Monday, 15 October 2018

Day Two - Meals

Gosh we woke up late today, so instead of my usual hot lemon water it had to be a coffee to kick  start the day with a shot of caffeine.

Followed an hour later, after cleaning out the chickens and giving them some corn by a rather tasty bowl of porridge.

Lunch was very tasty too.   (1)

My largest potato microwaved for a couple of minutes and then finished off in the Aga while Alan's bacon was cooking, eaten with half of one of my tins of beans and some spread and grated cheese.

Very filling.

Pasta Sauce with 100g Spaghetti.  (2)

 It doesn't look much here but I put it into one of our larger bowls as Alan was having some too with some belly pork slices so he needed the space.  

The amount of veggies in the sauce is supposed to mean it contains 4 of my five a day ... but I don't think I'm counting right somehow the sheer volume seems wrong, so I'm counting it as two.

There were leftovers, I left them in a dish on the worktop to cool down ... and promptly forgot all about them.  I woke up in the middle of the night thinking 'arrgghh ... I could have made ____ or _____ '  but then fell asleep again.  I got up expecting to find my lovely leftovers in the 'chicken treats bowl' or God forbid ... the bin, but my beloved had covered the bowl the night before and put it into the fridge, on my shelf.  I'm keeping this man ♥️

Three of my five a day consumed again.
I need to eat some of my fruit and pull this up!!


(Number in brackets = 5 a day servings.)

Day Two Chattter

Part of my 'big shop' included a block of my favourite cheese.  

  Realising that it had to last me if possible for the full four weeks, as a £2.30 purchase will be pretty hard to replicate, I decided to quarter it and so get to have at least a little bit of cheese each week in one form or another.

The Violife block that I usually grate and have in all sorts of ways. 

Once quartered it was grated and popped into little freezer-safe boxes.

Doesn't it look so much more grated than as a little block!!

Three of the boxes were popped straight into the freezer and this weeks was put into the fridge.

My fridge and freezer shelves are looking a lot more impressive now, no more the barren empty spaces they were just a couple of days ago.  I will have to take another photo of them.


Sunday, 14 October 2018

Day One - Meals

Breakfast = One bowl of porridge, made with 50g dry weight of oats and water.

Just the way I usually have it to be honest  :-)

Lunch = A bowl of Vegetable Soup.  (3)

Very tasty and very filling, 
I wasn't overly hungry so I didn't make any toast or anything to have with it.

After making all that lovely pasta sauce one portion of it was going to be the topping for some spaghetti for my tea, but time ran away with us and we had cinema tickets, so instead I had a couple of pieces of toast when we got back.

Not very exciting but enough after the large bowl of soup at lunch time, and enough to stop me waking up in the night hungry.  The orange marmalade that cost me the grand sum of 27p is surprisingly tasty, and this coming from someone who usually makes all her own marmalade and jam.

A plain and simple first day, with nothing of any great interest I guess, but I just wasn't hungry, I never am when I spend a lot of time in the kitchen chopping and prepping food.  Maybe I absorb food through the air whilst I'm chopping ... or more likely I usually eat out of boredom and when I'm busy I just don't need to eat as much.

Only three servings of my 5 a day consumed today, not good ... must do better.


(Number in brackets = 5 a day servings.)

Day One - Chatter

So the first thing to do on day one was to start at the beginning.

The first drink of my day is a cup of  hot lemon water.  Usually a slice of frozen lemon in a mug of hot water.  For the duration of this Challenge... and who knows if it works out well for the future too ... I have reduced this to half a slice of lemon in my mug of water.

I even squeezed the very ends of my sliced up lemon into my ice-cube tray to give me a bit of juice to add to a recipe later on in the week.

An hour later it looked like this and when the frozen spinach cubes were bagged up I put the little lemon sliver into an egg cup and back into the freezer.

Every day after I have drunk my lemon in hot water the lemon slice gets popped into a glass and lives in the fridge for the day, having either sparkling or tap water poured over it numerous times to give me refreshing and slightly lemony drinks.  This week will be no exception and I will be making full use of the half lemon slices.

My next job on this the first day of my Challenge was, just for my own curiosity, seeing how much one of my normal spoonfuls of Nescafe coffee weighed in at.

As you can see it weighs 2g.  Meaning that my 300g jar will give me 150 mugs of coffee, or to break it down 5 or 6 cups of coffee a day.  

That is plenty .... I'm happy  :-)

Next on the scales was the porridge oats to see what a 50g portion looked like.

Then I got started making a large pan of Pasta Sauce, a nice rich tomatoey sauce to be used in a few different recipes, but called Pasta Sauce for ease.

These were the ingredients ...

... and then I remembered my Mixed Herbs and these were added.

After half an hours cooking I added in 100g of the frozen chopped peppers, for added goodness, added flavour and another of my 5 a day.

The total weight of vegetables that count towards my five a day was 2117g which is equal to 26 of my 5 a day servings for the full pan of sauce.

After another hour or so in the bottom oven of the Aga this is what my sauce looked like.  Cooling down on the worktop ready to be portioned up.

In the end I got 6 portions from this, which works out that each portion I use will be 4 of my five a day.

Photos of my days food coming next. 


Saturday, 13 October 2018

Three from the Tunnel

My three from the polytunnel this week are:


Yes even the big one is a courgette ... I purposefully planted no marrows this year realising from last year that some of my courgettes always get to marrow size before I even notice them!!!

Wil from Holland left a comment a few days ago asking for photos of the tunnels.  So while I was in there picking and tidying up I snapped these.

There's not much left at this time of year, but the tunnels are still adding homegrown goodness to our daily meals.  Alan picks some fresh leaves every day and a few fresh tomatoes for his evening salad, just yesterday he used the last of the cucumbers.  As you can see for this weeks allowable home picked stuff I have chosen three things that are still reasonably abundant, although the tomatoes will be all gone by next week.

My most prolific things are the Spinach and the Kale.

I'll get some photos of the Net tunnel when I'm in there next week choosing three more crops to help fill my limited larder.  

I'm allowed ONE picking a week.

And because I am allowing myself just one picking a week I am making good use of everything that I pick.  This week's Spinach for instance is being used in four different ways.  

After washing, some of the leaves were spun relatively dry, wrapped in kitchen paper then bagged and popped into the fridge, they will be used to make a version of  'Green Spaghetti' a Jamie Oliver recipe that I love.

The stalks that I was about to chop up to add to the soup pot were weighed, as I am trying to make sure I get at least my 'Five a Day' each day.  Seemingly one portion of your five a day weighs in at 80g ... hence my checking.

The rest of the spinach leaves were lightly blanched, quickly cooled down in cold water, wrung out and then chopped ready to go into one of my large ice-cube trays to make four cubes of cooked spinach to add to any dish that I make that I think could do with a bit of a green boost.

The blanching water had some of my Universal Seasoning added to it to make a tasty stock for my soup.  The thought of throwing blanching water away always horrifies me, think of all that goodness you have just, albeit briefly, boiled your veggies in going down the plughole to benefit no one!! 

So Spinach four ways -

1.  Leaves for a pasta meal

2.  Stalks chopped up to be added to soup.

3.  Blanched, chopped and soon to be frozen spinach ready for adding to any meal that needs it.

4.  Blanching water turned into stock as the basis for the soup.

Not a thing wasted.

After the chopping session to make the large batch of soup for next week, the unused carrots and celery were carefully wrapped in kitchen paper ... which takes away moisture from the veggies and then feeds it back as the veggies start to dry out ... and bagged to go back into the fridge drawer.

It was all brought to the boil in my large stock pan and then left to putter away slowly for a couple of hours in the bottom oven of the Aga.

While it was doing that I washed up and tidied the kitchen and then sat down with a cup of coffee and did my workings out for my five a day portions.  I had been weighing the vegetables before I put them into the pan and all these figures were added up (the potatoes don't have a weight as they do not count towards your five a day as they are a starchy vegetable).

With a total combined weight of 1505g, including the lentils which I counted in at 80g, it means that the large pan of soup has 19 portions of my five a day.  I will have to wait and see how many bowls of soup I get out of this but I'm guessing as a minimum there will be six, possibly eight.

It feels like a very successful day in the kitchen.

Edited to add:  I got 7 large portions of soup, so each serving is 3 of my 5 a day.


Friday, 12 October 2018

Cooking on a Bootstrap

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If you've been dithering over buying yourself a copy ... now's the time to get one.


Not So Lavish a Larder

The food cupboard looks quite healthy, filled to bursting as it is with my stash of shopping.  Although when you realise it has to be the backbone of my food for a full 28 days this seems suddenly not quite so lavish a larder. 

The fridge shelf looks a little bit sad at the moment, but then nothing has been made that needs putting here yet.

The fridge drawer looks a lot better and beautifully colourful.  

Once the lemon has really chilled it will be sliced up and open frozen ready to be used for my early morning drink.  I always start the day with a lemon slice in hot water and for the sake of 30p for a fresh unwaxed lemon I thought I would continue with this, although I think it will be half a lemon slice each day this month to make my one lemon last at least two weeks instead of it's customary one week.

The freezer has the sliced peppers and my loaf of bread.  The slices separated nicely from each other as it froze so that I can remove as few or as many slices as I need each day.

Out on the worktop, as they didn't fit into the cupboard are my coffee and my bottle of vegetable oil.

And photo bombing the fridge photograph is a certain little Pug.  

It's a strange thing but Pugs have a real fascination with fridge drawers, none of my other dogs have ever been like this, but whenever we open the fridge Suky is right there having a good nosy down at Pug level.

So I have spent a total of £17.68 of my £28 for 28 days money.

Which leaves me with a grand total of £10.32 for any top up shopping needed.  I think this will be being used for a few fresh things each week, starting from week two of the Challenge.  So if I divide it equally I have £3.44 each week for fresh foods, which if I am aiming to get as close as possible to my 'five a day' will have to be fruits and vegetables.

Although of course I have yet to pick this weeks three items from the polytunnel, which will also help me with my fruit and vegetable intake.  I better go and have a look at what is available so I can get down to the nitty gritty of planning my menu for this week.