Tuesday 31 March 2020

Crazy Days Challenge - Day Six

The outcome of yesterday's blog post.  A tasty meal, nothing to write home about really but tasty and filling and what more can you ask.  

Alongside our potatoes and vegetables Alan had his fishy things on shells and I had the vegetable curry pie, which would have been good if it were not for it's soggy bottom.  "Mary Berry would be rolling in her grave."  Alan said, and we both burst out laughing as I reminded him that she is still very much alive  🤣

Now in the fridge I have two tubs of potatoes, one ready mashed and one just needing to be cut up a little bit smaller to go into whatever pies I decide to make with the packs of ready rolled pastry I have in the fridge.  I also have a jug of potato water which will form the base of a soup  using all the vegetable leftovers from the fridge at the end of the week.

I do like it when one meal provides the base ingredients for a few follow-on meals.

After a good cooked dinner we decided on some buns and nibbles for our tea, using some more of the choppy salad.  This time once it was chopped finely it was tipped into the dregs of a jar of mayonnaise to make sure that none of the mayo was wasted.  It worked a treat and once I had scraped out the jar with the smaller end of my green spatula it was virtually cleaned out.

Nothing wasted here.

It was very tasty, and was eaten in front of the television while we watched an Agatha Christie whodunnit recorded earlier in the day.

This morning over breakfast I was reading through this months Vegan Life magazine and came across this recipe.  Yay .. I have all the ingredients (well sort of) I thought.

So as soon as I'd finished my coffee I made them.

No tapioca flour, so I used self raising, no ordinary sugar so I used Demerara, no blanched almonds so I used Flaked.

I did have ground almonds, oil and water 😁

I should have realised they would turn out nothing like the photograph in the magazine!!

Apart from all the changes I had already made, there is no way I can get my Aga to cook at Gas Mark 3 even with the Cold Shelf in place.

But it really doesn't matter that they are so different,  they are fresh and tasty and even though I went to the trouble of lining the tin with the baking parchment I had cooked them on, they will all be gone by the end of the day.

A sweetish treat in these strange times and crazy days is no bad thing.

Sue xx

Monday 30 March 2020

Crazy Days Challenge - Day Five

I feel like I've lost my cooking mojo a bit recently ... and this is not a good time to do that!!

So today in an effort to retrieve it, I looked through the cupboards found the amalgamated potatoes from the Van and here in Wales and picked out the ones that needed using up first.  I flicked the sprouting bits off all the others and put them back in their bag and into the dark cupboard.

I had planned a sort of Sunday lunch with roasties, vegetables, stuffing balls and chicken for Alan but I think he's eaten all the chicken portions that were in the freezer, he passed by as I was rummaging in it's frozen depths and spotted some fishy thing I had just removed to look behind.

There, I literally just went and photographed it so I could add it to this post.  Two Coquilles St Jacques.  Originally bought as a starter for him at Christmas they have been in the freezer in the kitchen ever since.  Anyway he fancied them for his lunch so the meal plan has been changed slightly.  These for Alan and a vegetable Curry Pie for me, also from the depths of the freezer but I think bought only a few weeks ago, along with some buttery boiled potatoes and vegetables. 

Being adaptable is the name of the game at the moment, both  with meal plans and ingredients.  If you don't have enough of one thing add another.  If you don't have leeks use onions and vice versa.  It's keeping us on our toes in a good way all this and I think in many ways it's what all us frugalistas have been training for our whole lives.

So now I have a big pan of potatoes peeled, chopped and ready for cooking.  

Don't worry they are not all for lunch, I have made planned leftovers here.  I have two packets of ready rolled shortcrust pastry in the fridge so I feel a spot of pie making coming on tomorrow, and no matter what goes into the pies a bit of chopped or mashed potato will be a good filler to pad them out.

Also out on the worktop thawing is part of a loaf from the freezer, for toast in the morning … we do usually toast from frozen but Alan had taken the whole loaf out of the freezer for some reason.  I quickly repacked the end that had thawed the most into an old bread wrapper and left it out, and popped the rest straight back into the freezer.  

There is also a pack of buns so we can have a Choppy Salad bun each for tea again, we rarely eat two cooked meals in one day so a bun along with a bit of extra salad or a bag of crisps will be more than enough later.  My pie is thawing nicely ready for lunch and the pan of potatoes will be okay on the worktop until I decided to start cooking lunch.

That's better … I feel my planning and cooking mojo returning already  😃

Sue xx

Sunday 29 March 2020

Crazy Days Challenge - Day Four

Weetabix, well Tesco's own label Wheat Biscuits or whatever they call them.   I seem to prefer all the supermarkets own brand versions to the original.  Whatever they are called we have a lot of them in stock.  This is the large jar that usually lives on the caravan worktop.

And this is the jar that lives ...

… on the top shelf in the kitchen here in Wales.

Anyway with these two jars and the box of 48 that we have in the cupboard we will not go short of Weetabix for the foreseeable future.  Not that this will make Alan's heart sing, he was once stuck on manoeuvres, unable to come into dock and as the food ran out onboard the submarine, breakfast and lunch for two weeks was … yep you guessed it … Weetabix.  Breakfast served with milk and lunch spread with jam!!

Anyway yesterday I had Weetabix for breakfast, as I do most days at the moment, and Alan had toast with homemade marmalade.

Alan made lunch for us both, which was beans on toast.  

I had to purloin a Google Image as I didn't take a photo of it.  I do enjoy beans on toast every now and then but he will insist on buttering the toast while it is still hot and it makes for a soggy base for your beans.  I am still in the process of training this man of mine obviously as the toast should be crunchy under the beans. 

For our tea we each had one of these from the freezer.  Again this is a Google Image taken from the Tesco website.  I bought them on a whim from Tesco a while ago for me to have as a standby at home, but  last night Alan said he fancied the sound of it too.  So with a side of brown rice that was our tea.

They are gorgeous!

If you like a Korma style curry, you will most likely like these.  There is a hint of spice, but not a blow your socks off spice, much more mellow and warming, and they have a lovely rounded coconut taste which went absolutely perfectly with nutty tasting brown rice.  A little bit expensive at £3 each I guess, well to me who usually makes things from scratch but in this case well worth it for a treat.

I have even added them to our shopping list to replace when we do go back to the shops … one day in the future!

Sue xx

Saturday 28 March 2020

Crazy Days Challenge - Day Three

Looking through the cupboards I realised that I had the Tahini from the Van and the Tahini from here in Wales both only half full.  It seemed a silly waste of cupboard space and as I'm sure they were of a similar age I decided to decant them both into a glass jar.

Gosh it's sticky stuff to move around, as bad as peanut butter, which is what it is very similar too.  I got it everywhere … but licking my fingers was tasty  😄

I do like things in glass jars, but I am afraid I have become 'cupboard blind'.  Similar to the 'nose blind' of some air freshener advert on television,  I am that used to seeing the things in the cupboards that I have stopped seeing or using the things in the cupboards.

NOW  is a perfect time to bring that nonsense to an end!!

I had a very black banana on the worktop, so black that I think usually the chickens might have had a treat ... but not this week.  I mushed it up and added it to some flour, sugar, Flora and apple sauce and some of the Glace cherries from the jar in the cupboard and made a quick banana loaf.

Alan had some with custard for his supper and I had a couple of slices with my last coffee of the day.  There's just about enough left to repeat the supper again tonight, even after Alan had two slices with his mid-morning cup of tea.  The only drawback to making this is that it's made us both crave even more home-baking.

I will have to check the cupboards for all the other ingredients I can make use of, well at least it will start to empty those jars!!

Sue xx

Friday 27 March 2020

Crazy Days Challenge - Day Two

Last night's tea utilised some more of the Choppy Salad, this time on a bed of shredded Iceberg Lettuce and a grated carrot.  I never add grated carrot to the tub of choppy salad as it goes off much quicker than everything else, the same with fruit which Alan loves added to his salads … although this time he had some salted peanuts sprinkled on top.

We ate this with a small baked potato each and a fish fillet.  Yes, I ate some fish!!

I really fancied some so I had it, it sat like a lead balloon in my stomach all night.  Serves me right. 

Here in Wales I cook baked potatoes for a couple of minutes in the microwave and then finish them off in the Aga wrapped in foil, as we both like the skin soft rather than crispy.  Once I took them out of the oven I wiped the foil down and left it to dry and it will be used again at the very least once more … perhaps twice.

At the moment the Aga is helping to thaw out a portion of our tea.  I don't know what I fancy for lunch ... a bun with something on it I suspect as we have four buns in the bread bin that need using up.

I guess I should get round to menu planning but at the moment my mind is here there and everywhere and as long as I stay at least a couple of hours ahead of the meals we need I will manage.

Sue xx

Thursday 26 March 2020

Crazy Days Challenge - Day One - Choppy Salad

So off I went yesterday grabbing the saddest and tired-est looking things from the fridge and making sure that they don't go to waste … although the chickens would not agree that they do go to waste when they get chucked over the fence in their direction!!

Anyway the things that really did need using up first were the ever so slightly squidgy peppers and the drying out already prepped celery.

They were all chopped into little bite sized pieces (as opposed to big bite sized chunky pieces) and mixed together in a bowl with a couple of onions and some cucumber … and don't they suddenly look a lot fresher and more appetising when you do this!!

The majority of the chopped veggies were put into one of my glass/plastic lidded storage tubs ...

… with a folded kitchen paper topper.

By doing this you can stop the salady vegetables from turning into a watery mush or from drying out.  The paper absorbs any excess water and then feeds it back to the remaining veggies for a good few days of freshness.

As long as your storage tub has a good seal you can store the tub alternate ways up in the fridge with the paper either at the top one day and the bottom the other.  Anyway each time you get the tub out to use some of the contents give it a good shake to remix the contents.

Our first meal from the Choppy Salad which is what we call this type of prepared mix was as part of a salad bun for lunch.  I lifted out two spoonfuls of the salad, ,chopped it a little bit finer and mixed it with a dollop of mayonnaise to make a nice sandwich filler.

This was then added to a couple of slices of chicken for Alan and the vegan Quorn equivalent for me.

Served alongside the buns was the rest of the pack of these Veggie Straws, a tasty crunch to make the small lunch last longer.  

Did you know that it can take your brain a good 20 minutes to let you know that you are full up, so eating slower and having nibbles with a simple sandwich can be a real boon in weight loss … or food rationing!!

I have a plan for a bit more of the Choppy Salad to go with our tea.  It's a real morale lifter to know that a part of the meal is already prepared and washed up from when you're racking your brains thinking what to eat next. 

Sue xx

Jamie Oliver's Facebook page has all the links and recipes to accompany his latest quickly made television series.  Find it here ... https://www.facebook.com/jamieoliver/

Wednesday 25 March 2020

The Crazy Days Challenge - Challenging Myself to Use What I Have in the Best Way Possible ... and Stay Sane Throughout These Crazy Days

I had no intention until just now to start a Challenge on this blog ... in some ways it's not even a proper Challenge as to how this blog usually runs … in many ways most of us are just embarking on perhaps one of the biggest and strangest challenges of our lives.

But as I looked at this photo which I have just shared on my other blog I thought why not document the food we eat during these crazy times and see how we make everything we have last for as long as possible.  Is it a cop out Challenge, perhaps yes, but it will hold me accountable and give me something to do as well as giving you something to read and perhaps a few ideas or tips to use for your food supplies … or lack of them.

Let's just get things straight to start with in case you don't read my other blog, and for the first time look at the contents of the fridge and gasp, in either admiration or indignation.  I haven't dashed out and bought up everything I possibly could from the shops I have just returned from my Van, the static caravan I usually spend the majority of my time at for nine months of the year, as the caravan park it is sited on has closed, like many others, on Government orders for the duration of the current crisis.  On leaving I had to bring back with all the food that might possibly go off or go out of date during the next three to four months.  I also, unusually for me, brought back here to Wales most of the dried and tinned foods that are always stored in the Van for times when I arrive with no fresh supplies after a few days away.

So because of this, here in Wales at the moment, my fridge and my cupboards are looking very healthy and we will survive this crazy time relatively easily.  But saying that  I will not be wasting anything, I will be using everything in date order, cooking excess portions of any foods that might go out of date before we can eat them and freezing the resulting meals.  Luckily our large chest freezer was only a third full ready for us selling it, so it has once again been called into service.

If you would like to follow along, for something to do, a way to pass ten minutes of your morning with a much deserved cup of coffee or as a way to pick up a few tips or to share some of your own in the comments below.  Please know that you are very welcome.

Let's survive these Crazy Times together.

Sue xx