Sunday 30 September 2012

Germs & Food Challenge Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Autumn is definitely here; long shadows, amber light & the first cold virus of the season!

Feeling very croaky, snuffly & generally full of aches & pains, I seem to have spent the majority of my non-work time sleeping or lying on the sofa & watching lots of films.

Still determined to take part in the food challenge, I've had to resort to the freezer to provide most of our meals...

  • the remains of the stuffed marrow
  • roasted veg & couscous
  • homemade soups
  • veggie curry

In a bid to boost our immunity I've added copious amounts of garlic to everything, our house is probably a 'no-go-zone' now!

Mr TH, still blissfully unaware of the challenge, continues to make the bread (I have yet to add garlic to that!)

The costing seems to have taken second place at the moment but we haven't needed to buy any food yet.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

6kg of Tomatoes & Food Challenge Tuesday

How could I resist 6kg of ripe tomatoes for a mere £3.50?

The ketchup tasted good but took ages to reduce to ketchup-consistency

I struggled home with the box & set about cooking. I used 4.5kg to make 4 jars of tomato ketchup (I've always wondered if I could- I now know that I can). The rest were slow roasted with herbs.

Breakfast toast & homemade jam. I made the bread yesterday. We ate about half the loaf.
Approximate total cost for breakfast 40p

Lunch for me was the leftover soup from yesterday zapped in the microwave at work. Mr TH finished off the bread in a sandwich with some leftover ham from Saturday. 20p for me, 40p for Mr TH.
Approximate total cost for lunch, 60p

Dinner was spaghetti with a sauce made from about quarter of the roasted tomatoes, lots of garlic (I'm trying to fend off a cold) roasted courgettes, shredded ruby chard leaves & a good sprinkling of smoked cheese from the freezer.  I will take the remains to work for lunch tomorrow.
Total cost about 60p for 3 portions (bulk bought store-brand spaghetti, tomatoes & garlic, homegrown herbs, courgettes & chard)
Approximate cost for our dinner, 40p

Total cost for the 2 of us on Tuesday was £1.40.
I was only able to do this because of a big store cupboard, buying in bulk & having homegrown vegetables.

Mr TH hasn't noticed yet...

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Food Challenge Monday

Food eaten today (by 2 of us) cost us approximately £1.95 in total.

Breakfast pancakes (1 egg, 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk). The mix made 5 pancakes which fed us both for breakfast with some added homemade damson jam.
Approximate cost 60p

Lunch, veggie soup (3 cloves of garlic, some dried pasta, a carrot, a stick of celery, homemade chicken stock from freezer, homegrown ruby chard, homegrown courgette, homegrown herbs & homegrown spring onion) There is enough for me to have a portion for lunch tomorrow. Total cost 60p.
Approximate cost for us today, 40p

Baked a loaf of very yellow bread (500g bread flour, 350ml water, dash of oil, a tablespoon of turmeric, salt, sourdough starter from fridge). Total cost 35p.
Approximate cost for us today, 15p (photo taken part way through Monday!)

Dinner, stuffed marrow (Homegrown marrow, tin of tomatoes, 3 sticks celery, 3 carrots, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, homegrown herbs, dash of homemade spitfire sauce, 250g minced meat & seasoning) Eaten with homegrown salad. We fed 4 people & still have 2 portions left for tomorrow...This was very difficult to cost so I've averaged it at a total cost of about £2.40
The cost for 2 of us to eat this meal was approximately 80p.

Without all the homegrown veggies which we've recently been given by friends & family, the cost would have been much higher.

Costing things was really difficult, I had to estimate amount used, work out how much I'd paid in bulk & do lots of division!

We ate really well but I could not have afforded this if I had to buy the ready prepared versions.

Monday 24 September 2012

How much does Food Really Cost?

This is a question that I've spent the last week pondering...

Let me go back to the beginning, Sue (from the Quince Tree) contacted me after I left a comment on the Non-Consumer Advocate blog. We both wanted to try the $4 per day per person Food Stamp Challenge but were grappling with similar to do it! I didn't want to lock the food cupboards & start from scratch but I was interested to know how little I could really live off...(The challenge would give me a daily budget of £4.99, £34.57 per week for us both together).

The answer should be simple, add up what you spend.

But what do you do when you've built up a cupboard and freezer full of food; when you've grown lots of fruit & veg & herbs; when you've always bought in bulk; when you collect windfalls; & when you have lovely neighbours and family who give/trade veggies from their allotments. How do you cost these items?

So I'm intending to see how long I can go without buying non essential food (I will need to buy eggs, milk & bread flour). Like Sue, I buy in bulk & freeze pretty much everything too. Unlike Sue, I lacked the energy to list the contents of my cupboards!

I'm going to try to cost each meal as I go along. Please remember that I buy in bulk so this further reduces the costs.

My final dilemma is Mr TH...should I confess or just see how long it takes him to notice?

Monday 17 September 2012

Chilli Success

Inspired by a trade with Mr Silverpebble last year, I have grown my own chillis.

As I wait for them to ripen I need to decide if I go down the Spitfire Sauce route again or try something new?

Any suggestions?

Thursday 13 September 2012

Autumnal Urban Foraging

Who says a city has nothing to offer a forager?

Cobnuts from a local city hedgerow...

I am now keeping a close watch on the local damsons, bullaces, blackberries, elderberries, sloes, crab apples, quince & nashi pears.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Fennel and Lemon Liqueur

Running low on Fennel Liqueur & noticing that this seems to have been a good year for fennel, I decided to make some liqueur of my own. Here's what I did...

Added some fronds, flowers & seed heads to a sterilised jar. 

Crushed them lightly with the end of a rolling pin. 

Added pieces of lemon rind.

Sprinkled sugar over the crushed fennel & mixed thoroughly. 

Topped up with vodka and shook lightly.

Mr TH has rushed off to get more vodka to top it up...

I'll turn this jar regularly over the next few weeks, then strain & bottle. 

If it's not sweet enough, I'll add sugar syrup to taste. (Dissolve 300g sugar in 100g water)

The fronds are good chopped up in salads, salad dressings or mayonnaise.

If you still have fennel seeds left over why not...

Dry some to use in cooking later on this year.

Here's what I did with my dried fennel seeds last year.

It is hard to resist just eating them though...

Friday 7 September 2012

Patty Pan

Our neighbours presented us with a large patty pan.

I cut the top off, scooped out all the seeds...

Added crushed garlic, lemony olive oil, salt, pepper, a bay leaf & a sprig of rosemary.

Popped the top back on & put it in the oven for about 45 mins.

We ate it with sausages, potatoes & lots of chutney.


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