I have been reading about Jeff Yeager and his 'Fiscal Fast' concept recently and it's something that really touched a nerve with me. Our freezer is constantly full to bursting and our food cupboard is overflowing into the loft crawl space, yet I shop in Tesco most days because I fancy something particular for tea. Since going back to work after maternity leave we have less money each month than we used to and with energy prices constantly rising we need to start cutting some corners somewhere.
So. I have decided that this week I am going to do a 3 day fiscal fast and see how we get on. I have meal planned as follows:
Tonight - Youngs Fish and Chips - these were reduced to £1.19 each in Tesco which is a bargain as the fish is light and delicious - such a treat.
Wednesday - Green vegetable risotto to use up all those odds and ends of vegetables we have in the salad drawer
Thursday - Andrea's Pasta e Fagioli (or Pasta Fazool if you're Dean Martin...)
Friday - Vegetable curry from the freezer (will be taking Samuel to Zoom Playcentre in Stockport on Friday so will need to spend some money but not on dinner if the meal plan goes to, ahem, plan).
Hopefully along with the bread in the bread bin, the boxes upon boxes of cereal we have in the storage space, the 5 pints of milk and the endless stocks of pasta and tinned tomatoes, this should see us through without spending anything else!
I have also downloaded myself a free app called Food Planner and Groceries from Google Play that allows me to add recipes from the web then add ingredients from those recipes onto a shopping list so I will be trying that over the next few weeks to see if it helps reduce all those little top up shops that are killing my budget. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
With fathers day lunch with the inlaws looming and a toddler under my feet, I needed something that could be thrown together quickly and easily but that would come out of the oven looking and tasting great. Hubby stumbled upon this recipe in the Tesco Real Food magazine and with a courgette languishing in the fridge left over from a moussaka earlier that week, it was perfect. I served it with with lemon-herb roasted new potatoes and some chargrilled asparagus - and with a chilled glass of white wine it made for a special, albeit relaxed lunch. Samuel enjoyed it too, cut into grabbable slices with a few of the potatoes and some spears of well cooked asparagus.
- 1 x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 large egg, beaten
- knob of butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 courgettes, sliced
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 50g (2oz) pine nuts
- 150ml (5fl oz) creme fraiche
- 50g (2½oz) Parmesan
1 Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C. Unroll the pastry on to an oiled baking sheet and score a 3cm (1½in) wide border. Prick inside the border with a fork and brush the pastry with a little of the egg. Bake for 12 minutes, until risen and lightly golden.
2 Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the courgettes, onion and garlic. Fry over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes, then stir in the pine nuts.
Gently press down the middle of the pastry, to allow room for the filling. Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Mix together the crème fraîche with half the Parmesan and the remaining beaten egg. Spread the mixture inside the border and top with the fried vegetables and remaining Parmesan. Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.
Monday, 11 June 2012
After the lovely weather of a few weeks ago vanished into what looks like being yet another washed out English summer, I found myself dreaming of days spent in Barcelona, Valencia and Seville, bones warmed by the Mediterranean sun, delicious food at my beck and call, so this recipe positively leapt off the page of my rain-spattered Metro newspaper on a grey commute into Manchester. I made the cake at the weekend, deciding to forgo the caramel oranges so that we could eat it sliced from the cake tin when the sun yet again failed to make an appearance.
The ground almonds add an almost fudge-like texture to the cake and the scent of the orange zest brings back memories of ad-hoc picnics beneath orange trees in the cloister gardens of the Monasterio de San Clemente in Seville. ¡Muy Delicioso!
Almond Bizcocho with Caramel Oranges
Ingredients (Serves 8)
200ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
175g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
100g ground almonds
175g caster sugar
3 large, free-range eggs, lightly beaten
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
For the caramel oranges:
8 blood oranges or small, juicy oranges
200g caster sugar
6tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
Step 1: For the caramel oranges, cut a slice off the top and bottom of each orange, then slice away all the skin, ensuring the white pith is completely removed. Cut each orange across the segments into slices, reserving all the juices. Put the sugar into a large pan with 120ml cold water. Leave over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then boil rapidly until the syrup has turned into a brick-red caramel. Remove from the heat and plunge the base of the pan into cold water to stop it cooking any further. Stand back (as it will splutter) and add the orange juice. The caramel will form a lump in the bottom of the pan. Return to a low heat and stir until it dissolves again. Leave to cool very slightly then, while it is still liquid, pour over the sliced oranges and chill for at least 1 hour.
Step 2: For the almond bizcocho, preheat the oven to 170°C /gas mark 3. Grease a 1kg loaf tin with olive oil and line with greaseproof paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl and stir in ground almonds and caster sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, olive oil, orange zest and juice. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet to make a smooth batter. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour, covering the surface loosely with a sheet of paper after about 50min, once it is a rich golden brown. A skewer, pushed into the centre of the cake, should come away clean.
Step 3: Remove the cake from the tin and peel back the lining paper. Leave to cool on a wire rack. To serve, cut into 16 slices. Place a slice on to each plate and spoon some of the caramel oranges partly over the slice. Top with another slice and drizzle over a little caramel syrup.