What’s cooking in my frugal kitchen?

Cook once and re-heat later or even later. Top right – cooked beef from yesterday,  sliced with the electric slicer and will be served as the ‘same again’ today with our son and daughter. Middle shelf – cooked boiled potatoes will be used within a couple of days. I made an apple tart and cooked enough apples for another day. Today’s ‘pudding, will be crumble, pie or tart – I’ll wait for requests! Below is some home made coffee frosting for mum’s cake.

 Hi everyone,

I really hope you’re enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend as much as we are! This is the last time off for most people before the Christmas ‘shut down’ and will be the last time we can get together with friends and family until then as no-one, including Dearly Beloved will have any more time off until the winter break. A minor hiccup today, but as always pleasant. Dear Girly arrived at five this morning after being deposited here by her Dad; she’s fast asleep under a home made quilt (I’ll tell you if she likes it later) and we’ll find out how she is when she surfaces. It’s mum’s 72nd birthday, hence the cake and we’re off to see her this evening, plus #1 son will be along later! As you can imagine, the kitchen will be busy. I’ve added comments to each photo, which will be all the explanation you’ll need today.

This week’s baking – frosted lemon cake, if you want the recipe – just ask and I’ll write a tutorial – it went down really well with our visitors yesterday. We all had afternoon tea when we arrived back from our lakeside walk. Home made cake costs pennies to make and is a real treat at the weekend or as a gift for a birthday. Nothing beats it.

Here’s the apple and almond tart I made for my guests yesterday – it was served with custard (9p instant of course!) I made the pastry case, blind baked it and left to one side. I had previously cooked a pan full of peeled and cored Bramley apples from the garden, which I had left to cool. On the top is a almond flavoured sponge mix, which I topped with almonds. The almonds are expensive, so I only added them as I thought it would be special as a treat, usually, when I don’t have guests, I wouldn’t bother. You add a generous layer of cooked apple to the bottom of the tart and then spread the almond flavoured sponge mix on top, sprinkle with almonds and bake at 180 for about 30-40 minutes. Best served warm.

I made the tart a couple of days in advance and then warmed it in my mini-oven – it was enjoyed by all of us.

Does anyone buy Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire puddings? I always make my own.  One cup of flour, one cup of milk and one egg and a pinch of salt, beat together and leave to stand. At the end of roasting your meat, chicken or nut roast, get the oven hot to crisp up your roast potatoes and place a muffin tin in the oven with a spoon of oil in each dish – leave to get very, very hot – then carefully remove the dish from the oven and pour enough batter mixture into each ‘hole’ and put back in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. The result is stunning, fluffy little Yorkshire puddings. It’s the same recipe for pancake mix. So cheap and easy to make.

I know beef is prohibitively expensive, but don’t rule it out. Sometimes, it’s on offer . Keep your eyes open in the supermarket or ask one of the butchers. When we went shopping it was on offer. It was expensive, in comparison to chicken or pork, but we knew our friends and their children liked it, so we bought what we knew they liked. However, as it was much much cheaper than usual, I bought a large joint and it slices really easily on our electric slicing machine when cold. Slice it down, cover with gravy and warm through in the mini-oven until thoroughly re-heated. 

I slice meat down, adding the exact amount of slices that the two of us eat in one meal. I squish all the air out of the bag and into the freezer it goes. It’s great sliced and in a stir fry, chopped, added to gravy and veggies and put in a pie or just re-heated with gravy. Electricity is so expensive that you need to do the bulk of your cooking in one go and re-heat in a mini-oven or microwave. Also, if you have plenty of well budgetted meals in the freezer, you won’t be tempted to make any unwanted trips to the supermarket where you might be tempted to buy something else. 

If any of you buy ‘cake frosting’ you may know a lady called Betty? She must be rolling in money as her cake frosting costs a fortune! Again, I always make my own. You beat together half as much margarine as you have icing sugar until you have a smooth fondant. I added one teaspoon of instant coffee to a few drops of hot water, stirred together and added it to flavour the frosting. 

Here’s the home made coffee sponge cooling down, alongside the home  made coffee frosting, again, costing pennies.  This is my present for mum today, alongside some flowers from my garden and an apron I made for her. 
Here’s the finished and frosted Cappuccino cake, dusted with cocoa powder, but equally you could use grated chocolate to complete the topping. I know this will go down well with a ‘cuppa’ later when mum has her birthday ‘tea’.

Finally, I never throw anything away. The roast spuds and veggies are from yesterday’s lunch and they’ll save me time today. I’ll just re-heat and mash the boiled spuds I cooked yesterday; cook up some frozen broccoli  alongside the beef and a home made pudding made from the apples from the garden.

So dear reader – what do you buy that you wish you could make and what do you make that you would never dream of making?

See you soon,

Love Froogs xxxx

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21 thoughts on “What’s cooking in my frugal kitchen?

  1. I did enjoy that post; it's rather like what goes on in our kitchen. I usually freeze sliced meat with gravy in plastic boxes to keep the meat moist. Does freezing it in bags with the air pushed out work as well? We tend to use less meat in a stir fry, so if we have just 1 portion of meat left, we'll save it for a 2 person stir fry.

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  2. Bread, bread, bread! I find bread such a chore. I always forget about it rising with a 2 year old to chase around and I wind up with a flat, dense loaf. Plus, it just takes over my kitchen for the several hours it takes to make it (I try to make several loaves at a time and freeze them). I usually just buy it now, but at $2.25US/loaf, it's getting pricey.

    I always make and never buy tortillas. We live in Texas and eat a lot of tortillas. When I found out how easy they are too make, I made sure to always keep some homemade mix in the freezer. I just combine with water and shortening. And the homemade tortillas taste so much better than store-bought.

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  3. Definitely make my own yorkshire puds and pancake batter – the amount my teenage brood can eat would bankrupt us if I bought ready made – I think Aunt Bessie and Betty Crocker must have swiss bank accounts but there's none of my money in there 🙂

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  4. Froogs, thanks for the Yorkshire pudding recipe. How big are the muffin cups, and how many does this recipe fill? Yorkshire pudding isn't commonly eaten in the U.S., but I lovelovelove it!

    I might make a cake from a mix, but frosting does NOT come in a can at our house. Homemade is sooooooo much better and not that much effort.

    As for squishing the air out of a plastic bag: You can get a pretty decent vacuum by sucking the air out with a straw! Use a zippy bag and seal it around the straw. Suck out the air, pull out the straw and immediately finishing sealing the bag.

    Hope your DD is OK!

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  5. I do my yorkshires in regular muffin tins for US/Canada. I reheat cooked beef by putting it on a tray in a pan with a bit of water and cover with foil. I have one son who will not eat gravy. The meat turns out great.
    Pancakes over here have more flour in them than Yorkshires. They also have baking powder.

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  6. I have children at home so I always do homemade pizza and burgers when we fancy something less healthy! I would love to have the recipe for the frosted lemon cake. It looks delicious!

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  7. Your baking looks lovely. I like to bake, but have a few pound to loose so don't bake as much as i would like too. Today I made Raspberry jam, trying to run down freezer 'cos don't want to move it when we go north, found lots of fruit many years old, the Raspberry is scrumptious, so will get going on the blackcurrant, damson and plum, not sure I like goosberry jam tho'. I am on the (frugal) hunt for a slicer now I have seen how much you and Shirley
    Goode use one.Thank you for all the lovely recipes and frugal ideas. Ali.

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  8. I do try and make most things from scratch. I bake bread & cookies, make yougurt/mayo, corn tortillas and can or freeze most things grown in my garden or scavenged. I've recently raised 5 hens that are now providing eggs for the family. I cannot for the life of me make Yorkshire puddings. Mine are consistantly hockey pucks! WHY Froogs WHY?

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  9. Your cakes look super yummy and all that frosting 🙂

    I've started making half wholemeal half plain flour fruit loaves but I need to start making wholemeal bread and pasta myself

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  10. Brenda – your hockey puck Yorkies will improve if you put them into the hottest oven you can after having heated the oil/fat in the tins to smoking hot before you pour the mixture in – I turn my oven dial up as high as it will go prob to about 230 – 240 deg C and my oven tends to cook on the hot side too

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  11. Yes please for the recipe for the lemon cake!

    I went shopping yesterday (I'm in NZ) & saw Aunt Betty's frosting (icing) for just over $5 for a small can! I have never bought it – make it myself as it always tastes better.

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  12. I wish I could make my own fondant icing and marzipan but I find the shop bought ones are less faff and more uniform so they perform better.
    Puff pastry is the only other thing I buy instead of making.

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  13. Fab post – everything looks mouth watering!
    Hope your girl is ok x

    I have a question for you about freezing sliced meat to use for sandwiches. I tried it in a plastic bag but when defrosted in was full of moisture. Would sucking the air out have helped?

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