Friday, 18 August 2017

The freezer challenge: day 32 and a ramble

I've now got to the point where I can start shifting things around a little bit to get a little more organised.  At some point next week I shall start a mini-audit, just of stuff at the top that I can incorporate into meals rather than play freezer-lucky-dip each morning.

There's still an awful long way to go but that's OK because it means continues frugal days without needing to spend on expensive protein or using precious time shopping.

Today I am only organising breakfast but I have been out to the freezer and found a mini fougasse that I made too long ago to say (oops) and some home made smoked salmon pate so today's breakfast is going to be pretty luxurious.  I might add some tomatoes on the side too.

Thinking out loud (so please feel free not to read any further), I'm wondering where to go with this blog.  I've done the 30-30 (a pound a day) which was fun but no room for the occasional extra.  Great for losing weight and made the bank managed very happy, mind you.

I then changed it to the 5-2 budget which was five days at £1 and two days at £1.50.  That was also fun but my days at home are somewhat erratic and it became tricky to 'manage'.

The biggest problem with both of those was that pre-frozen stuff just wasn't getting used, either because I didn't know the cost or because it was too expensive to fit into the budget.  So it just sat there, shivering and unused!  :-)
Hence this one, the freezer challenge.  It needs to continue for at least another couple of months as, while I'm making inroads, there's still a long way to go.  I'm delighting in the harvest produce that's going in but still sighing over the bags of this, that and the other scattered around.

Then, after that, once reason has returned to the freezers, what next.  I don't know if you're aware of The Breadline Challenge (Google it for info) a UK based anti-food waste initiative by FoodCycle.  On their site it says:

"Join FoodCycle in the fight against food poverty.
An estimated 8 million people in the UK today are affected by food poverty and in FoodCycle projects up and down the country, people are struggling to make ends meet.
The Breadline Challenge is our flagship campaign to raise awareness of rising UK food poverty and of our work across the country.
Over the past three years, supporters have lived on a food and drink budget of £2.50 a day for one week and have raised over £20,000 to support FoodCycle’s work.
We’ll be back in November to take the fight against food poverty again!"

The main issue I have with all of that is that for £2.50 I can eat (and drink) like a king.  Way too much!  However, just £1 a day, while still doable (and many HAVE to be that frugal in the UK today) is very restrictive, especially for someone who likes to cook!  I am umming and ahing about £1.50 a day or maybe £2, but am undecided.  Fortunately, I have time to think about this one and I know that I am very lucky to have choices.  Many don't.

In the meanwhile, the freezer challenge continues and I'll try to get the recipe entries back on track - the recipe side of things has been sadly neglected recently.

If you've made it to here, well done and apologies for the ramble.  I'd appreciate any words of advice that you may have.  Thanks for reading

The freezer challenge: harvesting

Into the freezer yesterday went:
five packs of green beans
a bag of sliced courgette
five pots of sungold tomato passata

. . . but that's OK because one reason for this challenge was to clear space for the garden and allotment harvest and it will help my meals to be good and frugal later on in the year.
That feels good!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The freezer challenge: day 31

There are now definitely gaps in my freezer, soon to be filled with garden/allotment produce.  That's OK - it is one of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge anyway, to make space for the harvest.

Today's plans
B:  fried tomatoes on pikelets, fruit
L:  corn on the cob with a large salad, fruit
D:  steak, chips, green beans, natural yogurt

From the freezer:

Into the freezer
green beans
tomatoes (either just peeled or made into passata, probably the latter as it takes less room)

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The freezer challenge: day 30

Things have gone a bit topsy turvey right now so I'll post when I can.

B:  muesli, toast
L:  tomatoes on toast
D:  mince and courgette not-lasagne

From the freezer:
bread for toast
the not-lasagne

Into the freezer:
runner beans
sweet corn
. . . all from gardens.
Thank goodness there is now space for it all.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The freezer challenge: day 29

I have a load of garden/allotment veg to use plus the usual things like yogurt.

B:  muesli, yogurt, strawberries, peach - sounds healthy, doesn't it?  The muesli is a gift, the yogurt is home made and the strawberries are from the garden.  The peaches are from Aldi.
L:  third of a can of baked beans, toast, apple.  I'd prefer tomatoes on toast but the beans have to be used unless I freeze them!
D:  pork and veg curry (with added veg), runner beans, yogurt

From the freezer
yogurt (I froze some to see if it would still work as a starter for my yogurt*)
pork curry

*As said above, the yogurt was a bit of an experiment.  I wanted to see if I could freeze some and  then use it (thawed again) for making more yogurt and for my soda bread (I use yogurt instead of buttermilk).  It turned out more runny than expected and with quite a fine flavour, not as tangy is usual but delicious all the same.  I guess some of the bacteria was changed in the freezing process.  It'll work for the bread, I am sure, and it will make a good yogurt for smoothies and over cereal.
I found I was throwing some away as I wasn't using it fast enough at times.  This will stop the waste.

I'll try the bread today.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The freezer challenge: day 28

Things changed a bit yesterday.  I didn't have break fast until very late so ended up having two meals instead of three, so today's dinner will be what I should have had yesterday.

B:  scrambled egg on toast, apple
L:  beans on toast, yogurt
D:  vegetable and tomato sauce, runner bean pasta - not pasta at all, of course but I have one of these old fashioned runner bean slicers which will sort of spiralise them;
Image result for runner bean slicer
A  bit like this one but older!
Then maybe fruit or yogurt.

Not much out of the freezer today, just the bread.  Lovely and frugal though with home made bread, savers beans, vegetables from the garden and home made yogurt!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Recipe: pastry

I got this from Pat Parker who runs a collection of frugal groups on Facebook and it works for me.  it produces a pastry that's crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside and I really like it, not the least because it's dead easy.  It does have its limitations but works well for topping pies.

You need
SR flour
pinch salt
half the weight of the flour in oil (so, for example, 50g flour and 25g oil)
some cold water

Mix the salt with the flour and mash in the oil.  Add water and stir until the softish dough develops (not long).  Wrap and chill.
It's very soft and I often pat it out with my fingers rather than roll it out.

I've only used this for the tops of things; must try it for the underneath at some point