janewilliams20: (Default)
I finally found a use for them! I don't like throwing out anything green, but I was at a loss as to how to make sensible use of the things other than as a parsley alternative. Fortunately I remembered that the answer to most things is Soup.
This is now shared with the public in my Weightwatchers account, but you need to log in to WW to see it, so let me C&P
The green tops from a bunch of carrots
A medium potato (about 200g - this matters, as it's the only thing here to cost WW points)
A medium onion
Vegetable stock powder, such as Swiss Vegetable Bouillon.

Chop the onion and soften in Frylite
Meanwhile, peel and chop the potato. Give it about 2 minutes in the microwave.
When the onion is soft, add the potato to the pan, and enough boiling water to cover. Mix in the stock powder.
Cut up the carrot tops with scissors directly into the pan, discarding anythingthat looks manky and the thicker bits of stem. Add more water if it looks like it needs it.
Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for an hour or so.
When everything's soft, allow to cool a bit, then put through a blender or food processor to get a smoother consistency, The potato is intended to be the thickener.
Will keep in the fridge to be reheated later.
That gives enough to serve two.
Carrot top soup
janewilliams20: (Default)
I've commented a few times in various places that the way to deal with the various challenges of living on a ridiculously low income is to make the most of final reductions in supermarkets. Today we had a good example - back from holiday, wanting to refill on salad, veg, bread, and "whatever we're having for dinner tonight".
There's a new Morrisons. We went to look.
Hot food counter - various pies down to 45p, including the steak one. That's the protein part of dinner sorted, then.
Veg reduced rack - big bunch of spring onions, 25p, celery, 25p, pack of ready-prepped green beans, 25, whole white cabbage, 25p, beansprouts, 15p
That's the veg to go with the pie sorted, and our salad and veg for the next day or so re-stocked. Since we didn't use anything like the whole of any of the things listed except the pies, that's a healthy and filling meal for two for about £1.

Reduced bread - small wholemeal loaf, 9p. If I had more room in the freezer I'd have got two, but I filled it with veg just before we left a week ago.

The breaded chicken fillets on the chilled reduced rack weren't quite that spectacular, but still well under half price, and everything else we got was on multi-buys. At the moment, I'm in full-time employment, so I don't need to make this sort of saving, but there's no point in throwing money away.

Every budget I've seen for trying to live on £5 a week (or whatever the latest silly number is) emphasises careful advance planning based around paying full price for things that are inherently cheap. No. Wrong. What you need is a willingness to eat whatever's put in front of you, and to cook whatever ingredients are given.

janewilliams20: (Default)
We're away next week. There's more veg and salad in the fridge than even I can sensibly eat: both salad drawer and veg drawer full to the top, and one day left to eat it.
So, if it can be pre-prepped and frozen, it got pre-prepped. 
If that wouldn't work, but it could be stir-fried.... there's a reason why we had Chinese tonight.
Some salad can and will be passed on to a friend whose idea of exotic excitement encompasses lettuce and tomatoes and might get stretched to cucumber.
The rest? We're having broccoli with the stew-from-the-freezer tomorrow, and that's the lot!

Now I just need to sort out the freezer so all that veg will fit.

janewilliams20: (Default)
Yes, still hopping around on the walking frame (now with added padding intended for bike handlebars, which makes quite a difference).
A muffin was then toasted and had the end of the smoked salmon put on top, a duck egg was "poached" in the microwave, and some carton Hollandaise sauce reheated, and there we have Eggs Hemingway. OK, in a plastic container with a nice water-tight (and sauce-tight) lid rather than on a plate, but it tastes the same. Serve with a nice cold glass of orange juice. (Sorry, the photo was out of focus - phone camera isn't too good at close-up shots).

And then I hop through to the dining room, switch on the PC< and am ready to start work. Just need to fire up the on-line timesheet and web-mail, and probably connect remotely to the PC on my office desk, and off I go. I did 5 hours yesterday, let's see how I do today.

janewilliams20: (Default)
No, this is not a complaint about the stuff. It's nutritious, it stops me getting hungry, it turns up at regular intervals. Anything beyond that is a luxury, and I'm quite happy for any spare NHS cash to go on more important causes.
However, I have discovered some interesting things.
The cheese that comes in little individual portions, labelled "mild Cheddar", "Double Gloucester", and so on. I had two different ones at once last night, and could do a taste comparison. No, there is no difference at all, in taste or texture, only in colour.
The bread (sliced cotton-wool style) and bread rolls, normally served with butter or marg, can be used to make sandwiches from the cheese (served with crackers) or the salad. This will improve both. Also, if you're having a jacket spud, save the butter from the bread to add to it.
Bringing in your own small pot of Marmite will add flavour to ANYTHING. Some of those little bottles of soy sauce you get with sushi will also help with salads.
Mix'n'matching things can come up with interesting combinations. However, I would suggest marmalade OR Marmite in a sandwich, not both (yes, I have made the experiment).

janewilliams20: (Default)
Last night I cooked three meals. Well, it's easier to do all the chopping and prep in one go, then drop the results in the fridge.

So, we have black salsify made into fritter mix. A Hugh F-W recipe, and that's usually a good start

We have the aubergine meat-ball mix I made before

We have - "had", mostly - this Quinoa, fennel and sausage pilaf. OK, I cheated - I'd found packs of ready-to-eat quinoa when I was looking for lentils, and that saved some simmering time. That's the one I actually ate (most of) last night, and it was gorgeous! I'll have to use more quinoa, it's tasty and surprisingly low-point for the quantity, better than rice. Cauldron sausages, by the way, are good.

I had half the salsify fritter mix for breakfast, with crispy bacon as suggested, and while nice enough, it wasn't worth the hassle of peeling and grating the salsify.

I'll find out about the meatballs tonight - I'm going to do them as fritters, too.

janewilliams20: (food)
It may be a little complex for some of my audience, but this is what Dave requested for dinner tonight. In fact we left off the garnish so as to keep things simple. It's on the BBC Good Food site, and they have a good reputation.

Read it here, and read the comments for further advice and options.

janewilliams20: (food)
When Dave's on nights, and I'm cooking for one, I tend to cook things that I like and he doesn't, especially if I've got them on the cheap. Tonight, that means kidneys - pigs kidneys. What I've always done in the past is Devilled Kidneys, and I expect I'll be having them for breakfast tomorrow. But tonight, there being two kidneys in the frozen pack, I am also eating kidney, and I wanted a change.
Googling produced more recipes for devilled kidney than you could shake a jar of mustard at. It also produced many for steak & kidney pudding, which is not something I have time to do after getting home from work. It found me a page where someone was asking for kidney recipes precisely because it's a cheap meat and they'd like to make more use of it - yes, this is about 80p for the pack, and I'm getting two good meals out of it. And leading on from there, I found this.

Fried calves' kidney with pancetta

Calves, pigs - close enough. Onion, celery, lentils - yes, got all of those in stock. Chicken stock, I don't have in stock (for once!) but I do have chicken Bovril. Lentils for bulk, parsley I grow myself - yes, I'm going to approve of this on Be Economical grounds.,  Pancetta? I'll use bacon.  Reading through... "Add the Madeira and flambé".


Yes, I'm sure anyone who thinks a 40p meal is a useful idea will have Madeira around the place, won't they?

In fact, due to going mad when making Dave a meal for Valentines Day, yes, I did have Madeira to use. And the result was very nice indeed.

By the way, one useful hint for people who don't know - it says "cooked lentils". So you get out the bag of uncooked lentils, and read the bit about having to boil them for a few hours. Then you laugh, put lentils and hot water in a microwave pot, and blat them for about 4-5 minutes. If I was going to eat them direct, I'd give them a bit longer, but these were going to have another few minutes simmer, and they were fine.

One other recipe I found that I'll save for next time:
Fry up chopped onion, add cut up kidneys and *frankfurters* (not sausages), season (dont forget the paprika!), add chopped tomatoes in tomato juice, some red wine and cook for a while.

janewilliams20: (food)
 I thought I'd be healthy for lunch (and use up the got-it-on-the-cheap things in the freezer that I know Dave won't like).
"Quorn BBQs and Grills Chef's Selection Sausages, Best of British". Sounds good, doesn't it?
Sorry, Quorn. They taste slightly less of cardboard than some other manifestations of the substance, but not by much. They're also 3 WW points each, and I could get two Weightwatcher Cumberland sausages for those three points. I'll finish the pack, purely because wasting food is sinful, but I won't be buying any more.

janewilliams20: (food)
I've done things more or less like this before, but I think that was a winner. Based on this:


I used a can of butter beans (that being what was in the cupboard) and the chorizo was the very thinly sliced sort so as to get maximum bits (and flavour) for minimum quantity. The fish was hake.

janewilliams20: (Default)
You know those little sachets of wasabi that come with the takeaway sushi? For your information, the ones from Waitrose are a lot stronger than those from Sainsbury's or Tesco's. No, really. A LOT stronger.
My eyes have just about stopped watering.

janewilliams20: (Default)
The performance-related pay rise came through. A nice amount, enough to say "nice job, we'll keep you" without also saying "now live up to that if you can".
Dave's on nights, and can't be taken out for a meal so....
Waitrrose. Seafood, salad, and fruit, with some part-baked rolls I had in the cupboard, hot from the oven, and all eaten on the patio because it's Spring and I can. White wine spritzer, and a chocolate to follow.
Well, that's my idea of a celebration, anyway. I might even nibble some olives for supper.

janewilliams20: (Default)
 There was some interest a while back in healthy hot breakfasts I manage to prepare in 10 min or so, pre-coffee. I went back to repeats of the old ones for a bit, so there's been a gap, but two new ones have just arisen. OK, so some people who imagine "conventional" means something other than "boring" won't want them at breakfast time, but that's their problem. The basic requirements of carbs plus protein are filled.

Hot-dog sandwich
Thanks to [personal profile] pbristow for this one. He actually wrote up the detailed recipe as a shanty, but the post is private :(
Precis version: Three frankfurters. Microwave-blat at 20 sec a time on kitchen towel, turning. Put between two slices of bread.
Chef Bristow,  if you have a useful link, I think that shanty should be more widely known.
That's 4 WW points for the bread, 7 for the frankfurters (depending on brand).

"Chicken" fillet burger
I love the texture of the sort of "chicken burger" that fast-food places do - soft bread, crunchy breadcrumb on the "burger", crisp iceberg lettuce. This isn't chicken, but....
Turn the grill on
Put kettle on
Take a Quorn Crispy coated Lemon & Black Pepper Escalope from the fridge, along with the lettuce and some low-fat mayo
Put fillet under grill.
Make coffee.
Pour tomato juice, use to take tablets.
Spread mayo on 2 slices of bread, apply lettuce to one slice, keep as much again aside. Put jar and rest of lettuce back in fridge.
Sip coffee. Still too hot.
Turn Quorn over (it needed about 5 min. a side)
Go and do 5 min. on the Wii Fit (that's one run through Stepper Plus)
Come back to kitchen, put grilled Quorn on lettuce, add extra lettuce on top, apply second slice of bread, press down hard to make it small enough to get in your mouth. 
Cut sandwich in half.
Remember to turn grill off
Wander up to PC, sandwich and coffee in hand(s).
mmm.... crunchy salad-y carby goodness... nice bite of lemon.... mmm...

Again, 4 WW points for the bread, 7 for the protein part.

janewilliams20: (Default)
This is the latest experiment, aimed at France , when I'll need to produce gluten-free bread from the basics found in a small French shop plus whatever I take with me on the train.

It's just gone in the oven, so let me note down what went into it before I lose the list
Celeriac, grated, 155g
Instant mash, 125g bag
Cottage cheese 300g tub
3 eggs, beaten
Bicarb, 2 tsp
Xanthan gum, 1 tsp

Mix the lot, and form into a ball. Put on a small baking sheet, and put in the oven.

Tools needed:
big mixing bowl
bowl to beat eggs
grater for celeriac
measuring spoon for tsp
small baking sheet and means of greasing it

It had nearly an hour at 180° and was still doughy. Looked like it had risen better than I expected, just not cooked.

Gluten-free soda bread raw

30 min:
Gluten-free soda bread 30 min

55 min and cooling:
Gluten-free soda bread done

It then went back in the oven. Once I'd decided that I really couldn't let the crust go any darker, it came out again, and was cut

Gluten-free soda bread cut That's still rather doughy, but tastes wonderful, and is lighter and more airy than the potato scone recipe it was based on. The soda must have done the trick. More next time, I think. I've been advised that Xanthan gum does tend to make things hold moisture more.
janewilliams20: (food)
A question that I suspect will be answered by one of my friends knowledgeable in Christianity.
Why is it traditional to eat lamb at Easter? Yes, lamb as a meat is in season (I've seen the small cute fluffy objects in the fields), but I have an idea there's more to it than that. Googling tells me that Easter borrows a lot of symbols from Passover (why?) and makes mention of a sacrificial lamb, but I can't fit this lot together in any way that makes sense..

janewilliams20: (Default)
Yesterday, and Friday night (they merged). Far too busy to post more than a quick one-liner. I may have forgotten a few things, but...
Dealt with a spreadsheet/scheduling issue for the RK game that's been hanging over me making my mind go blank for far too long.
Got the cookery books back into the cupboards in the (newly decorated and almost finished) dining room.
Sorted through T-shirts and tops, discarded some that are stained, some that are worn out, some that I got because they were cheap and Dave now looks at and says "oh, no, doesn't suit you at all".
Put the remains in the drawers where they belong, tidily and with added mothballs (a few too many holes have been appearing).
Realised that I have more than enough geek/weekend Tshirts, and then some.
Made the most of a new catalogue that came through the door, plus Daxon, and ordered some new "smart-enough-for-work" tops, plus a trouser suit, at loadsa-money-off prices.
Re-assembled dining table, found plastic, patterns, and marker pen, started working out the Victorian blouse pattern.
Two loads of washing, realising in the process that the tops-for-work situation isn't as bad as I'd thought.
Baked experimental gluten-free soda bread. Nice, rose enough if not well, but usual problem - too crumbly! I have ideas on how to improve that next time. I'd like to be confident of doing this before we get to France, as I'm not convinced the local shops will be up to keeping Shirley fed. Speaking of which....
Pete and Shirley came over for the afternoon and evening, and the French holiday is now fully planned and booked. We'd already done the train, now we have the hotel in London for the night before travelling, the hire car when we get there, and two self-catering places for a week each, one in Arles and one in Marseillian.
Nice (gluten- and dairy-free) dinner for four.
Sewing as we internet-surfed and looked at maps, so the Victorian petticoat I got at TORM has an extra slit and a waist-band extension: the side that had a button closure has the button moved out on a tape, and the other side has a matching slit (where I wanted pocket access anyway) and ribbon/tape ties for closure.

It's now Sunday, and time to really get going on that blouse and skirt.
janewilliams20: (Default)
 It started well on Friday in work, when the Project That Will Not Die, died. I'm not sure if my taking garlic and wooden stakes to the final project meeting helped, or not (yes, really, I did). Red Nose Day bake-in included my being asked for the recipe for the cheesy potato scones I'd provided (thank you, Julian Hayley and Slimming World, for the recipe).

Saturday I made the aforementioned soda bread, and another round of cheesy potato scones, and then we had a Sam and Anne with us, ate nibbles (Anne had produced cakes and bread and bacon, and....) and then headed off to TORM.

The idea was to get the fabric and buttons for the Victorian skirt and blouse I need for Easter, but in fact I didn't find either. So naturally I spent nothing... well, apart from a few books on cooking in periods I didn't yet know much about (Georgian, 1800s, Victorian), and some jerky from Martin Cowley , but that doesn't really count, does it? Got an 1880s petticoat that needs a little work on the waistband and seams to get it up to my size, but having all those frills done for me, in heavy canvas, helps enormously, and £30 is well worth it! OK, so maybe the new drum did count... we had to take the car apart slightly to get it home, since 30" is a big drum. We saw fun things, like the steam-punk crossbows, and met fun people, like Chris and Lee (shopping for bridesmaid dresses - what, you mean not everyone wants their bridesmaid in a houppelande?) and didn't buy a portable cannon, nor any more booze.

Once home, Anne cooked at us. She'd wanted to do Irish cooking for an appreciative audience, so we let her, and did St Paddy's Day a few hours early. Mmm.... there aren't many people I'd let loose in my kitchen unsupervised, but she's definitely one of them.

Sunday, nibbles (her bread, my bread), then the Lounge for brunch (at their request), then home, watching the rain get harder, and then they headed back to London before the weather got any worse.

Afternoon - clearing up, sorting PCs (Dave's building me a new one), trying to find the craft room again, and trying to design the next birthday card I'm due to produce. Also meant to be writing a Swords turn, writing a review of Age of Arthur, writing an extra army list for publication, and just spotted a short story competition that looks interesting and I should make note of. But really, this is the weekend, and taking things easy and catching up on sleep may be more important, judging by yesterday.

janewilliams20: (Default)
This is the original, from Abel & Cole, my organic veg suppliers

Comments on the original all agreed that it had far too much liquid - I'd ended up with something about an inch tall, because the dough couldn't support its own weight. On the second try, the liquid content was better, but it still wouldn't rise, and took far too long to cook.
This time, it worked.

175g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda - this is new
175 celeriac, grated - and then left in the self-defrosting fridge overnight to dry out a bit
1 egg, beaten with a bit of salt
Cheese substituted for the 75g Stilton, partly to make it lower fat, partly because this is what was in the fridge:
30g grated parmesan
100g Quark

I used the food processor to mix it into a dough, dribbling in the liquid from the Quark until it went into a ball. Dusted the result with a little flour, and popped it on a greased baking tray to cook, at 180 for 30 minutes. It was perfect!

In health terms, I worked it out on the WW recipe builder, and it comes to about 20g for a point - much lower than most plain breads. The resulting loaf weighed 440g.
janewilliams20: (Default)
Tomorrow, as I'm sure you don't need telling. The usericon in various places will become a lttle red dragon, daffs wil show up, but what to cook?
We don't have any lamb in the freezer for once, and it's expensive. No, we're not skint, but I don't like throwing money away.
I'm supposed to be trying to lose weight. Welsh Rarebit as a low-fat option is unlikely to work.
Most other recipes I've seen involve leeks (good) and Caerphilly cheese (delicious, but bad)
Other obviously Welsh things are sweet, not savoury.

Ideas, anyone?
janewilliams20: (Default)
I should stop making that celeriac and bue cheese soda bread. It's far too nice, and bad for diets.
Abel & Cole, any weight-gain this week is all your fault!

We went to the farmers' market at Frosts In Willington on Sunday, and left there with lots of lovely bread, too. Each loaf has been halved, so I can use half and freeze half, but that's still a lot of bread, and very hard to resist.


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