frugal cooking

12January

Bean Cakes (this is a great way to use Baked Beans without putting them on toast!)

Family meal for four - with two tins of Baked Beans

Bean Cakes (this is a great way to use Baked Beans without putting them on toast!)

Yet again we get to a Meat Free Monday. We didn't have a roast yesterday, and now we needed to come up with a dish which was Meat free and made with store cupboard staples.

I love the Cannelli bean, but I think the cost of buying them is prohibitive and probably unexplainable when you realise that you can buy them in Tomato sauce for about thirty pence a tin.

The best thing to do is to buy the Baked Beans, and then putting them in a sieve, throughly wash all the tomato sauce off, and then you end up with a plain staple with which to build a frugal family tea.

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02January

Using up Christmas Cheese

Clearing out the fridge without throwing anything away.

Using up Christmas Cheese

This funny limbo between New Year and getting back to work is an odd one.  Its Saturday, so in this house that means food shopping.....but it doesnt feel like a Saturday so it came hard.

However I am juicing this week, I am on a seven day detox of green vegetables, nothing cooked for me, everything raw.

Unfortunately I cant get my family to agree to do this with me - so I have written them a food plan, mainly based around vegetables so that they get the New Year Healthy eating Buzz but without the 'glory'.

However you need to make space in the fridge for all this new veg, and theres a lot of cheese hanging about after Christmas.

 

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22December

Quick, make Rosti and put them in the Fridge/Freezer and release the calm domestic goddess in you!

Even a good idea for those on restirictive diets

Quick, make Rosti and put them in the Fridge/Freezer and release the calm domestic goddess in you!

If you guys are now beginning to panic about the CHristmas menu, then this can be made even more 'dire' if you have guests with dietary requirements.

Its not just the main meal ....... on which there are loads of opinions and adivce in the press, but what about those guests who dont eat the standard UK diet norm.  My Mother is Gluten sensitive and my daughter would would rather be a vegetarian than a meat eater but knows if she makes a fuss whilst her mother is feeding the world is more than her life is worth

We all need good standbuys and my answer to this is a small stash of potato Rosti's.  Simple and with no additives and a wonderful replacment to your standard meal ideas.

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03December

Red Cabbage for Christmas

Cooking ahead for Christmas

Red Cabbage for Christmas

Somewhere on my computer I have a meal plan for the Christmas season prepared.  I say prepared, but without a doubt it is a evolving thing of beauty.

Assuming I remember to buy it, one of the days over the festive period we are  having Gammon and as its practically the law to have red cabbage with Gammon, I thought tonight I would make a batch, have some for tea and put the rest in the freezer.

Dont be tempted to buy Red Cabbage for the festive season its so simple to make your own.

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01December

Festive recipes for the perfect dinner party!

Lovely ideas from the Irish Food Board

Festive recipes for the perfect dinner party!

These recipes arrived in my in box from the Irish Food Board, ensure that you take a read through and see if they inspire your Christmas menu

Celebrate the festive season in style with Irish beef!

It’s December: the festive season is upon us. Weeks of canapés, cocktails and festive cheer await.

Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, has created a range of delicious festive recipes to suit all occasions.

If you’re looking for the perfect canapé, why not serve lovely, pink roast Irish beef on mini Yorkshire puddings? This bite-sized version of the classic Sunday roast, served with homemade horseradish sauce, definitely has the wow factor.  

If you’re hosting a dinner party, braised Irish beef short ribs with red wine is an ideal choice for your main; a rich, warming dish that’s slow cooked to succulent perfection.

With its fine marbling and great flavour, grass-fed Irish beef is the choice of leading chefs around the world, who seek it out for their menus.

Irish beef is available in many of the UK’s leading supermarkets, so you can enjoy the great taste at home too.

Due to abundant rainfall and mild seasons, Ireland has the longest grass-growing season in Europe – perfect for its cattle, which graze outside almost year-round.

As we say in Ireland: ‘the flavour shows where the best grass grows’.

For more inspiring Irish beef recipes, go to www.irishbeef.co.uk.

e of the cooking juices and scatter over the gremolata to serve.

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01December

Orange Glazed Pork Chops

Winning my Husband over

Orange Glazed Pork Chops

He's not a big fan of the pork chop my Husband.  He also doesnt much care for the Aniseed flavour of Chinese Five Spice.

Its not the first time we have made this dish but is was such a hit first time round that I have found myself making it again so that I can share it with you.

One pork chop per person and serve with a big pile of stir fried veggies.  Finish with Soy Sauce and spice it up with a couple of chilies and a large lump of ginger finely sliced and mixed in with the Stir Fried veg.

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29November

Turkey Meat Loaf

Another idea for Turkey Leftovers?

Turkey Meat Loaf

Its around now that I begin to panic about Christmas.  Theres no real reason for it really, Christmas Dinner is really only a bit bigger than a Sunday Roast, and I do that every week.

I have written my Christmas Cards.

Bought, wrapped and posted all my Presents for Family I won't be seeing.

I actually have people coming from the 23rd to the 29th December and I think perhaps putting the menu for the seven days on a spreadsheet showing clearly what we need to buy and what we have already stashed in the freezer may be going a little bit too far, but its done now.  There no going back

So why Meatloaf?  Well the main reason was that I wanted to try packing it out with veg and missing out the Bread as we have a celiac joining us over the festive period.   

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15November

How do you stuff a butternut squash?

With Blue cheese of course!

How do you stuff a butternut squash?

Those of you who were awake when reading yesterdays blog entry, will have noticed that at the back of the picture was a rather hansom looking 'half' a butternut squash.

I have time and time again bought one, and peeled and chopped it for some dish I was making but yesterday was the day when I tried stuffing it and eathing it as a side dish.

I am aware that its ideal to have a half a butternut squash as a main meal, however there were three of us for tea last night, and not sure how it was going to go down, I decided to play it safe and use it as a side.

 

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15November

Loin of Pork with a creamy sauce

Very simple family tea

Loin of Pork with a creamy sauce

Tonight we had a loin of pork.  I have often looked at them in the shop and wondered what you would do with one, well tonight I combined one with a tub of cream cheese and got the most wonderful family tea.

One Pork Loin(400g)  was really to big for the three of us, so we chopped it in half and stuck the unused half in the freezer, but if you were serving four you could easily have enough and perhaps some cooked pork for a delicious Sunday Sandwich tea.

Preheat the oven 180C and then put some baby potatoes in, so you get some baby roasties to go with the finished dish and then get cracking on the main dish

 

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03November

Creamy Moorish Chicken with cous cous

What to do with that jar of Harissa paste you bought

Creamy Moorish Chicken with cous cous

Heres a really simple tea.

Get some cream cheese, 120g either plain or add some chopped herbs to it (mint or coriander are good)

Some chicken breasts

That jar of Harissa paste you bought but youre not sure what to do with

and couscous to serve

...................its that easy and it will be on the table in thirty mintues.

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03November

Blue Cheese Pasta

Remember this one for the Christmas Stilton

Blue Cheese Pasta

Whilst Stilton is in abundance at Christmas, the fact that you can freeze it and grate it straight from the freezer in to dishes makes Stilton a good friend in this house.

This dish is a perfect excuse to buy blue cheese out of the christmas season, its also a good dish to use different types of Blue Cheese and we made ours with Dolcelatte, but Gorgonzola works too.

I started by toasting a handful of broken up walnuts (be as generous as you like) and after putting them to one side added a blob of butter to the pan and a couple of finely sliced bacon rashers.  This dish works without the bacon, so look at it as optional.

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31October

Lamb kebabs with Pistachio and Apricot

Making your own flat breads

Lamb kebabs with Pistachio and Apricot

Yes,today is Halloween.  We made Pumpkin pie yesterday from our Pumpkin leftovers so we had the Halloween angle covered.  However something simple for tea was required to ensure we had enough room for Pudding.

Lamb Kebabs we made a couple of Saturdays ago and really loved them. But this week we made them again and also made our own flat breads.

By combining/stretching the minced Lamb (500g) with 75g pistachios and 50g of dried apricots we had enough to put twenty small kebabs in the Freezer for Canapes at Christmas, as well as enough (12) for us for tea tonight.

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26October

Meat Free Monday. Aubergine Bolognese

Aubergine and Black Olive Pasta

Meat Free Monday.  Aubergine Bolognese

I like the idea of 'Meat Free Monday'  The Intention is always good.  My intention is always good.  But usually I have meat to use up on a Monday, but for one reason or another that hasnt happened this week and so an opportunity occurred for me to try an idea which appeared in my head after reading a couple of new cook books.

The original recipe for this had a couple of tablespoons of Capers and and a tin of Anchovies, which is great if your family eats fish, so I had to find a different way of making this work and the answer turned out to be Black Olives

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05October

Tea for Free

Gnocci Ragu

Tea for Free

Theres a thing I do.  I think its something everyone should do.  I buy my mince in packets of 500g or 750g if larger cheaper packs are available, and then I cut about an inch (if its a 500g) off the mince block, put it in a bag and put it in the freezer.

I dont label Beef Mince but I do label Pork and Lamb mince because the presence of these two are not so frequent.  Not so frequent but essential to mix with Beef Mince in certain dishes.

So tonights dinner which combined around 200g of Beef and Pork Mince (roughly 50/50 split), defrosted, one Onion, a small potato, and a tin of tomatoes. Finished off with a packet of Gnocci this dish would serve four.

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16September

Lentil Bolognese

Puy Lentils used instead of mince

Lentil Bolognese

Todays meal came about as a result of a packet of pre cooked puy lentils I had in the cupboard.

There is no reason why you shouldnt make this with dried lentils as long as you ensure the lentils are well cooked either by precooking the lentils of cooking them in the stock whilst you are dealing with the veggies.

 

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