Friday, 29 July 2016

freezer oaty bars

These were showcased on Eat Well for Less this week.
The recipe is available online, here.

I reduced amounts down to a quarter because I was just trying it out and I had to make some substitutes.
I had no agave so I used more honey, I used walnuts instead of almonds and plain puffed wheat instead of rice pops.

It all worked fine and the final results were sweet, sticky and delicious.  I cut it into very small chunks and each bit is now wrapped and in the fridge.

It's nice to have a recipe that is so versatile.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Egg muffin

Eat Well for Less is back on.  Three cheers.  There's been some great recipes so far: this one is very, very simple but doesn't appear on their recipe site, so here it is here.

Put a little bit of butter in a cup and microwave it for ten seconds.

Add an egg and some milk, some salt and some pepper and a bit of grated cheese.  Mix it all together - just mix, not whisk.

Cook in the microwave.  It took mine 90 seconds on 6.  In the programme it said a minute so I guess they used higher power.

Split and toast an English muffin.

Pop the cooked egg on one half of the toasted muffin and top it with the other half.  Done.  It's so, so simple and tasty and I found it surprisingly filling.

(the muffin is home made, but it doesn't have to be)

Friday, 15 July 2016

Egg and tomato bake - delicious lunch

Tasty, easy, pretty frugal and low-ish in calories.  What more could you ask for.

Ingredients for one
vegetable bits and bobs - the only crucial one is tomatoes - I used a quarter of a red pepper, a largish chestnut mushroom and several squashy tomatoes.  I was out of onions, much to my dismay!
A little bit of oil - I use coconut oil
some seasonings - I use garlic puree, mixed herbs, salt and pepper
one egg

Heat the oil in a pan, add the pepper and mushroom and sizzle until softening.
Then add the tomatoes and seasonings, sizzle and stir for about five mins.

Tip the veg mixture into an suitable oven-proof dish.

Using a spoon, make a 'hole' in the mixture.  Crack an egg into the hols.

Bake in an halogen oven for about eight mins on 180.  I guess an oven would be about the same up would cost more and take longer because of the heating up period.

Eat and enjoy!

Overnight oats - courtesy of Thrifty Lesley

I have finally discovered overnight oats and they are so tasty I will direct you to a great entry about them on Thrifty Lesley's fantastic blog.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A quick and fake 'pizza'

A cheat, for sure, but it was actually very tasty so I am sharing

The base was a small tortilla wrap which I placed on some parchment on a circular plate that goes in the halogen.

The sauce was ten mls each of tomato ketchup, tomato puree, a home made spicy sauce (use brown sauce) and a squeeze of garlic puree, all mixed together.  Spread that over the base.

I gently fried some thinly sliced onion, yellow pepper, one baby corn and a few mushrooms in a bit of coconut oil, then spread it all over the base.  Grate over some pepper and sprinkle over one dried herbs of choice.

Halve six pitted olives and spread them over.

The cheese was some feta, about a quarter of a small, savers pack, crumbled over the toppings.

Then it went in Handy Andy for ten minutes at 175C.

Dead easy and surprisingly tasty, if a long way from traditional!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Strawberry jam - the template

This works for me, every time

strawberries, hulled and wiped over, if necessary with any bad bits removed.  Don't wash them.  Cut any enormous ones in half
jam sugar

I know jam sugar is more expensive but it is reliable, more reliable than adding lemon juice, in my experience.  I've never had a failure with jam sugar.  You find it with all the other sugars in the shops.  Don't mistake it for preserving sugar, it's quite different.  Jam sugar has the added pectin that you need to get a good set.

Weigh the hulled and cleaned strawberries.  Whatever they weigh, you need three quarters of that weight in jam sugar.  So 1k of strawberries will need 750g jam sugar.

(an easy way if you have a calculator is to input the weight of the berries and multiply by 0.75 to get the weight or sugar)

Put the berries in a large bowl.  Pour over the sugar.  Stir it in gently so that all the berries are in contact with the sugar.  Cover and leave for a few hours, I would say a max of three hours.

Place your saucers in the fridge or freezer.

Put the berries and sugar in a large pan.  Slowly heat them on low, stirring regularly.  Don't allow the mixture to boil until every bit of sugar has dissolved.

Bring to a rolling boil, then take off the heat and leave it to stand for a few hours or even overnight.  This is my own discovery and I find that setting point comes so much faster if I do this and therefore the taste is 'fresher'.

Put your clean jars in a warm oven - the sort of temperature for heating plates.

Reheat to boiling, stirring.  Allow to boil for a couple of minutes and take off the heat while you use a saucer in the fridge to do the wrinkle test.  I usually find that the jam is has reached setting point but if it hasn't, reboil and retest.  Take the pan off the heat while you are testing or it may over-set.

When ready, pour the jam into your clean, warmed jars and put the lid straight on.  Be careful, it is VERY hot at this stage.

Allow to cool, wipe the jars if they are sticky, label and store in a dark place.

Plum, apple and strawberry jam - frugal fun.

I know I rabbit on about jam quite a lot in here but I had to post about this.

I was sorting out the fridge and found two wizened eating apples, five very squashy but still 'sound' plums and I had six strawberries that were in various stages of having been nibbled

I stoned and quartered the plums, peeled, cored and sliced the apple and cut all the nibbled bits off the strawberries.

Into a pan they went with a splash or two of water - not too much - and I simmered them for a while.  One apple more or less mushed, the other didn't but softened so the resulting jam has lumps of apple in it.

I measured what I had in pints (3/4 pint) and added jam sugar, pound to pint (so 12 oz).

I took the fruit off the heat, added the sugar and stirred well, then left it for the sugar to slowly and completely dissolve into the warm fruit.  Then I did what I always do - bring it to a good boil, take it off the heat and leave it.  Somehow, it always sets better when I do that.

As it cooled I could see that it was going to be a quick set and so it was.  An hour or so later I reboiled and immediately tested for setting point (I use the saucer method).

Sure enough, it was ready to pour into clean, warmed jars.

So now I have three pots of gorgeousness made from fruit that would most likely have been thrown away in my less frugal youth.

And it is scrape-the-pot-and-lick-the-spoon-and-wish-I-could-have-made-more delicious.
Ignore the cherries - it was the best picture I could find.  

Peanut butter chicken noodles

I made this last night with some changes.  It's a 'Lean in 15' recipe.

It's on You Tube so here's the link:

It was utterly scrummy and I will use the sauce again in other contexts.

A few changes.  I only used half a chicken breast and I used egg noodles because that's what I had.  I used mushrooms instead of courgettes because ditto.  It is adaptable!

It made loads and loads and was very filling

Next time:  fewer noodles.  I cooked a one portion amount and it was so much!  Have of that would be fine.  It will also take more veg - perhaps some mange tout or some runner beans if they're in season.