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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Pop Chips Hamper Giveaway


I really LOVE Popchips! They are a really light and tasty snack, and less than 100 calories so not too sinful for dieters either.  Popchips are not baked or fried, they are popped.  Full of flavour and not at all greasy or coated with awful flavour powders, they are all natural and totally delicious!

Check out the Popchips site and follow them on Twitter to learn more about these superb snacks.

You can win a hamper of them for you and your friends or workmates - you may have trouble sharing them though, they are so delicious you'll want to gobble them all yourself.

To enter the giveaway leave a comment telling me what your favourite healthy snack option is and a way to contact you should you be the lucky winner.

For an extra entry tweet about the giveaway " I've entered to win a @PopchipsUK Hamper on the @utterlyscrummy blog http://utterlyscrummy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/pop-chips-hamper-giveaway.html " and let me know you have done so by leaving a blog comment with your Twitter name.

Terms and Conditions, please read these carefully:

This giveaway is open to all readers over 18, who live in the UK and have a UK postal address.

The winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on this blog.

The winner will be contacted by email, if they do not respond within 5 days another winner will be chosen.

There is one prize of a Popchips Hamper.

I am running this competition in good faith on behalf of Popchips UK. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. They reserve the right to substitute the prize for one of a similar type / value if the prize above is not available.

Instructions form part of the terms and conditions.

The organiser reserves the right to alter the closing date of the giveaway, either closing early or extending without notice. Changes to the closing date if they occur will be shown on this page.

There is one main way to enter and one way to get a bonus entry. Follow the instructions above.

The giveaway will close at 10pm on 25th May 2012.


Good luck!

Three Mobile Foodie Apps Event


You know when you receive an email inviting you to an event that makes you read it twice before doing a little dance of joy?  Well, I received one of those recently.  I was invited to and attended a fab event hosted by Three Mobile at L’atelier des Chefs in London to showcase some Foodie Apps and have fun cooking a 3 course dinner under instruction from one of their Cookery School Chefs. 

I had loads of fun cooking with the other 5 people on my table and learned much more about the Food and Recipe Apps available and of course more about Three Mobile.   From apps that create recipes from the remnants of your fridge, to ones that can help protect you against food allergens, there are loads of helpful smartphone and tablet apps available.  To help us get to grips with the apps and play with them properly we were all given a lovely new Smartphone to take home.

Three Mobile are the UK's fastest growing network, in fact, their network now covers more than 97% of the UK population for outdoor coverage. This means they can offer price plans that make using your mobile internet more affordable than ever.

They've also won awards for their network from industry magazines and websites – and they’ve come top of the quarterly YouGov polls again and again. Take a look at the awards they have won here.  They also have "All you can eat" data plans which you can read more about here.

Thank you SO much to Three Mobile and L'a for a fabulous evening and of course for my new phone  which I love A LOT!!

You can also find Three Mobile on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube as well as following their blog. Take a look!


*** Please note:  I was given a Smartphone to keep, cooked a lovely 3 course dinner and had my travel expenses paid. ***

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Our Family Meal Plan Week of 30/04 - £62

I know, my Meal Plan is late again!  After a hectic week my eldest daughter had her 12th birthday on Friday.  I had to bake her birthday cake that day and then Saturday was spent entertaining her and her friends with a pamper session and a marathon shopping session at the local mall.  Consequently, I cobbled together this Meal Plan on Sunday afternoon then raced around the supermarket before it closed.  I'm using my slow cooker a couple of times this week as I'll be absent at dinner time twice this week.  When I'm not here to cook dinner I need food ready to be devoured by my husband and children as soon as they get home with little effort required by my husband. 

Last week I received a delivery of a lovely Budget Box of meal from Keevil and Keevil to review.  The box retails for £30 and contained the following:

1.25kg Pork Loin
450g Sliced Back Bacon
450g Sliced Honey Roast Ham
16 x Chicken Drumsticks
18 x Premium Cumberland Sausages
500g Minced Beef

I have used some of the Budget Box in the Meal Plan for this week and will use the rest over the coming weeks.  It is fabulous quality and I'm looking forward to cooking with it.  I shall blog about it later this week.  I have included the equivalent items in the shopping list to make it easier for those following our Meal Plan.

Breakfasts this week will be toast or English muffins with spread or cereal with milk, as always there will be a banana or apple for afters.  We'll probably have boiled eggs with soldiers once this week too.  

Packed lunches will be leftovers, cheese and homemade chutney sandwiches/wraps, or homemade rice salad which is cooked rice mixed with cooked mixed vegetables, diced raw pepper, grated carrot and the juice of an orange or lemon mixed with 1Tblsp oil to make a dressing.  All packed lunches will have a piece of fruit and a baked treat as well as some delicious yoghurt from The Collective which I shall blog about later this week. 

Weekend lunches will be Macaroni Cheese and Twice Baked Potatoes because we will probably have guests for lunch on at least one day this coming weekend.

Baked treats will be scones, Lemon Drizzle Cake and a Banana Cake.  As usual I shall bake all our bread, muffins, wraps, rolls, etc and have added the cost of the ingredients to our Meal Plan.

The cost of the 37 items needed for our Meal Plan this week was £62.35 at Asda on 29/04/2012 and I checked My Supermarket as always to compare the price of a similar basket at other supermarkets.  The equivalent 37 Meal Plan items would've cost £73.58 at Sainsbury's and £78.56 at Tesco.

Dinners

Vegetarian Cottage Pie - Monday

1 Tblsp oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
250ml vegetable stock
400g can lentils, rinsed and drained
Enough mashed potato to use as a topping for the cottage pie
100g grated cheddar to sprinkle on top

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. Cook the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for a few minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes, herbs, bay leaf and stock. Stir everything together thoroughly.

Simmer gently for about 15 - 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the lentils, stir them through and check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a 1.2-litre baking dish and leave to cool slightly while you make the mash topping.

Cook about 750g of potatoes, cut into chunks, in boiling salted water until tender then drain and mash as you normally would. Spread the mash over the vegetable and lentil mixture then sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbling and golden.


Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole - Tuesday

8 chicken drumsticks
2 Tblsp oil
300g bacon rashers, rind removed and cut into rough dice
500g mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried mixed herbs

Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the drumsticks all over and then put them into your slow cooker. Put the bacon, mushrooms, onion, chopped and garlic into the frying pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is transparent then add it all to the slow cooker. Put the tins of chopped tomatoes and herbs in the slow cooker too.

Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours on low or for 2-3 hours on high. Check the seasoning just before serving and add salt and pepper if necessary. I usually serve this with steamed mixed vegetables and a wholemeal roll to soak up the juices instead of mash.


Fish Pie - Wednesday

1 onion, finely diced
1 Tblsp oil
425g tin tuna or salmon in water, drained
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
200g spinach
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
700g potatoes for mash topping
1 cup grated cheese to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 200C.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water and mash, seasoning to taste.

Mix together the tuna/salmon, frozen mixed vegetables, spinach and tinned tomatoes in an oven-proof dish.  Cover with mashed potatoes and grated cheese.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is golden.  I usually serve this with steamed broccoli or cauliflower.


Slow Cooker Vegetable Curry - Thursday

1 Tblsp oil
2 onions, roughly diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tblsp curry powder or paste
2 tsp ground cumin
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
juice of 1 lemon
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
2 carrots, peeled and roughly diced
2 peppers, roughly diced
1 large cauliflower cut into florets
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 head of broccoli cut into florets

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes then add the garlic, curry powder and cumin. Cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or two until the spices are fragrant.

Stir in the tinned tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Add 125ml cold water, lemon juice, chickpeas and all the prepared vegetables. Turn up the heat and bring everything to the boil. Once the curry is boiling carefully transfer it to your slow cooker.

Put the lid on and cook it for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Serve with rice and naan bread.


Sausage Pie - Friday

500 grams sausage meat
1 onion, diced
2 sweet potatoes, grated
1 apple, grated – don’t bother peeling it
1 cup grated cheese
4 free range eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to season

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Grease and line a 23cm (9 inch) diameter cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Using wet hands, line the base and insides of the tin with the sausage meat. Put the diced onion, grated sweet potato and apple, cheese, beaten eggs and a couple of grinds of pepper in bowl and mix until well combined.

Put the vegetable and egg mix into the sausage meat case. Gently press it down with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the pie has set in the middle.


Chicken Traybake - Saturday

1kg chicken drumsticks
2 large potatoes roughly chopped into chunks
300g squash chopped into chunks
1 head of garlic, unpeeled and in half widthways
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
125ml chicken stock

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Put the chicken in a large baking dish along with the prepared vegetables. Sprinkle over the dried mixed herbs.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Pour over the stock and bake for another 5 minutes so a gravy forms. Serve with rice or mash and steamed greens or vegetables.


Slow Cooker Sausage and Lentil Casserole

400g good quality sausages
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, diced
2 peppers, deseeded and diced
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups uncooked green lentils
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
3 carrots, peeled and roughly diced
500ml beef or chicken stock
1 tsp sugar

Brown the sausages in a large frying pan then transfer to the slow cooker. Put the onion, celery and pepper into the frying pan and cook them in the fat from the sausages until the pepper and onions begin to soften. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and heat until boiling.

Pour the mixture into the slow cooker, add the lentils, the rest of the prepared vegetables, stock and sugar. Stir everything to combine then put the lid on the slow cooker.

Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours. When the casserole is cooked serve with crusty bread and steamed greens.


Shopping List

37 items: £62.35

Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x ASDA Wild Pacific Pink Salmon (418g) £2.17
9x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) £2.79
1x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) 70p
1x ASDA Chosen by You Green Lentils in Water (400g) 47p

Frozen
1x ASDA Chosen by You Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.10

Dairy and Eggs
6x ASDA British Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £6.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x Stork (500g) £1.00
1x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £3.00
2x ASDA English Medium Cheddar (400g) £4.00

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
10 ASDA Broccoli by Weight (100g) £1.75
20 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) £1.56
1x ASDA Cauliflower Loose 78p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mushrooms (750g) £1.18
10 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 76p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £2.00 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Celery 68p
2x ASDA Garlic Loose 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.50
2x ASDA Sweet Potatoes (1Kg) £2.40
2x ASDA Spinach (350g) £2.00
2x ASDA Mandarins (700g) £2.00 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Unwaxed Lemons (5) £1.00

Packets and Cereals
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 98p
1x Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
1x ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p
1x Great Scot Green Lentils (500g) £1.09
1x Sunnybisk Wheat Biscuits (48 per pack - 864g) £1.78

Meat, Fish and Poultry
2x Banham Poultry Chicken Drumsticks (1Kg) £5.96
1x ASDA Smartprice Unsmoked Back Bacon (312g) £1.50
1x ASDA Sausages Cumberland (20 per pack - 1.14Kg) £3.94 any 2 FOR £6.00

Friday, 27 April 2012

Fruit Buns or Hot Cross Buns - FFTO Challenge

I love baking Hot Cross Buns, from scratch. It is a yearly ritual here in our household and I bake them in bulk. I bake 2 dozen at a time as they usually disappear quite rapidly. I usually bake 2 batches, one to take to Church, and one to divide up and give as gifts to friends. You can get your children or other helpers to knead the dough as there is a decent amount of it and it will certainly give you a good workout as you prepare to eat your weight in chocolate on Easter Sunday. LOL You can also bake them at other times during the year, just leave the crosses off the top and vary the fruit you put in them. Cranberries and chopped dried apple are a fab combination that tastes delicious, as does chopped dried apricots and dates.

You can make these Hot Cross Buns by hand or use a stand mixer.

This recipe makes 24 buns.

500ml/2 cups warm water
4 Tblsp caster sugar
2 sachets instant yeast
5 cups plain flour
3 tsp mixed spice
3 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1½ cup mixed dried fruit
50 g softened butter
2 free range eggs

Stir the water and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, add the instant yeast and mix in the dried fruit, then make a well in the centre.

Pour in the water, add the eggs and the softened butter. Mix until combined with a wooden spoon and then turn out onto a floured bench and knead the dough lightly.

This is a fairly moist dough so add extra flour if you need to during the kneading process. Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes until it’s smooth.

Or put all the dry ingredients and the dried fruit mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.



Start the stand mixer on a low speed to mix the dry ingredients before slowly adding the water, eggs and softened butter. Knead on a low speed until everything is well combined and then knead for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.


Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with greased cling film. Leave in a warm place till dough doubles in size, this should take around 45 minutes.

I usually leave the dough to rise in my stand mixer as it has a handy plastic cover that seals the bowl and provides the perfect place for the dough to rise. Be careful though, if you leave the dough to rise for too long it may overflow your mixer bowl.


Once the dough has risen, knock it back and then give it a quick knead. Divide the dough into 24 portions and shape them into balls. I usually pat the dough into a rough rectangle, cut that into 6, then each portion into 4. It’s a really easy way to end up with 24 portions and if you get your children help then you have a built in maths lesson for them.



Put the shaped buns onto a greased oven tray and cover with the greased cling film. Leave them to rise for around half an hour, whilst your oven preheats to 200C, and until they’ve doubled in size.



Top the Hot Cross Buns with crosses made by combining:

½ cup plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 Tblsp butter
5 Tblsp of water

I make the crosses mixture whilst the buns are rising. Mix the butter with some hot water so that it melts and combines. Leave for about 10 minutes to cool and then mix into the flour and baking powder.

The mixture needs to be soft enough to be piped. If you haven't got a piping bag, put the mixture into a plastic bag, squeeze it down to one corner then snip a tiny bit off the corner of the bag. Squeeze the mix through the hole making crosses on the top of each bun.



Bake the buns at 200°C for 15 minutes then brush with sugar glaze and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until they look cooked.

To make the Sugar Glaze dissolve 2 Tbsp Sugar in ¼ cup (60ml) warm water.

Cool the Hot Cross Buns on a wire rack and then either eat them, give them to friends or freeze them for later in a sealed, airtight bag.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Green Teen Cookbook Winner


The winner of the fabulous Green Teen Cookbook is:



Comment number two which was made by Jane @ Northernmum


Congratulations Jane! Thank you to all those who took part in the giveaway.

Anzac Biscuits on Anzac Day

Today is Anzac Day at home in New Zealand and also in Australia.  It's one of the times I feel rather homesick, that and Waitangi Day.  So in honour of those we remember on Anzac Day, here's my recipe for Anzac Biscuits. 

My girls love these biscuits and I've been making them since I was a child. My 8yo can whip up a batch by herself, although I do watch her carefully around the hot oven. They are great with a cuppa and a good energy boosting snack in lunchboxes or after school for both adults and children.

1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
125g butter
1 Tblsp golden syrup
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tblsp boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line 2 baking trays with non stick baking paper.

Put the flour, pinch of salt, sugar, and rolled oats into a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Make a well in the dry ingredients.

Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan. Once the butter has melted and is well combined with the golden syrup, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water then quickly add to the melted butter mixture. Pour it all into the well you made in the dry ingredients. Mix everything together until well combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and put onto the prepared trays, leave room for the biscuits to spread. Flatten them with a floured fork.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the biscuits have flattened out and have become a reddish-brown colour.

Carefully transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool. They will crisp up as they cool. Once the biscuits are cold, store them in an airtight container.



Sunday, 22 April 2012

Our Family Meal Plan Week of 23/04 - £62

Our Meal Plan is slightly late this week and I had to go to the supermarket to get everything instead of getting it delivered online as usual. Thanks to our neighbours for a lift to the supermarket.  I was in London on Thursday and Friday then busy sorting out our house and kids homework on Saturday so I left my planning for this week far to late.  Never mind, it has been done now and we're all set.

The cost of all 42 items I purchased for the Meal Plan this week was £62.58 from Asda on 22/04/2012.  I checked My Supermarket to see how much my shopping would've cost elsewhere and a comparable shop would've cost £72.74 at Tesco and £74.58 at Sainsbury's.

Breakfasts during the week will be cereal or toast and spread with a piece of fruit, nothing fancy or faffy. I will probably bake some Cinnamon and Fruit Bagels so we can have those toasted for breakfast too. On the weekend we’ll probably have pancakes or crumpets because we’ll have more time.

Lunches will be ham and homemade chutney rolls, scone swirls or tortilla wraps with carrot, celery and cucumber sticks accompanied by herbed yoghurt dip. Packed lunches will also have a piece or two of fruit and a baked treat. I’ve bought a large gammon and will cook this to have on sandwiches and also in some of the dinners this week.

Lunches on the weekend will be baked potatoes with baked beans and cheese and baked stuffed sweet potatoes.

Dinners

Creamy Bacon and Vegetable Pasta - Monday

500g spaghetti
300g bacon
400g frozen chopped spinach
Handful or 2 of frozen mixed vegetables
300ml pot crème fraîche

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook following pack instructions. When the spaghetti has about 3 minutes left to cook toss in a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables.

Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, fry the bacon for a couple of minutes then add the garlic, fry until the bacon is slightly crisp. Add the chopped spinach and 2 tablespoons of water, then cover and cook until the spinach has defrosted.

Remove the lid, stir everything together, season to taste, then cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Drain the spaghetti and vegetables and add to the bacon and spinach mixture with the crème fraîche. Stir to thoroughly combine and serve immediately.


Fish Pie - Tuesday

1 onion, finely chopped
1 pepper, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
600ml water
1 vegetable or fish stock cube
1 tsp mild curry powder
200g rice
1 large tin of tuna or salmon in spring water (drained)
4 hard-boiled eggs, cut into quarters
100g grated cheese
5 potatoes, cooked and mashed
400g mixed vegetables to serve

Preheat oven to 180C. Sauté onion, pepper and garlic in oil. Mix water, stock cube and curry powder then add to onion, pepper and garlic mixture. Add rice, stirring occasionally until rice has cooked through. Season. Pour in fish and mix until combined. Put the mixture in a casserole dish. Cover with the egg quarters and spread over the mashed potato. Groove the mash with a fork. Sprinkle over the cheese and put in the oven for around 15 - 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and the fie pie is piping hot. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.


Chicken Casserole - Wednesday

1 onion, finely chopped
1 pepper, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 Tblsp dried mixed herbs
100g diced bacon
1 Tblsp flour
2 chicken stock cubes dissolved in 1 Litre of boiling water
1 Tblsp mustard
8 chicken drumsticks
4 large potatoes, cooked and mashed
a couple of blocks of frozen spinach
300g frozen mixed vegetables

Preheat oven to 180C. In a casserole pot on the hob sauté the onion, pepper and garlic in a little oil for a couple of minutes, add the mixed herbs and bacon. Cook until pepper and onions are soft. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Take the pan off the heat and slowly mix in the stock and mustard. Put back on the heat and make sure everything has dissolved and is well mixed. Add chicken drumsticks then cook in the oven for 45 mins. Remove from the oven and add the frozen mixed vegetables and spinach. Let these heat through with the casserole on the hob for 5 minutes or so before serving. Serve the chicken casserole with mashed potato.


Bean Burritos - Thursday

8 tortillas/flat breads
2 tins chilli beans
3 fresh tomatoes, sliced
diced cucumber
lettuce leaves
small pot of low fat sour cream
1 cup (120g) grated cheese

Heat chilli beans in a pot whilst tortillas are warming in the oven. Put chilli beans onto tortillas and top with tomato, cucumber, lettuce, a little sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese. Fold up and serve.


Macaroni Cheese - Friday

500g pasta shapes
1 onion – finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 pepper, diced
150g bacon
2 Tblsp butter
2 Tblsp flour
350ml hot milk
200g grated cheese
200g frozen mixed vegetables
a couple of chunks of frozen spinach

Preheat oven to 180C. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, adding the frozen mixed vegetables for the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking time. Whilst the pasta is cooking, sauté the onion, pepper and garlic in a little oil. Add the bacon and seasoning. In a separate saucepan slowly cook the butter and flour stirring constantly. When mixture looks a bit like biscuit crumbs add the hot milk and whisk until the mixture thickens. Add 200g of grated cheese and simmer for 5 mins, stirring frequently. Add the softened onion, garlic and bacon mixture to the cheese sauce and mix well to combine. Pour the cheese sauce mixture on to the drained pasta and mixed vegetables and stir through until combined. Serve as is or with a side salad.


Bacon and Vegetable Frittata - Saturday

1 pepper diced
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
100g bacon
6 eggs
200g frozen mixed vegetables
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ gas 6.

Simmer the potatoes and sweet potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain and leave to cool slightly before slicing thinly.

Meanwhile, put a 25cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan on the hob over a moderate heat. Dry fry the bacon for 5 minutes or so until browned. Remove then from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, pepper and garlic to the pan, and fry in the remaining bacon fat for about 5 minutes until the onion and pepper has softened.

Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and the softened onion, pepper and garlic. Carefully fold in the potatoes, pumpkin and frozen mixed vegetables. Pour the frittata mixture back into the frying pan and cook over a low-medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until it has cooked through and is set.


Roast Chicken - Sunday

4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 chicken drumsticks
100ml oil
1 Tblsp chopped fresh rosemary and thyme
1 chicken stock cube
1 Tblsp mustard
125ml boiling water
400g frozen mixed vegetables, steamed or cooked in boiling water.

Preheat oven to 180C. Place potatoes in cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 mins then drain. Put the potatoes, pumpkin and chicken in a roasting dish and brush over/lightly spray with a little oil. Use separate roasting dishes for the chicken and vegetables if you haven't got a roasting dish big enough to fit everything in. Sprinkle over the fresh herbs. Roast in the oven for around 40 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are golden brown and crunchy.

To make gravy:

Mix cornflour, stock, mustard and water then add to the juice from the cooked chicken. Stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens.

Serve the chicken with roast potatoes and vegetables. Pour over some gravy if you like.


Baking and Treats


Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Biscuits (I'll make 2 batches)

1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Beat the peanut butter and sugar together in a bowl. Mix in the beaten egg thoroughly, then mix in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be quite stiff. I usually use my hand held electric mixer.

Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and put on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Flatten firmly with a fork.

Bake at 180C for 15-18 minutes until the biscuits are cooked and lightly browned. Transfer to a cake rack to cool and then keep in an airtight container.


Rice Pudding (Lunchbox treat, afterschool snack or pudding)

600ml milk
65g long grain white rice
pinch of salt
50g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g sultanas or mixed fruit (optional)

In a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan combine the milk and rice with a pinch of salt. Place saucepan over a fairly high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is tender. This usually takes about 25 minutes. Stir the milk mixture frequently using a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stop the rice from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

When the rice is tender (al dente) take the saucepan off the heat and sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. Mix well to combine. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until the rice pudding thickens, this should take about 5 - 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the sultanas if you are using them. Spoon the pudding into a bowl to cool and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin forming. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. To make this into more of a Mullerice type treat add some jam or golden syrup to swirl through the rice pudding. You could also add dried apricots or dates instead of sultanas if you have some in your store cupboard.


Bagels

3 tsp instant yeast
310ml lukewarm water
2 Tbsp honey
1½ tsp salt
1 cup wholemeal bread flour
2 cups white bread flour

Measure the first five ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for 15 minutes or longer in a warm place.

Stir in the white bread flour, then add extra flour or water if necessary, until you have a dough just firm enough to knead.

Knead the dough thoroughly, using the dough hook of an electric mixer or kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, until you have a soft dough which is smooth and springs back when pressed gently.

Turn the dough in 2-3 teaspoons of oil in bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface for a minute or two then cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each into a snake 26cm-28cm long. Dampen the ends with water and press them together firmly, forming the classic bagel shape. Place the rings on individual squares of baking paper and leave in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.

During the proving time bring a large pan containing water 10cm deep to a simmer. Carefully lower 2 or 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water, then lift away the paper, and cook for 30-45 seconds per side, turning carefully once. Drain the bagels on kitchen towels then put them on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper – make sure you leave some space for them to spread.

Brush as far down the sides of the bagels as you can with egg glaze (mix 1free range egg with 1Tbsp water and ½ tsp sugar) and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.

Bake at 220C for 10 -12 minutes until they’re evenly browned. Cool on a rack and serve warm or toasted, within 24 hours of making them. You can freeze the bagels in an airtight container once they’re cold.

Cinnamon and Dried Fruit Bagels

Measure the bagel ingredients (from the plain bagel recipe) into a mixing bowl and add ½ cup packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon each of cinnamon and mixed spice, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Mix and knead the same as the plain bagel recipe. Knead until smooth and then knead through the fruit.


Shopping List
42 items: £62.58

Packets and CerealsGuide price in £
1x ASDA Smartprice Spaghetti (500g) 35p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 98p
1x Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
1x ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p
1x Sunnybisk Wheat Biscuits (48 per pack - 864g) £1.78

Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x Branston Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce (4x410g) £1.00
1x ASDA Wild Pacific Pink Salmon (418g) £2.17
2x ASDA Chosen by You Chilli Beans (290g) £1.36
2x ASDA Smartprice Crunchy Peanut Butter (340g) £1.24

Frozen
1x ASDA Chopped Spinach Leaves (1Kg) £1.12
2x ASDA Chosen by You Freshly Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £2.20

Dairy and Eggs
1x ASDA Crème Fraîche (300ml) £1.00
1x ASDA Soured Cream (300ml) £1.00
6x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £6.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x Anchor Butter (250g) £1.00
2x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) £1.10
2x ASDA Chosen by You English Mature Cheddar (400g) £4.00 any 2 FOR £4.00
1x Suffolk Farm Large Free Range Eggs (6) £1.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x Suffolk Farm Medium Free Range Eggs (6) £1.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x Philadelphia Light with Cadburys Chocolate (160g) £1.00

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
1x ASDA Salad Tomatoes (750g) £1.40
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
20 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) £1.56
7 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 53.2p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £2.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
2x ASDA Whole Cucumber £1.80
2x ASDA Round Lettuce £1.14
2x ASDA Celery £1.36
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 26p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.50
1x ASDA Spring Onions 67p
1x ASDA Sweet Potatoes (1Kg) £1.20
2x ASDA Mandarins (700g) £2.00 any 2 FOR £2.00

Meat, Fish and Poultry
15 ASDA Smartprice Gammon Joint by Weight (100g) £5.67
1x Banham Poultry Chicken Thighs (1Kg) £3.36
1x Banham Poultry Chicken Drumsticks (1Kg) £2.98

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Could you live on £1 a day - Second Attempt

I blogged about the Live Below the Line Campaign and devised a £35 Menu Plan which means that all 5 of us could live on £1 a day for food for 7 days.  It was a hastily cobbled together plan and I knew I could do better if I gave it a bit more thought and time.  I of course tweeted about the Meal Plan and Monika who blogs at Mum on the Brink tweeted a couple of nutritionists to see what they thought.  All in all they liked the Meal Plan but advised me that it needed more wholegrains and Omega 3.  I've made sure that the plan includes wholemeal bread flour and some salmon to cover the nutritionists recommendations.  There is loads of food so no danger of going hungry.  Normally we would eat loads more fruit and vegetables but the purpose of this plan is to try and Live Below the Line spending £1 a day each on food and doing your best with that, which is what I've tried to do.

Here is the amended Meal Plan:

Drinks will be either water, milk or cheats cuppa soup made with some vegetable stock cube dissolved in hot water. There is no tea, coffee, juice or squash in this Meal Plan. I have included mixed herbs and stock cubes though. We grow fresh herbs and salad so I haven't included that either.  I will of course be baking our own bread, rolls, tortillas and other baked goods needed for the Meal Plan.


Dinners

Mixed Vegetable Pearl Barley Risotto – Monday

50g butter or spread
500g pearl barley
300g frozen mixed vegetables
2 cubes of frozen spinach, defrosted
1 vegetable stock cube
boiling water
Handful of fresh herbs such as parsley, tarragon or sage, roughly chopped

Melt a knob of the butter in a medium pan. Add the pearl barley, stir it around so it's coated with the butter, then cook gently for 2-3 minutes. Dissolve the stock cube in 600ml of boiling water, then pour over the pearl barley.

Simmer over a medium heat for 25-30 minutes until the pearl barley is tender. Keep topping it up with another 800ml hot water, ensuring the barley is covered. When the pearl barley is cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat, taste it and adjust the seasoning. Add the frozen mixed vegetables and spinach, then set aside with a lid on for about 10 minutes. When you're ready to serve spoon the into bowls and top with chopped fresh herbs.


Salmon Fish Cakes with Vegetables - Tuesday

1 packet of salmon trimmings
500g large potatoes
1 tsp dried mixed herbs or 1 Tblsp fresh herbs
100g wholemeal breadcrumbs

Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water until soft.  Drain well and mash until smooth, then leave to cool. Finely chop the salmon trimmings and mix into the cooled mash potato along with the herbs.  Shape the mix into fish cakes.

Coat each fish cake in a little plain flour, dip into beaten egg and coat in the breadcrumbs.  Fry the fish cakes in a little oil or butter for 2 minutes on each side. Then put them on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 10 minutes on 175C. Serve with cooked mixed vegetables or spinach.


Lentil Bolognese with Spaghetti– Wednesday

This is so versatile! It can be served with pasta, baked potatoes, polenta or homemade gnocchi. I sometimes made double because it freezes well and is great to have in your freezer as a quick fix meal option. If you really have to you could add some beef mince or soy mince to bulk it out more.

2 cups red lentils, uncooked
2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Pour in the lentils and stir them around to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Boil the lentils for 8-10 minutes or until soft.

Heat the oil in a medium pan and sauté the carrot, celery, onion and garlic until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and mixed herbs, then stir in the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Serve with coooked spaghetti (400g for 5 of us).


Bean Patties with Potato Wedges and Vegetables - Thursday

2 cups cooked mixed beans
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
100g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs

Sauté the onion and pepper in a little oil for a couple of minutes until it softens then leave to cool for a bit. Mash the mixed beans with a potato masher, leave it a little lumpy – not too smooth. Add the cooled sautéed onion along with the breadcrumbs to the mixed beans and mix everything together thoroughly. Shape into 5 burgers and fry in a little oil for a couple of minutes on each side, until they’re golden brown. Then put them in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes until completely cooked through. Serve with homemade potato wedges and cooked frozen spinach or a salad.


Root Vegetable Soup- Friday

1 swede
2 parsnips
2 sweet potatoes
2 potatoes
2 carrots
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 cups cooked mixed beans
1 tsp dried mixed herbs or a handful of fresh herbs
1 litre boiling water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp butter or spread

Peel the root vegetables and cut them into a 1cm/half inch dice.  Finely dice the onion too.  Heat the butter or spread in the saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the crushed garlic and all the chopped vegetables.  Cook, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes.  Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and add to the saucepan with the cooked mixed beans.  Stir in the dried herbs. 

Lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  Blend the soup until smooth in a blender or with a hand blender.  If the soup is too thick add a little more boiling water to thin it out.  Serve with homemade wholemeal rolls.


Rice and Vegetable Bake – Saturday

2 cups cooked rice
2 onions, finely sliced
1 Tblsp butter or spread
2 handfuls frozen mixed vegetables
2 cubes frozen spinach, defrosted
6 eggs
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a large baking dish.

Cook onions in the butter until soft and slightly caramelised.

Combine all the other ingredients except ½ cup of cheese. Spoon into prepared dish and flatten. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until firm in the middle and lightly browned.


Minestrone - Sunday

If you have any vegetables leftover at this point in the week that need using up, put them in this soup.  It is a great way to ensure that nothing is wasted and adds more flavour to the soup.

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
2 cups cooked mixed beans
2 handfuls frozen mixed vegetables
100g dried pasta (any shape you have is fine)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs

In a large saucepan, gently fry the onion and garlic over a low heat until the onion softens and becomes transparent. Throw in the chopped carrots, celery, and any other vegetables you have that you need to use up or want to put in.

Make sure that the vegetables are all cut to the same size so that they cook evenly. If some vegetables are denser than others, dice them a little bit smaller. Cook all of the vegetables over a medium heat until the carrots start to soften.

Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetable stock and bring it up to a gentle simmer. Add cooked mixed beans and whatever pasta you are using. Simmer everything gently for at least 20 minutes or until the pasta has softened.

Lunches

Versatile Scone Swirls made with Vegemite and Cheese

There is enough flour to make loads of bread/rolls, scones and tortillas (made with melted spread instead of oil) for lunches or snacks. I have allowed a piece of fruit each to have with lunch and some carrot sticks too. We can use salad greens from our garden to bulk out wraps and supplement the lunches. 

There is enough rice to have rice and vegetables for lunch on the weekend.  Cook the rice according to packet instructions in vegetable stock instead of water.  Add some cooked frozen mixed vegetables and spinach as well as some herbs.  Serve warm.


There are enough supplies for an uniced plain Traybake Sponge and some Flapjacks using the following recipe:

Flapjacks

170g butter or baking spread
225g rolled oats
170g sugar

Melt butter in saucepan over very gentle heat. Mix in the sugar and oats. Stir well and tip mixture into a greased swiss roll tin. Press lightly together, I use either a spoon or potato masher to do this bit. Smooth the top and bake at 190C for 30-35 mins.

When the flapjacks are golden brown remove them from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before marking into squares. Cool completely before you turn it out and cut into portions.


Breakfasts

Breakfasts will be porridge and a banana or toast with vegemite, plain toast with butter or banana on toast. There is some yoghurt which could be used with grated apple or chopped banana and the porridge oats for an alternative to porridge.  Two mornings during the week we will have either omelettes or boiled eggs and soliders.

Shopping List

The cost of all 33 items used in the Meal Plan was £34.98 online from Asda on 21/04/2012.  I used My Supermarket as usual to compare the price of my shopping list at other supermarkets, at Sainsbury's my shopping would've cost £35.74, a and at Tesco would've cost £36.71.


Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Porridge Oats (1Kg) 75p
1x ASDA Smartprice Spaghetti (500g) 35p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 98p
1x ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
1x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x Great Scot Pearl Barley (500g) 58p
1x Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g) £1.10
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p
1x Great Scot Salad Bean Mix (500g) 98p

Frozen
1x ASDA Chopped Spinach Leaves (1Kg) £1.12
1x ASDA Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.10

Tins, Jars and Cooking
4x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) £1.24
1x ASDA Smartprice Dried Mixed Herbs (18g) 19p
1x Kraft Vegemite (220g) £1.97
1x ASDA Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g) 48p
1x Knorr Vegetable Stock Cubes Low Salt (6x11g) £1.00 was £1.38

Dairy and Eggs
5x ASDA Semi Skimmed Milk 2 Pints (1.14L) £4.45
3x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Weight Eggs (6) £2.55
1x Anchor Butter (250g) £1.00
1x Deli Cheese Company Mature Cheddar (350g) £2.00

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Smartprice Smoked Salmon Trimmings (120g) 90p

Fruit and Vegetables
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
20 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) £1.48
7 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 53.2p
3 ASDA Parsnips by Weight (100g) 45p
3 ASDA Swede by Weight (100g) 25.5p
1x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £1.35
4 ASDA Sweet Potatoes by Weight (100g) 51.2p
1x ASDA Celery 68p
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 26p



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

British Bloggers in Support of British Flowers Campaign

Yes, I know this is a food blog but I do love flowers.  I don't normally receive any though.  My husband only bothers when he's in strife LOL  However, when I buy flowers I like to know that they haven't travelled half way around the world to get to me.  The most fabulous and lovely Vanessa Kimbell is getting us bloggers to support British Flowers.

Vanessa has started a British Bloggers in Support of British Flowers Campaign.  She is asking food and lifestyle bloggers to step up and make a difference by growing a posy of British blooms.  Thompson and Morgan have offered the seeds and a fabulous prize to the best bouquet to make the campaign happen, it will be beautiful and fragrant!


If you’d like to take part please visit her blog post and follow the instructions within it. 



Sainsbury's Live Well For Less Giveaway Winners


The winners of this giveaway, drawn by Rafflecopter (which uses Random.org), are comments number 9 and 35 which were Kelly Wiffin and Catherine aka Mummy Lion.  You can check the widget contained in the original post here which also has the winners announced on it.

Congratulations to you both!  Many thanks to all who entered.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Could you live on £1 a day?

Could you live on £1 a day? I've devised a £1 A Day Each Meal Plan for our family for a week.  That means that all 5 of us are only allowed to spend £1 a day for all our food and drink.  This is to draw attention to the Live Below the Line campaign which runs from 7th - 11th May 2012.

Living on £1 a day is the daily reality for 1.4 billion people around the world who are forced to survive below the poverty line, approximately 1/5th of the worlds population.  This includes all food, clothing and everything else needed to live.  The Live Below the Line campaign asks people to live on £1 worth of food a day and you can sign up to be sponsored to complete the challenge over 5 days

I decided to see if I could cobble together a Family Meal Plan for £35 to feed all 5 of us for a week, 7 days worth of food spending £1 a day each.  I devised this Meal Plan in about 90 minutes this evening.  It's a Vegetarian Meal Plan, that's right, no meat at all.  There isn't quite enough fruit for my liking and the lunches are a little less than usual but I think it's not a bad effort.  If I bought fruit and vegetables reduced for quick sale at the supermarket I could do it cheaper, especially if I could pick up eggs and cheese that way as well.  I have bought 1kg of beef mince and a 2kg chicken for 50p each, a 2.5kg bag of potatoes for 10p, and 2 kilos of bruised bananas for 5p a kilo  about 1hr before closing time in our local Asda.  SO I believe it is possible to include meat and get loads for you rmoney if you are savvy and have the time to search out mega-bargains everyday or two. Oh, and having a chest freezer also helps. ;o)
Drinks will be either water, milk or cheats cuppa soup made with some vegetable stock cube dissolved in hot water.  There is no tea, coffee, juice or squash in this Meal Plan.  I have included mixed herbs and stock cubes though.  We grow fresh herbs and salad so I haven't included that either.

So here goes:

Shopping List

29 items: £35.00 from Asda online on 16/04/2012.

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Porridge Oats (1Kg) 75p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 98p
2x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) £1.04
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
2x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 60p
1x Great Scot Pearl Barley (500g) 58p
1x Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g) £1.10
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p
1x Great Scot Salad Bean Mix (500g) 98p

Tins, Jars and Cooking
4x ASDA Smartprice Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce (410g) £1.16
4x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) £1.24
1x ASDA Smartprice Dried Mixed Herbs (18g) 19p
1x Kraft Vegemite (220g) £1.97
1x Knorr Stock Cubes Vegetable (8x10g) £1.00 was £1.25
1x ASDA Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g) 48p

Frozen
1x ASDA Chosen by You Freshly Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.18

Dairy and Eggs
6x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £6.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
2x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Weight Eggs (6) £1.70
1x Stork (1Kg) £1.90
1x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) 55p
1x Cathedral City Mature Yet Mellow Cheddar (350g) £2.00

Fruit and Vegetables
15 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £1.50
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
19 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) £1.48
10 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 76p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £2.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Celery 68p
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 26p


Dinners

Mixed Vegetable Pearl Barley Risotto – Monday and Tuesday

50g butter or spread
500g pearl barley
500g frozen mixed vegetables
1 vegetable stock cube
boiling water
Handful of fresh herbs such as parsley, tarragon or sage, roughly chopped

Melt a knob of the butter in a medium pan. Add the pearl barley, stir it around so it's coated with the butter, then cook gently for 2-3 minutes. Dissolve the stock cube in 600ml of boiling water, then pour over the pearl barley.

Simmer over a medium heat for 25-30 minutes until the pearl barley is tender. Keep topping it up with another 800ml hot water, ensuring the barley is covered. When the pearl barley is cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat, taste it and adjust the seasoning. Add the frozen mixed vegetables, then set aside with a lid on for about 10 minutes.  When you're ready to serve spoon the into bowls and top with chopped fresh herbs.


Lentil Bolognese – Wednesday

This is so versatile! It can be served with pasta, baked potatoes, polenta or homemade gnocchi. I sometimes made double because it freezes well and is great to have in your freezer as a quick fix meal option. If you really have to you could add some beef mince or soy mince to bulk it out more.

1 cup red lentils, uncooked
2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Pour in the lentils and stir them around to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Boil the lentils for 8-10 minutes or until soft.

Heat the oil in a medium pan and sauté the carrot, celery, onion and garlic until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and mixed herbs, then stir in the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Serve with spaghetti (400g for 5 of us).


Bean Burgers - Thursday

1 cup cooked mixed beans
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
100g fresh breadcrumbs

Sauté the onion and pepper in a little oil for a couple of minutes until it softens then leave to cool for a bit. Mash the mixed beans with a potato masher, leave it a little lumpy – not too smooth. Add the cooled sautéed onion along with the breadcrumbs to the mixed beans and mix everything together thoroughly. Shape into 5 burgers and fry in a little oil for a couple of minutes on each side, until they’re golden brown. Then put them in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes until completely cooked through. Serve in homemade buns or tortillas with grated carrot, grated cheese and a little herbed yoghurt.


Potato Wedges with Baked Beans and Eggs - Friday

Rice and Vegetable Bake – Saturday

2 cups cooked rice
2 onions, finely sliced
1 Tblsp butter or spread
2 handfuls frozen mixed vegetables
5 eggs
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a large baking dish.

Cook onions in the butter until soft and slightly caramelised.

Combine all the other ingredients except ½ cup of cheese. Spoon into prepared dish and flatten. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until firm in the middle and lightly browned.


Minestrone - Sunday

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
2 cups cooked mixed beans
100g dried pasta (any shape you have is fine)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs

In a large saucepan, gently fry the onion and garlic over a low heat until the onion softens and becomes transparent. Throw in the chopped carrots, celery, and any other vegetables you have that you need to use up or want to put in.

Make sure that the vegetables are all cut to the same size so that they cook evenly. If some vegetables are denser than others, dice them a little bit smaller. Cook all of the vegetables over a medium heat until the carrots start to soften.

Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetable stock and bring it up to a gentle simmer. Add cooked mixed beans and whatever pasta you are using. Simmer everything gently for at least 20 minutes or until the pasta has softened.


Rice Pudding – Make this 3 times for lunchboxes or pudding

600ml whole milk
65g long grain white rice
pinch of salt
50g white sugar

In a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan combine the milk and rice with a pinch of salt. Place saucepan over a fairly high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is tender. This usually takes about 25 minutes. Stir the milk mixture frequently using a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stop the rice from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

When the rice is tender (al dente) take the saucepan off the heat and sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. Mix well to combine. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until the rice pudding thickens, this should take about 5 - 10 minutes. Remove from heat and spoon the pudding into a bowl to cool and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin forming. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. To make this into more of a Mullerice type treat add some jam or golden syrup to swirl through the rice pudding. You could also add sultanas, dried apricots or dates.


Lunches
 
Versatile Scone Swirls made with Vegemite and Cheese
 
There is enough flour to make loads of bread/rolls, scones and tortillas (made with melted spread instead of oil) for lunches or snacks.  I have allowed a piece of fruit each to have with lunch and some carrot sticks too.  We can use salad greens from our garden to bulk out wraps and supplement the lunches.  There is some yoghurt which can be mixed with chopped fresh herbs, again from our garden, and used as a salad dressing.
 
There are enough supplies for an uniced plain Traybake Sponge and some Flapjacks using the following recipe:
 
Flapjacks

170g butter or baking spread
225g rolled oats
170g sugar

Melt butter in saucepan over very gentle heat. Mix in the sugar and oats. Stir well and tip mixture into a greased swiss roll tin.  Press lightly together, I use either a spoon or potato masher to do this bit. Smooth the top and bake at 190C for 30-35 mins.

When the flapjacks are golden brown remove them from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before marking into squares. Cool completely before you turn it out and cut into portions.

 
Breakfasts
 
Breakfasts will be porridge and a banana or toast with vegemite, plain toast with butter or banana on toast.  There is some yoghurt which could be used with grated apple or chopped banana and the porridge oats for an alternative to porridge.


So what do you think?
 
So there you have it!  Will you take the Live Below the Line challenge? Could you feed your family on £1 each per day?  Give it a whirl, you'll be surprised at how much food you can purchse if you try and are savvy about it.  I might give the Meal Plan another go and tinker with it to include more fruit and less baking/flour.  Let me know your hints, tips and tricks to improve this Meal Plan.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Traybake Sponge for Cake Stalls and Birthdays

This Sponge Traybake recipe is fab for cake stalls, birthdays, coffee mornings and shared lunches.  I realised this morning in total panic that I needed to bring some cakes to Church for our shared lunch after the APCM.  I made two of these sponges, one chocolate and one plain vanilla.  You can also make other flavour vairations, I've put suggestions at the end of the post. 

This recipe uses a bung it all in and beat it together method that makes it really quick to make and idea for when you need a large cake at short notice.  You can either bake it as a large rectangle before icing the top and slicing it, or cut it in half and put one half on top of the other with buttercream in the middle and on the top.

175g really soft butter or baking spread
225g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
175g caster sugar
2 free range eggs
3 Tblsp/45ml milk

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.  Grease and line a roasting tin approximately 12 x 9 inches or 20 x 22cm.  Alternatively you can buy foil trays from the supermarket which are disposable and use those.  I normally use the foil trays if I am baking for a cake stall or shared lunch.  Spray the foil tray well with cake release spray. 



Put the butter/spread, flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs and milk in a large bowl.  I put the bowl of my stand mixer on my scales and zero it after adding each ingredient, so quick to get everything ready to mix.




Beat well for 2 minutes until completely combined and well beaten. 




Pour the mixture in to the prepared tin or foil tray and level the top. 



Bake the sponge for about 25 - 30 minutes until the cake has shrunk away from the sides of the tin slightly and springs back in the centre if you press it lightly with your fingertips.



Leave the sponge to cool in the tin and then ice as you like.  I usually use 225g of icing sugar and add enough water to make a pourable icing. 



Flavour variations:

Chocolate Sponge

Mix 3 Tblp of cocoa with 3 Tblsp of water and add this to the mixture instead of the milk.  If the mixture seems a bit too thick then add 1 Tblsp milk.  Make the recipe as above.

Chocolate Icing

Melt 75g butter and stir in 50g of cocoa until well combined.  Add 225g of icing sugar and 2 Tblsp/30ml milk.  Beat well and then spread over the cake.  Leave to set.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Add the zest of 2 lemons to the cake ingredients.  When the cake is cooked and just out of the oven mix the juice of the 2 lemons with 200g of caster sugar and pour it over the hot cake. 

Fruit Cake

Add 200g of currants to the other ingredients and beat together as normal.  Half way through the cooking time take the cake out of the oven, sprinkle 2 Tblsp of demerara sugar over the top of the cake, then put back into the oven for the rest of the cooking time.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Our Family Meal Plan for This Week 16/04 - £62

Please note: This Meal Plan, along with most of the other Meal Plans on my blog, does not include drinks, condiments or the cost of some herbs and spices. I make our jams, chutneys and pasta sauces, and we grow our own fresh herbs and salad greens. I’m also not a nutritionist or dietician so you will need to consult a professional if you have specific dietary or calorie controlled dietary needs.

Our Meal Plan for this week is fairly low faff and simple because my daughters are back at school after the holidays, I’ve got two events in London, two shifts at work and several other volunteer work things to fit in as well.  There is repetition of dinners, cooking once and eating twice, which will also save my sanity as it means that when my husband is doing the dinner and bedtime routine he will only have to reheat a dinner and perhaps cook some mash or pasta.

I did think about getting my daughters to have school dinners but they were adamant that they wanted packed lunches so I’ve caved in, besides it’s cheaper for them to take packed lunches.

Packed lunches this week will consist of either homemade egg mayonnaise sandwiches or cheese with homemade chutney sandwiches along with crudités, a pot of yoghurt and a homemade muesli bar and a piece of fruit. I know the packed lunches are hardly gourmet fare but it’s what my daughters wanted and it’s relatively cheap and low faff so I’m happy to go along with it.

I will of course be making all our own bread, rolls and tortillas which will keep costs down. Despite having a busy week I can fit baking in as and when required to make sure we are fully stocked with goodies. If I have time on a Sunday afternoon or any spare time during the week I tend to bake and freeze things so that they are available for later in the week.

We’ll be having lunch in town on Saturday and lunch on Sunday will either be homemade pizza or baked potatoes.

Breakfasts this week will be cereal and milk with a banana for afters or toast and spread. It will be a busy week so I’m going for the get it done quick approach to breakfast but still keeping things filling and healthy. We might have pancakes one morning over the weekend or homemade crumpets whichever is easiest for me to manage.

The cost of the 43 items I purchased for this Meal Plan was £62.41 from Asda online on 13/04/12.  I used My Supermarket to compare the prices of a similar basket of shopping at different supermarkets and my shopping would've cost £68.71 at Tesco and 72.61 from Sainsbury's.

Dinners

Spicy Rice with Chickpeas and Spinach – Meatfree Monday

This is a quick, healthy and delicious family dinner for a Meatfree Monday or any day of the week. My daughters like it with some poppadoms on the side and mango chutney. Give it a go, it works well as a side dish too.

1 ½ cups basmati or long grain rice
1 Tblsp olive oil
3 carrots, roughly diced
1 pepper, roughly diced
1 leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp mild curry powder
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400ml vegetable stock, made with 1 stock cube
300ml water
200g spinach (fresh or frozen)
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint leaves

Put the rice in a sieve and rinse it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the roughly diced carrots, pepper, leek, garlic, raisins/sultanas and spices. Cook, stirring it occasionally for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables, especially the carrots, are tender.

Once the vegetables are tender add the chickpeas, rice, stock, and water. Bring everything to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook everything with the lid on the saucepan for 12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and put the spinach over the top of the rice. Replace the lid on the saucepan and stand for 8 minutes. Uncover the saucepan again and add the chopped fresh herbs. Stir everything together until well combined.


Lentil Bolognese - Tuesday

This is so versatile! It can be served with pasta, baked potatoes, polenta or homemade gnocchi. I sometimes made double because it freezes well and is great to have in your freezer as a quick fix meal option. If you really have to you could add some beef mince or soy mince to bulk it out more.

1 cup red lentils, uncooked
2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Pasta and 2 handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables (cooked), to serve.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Pour in the lentils and stir them around to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Boil the lentils for 8-10 minutes or until soft.

Heat the oil in a medium pan and sauté the pepper, onion and garlic until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and herbs, then stir in the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the flavours develop.

Serve with pasta cooked according to packet instructions. When the pasta has about 3 minutes left to cook toss in a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables.


Spicy Sausage Hotpot – Wednesday and Thursday

This recipe makes a pack of sausages go a long way. You can use whatever vegetables you have available and also use vegetarian sausages if you like. It's a recipe that can be easily bulked out if you have unexpected dinner guests. I’ll be doubling the recipe so that it will last us two nights. The first night I will serve it with rice and the second night It’ll be reheated and served with mash.

450g pack good quality sausages
1 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, diced
1 leek, sliced
1 pepper, diced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tins chilli beans
2 cups/handfuls frozen mixed vegetables
4 baking potatoes, cooked and mashed - to serve

Grill or bake the sausages until they are cooked. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then slice into pieces around 2cm thick. Set aside.

Add oil, onion and garlic to a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook for a few minutes then add the carrots, leek and pepper. Sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and chilli beans. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Add the sausages to the saucepan with the frozen mixed vegetables. Cook for a final 5 minutes. Serve with cooked rice or mashed potato/sweet potato.


Creamy Bacon and Vegetable Pasta - Friday

I can have this dinner on the table in under 20 minutes from whine to dine LOL Great for those nights when you are really tired or really busy with a low tolerance for faffy dinners.

500g spaghetti
200g unsmoked back bacon
200g spinach
Handful or 2 of frozen mixed vegetables
300ml pot crème fraîche

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook following pack instructions. When the spaghetti has about 3 minutes left to cook toss in a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables.

Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, fry the bacon until the fat starts to run and then add the garlic, fry until the bacon is lightly golden. Add the chopped spinach and 2 tablespoons of water, then cover and cook until the spinach has wilted.

Remove the lid, stir everything together, season to taste, then cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Drain the spaghetti and vegetables and add to the bacon and spinach mixture with the crème fraîche. Stir to thoroughly combine and serve immediately.


Slow Cooker Meatballs - Saturday and Sunday

500g beef mince
½ cup uncooked long-grain rice
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, etc) or 3 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 large onion, finely diced
1 pepper, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely sliced/diced
500g homemade or store bought pasta sauce
375 ml beef stock or water

Turn the slow cooker on to low to preheat whilst you chop all the vegetables.

In a bowl, mix together the mince, rice and fresh herbs with a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and set aside for a few minutes.

Put the onion, pepper, carrot and celery Into the slow cooker. Mix together the cook-homemade pasta sauce and beef stock then pour into the slow cooker. Stir to mix thoroughly with the vegetables.

Put the meatballs on top of the sauce in the slow cooker and then cover with the lid. Cook on low for 6–7 hours or on high for 3–4 hours. Serve with mash/pasta/baked potatoes and steamed mixed vegetables.


Baking and Treats


Homemade Muesli Bars

1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
500g muesli
100g mixed dried fruit

Preheat your oven to 130C/Gas Mark 1/2 and lightly oil a large baking tin. Mine measures 23cm x 33cm x 4cm.

Mix the dry ingredients and fruit together until well combined. Warm the condensed milk in a pan then mix with all the other ingredients and use a spatula to make sure everything is well coated.

Press the mixture into the tin and level the surface. The mixture is really sticky so you might want to wet your hands or lightly oil them so that you don't end up a sticky mess.

Bake the muesli bars for 1 hour then set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.


Quick and Easy Banana Cake

I have several kilos of over-ripe bananas lurking in my large chest freezer. I was given them by a friend and have been using them as a base for smoothies as well as baking muffins, caramelising them to have with pancakes as well as baking this cake.

125g butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
500-600g (unpeeled weight) spotty over-ripe bananas
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a round 23cm square cake tin with non-stick baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, mash the bananas and beat well in to the mixture. It will look curdled but don't panic. Beat in the eggs one at a time adding 1/2 a cup of the flour so the mixture comes together. Add the last 1 cup of flour (and vanilla if using) then beat for one minute on low speed or until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin & gently shake to level, don't bang it. Bake in oven at 180°C for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the cake tin for 10 minutes to cool slightly before transferring the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.


My Favourite Tea Bread

1 cup sultanas or raisins
1 tsp mixed spice
1tsp cinnamon
25g butter
1 cup hot strong tea (without milk)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 or 2 1/4 cups self raising flour

Measure the sultanas, mixed spice, cinnamon and butter in to a medium sized bowl. Pour hot recently made tea over them and leave to stand until cold.

When the mixture is cold, add the brown sugar and self raising flour. If you use 2 cups of flour the tea bread will be more cake-like, whereas if you use 2 1/4 cups of flour the tea bread will be more bread like. Mix gently until just combined, don't overmix or the tea bread will be tough.

Line a 20cm cake tin, or a 23cm x 12cm loaf tin with baking paper and pour the mixture evenly in to it. Bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes in the cake tin, or 1 hour in the loaf tin, until a skewer pushed in to the middle comes out clean.

When cold store in an airtight container. It's best left 24 hours before cutting but never lasts that long in our house.


Shopping List

43 items: £62.41

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Chosen by You Wheat Bisks (48x18g) £2.68
1x ASDA Smartprice Swiss Style Muesli (1Kg) 98p
1x ASDA Smartprice Spaghetti (500g) 39p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 98p
2x Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.20
2x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) £1.04
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g) £1.10
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p
1x ASDA Wholefoods Brown Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28

Frozen
3x ASDA Chosen by You Freshly Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £3.54

Tins, Jars and Cooking
4x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) £1.24
2x ASDA Chosen by You Chilli Beans (290g) £1.36
1x ASDA Smartprice Mayonnaise (500ml) 48p
1x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) 70p

Dairy and Eggs
1x ASDA Crème Fraîche (300ml) £1.00
6x ASDA British Whole Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £6.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Rich and Creamy Salted Butter British (250g) £1.20
1x Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk (397g) £1.00
1x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) 55p
1x ASDA Low Fat Strawberry Yogurt (6x125g) £1.00 was £1.12
1x ASDA English Medium Cheddar (400g) £2.00 any 2 FOR £4.00
1x ASDA Chosen by You English Mature Cheddar (400g) £2.00 any 2 FOR £4.00
1x ASDA Low Fat Autumn Fruit Yogurts (6x125g) £1.00 was £1.12
1x Suffolk Farm Large Free Range Eggs (6) £1.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x Suffolk Farm Medium Free Range Eggs (6) £1.00 any 2 FOR £2.00

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
2x ASDA Baby Spinach (180g) £2.00
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
20 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) £1.56
5 ASDA Leeks by Weight (100g) 75p
7 ASDA Red Onions by Weight (100g) 60.2p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £2.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
2x ASDA Whole Cucumber £1.60
2x ASDA Round Lettuce £1.14
1x ASDA Celery 68p
2x ASDA Garlic Loose 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.50

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Chosen by You Sausages - 1.14Kg £3.33 any 3 FOR £10.00
1x ASDA Unsmoked Back Bacon Thick Cut (12 per pack - 530g) £3.33 any 3 FOR £10.00
1x ASDA British Beef Steak Mince (900g) £3.33 any 3 FOR £10.00

Check out the Meal Plan Monday linky on At Home With Mrs M! for more fab Meal Plans from other bloggers.