have added a little bit, I think.
30 g plain flour for rolling  1p
45 mls oil for frying ( added 15 mls as and when when needed)  4.5p

The sauce:
30 mls veg oil 3p
1 good sized onion, finely chopped.  About 10p
140g peppers from bag chopped mixed peppers (frozen, Morrisons)  22p
1 rib celery, finely chopped  around 6p
half a carrot, grated  7p
a squidge of garlic puree about 6p, (estimate)
1 can chopped tomatoes  34p
a knorr chicken stock pot 25p
50g tomato puree  9p
herbs  approx 3p

Mix the meatball ingredients (except the oil) together and leave for about an hour (it gets the dried stuffing rehydrating which makes the mixture nice and firm).
Using floured hands, roll the mixture into small balls of a size you want.  Mine were a bit larger than marbles because that's the size I wanted - not too big.
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the meatballs until starting to brown.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the oil add the onions and gently saute until going soft.  Add the peppers, carrot and celery and continue to fry.  Add the garlic puree and fry, stirring, for about a minute.
Then add the chopped tomatoes with half a can of water (swill it round to get all the chopped tomato out), the knorr stock pot and a goodly pinch of whatever herbs you are using - I used bogstandard mixed herbs.
Stir in the tomato puree.
Bring to a simmer, cover and let it bubble gently until the vegs are cooked.  Add the meatballs, bring to a boil again and simmer them in the sauce for around ten minutes or until they are completely cooked through.

Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Either eat straight away with pasta and maybe a topping of grated Italian hard cheese or cool, portion out and freeze.

For me this made seven portions with six meatballs in each portion (OK, so one portion had five, not six, but that's because I HAD to taste one, didn't I?).  More than enough with some pasta and perhaps a side salad, both of which would need to be priced out in addition.
Each portion was about 53p.  That will do nicely for the Breadline Challenge month, thank you!  Yay!

The actual recipe says:
Ingredients to make 4 servings (it says)
450g turkey mince
8 tbsp sage and onion stuffing mix
4 tbsp apple sauce
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
600mls chicken stock
1 tbsp plain flour

Put the mince, stuffing mix and apple sauce in a bowl and mix well together.  Season with pepper and bring together to form a firm mixture.  Divide into meatballs.  The recips says 12 but I'd go for smaller ones.  less time to cook for a start and more balls per portion.  Chill for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, heat half of the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion until softened.  Set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and gently fry the meatballs until browned (about 5 mins).  Pour in sufficient stock to just cover the bottom of the pan.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for about 15 mins.  Drain, reserving the stock, and keep warm.

In the same pan, reheat the onions and add the flour.  Gradually blend in the stock and boil, stirring until thickened.  Simmer for 2 mins.  Pour over meatballs and serve.

Frugal fun: savoury tomato scones

I found this in an article from the Daily Mail (sorry, but it was on the internet, I didn't buy the paper) about Thrifty Lesley.  I follow her site regularly; she's very clever at creating frugal recipes and meal plans and I've had some good ideas from her.

The article and recipe are here (scroll down) and her site is here.

 I made half quantities (first time and all that) and here's the breakdown

135g value SR flour:  4p
50mls veg oil  5p
50 mls water  0p
20g tomato puree 4p
a pinch of herbs  2p (maybe less, I guessed this bit)

It made 5 scone sized scones and a little runty one with the leftover scraps (no waste there).  Let's call it 5 for convenience.  That makes them 3p each.  Really can't complain and at that price there's room to add some very strong grated cheddar and some mustard powder as well and that's maybe what I shall do next time!  Or perhaps some smoked paprika?  Or some finely chopped onion and red pepper that has been softened in a scrap of oil.   Or . . . I wonder about cheese and pineapple, like a sort of scone pizza!
Plenty of possible variations.

Once baked, I had a taste of the 'runt' and it's really very tasty. more so than I expected.  I'm glad I added the herbs, they make a difference.  With a bit of soft cheese and a dollop of home made chutney they would make a most acceptable lunch.

Thank you, Lesley.  You are an inspiration.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Storecupboard: lime and maple dressing

I meant to use honey but don't seem to have any, ooops, so used maple syrup instead.  It was pretty nice.

Ingredients to make enough for one with a bit left over.
1 tbsp of lime juice plus a bit more (to own taste)
1.5 tbsp evoo
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
a tiny bit of salt
black pepper if wanted

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl or a mug and whisk well until all combined.  Cghill and use when needed.

I used it with grated carrot and sultanas and over a mixed salad and it was delicious.

Next time I want to add a bit of grain mustard and try it with honey or maybe demerara sugar instead of maple syrup

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Frugal fun: easy pastry

Bit alarming, this one but bear with me.

100g value plain flour
pinch of salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil (could use olive oil but that would be less frugal)
1 tbsp cold water or perhaps a little more, depending . . .

Place the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well.  Pour the oil into the well and lightly mix with a fork.  it doesn't exactly breadcrumb but it does go into little globs.
Add the water and bring together with your hands, very lightly.

Form into a ball, wrap and chill.

Roll and use.

Of course, I had to test this so I made a jam tart.  Yes, just one jam tart, talk about a waste of oven heat although, to be fair, I had just made some soda bread so it was warm already.
And you know what - it was nicer than my pastry usually is.  Much nicer.  I was surprised but pleased.
I now have three balls of it in the freezer for pot pie toppings.

Frugal fun: Bean and vegetable soup

This was something a friend posted on facebook and came from the Martha Stewart site.

I modified it somewhat and here's my modified version.  It's nothing unique but it is very tasty and it makes four very filling portions (too much for me) or seven portions that I could manage in a rushed school lunch period - so that's one to have for lunch and six for the freezer which will do me for the next two weeks as I have soup more or less every other day  That makes it about 20p a portion which is pretty unbeatable really.

Bean and vegetable soup

a splash of vegetable oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced small
1 celery stalk, diced small
1 small-ish onion, diced small
scant 1tsp minced garlic (from a jar)
1 teaspoon dried fine herbes
shake of ground pepper
1 tin frugal baked beans with the sauce rinsed off a la Jack Monroe
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 knorr vegetable stock pot
some marigold vegetable bouillon powder
boiling water
a tsp dried parsley
a handful of red lentils
A squidge of tomato puree

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.  Don't forget to stir now and again to prevent sticking.

Add garlic and thyme and season with pepper (I didn’t use or need salt because there was salt in the stock); cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, stock, and parsley and bring to a boil. Throw in the handful of lentils and stir well.

Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, adding more water as needed.  It took about an hour but would be less if you used a pressure cooker.  Check taste and add some marigold powder if needed (I used a heaped tsp).  Add some tomato puree to taste (I used about 1 heaped tbsp).  Simmer for a few more minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed - for me it wasn't.

Serve with crusty bread

It is really very tasty and one could add shreds of ham or some diced chorizo for more ooomph.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Soda bread

I've posted this before and I am sure I will post again.  I'm making some loaves in preparation for a friend visiting so thought I would share again.

170g SR flour
170g plain flour (can be wholemeal or white)
half tsp bicarb
half tsp salt
a little butter to rub in (optional)
290 mls buttermilk (or whatever the pot holds and make it up with milk or yogurt)

Heat the oven to 200C/gas 6

Mix the flours, salt and bicarb in a bowl
Make a well and add the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a fork to make a soft dough.
Knead briefly on a floured surface.
(or let your Thermomix do it all)
Shape into a ball, flatten by pressing down the top and cut or press a cross in the centre

Place on a lightly floured baking tray (I use a teflon liner) or you can use bread tins for a more conventional loaf shape.

Place a bowl of boiling water in the bottom of the oven and bake the loaf for around 30 mins until it sounds hollow when the base is tapped
Cool and either eat quickly or wrap and freeze.