Sunday, 31 May 2015

Recipe: oat pancakes with bacon and soft cheese

So easy and, I think, so delish.

Oat pancakes with bacon and soft cheese.
Ingredients: (serves one)
2 rashers streaky bacon
Oat pancake batter (half amount - I used the other half yesterday!) 
Soft cheese
Drizzle of maple syrup

Gently fry the bacon until it is crisp in a non stick pan - don't add any fat as loads will come out of the bacon.  Keep the bacon warm.
Make the pancakes in the same pan, using the bacon fat.  It makes three or four little ones.
Spread the soft cheese over the pancakes.  Arrange them on a warm plate.
Break up the bacon and spread over the pancakes.
Drizzle over some maple syrup.
Eat while still hot.  

Gorgeous.  Filling.  Satisfying.
Mmmmmmmmm . . .

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Frugal: oat pancakes

This recipe can be found here:
(scroll down to the last recipe)
It didn't take long to zizz the oats into flour and it really is the easiest batter to mix.  No lumps!  I let it stand for a time and it thickened quite a lot but was fine with the addition of a dash of water.

I wish I had taken a photo because they were really delicious, very filling and so, so easy.  I suppose, when you think about it, I usually have 40g oats for my porridge and this also had an egg (two, in fact, because I have some titchy pullets eggs at the moment) so they're going to be filling.

I made two pancakes, not huge but certainly not blini-sized, topped them with some pineapple and some melon, added some dollops of natural yogurt and drizzled a little maple syrup over the top.  So, so good.  Thank you to Faith Archer for the recipe.

And I only used half the batter.  The rest in now in the fridge for tomorrow.  I might have bacon with it tomorrow and fry the pancakes in the bacon fat.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Mushroom pate the conventional way

A friend commented that she would need to adapt yesterday's recipe because she hasn't got a Thermomix.  Seeing as I adapted it FOR Thermione, it seems only sensible to give the original method as well.  So here we go!

I used five ordinary mushrooms and four chestnut mushrooms
a splash of oil and a knob of unsalted butter
about 1/3 tsp lazy garlic puree
a pinch of salt
some parsley
about 1/4 pot of soft cheese (very roughly)
about 40g unsalted butter

Wipe and slice the mushrooms
Heat the knob of butter and the oil in a pan on a high heat.  Add the sliced mushrooms, mix and fry them for about 30 seconds until they are all hot.
Add the salt, the garlic and the herbs, lower the heat and gently cook until the mushrooms are softened (about 6 mins or so).
Remove from the heat and allow the mushrooms to cool for a few minutes.
Pop them into a food blender/processor, add the butter and the cream cheese and blend for half a minute.  Scrape down the sides and zizz again until it is the texture you want.
Spoon it all into a dish, smooth over the top, cover, cool and then chill.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Thermomix: mushroom pate

This was nice.  My daughter, who loves mushroom pate, said it was nicer than the expensive kind you can buy.  She ate a lot and took the rest home.  Success!!

I used five ordinary mushrooms and four chestnut mushrooms
a splash of oil and a knob of unsalted butter
about 1/3 tsp lazy garlic puree
a pinch of salt
some parsley
about 1/4 pot of soft cheese
about 40g unsalted butter

Toss the wiped mushrooms, the oil and the knob of butter into the bowl and zizz at 6 for a few moments.
Cook on 100, speed 2 for about 2 to 3 mins (it doesn't take long to heat up).
Add the garlic and the parsley and cook at 100, speed 2 for about four minutes.
Take the bowl off the base and allow the contents to cool a bit.
Add the soft cheese and the butter, replace the bowl and zizz it all together on 6 until it is the consistence you want.  Scrape down the sides from time to time.
At this point it is quite 'runny' but will set as the butter and cheese cool.  Scrape it all into a dish, smooth down the top, cover and chill in the fridge.

I think a bit of nutmeg would be nice or a bit of chilli.  You could add black pepper or change the herb to thyme or oregano.

Frugal: soft cheese

I got this recipe from Faith Archer's blog 'Much More with Less' and she got it from Ceri Jones' blog 'Natural Kitchen Adventures' (scroll down to find it).  It is a very easy way of making a soft cheese using natural yogurt.

I won't reproduce the ingredients or the method as it is only one click away.  Well worth a look.

I made this yesterday and it was dead easy.  The cheese that results is soft and fresh tasting and very delicious.  I wouldn't call it cream cheese because I used skimmed long life to make the yogurt but next time I will use full fat long life and see if it makes a difference.

Suffice it to say, as I said on my diary blog, I won't be buying much soft cheese from now on, I will be making it as it is so very easy and way more frugal than even the supermarket value soft cheese when I use my own home made yogurt.  Using supermarkey 'value' yogurt, it is still better value.

Now all I have to do is find out what to do with the whey!  I wondered about bunging it is my next bread dough.
Any ideas?

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Peanut butter

I love peanut butter.  Recently I've been buying Morrison's Savers crunchy which is not bad actually and, at 60p a jar, is manageable on Breadline.  However, last time I looked it had gone up, as have many savers/value items recently (but don't start me on that!).
I got a jar from Approved Foods which was very nice (and cheaper) but I won't be making another order from them for a while and it may not be available next time anyway.
However, there is a problem and that is the ingredients.  Neither had added sugar or whatever but . . .  palm oil!  Oh, dear.  Not such a good thing and not something I want to encourage, I have decided, although easier said than done, I know.

So I have decided to make my own from now on.  I used to, when the children were little, but got out of the habit.

To be fair, you do need a good, robust blender type thingy.  It used to take me quite a while in the dim and distant past but using Thermione it didn't take all that long to produce virtually smooth peanut butter which is what I wanted.  To make crunchy, zizz about two thirds to smooth, then add the rest and zizz again until the right texture for you.

All I added was a bit of oil and I do now wonder if that was necessary: I won't next time and see what difference there is..  I didn't wash the salt off and dry the nuts because, shocking as it sounds, I like salty peanut butter.  Bad me!

I used two packets of Aldi's peanuts (the cheapest ones) and simply zizzed them in Thermione with a bit of veg oil until they were the texture I wanted.  You can tell when it's ready - the sound changes significantly - and in a blender you can see.  I then simply decanted it into an old Morrison's jar.  It filled that and made a quarter as much again so it's not that much dearer really.  And it's lovely!  Well worth doing.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Frugal flatbread

I wanted to make some flatbread to go with
a)  some hummus for my lunch and
b) a chickpea korma for dinner
so I googled around and made this.

Ingredients to make four not terribly large flatbreads (or two bigger ones, if that's preferred)
100g SR flour (Morrisons savers, 3p)
10g veg oil (Aldi veg oil 1p)
25g yogurt  (used home made, 1l for 49p so well under 1p)
cold water
seasoning, if wanted - salt, pepper, garlic, bit of chilli, whatever!

tip the flour, oil, yogurt and seasonings into a bowl and mix.  Add water bit by bit until a dough forms.  If it's too sloppy, add a bit more flour.  If it's too stiff, add a bit more water.
Lift the dough onto a floured surfqce and knead for a couple of minutes.  I did 100 stretch and folds which seemed about right.
While you are kneading the dough, heat a pan to upper medium heat.  No oil needed.
Divide the dough into four equal bits.
Shape and roll each bit out.  I rolled mine quite thin and they puffed up nicely when dry frying.  Shape doesn't matter but a sort of circle will fit in your pan better.
Cook one at a time, around a minute on each side, until each side has just started to brown.

Either eat immediately or this is what I did.
I cut two into strips and bagged to take with me to work.  They will be nice with the hummus.
The other two I placed in a poly bag, sucked the air out and tied the top in a knot so it's a sort of gentle vacu-pack, which should keep them fresh.  I will have them tonight instead of rice with my chickpea korma.

Really, really easy and most satisfying to make.  Good for kids to make (supervise the cooking part) and you could use cookie cutters to make different shapes, re-using the cut off bits to roll again.

Cost:  between 1p and 2p each, if you make four.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Leftovers: banana and honey smoothie

Amounts are somewhat vague.

About 200 mls milk.  I used skimmed.
1 soft banana - great for using up an old banana
2 good dollops of natural yogurt
a squidge of honey - I suppose it must have been about a tbsp
a pinch of cinnamon.

Put all the ingredients in a jug and zizz with a stick blender until smooth and gorgeous.
Pout into a long glass and drink!

Nothing new but I loved it so thought I would share.

Frugal: a sort-of-vaguely-like-tempura batter

It's been a long time since I had anything in tempura batter but I do remember it a little and this, though nice, was different.  However it was still nice - crunchy and very light.  Unfortunately, it was/is rather oil laden so not one to do all that often.

It only took storecupboard ingredients and was very frugal.  Most important, it tasted good (I thought), so here it is.

Mock-tempura batter.

Wait until everything is ready because once made it has to be cooked and once cooked it has to be eaten.

quarter cup of SR flour (I used Savers so it cost pence - slightly over one, in fact)
quarter cup of icy water.  I put some water in the fridge before hand with an ice cube..
some salt
a dash of oil.  I used veg but garlic or chilli oil would be good.

oil for frying - I didn't put loads in the pan but more than I would usually use.

Have the food you are coating ready (I used fish - a basa fillet that I cut into 'fingers') and have the oil heating in the pan.  If it will take more than one batch, have a plate warming in the oven.  I also had a piece of kitchen towel on the place.
Put the flour and salt in a bowl, add the water and whisk together.  You want a thick-ish but still pourable batter that will adhere to the fish (or whatever).  Add a dash of oil and mix in.

That's the batter done.  Then . . .
Pop in the fish, veg or whatever and mix well.
Test the oil by adding a bit of batter.  It should sizzle immediately and cook quickly.
Using kitchen tongues or similar, add each piece to the pan (don't over fill or the oil will cool).  Watch them sizzle and fry.  After a short time, turn them over (if you are deep frying, that isn't necessary).
When cooked and if necessary, remoe from the pan onto kitchen towel on a warm plate and keep warm in the oven.

Serve and eat straight away.  I had it with a salad and some mayo.
I wonder how it would be if it was baked in a hot oven.  Must try it - but not this week!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Frugal: Jack Monroe's peanut butter bread

. . . which she calls 'cakey-goodness bread' and which can be found here .

I think you can usually tell from the dough and this recipe made the most gorgeous dough.  Of course, I changed it a bit to fit with what I had.

I used strong wholemeal flour as what I have is cheaper than the ordinary wholemeal I have (good old Aldi!) and I used peanut butter from a jar because I have some and I don't have peanuts and have no wish to buy any (because I will only scoff those I don't use in the recipe).
Also I had to use a bit of sugar to activate the yeast.

I made half quantities as it was the first time of making.

So the costing is:
50g peanut butter  7.5p (I got the peanut butter via approved foods and it was smooth)
100g savers plain flour  3p
100g strong wholemeal flour 5p
oil 1p
half a tsp yeast   around 2p
salt, sugar a tiny amount and rounding up some of the above more than covers that`

So the whole thing is under 20p for an extremely tasty loaf.  I've had a rounded bit and MUST get it into the freezer sliced before I scoff the lot.  And I must remember I cannot take it to school for lunches!

If you like bread you will love this.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Frugal: bubble and squeak patties

I will confess straight away that I have no idea whatsoever how much these cost and quantities are pretty (very) vague.  They are nice and worth making again.

They came about because I had some frozen sprouts that I really didnt like and was about to throw away but couldn't bring myself so to do.

I chopped up a small onion and sauted it in veg oil.  I sliced the sprouts when they had thawed a but, discarding the base and added them to the oil.  Then they simmered gently away for about ten to fifteen minutes.
I tipped them into a bowl and added the last of some instant mash.  I'm not sure how much but it wasn't an awful lot.  I stirred it round and then added boiling water, just a bit, until the potato reconstituded but was quite stiff.
When it had cooled I added some grated cheese (from the freezer and I had bought it reduced) and I did weigh that.  40g.  I added a little bit of salt after tasting.
I made some fresh breadcrumbs, formed the mixture into patties and gently pressed them into the breadcrumbs to cover them.

Four are not in the fridge for Sunday dinner for me and Beth and the remaining three are in the freezer.  because I have no idea how much they cost, I am calling it 10p per patty.  I know it won't be more.
Tomorrow I will fry them in a little oil.

Update.  Absolutely gorgeous but ended up more like fried potato as the patties did not hold their shape, probably due to the cheese.
One to do again!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Frugal recipe: tortillas/tortilla chips

There are recipes all over the place for these so I won't post a link, just tell you what I did

I'll probably cut them a bit smaller next time!

To make the flour tortillas
200g SR flour
1/4 tsp salt
150mls warm water
some veg oil for 'frying' (you don't need a lot, I used under 1 tbsp)

Put all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl, mic it together and then knead for about 3 mins.
Or do what I do and bung it in a mixer which will do all the hard work for you.  Thermione took 2 and a half minutes to come up with a lovely soft dough.
If it's just too sticky, add a bit of flour.

On a floured worktop, separate the dough into four equal(ish) balls.  Roll each ball out to a sort of circle (exact shape doesn't really matter) about the size of a dinner plate, as one recipe said.  More realistically, about the size that will fit into your biggest frying pan.  You can make more smaller ones, of course, and I think I will do that next time because they would be easier to handle before the frying.

Brush your pan with oil and heat to a medium heat.  Cook each tortilla for one minute each side until the raised bits are just starting to brown.
I cooked a little bit separately and they are lovely eaten straight away, still soft, maybe with a chilli or curry, as a flatbread.

However, this is what I then did.

I cut one tortilla into 8 wedges (as one would cut a cake or a pie), brushed each wedge over with a little more oil, popped them onto a baking sheet (I use a non stick liner on the baking sheet) and bake at around 160-ish for around ten minutes until the edges are browning.  They go lovely and crunchy and would be brilliant with a salsa, a dip, hummus or just as a crunchy snack or as a very thin cracker spread with soft cheese and chutney (just before eating or they would go soggy, I think).
You could brush them with a flavoured oil to create more flavour.  I just sprinkled on a bit of salt.

I think they would be nice if fried in oil but the calories would go through the roof and actually I prefer the 'cleaner' taste of baked anyway.

I think they would keep in a tin - I'm afraid I have just motored my way through the eight I made so have no evidence to offer!

The other three tortillas?  Well, once I knew the baking bit worked, I cut the others into wedges and froze them in eights.  When I want them I will take some out, thaw them, brush them with oil and bake as above.

Cost?  Not allowing for oven heat (and I will try my halogen oven next time or pop them under a medium grill and watch them like a hawk!) they are incredibly frugal.

The flour was 6p, the salt was negligible, the water was zero and the oil was about 3p, allowing 30 mls, of which I didn't use all.  So that's 9p for four large flour tortillas or 32 baked tortilla chips.  Can't be bad, can it?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Storecupboard: mushy pea and ham soup

This came about because I sorted out my food cupboard and found two random tins of mushy peas, one a Savers and one a named brand.  Neither were dear although soaking and boiling my own would be cheaper.  I have no idea how old the cans were (I didn't like to look).
I also had some ham stock from boiling up a ham last week.  The stock was delicious (it isn't always) so I froze it in portions.  I also had some shredded ham from same source.

Mushy pea and ham soup
1 small onion (5p)
1 carrot (free)
10g - yes, grams - vegetable oil (1p)
2 cans mushy peas (48p together)
Ham stock (free)
bits of ham (42p)
pepper (neg)
NO salt as the stock was salty enough.

In a saucepan, gently fry the chopped onion and carrot in the oil until soft.  Add the mushy peas, the ham stock and some pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are soft (doesn't take long).
Remove from the heat and zizz with a stock blender until very smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary, then add the ham bits.

(I used Thermione so the method was slightly different although essentially the same)

The way I did it resulted in a very, very thick soup, too thick, so I took off half a portion and slackened it with about an equal amount of milk, mixed it well and reheated.  It was lovely and made a lovely mid-morning snack!

The rest is now frozen in half single portion amounts with clear instructions to slacken with milk before heating.

So, at 4 and a half portions, I priced this at around 22p per portion.  It would be more if you had to make or buy your own ham stock.  You could use a different stock but it wouldn't be ham and pea then.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Frugal: fish finger sarnie

OK, so not really a recipe, just a put together but, oh my, how I enjoyed my lunch yesterday.  It was delicious so I thought I would share.  Yes, it's a dive back to my children's childhood but so tasty I could have eated double (but didn't).

3 fish fingers (mine were Bird's Eye not-cod fish fingers, £1.00 for 14 on special)
2 chunky slices of home made bread - small 1lb loaf so the slices were just the right size.
bit of butter
bit of oil
bit of salad cream.
A little sprinkling of sea salt

I brushed oil over the fish fingers and fried them on a low, medium heat until the outside was a bit crunchy.
I scraped some butter over the bread - you don't need a lot and the bread was very fresh.  Then I spread a little salad cream over the butter.  Not Mayo, I wanted some of the vinegar flavour that you get in salad cream.  I use Morrison's Savers!
Then I laif the cooked fish fingers side by side on one slice, sprinkled them with a little sea salt, put the other slice on top, cut it in half and devoured it while still warm.