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slow cooked spuds and onions

August 28th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in recipe

This was by way of an experiment, and I didn’t photograph it. It was as cheap as, well, chips. and really nice. I made it to accompany some roast venison, a piece of which I found lurking in the bottom of the freezer. It did two days – one with red cabbage, and one with green.

Put a slug of olive oil in the bottom of the slow cooker – I did this to stop it sticking.

Thinly slice potatoes and onions, and layer them up in the slow cooker – I think I did three and a half layers, starting and ending with potato. Season each potato layer as you go with salt and black pepper. I hurled some chopped garlic in part way through as well. Pour in some gravy (i used about half a mugful of Bisto granules*, which was about right for a small slow cooker).

Switch it on, walk away. It had about five hours, I think. Next time I’ll add carrot, I think, and possibly swede. Lovely with roasted meat, or sausages.

*Lets not pretend we don’t always use them from time to time, eh?

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peanut butter and choc chip cookies

August 26th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in general

peanut butter and choc chips cookies

I was having a rearrange of the cupboards last week, and found not one, but two jars of peanut butter; one smooth, one crunchy. Neither of us eat peanut butter on bread or toast, and I suspect it was bought for  some sort of Malay cooking. Shame to leave it sitting in jars, I thought.

115g marg £0.25
115g crunchy peanut butter (I used half and half)  £1.15
115g caster sugar £10p
115g light muscovado sugar £0.35
1 egg, beaten £0.25
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
85g plain flour £0.05
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
115g rolled oats £0.10p
generous dollop of chococolate chunks if liked. Don’t see why sultanas or cranberries or whatever wouldn’t work either.

Add 75p for unpriced ingredients, makes 24 for  £3.00-ish. So while not cheap, cheap. they are lasting far better than a box of cookies would do, and we know what’s in them.  And they’re much nicer than shop bought cookies.

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4. Grease a large baking tray. (I have a fabulous flat baking tray from Lakeland which never needs greasing, bless it).

Beat together butter and sugars, then gradually beat in the egg and the vanilla essence. Add flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt, then the oats (and optional choc chips) and stir until just combined.

Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, spaced well apart to allow for spreading. Flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Leave to cool on a baking tray for 2 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

So far (astonishingly) we are on day four, and they’ve kept really well.

Prices taken from mysupermarket.co.uk today, using Morrisons own brand where possible

green beans and pasta

August 21st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in recipe

green beans and pasta

This is another ridiculously quick and easy supper, and pretty cheap too (depending where you shop) – certainly well under £1 per serving. Works well with runner beans as well.

serves 2:

1 pack green beans (89p from Aldi, I think)
125g of pasta (fusilli, quills, whatever – Aldi fusilli is 49p for 500g, so that’s (counts on fingers) 12.5p)
1 chopped onion (20p)
1 dessert spoon (ish) of olive oil
lemon juice – a bottle is easier, and cheaper, than fresh
black pepper
about 25g grated parmesan (35p?)

Top and tail the beans, while you put a decent amount of water on to boil. When it has, put in the pasta and set a timer (mental, if necessary) for 10 minutes. I put the beans in that pot when there was eight minutes left, which left a nice crunch to them.

While the beans and pasta are cooking, cook the onion off in the olive oil. Add to the drained pasta/bean mix, stir in a good slug of lemon juice, the parmesan, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Light, quick, simple, healthy, cheap. Vegetarian, and vegan if you leave out the cheese.

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indian black-eyed peas

August 20th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in recipe

I made a batch of these for a friend’s curry evening, and they were so nice, I’ve just made another huge batch for us! I might have gone ever so slightly overboard with the quantities, so think on if you’re going to try this :)

1kg black-eyed peas (£3.69 for 2kgs from our local Indian shop)
1 carton Sainsburys passata (£0.55)
2 chopped onions (£1.80 for 4kgs from the Turkish shop so – 30p max)
⅓ big carton of Aldi mushrooms, sliced thinly (about £0.50)
groundnut oil (about a dessertspoon)
various spices to suit (listed below)

12 generous servings for a fiver, absolute max.   I made this in the slow cooker, but if you don’t want to/don’t have to, I’d give it a couple of hours on the hob to get the flavour right through.

Put the black-eyes in to soak for about 12 hours/overnight. They do say you don’t need to soak them, but I always soak beans and peas. They will absorb water at a rate of knots, so use a bowl rather bigger than you might think you’ll need.

Put them in the pot, add the mushrooms and passata, and about half a passata carton of water.

Grind/mix some Indian spices; Pete always does this, but it’s not writ in stone. Cumin, coriander seeds, cardamon, bit of chilli, turmeric – whatever works for you. But we tend to go for Lots, because you want the taste. Fry off the onions in some oil (i use groundnut) until they’re just starting to catch, then add the spices and cook them off a bit. A small splash of water is a good idea here. Decant that lot into the pot, add a bit of salt and black pepper.

if slow cooking, about eight hours on low. If hobbing, bring to the boil then a very gentle simmer for a couple of hours. Sprinkle fresh coriander on top if you have any (ours has bolted, sadly).

Freezes beautifully, makes a tasty vegan meal on its own, or a great accompaniment for a curry.

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basic lentil mix

August 7th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

This is one of my standards – you can use it for lasagne, moussaka, shepherds pie … anything you do with mince, really.

There are just two of us in the household, but I always cook for at least six so I can freeze some. Also, this recipe is a bitsa, using up what I have in the fridge.

Into the slow cooker: one chopped onion, three diced carrots, one diced courgette, half a red pepper, 4 cloves garlic, small slug of olive oil, and any spice you fancy. I usually use Ras el Hanout, but anything middle eastern is good. Left on low for about an hour. Add 1 pint of red lentils and 2 pints of water, switch to high, leave for about four hours. If you didn’t fancy the spices, substitute a splash of red wine for some of the water, and bung in some herbs.

I made a lentil bake with this yesterday, which I shall write up in a bit.

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two caulis, two bunches of asparagus

May 22nd, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in general

cauliflowers and asparagus

We were in Norfolk last weekend, to celebrate the 7th birthday of our grandson. A very nice time was had by all, and on our way home on Sunday afternoon, we kept an eye out for roadside stalls, looking for asparagus and strawberries. Nothing on the roadside, but we stopped at a huge farm shop somewhere … in the South Holland district in Lincolnshire, according to Foursquare.

Two bunches of asparagus at £1.50 each, and two caulis for a quid. So all that lot for £4.00!

One bunch of asparagus went into a quiche, with three eggs, some milk and some rather elderly brie, chopped up. Also a shallot fried off in a little butter, and some chopped chives. That did supper with some Jersey Royals, and lunch the following day.

The second bunch was stir fried with chilli and ginger, one of our absolutely favourite dishes.

One cauli was last night made into a veg curry, which will do at least two more days (if I can find some freezer space!), and the other will be enrobed in cheese sauce for tonight’s supper.

No strawberries (just a little bit too early, I guess), but all the same – that’s really cheap living (although I suppose it’s rather far to go if we weren’t passing …)

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supermarkets

May 12th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in general

Morrisons

Regular readers will know that I don’t much care for supermarkets, and generally patronise Aldi (or, occasionally, Lidl). However, we had to sally forth to Anlaby on Saturday for cat bikkit, and we needed some shallots. Inexplicably, shallots are unavailable in my usual emporia – not carried by the Indian and Continental, Aldi, Lidl or any of the local greengrocer’s (I meant to do that), although the latter have occasionally tried to sell me pickling onions, which are not the same thing *at all*.

And as we were in Anlaby, and needed shallots, we thought we’d do the shop in Morrisons. And I reckon I spent about 40% more than I usually do. To be fair, I’m not usually tempted by raw tiger prawns due to my usual shopping places, and I bought rhubarb and bok choi (but they were on the reduced shelf so not outrageous). And I bought two packs of mince for a ragu sauce, and two packs of frozen veg (but only a quid each), and a sourdough loaf for an outrageous £1.65, but I don’t think there was much more than that extra, and in fact we left some things till the next GermanShop. So no cold meat for luncheon, no sliced cheese (an abomination, I know, but nicely portion controlled for an elderly old bat with suspicious cholesterol levels), no butter.

Some of the increased bill was just temptation (which is another good reason not to patronise these stores), but I’m pretty sure they are quite a lot more expensive on the sort of stuff we buy every week.

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chicken and coconut curry

April 7th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

I had a yen for a chicken curry at the weekend; we make (and eat) a lot of chicken and coriander, but I wanted something different, dammit. So I trundled up to the Jacksons at the top of t’rerd, and came home with two packs of mixed thighs and drumsticks for a fiver, which Pete manfully deskinned for me; it’s a horrible job, and my arthriticy fingers really don’t enjoy it. We put them on a roasting tray, seasoned, drizzled with a little olive oil, and bunged them in the oven while the pizza was cooking. (Well, browning chicken is a boring task, and the oven was on …)

So, there was lots of skinned and part cooked chicken on Sunday morning. Looking at us. I skimmed through various books, but nothing quite appealed, so we winged it, pretty much.

Into the big slow cooker went, variously:

two tablespoons each of  ground almonds and dessicated coconut,

two onions fried in some groundnut oil until they were just starting to catch

a paste of garlic and ginger, and a little water, fried off, then spices added: cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili, fenugreek, cardamon, black pepper, and a little salt. All fried down into a paste

a can of coconut milk, and about a third? a half? can of water

a bunch of coriander

And then we just left it alone for about 7 hours. It was really, really nice, except it lacked … something. Not sure what. We’re going to have some more tonight, with some saag aloo, to see if that helps.

That fiver’s worth of chicken made 10 portions, by the way. Plus £0.80 for the coriander, and £1.25 for coconut milk, and maybe another couple of quid’s worth of ingredients. Well under £1 per portion.

p.s. we always cook chicken pieces on the bone – the flavour is better, and the meat falls off when it’s cooked anyway.

 

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kudos to Sainsburys

February 25th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in general

We normally buy our bacon from the inestimable T L Normans on Princes Ave (I have enthused about them many a time), but we were in the Sainsburys mini supermarket on Spring Bank the other Saturday afternoon on our way home (after Normans had shut), and spotted bacon, and thought “ooooh … bacon”, as you do. We paid the extra for the Dry Cured stuff.

And it was, in truth, a bit disappointing – didn’t seem dry cured at all, but instead rather full of water. So I tweeted it to them, and within about an hour they’d credited a fiver to my Nectar card.

I call that pretty good service, so thanks, Sainsburys!

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up to my elbows in vegetables, and some venison

February 24th, 2014 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

vegetables ready to be roasted

 

We seemed a bit overrun with veg, for some reason, so something had to be done.

So into the medium slow cooker, diced small, went:

2 leeks
4 carrots
½ swede
2 (manky) courgettes

They were cooked off with a little olive oil, on a low setting, and made two big tubs of veg for soup.

Into the Remoska went:

2 onions, cut into wedges
3 sweet potatoes
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
2 decent courgettes

I had also slow cooked a butternut squash on Saturday – means no peeling – and added that in towards the end.

That made 8 servings of  roast veg – 3 tubs for the freezer, and one for tonight.

And then, I cut into large dice:

4 potatoes with their skin on
1 onion, cut in half, and sliced
4 carrots

These went into the bottom of a big roasting tray. And on top of that went a small (750g) piece of roasting venison that has been languishing in the meat drawer in the freezer for some time. I marinated the venison in olive oil, lemon juice, chopped rosemary, and sea salt and black pepper, and I stirred the marinade through the veg.

Into the oven at 235C for 15 minutes, then I added about 300ml of beef stock and a slosh of red wine, and turned the oven down to 200C for another 25. I took the meat out and gave it a foil hat, and let it rest for 15 minutes, and continued to cook off the veg.

I’m going to use that method again to cook a small joint – the potatoes were sort of roasted, and there was enough of the veg left to eat with something else. We’re going to have cold venison and roast veg tonight, but I think those veg would go very well with sausages, don’t you?

Oh, and I found a tin of plums in the pantry cupboard, best before 2006(!). Opened it, they smelled fine. They were in syrup, so I gave them a good rinse under the tap, and put them in a bowl. 100g flour, 50g walnuts, 60g sugar and 60g marg made a nice crumble topping. Rude not to, really.

And I’d like to say that I chopped every one of those vegetables by hand. It took bloody ages.

 

 

 

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