frugal cooking

18April

Focaccia with Mozzarella - Paul Hollywood

Thank you Paul Hollywood but Damn, it was so close to being in the oven too long!!!

Focaccia with Mozzarella - Paul Hollywood

Already decided on an Elizabeth David recipe for tea tonight but more on that in a seperate entry.

However I came back from the shops without the accompanying bread, but rather than return and correct my mistake I decided to turn to a Paul Hollywood Bread recipe for Focaccia Pugliese with Mozzarella.

Our kitchen is in disarray because of the building works and after some time searching I had to conclude that I didnt have any strong white flour - but I did have plain white flour and yeast and everything else in the recipe including the Mozzarella, so I decided to go for it anyway.

 

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18April

Chiocciole al Mascarpone e Noce by Elizabeth David

A few walnuts and a tub of cream cheese

Chiocciole al Mascarpone e Noce by Elizabeth David

It was John Torode who said this week on Masterchef that Elizabeth David was his inspiration, and it was this which made me revisit my collection of Elizabeth David Books.  It was her book on Soup which was the inspiration for Tiny Red Soup this week and so I returned to her works for help with dinner tonight.

I wanted Italian so it was to her Italian Food that I turned.  I also wanted to do something which was really simple and really frugal, so it seems that a slight twist on her recipe would tick all boxes.

So I changed the mascarpone for Cream cheese added some walnuts and job done

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15April

Tiny Red Soup

A five minute quick cook soup

Tiny Red Soup

The name of this soup is quite wrong, its not the soup which is tiny but the items you put in it.

It is however a perfect soup to make for lunch and it can be constructed, cooked and cooled enough to consume in just fifteen minutes.

Its made out of just onion, carrot, stock and some seasoning (although I also put a little red pepper in mine, along with some Tiny Soup Pasta because I am swimming in fresh egg pasta after last nights shenanigans).

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14April

A mountain of Pasta

Well that's what happens when you are in the mood for making Pasta!'

A mountain of Pasta

It all started out quite innocently really.  We were planning on having a simple tea of Jacket Potatoes topped with a rather indulgent Stilton cheese.  None of that 'whats wrong with  Cheddar out of the fridge' rubbish today. We had planned for this - it was on the meal plan so Jackets and Blue cheese it was.

And very lovely and satisfying they were too.

Where it all went wrong was when I came to tidy away.  There was quite a lot of Stilton still left on the board where I had grated it, and rather than just pop it in to a freezerbag, and put it in the fridge, or freezer, I decided to take the rather bold step of deciding that at 7pm it was time to make pasta.

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12April

Cauliflower Soup with mini dumplings

Using up soured cream and Bacon Lardons

Cauliflower Soup with mini dumplings

I found myself wanting to cook this afternoon.  Yes the Roast Dinner was a triumph, as always, and I had considered a cake but this is a lovely warm soup for a day that makes you feel like Spring has deserted us.

Cauliflower however has a very mild taste so dont feel shy with the black pepper and other flavourings, but be reasonably careful in adding any additional salt as both the Salty bacon and the dumplings will bring their own contribution.

This soup isnt 'zapped' but remains its own diced vegetable texture so take a little extra care with your vegetable preparation.   It is however worth the trouble and brings a delicious change to the traditional Sunday Tea.

Cauliflowersoupanddumplings

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11April

Lamb burgers with baby cajun roasties to feed six

Revisiting the Lamb Burger but adding Halloumi

Lamb burgers with baby cajun roasties to feed six

Back in November 2013 I first tried Lamb and Feta Burgers, today I made them again, but this time I served them in a bun, like a real Burger should be and gave them some added oooomph by also including a slice or two of griddled Halloumi

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11April

Zesty Mango Chicken one tray bake

So much more exciting than Rice and Beans and a great alternative to Curry

Zesty Mango Chicken one tray bake

I love limes.  I quite like fruit with Chicken. The idea of putting Mango in with chicken isnt a new one, and its easy to get 'ready to eat' Mangos in the shops at the moment so it made sense to make a tray bake incorporating these elements

Cooking Rice in the oven isnt something I am used to, but I was pretty sure I would be okay with it as long as I kept an eye on the rice and ensured it had enough fluid to cook it before drying it out, and then to stretch the dish further, I added a drained tin of Kidney Beans.  What I ended up with was a dish which easily fed four and probably could have fed five.  Served with Naan Breads and Mango Chutney its a great and lighter alternative to Chicken Curry.

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11April

A matter of Asparagus

So you have waited three years and you have the chance to cut your first Asparagus spear

A matter of Asparagus

Waiting..................waiting.................waiting.

Thats what I have been doing for the past three years.

No cutting of the Aspargus spears for the first three years, and then we are in 2015 and the first spear which appears, I had to cut.

However what do you do with just one home grown spear of Asparagus?

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11April

Pork Meatballs with Butterbean Stew

Hearty meal for four.......real crowd pleaser

Pork Meatballs with Butterbean Stew

This week I again had my parents to stay.  Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that my Mother has a restrictive diet and has to be careful with both Wheat and Dairy and as such this really limits what we can eat.......especially when I ideally want to put the whole meal in the oven and forget about it.

This need combined with my current adventures with Butter Beans lead me to the following dish

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04April

Butterbeans and alternative Frittata recipe

Reducing the Fat in egg dishes

Butterbeans and alternative Frittata recipe

I love a frittata, totally love a frittata.  Very happy to make a three egg frittata and then cut in to quarters, then we get four breakfasts for a few pence.

Howevever I found myself pondering both my love of butter beans and my desire to reduce the fat content in my diet

Butterbeans have a zero fat content (well nearly!) and are perfect mashed as a replacement to potatoes so it seemed like the combination needed to be tried.

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02April

Beef with Parsley Dumplings

Its not quite spring yet so time for another frugal casserole

Beef with Parsley Dumplings

Okay so here is probably the last time we have casserole this winter.  I put this together on Sunday whilst I was making the Sunday Roast and then just reheated it in the oven for around 90 minutes when I was ready for it to be our family tea.

Beef really benefits from cooking and then cooling, and then reheating.  It really allows the meat to become tender and for the flavours to infuse.  Beef mince is the same, a cottage pie assembled, cooled and then reheated prior to serving is always better than one cooked from scratch on the day of eating.  For those of use looking to get batch cooking or cooking with less meat and more 'bulking' materials then Beef is always a good place to start.  This dish bulks with cheap root vegetables and is served with a very filling dumpling.  Its a firm family favourite. 

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21March

Mini Chicken and Vegetable Pies

You can make these Curried Chicken Pies by adding 2 tsp of mild curry powder with the onions

Mini Chicken and Vegetable Pies

Still on a 'pie' kick, todays pie was Chicken and Vegetable 

I only made two, because Im travelling next week and wanted to leave a couple of family meals in the fridge so I made two individual portions and then, when they had cooled down put their lids on.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can use left over chicken, so its a good way to use up the Sunday Roast.  All the vegetables are inside the pie so you dont need to worry about sides.

Here is the recipe for four portions, but feel free to scale it up and down and change the ingredients dependent what you have in the fridge, a little chorizo, some tinned sweet corn, some Mushrooms............try some or all of  them

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21March

Making one Rump steak serve Four

Steak, Mustard and Potato Pie

Making one Rump steak serve Four

Every now and then I have the overwhelming desire to make some pies.  Todays  Pie Desire was caused by tidying the greenhouse.  I dug up my thyme in order to divide the plant and, what I am sure will be a pointless exercise, to try and get it to grow in a tidy row rather than a messy bush.

The smell of my hands after handling the plant made me think of steak and potatoes.  As far as the garden is concerned we are still in Winter, its bringing forth nothing interesting at present (despite the past fortnight of beautiful weather).

The shops do have a range of more seasonal veggies and one of my favourites when they are available are shallots.  So I went to the shops whilst my plan was still 'hatching in my head'

 

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07February

Homemade Kebab and Chips

Save money on take-aways

Homemade Kebab and Chips

Its a given that take-aways are an expensive way to feed a family.  Its always cheaper to make your own, but it does take a little thought and forward planning, but not much.

There are loads of meal ideas here and also elsewhere on the internet for using a £2.50 500g pack of beef mince, so theres no excuse really to pick an extraone up from time to time and keep it in the freezer.

This recipe easily makes nine 'sausage' sized kebabs.  You could mix lamb and beef mince together for a change, or if you have less mince, cook up a little red lentils, or use some gently 'blitzed' chickpeas - theres loads of ways to extend the amount of meals you can get from a packet of mince.

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02February

Grilled Lime Chicken Skewers and grilled Halloumi

Grilled Chicken

Grilled Lime Chicken Skewers and grilled Halloumi

This is a simple dish, but you have to prepare it in advance to allow the chicken to marinate.

These quantities serve four, but easily adjusts to feed more or less people, and feel free to change the chicken breast for chicken thighs if you want to use a cheaper cut and your family are happy with darker chicken meat.

The halloumi slices are approximately two slices per person, and are not intrinsic to the dish, but the saltiness of the cheese cuts through the acid of the lime maranade.  Either make this dish as the recipe describes or put the chicken pieces on skewers, alternated by cubes of cheese, and cook under a hot grill. 

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Welcome to the New Frugal Foods Website - We have had a make over, and have added a few things along the way. Why not also take a look at our Amazon shop with our favourite Cookery Books? Our very popular Blog will continue to give you great ideas for frugal family meals and using up your left overs but we are also working on some additional items to look out for too.

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