Chinese Fakeaway


Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been one of those days where I’ve really fancied junk food! You know the days when you’d really love a takeaway but the budget won’t include it. If you wanted to cook this and wanted it to stretch further then add rice and you’ll need less stir fry; we’re always trying to eat more veggies, so we had kale.

The kale was one of Lidl’s five offers and was 59p

The bag of stir fry veggies was 75p from a Farm Foods

I used three pork loin steaks cut up and were 33p each from Farm foods, 99p in total. 

I made the sweet and sour sauce from 60ml ketchup, 60ml of honey and 60ml of wine vinegar, with a heaped teaspoon of cornflour with 60ml of water. Mix well together and have ready. 40p. 

I used KTC ginger and garlic which is 80p a jar and I used 2 tablespoons, which is about 1/10th of the jar, so 8p. 

Here’s how I made it. Be warned, its quick!

1. Boil the kettle and pour over the kale, this cooks in ten minutes.

2. Cut the defrosted pork steaks into strips.

3. Heat a wok or frying pan to smoking hot.

4. Add the bag of frozen stir fry veggies and pork and keep stirring.

5. When almost cooked, add 2 tablespoons of minced ginger and garlic. You can of course use fresh, but I keep this in my cupboard any way.

6. Stir well and add the sweet and sour sauce.

7. Stir until thickened. 

Serve with your choice of either rice or vegetables. £1.40 each. That pushes our budget a bit further than normal but hey, it’s way cheaper than a takeaway. I love a sweet and sour sauce and the balance of plenty of veg balances out all of that sugary honey. It was also great as I didn’t need to add any oil and takeaways are dripping in it! 

Over to you Dear Reader, what take away do you fake as you can make it more cheaply and far more healthily yourself? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Do you spring clean?

springcleaningchecklist

Hello Dear Reader,

We don’t have much spring left here! Spring is short lived here and before we know, it’ll be summer then we really won’t be home much or feel like emptying the pan cupboard when it gets warms. Spring cleaning is important to me as I get to give the house a good sort out and get rid of anything that’s clogging up my life. I live in a two up, two down and there’s no room to swing a small kitten so clutter just does not feature! Last weekend, I really got the bit between my teeth and my head feels so much better. I organised and deep cleaned my sewing room, which also doubles up as my office and as I spend a lot of time in there working, it’s a much better place in which to think and create now it’s fresh as well as very organised and tidy. It’s a great way to stock take and realise I have plenty of everything and I then know where everything is.

I love a to do list and love that feeling of ticking each job off one by one. I have a long weekend at the end of the week and I’d like to get at least two of these jobs down. I also like a realistic goal, there’s no point in thinking I will do it all as I just won’t. If I get more than two jobs done, then that’s a bonus.

I don’t know what you need to do but here’s my to do list.

Empty out wardrobe and drawers, check if I still fit any of the clothes and send the rest to the charity shop.

Take out summer clothes from the drawers under my bed and fill the drawers with winter jumpers.

Empty out and clean the airing cupboard, refold or iron any bedding. Take surplus to the charity shop.

Empty out the kitchen cupboards, one by one, wash down all the shelves and replace items, washing any with dust.

Empty out and clean out the dining room cupboards and paint the insides.

Wash and repaint skirting boards down stairs.

Paint the hall way – it makes it look cleaner and brighter with a coat of paint.

That’s just for starters!

I better get on with it, May is around the corner and it’ll be summer before we know it.

Over to you, who else has a good sort out and clean at a certain time of year?

Until tomorrow,

 

Britain’s cheapest supermarket ?

Hello Dear Reader,

This is NOT a sponsored post. I just wanted to save you some money.

You may have had Farm Foods in your area for a while but our nearest store in Bodmin has opened recently. I went there today for the first time and I thought I’d share my experience. 

Farm foods was started in Scotland and has been around for years and is a well respected discount retailer. It reminded me of Iceland in its earlier days, when it used to be cheaper than it now. Farm Foods had a lot of bulk offers and I made the most of those bulk offers and bought meat and veg multi pack offers. I thought the store would be fantastic for thrifty money savers who have a big freezer and want to stock up the pantry. I know of families who take a trip to farm foods once a month and fill up their chest freezer. I don’t blame them, it was certainly cheap

There were of course, as in any supermarket, plenty of convenience food and foods that make life easier., who can resist a kilo of meatballs for £3.33, I bought the chicken thighs, gammon steaks and pork loin steaks. They will certainly make my life easier. 

I’ve always been a fan of frozen food as nothing goes off or gets wasted. I know some people don’t like to buy any frozen food and that’s ok but if you get a chance, take a look and fill up your freezer. If the leaflet comes through your door, there are discount vouchers that you can tear off and take with you. I saved £2.50 off my £25 shop with my voucher. I bought frozen meat and veg, eggs, ice lollies and bacon, in fact loads to keep us going for quite a while.

Over to you, has anyone else been there? What did you think?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Thrifty sunny Saturday

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been a stunning sunny day here. We were up early and I’ve cleaned the house from top to bottom, changed the bedding and washed all the laundry and dried it in the line. I made buchwheat galettes for lunch, a favourite Breton recipe and I made enough so we can have them another day as well. I have a proper crêpe pan now that we brought back from France and it’ll get well used.

We’re one week down of a very thrifty six weeks where we need to put the financial brakes on for a while. But, I had to get some work shoes and found Clark’s outlet online and bought the shoes at less than half price. They are perfect and really comfortable. I’m hard on shoes and rarely get more than a year out of them as I spend all day on my feet.

We worked in the garden today, DB used up some premixed mortar and repaired the garden path and I found the garden furniture paint in the shed and gave the bench a couple of coats of paint. I’ve stored the paint away as there’s plenty enough for another year.

I reheated left over bits for our supper that wasn’t quite enough for a meal so I made some smoked mackerel pâte as a starter. I skinned the mackerel fillets, added 1/4 pot of fromage frais, 2 heaped tablespoons of horseradish sauce, tablespoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper. I blitzed the ingredients in the food processor.

We shared the bowlful and ate it with carrot sticks. It’s divine and we love it.

So, the house is clean, the garden is tidy, I have lovely new shoes on a budget, the laundry is clean and dry, the path is mended and the garden bench is bright and blue for spring. 

I’ll call today a thrifty success.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Bacon and vegetable risotto with steamed greens 


Hello Dear Reader, 

Quick recipe tonight, one of those, straight through the door, make it and eat it as quickly as you can. 

Firstly, I shredded a bag of spring greens and put them in the steamer.

I boiled the kettle and made 750ml litre of chicken stock.

I chopped one onion,

1/2 small pack of lean bacon

1/4 bag of mixed frozen veggies 

1 1/2 cups of risotto rice.

I added the onions and bacon to a pan and fried it without any other oil

I added the veggies and continued to stir with the other ingredients for ten minutes.

I added the rice and stock in one go.

I kept stirring until all the stock was absorbed. If the rice isn’t cooked to your liking, add some boiling water and continue to cook. 

Normally, risotto is glistening from the addition of butter or oil but it’s not needed as the starch of the rice makes it glossy and it was really delicious and the pile of greens just made it even more tasty.

Give it a try. If you’re following slimming world, this has no syns.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Pancake fillings?

Hello Dear Reader,

Tonight’s supper didn’t go well! Never mind, it was edible, gluten free and relatively healthy. I’d previously made some buckwheat pancakes and tonight I had a filling of mushrooms, spinach and fromage frais. I cooked the mushrooms in frylight (not butter) and then added the spinach (previously frozen) and then I added garlic and fromage frais. That didn’t work and the fromage frais just disappeared. 

To compensate, I added a small amount of half fat emmenthal. Next time, I’ll make a small amount of béchamel sauce and add a little cheese. 

The salad and couple of slices of ham were lovely. Lesson learned? Eat fromage frais cold with fruit and don’t cook with it.

Over to you, have you ever had a cooking disaster ? What went wrong and what will you do differently next time?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Save money: good food


Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve just caught up on the TV show where a ‘wasteful’ family are shown as as an extreme example of over spending on food. One family in question spent £250 a week in food including plenty of  takeaways. The family appeared very busy, had slipped into bad habits and would buy food without thinking about what they already had and what they would do with the food they put in the trolley. The end result was food waste. Now, it’s easy to get into bad habits when people are busy.

We’re a busy couple, with full time careers, work to do at home,  dogs to walk and a home to look after so we are not going to be kitchen martyrs and stand in the kitchen every night thinking about what we’re going to eat. I make sure we eat quickly, cheaply and eat the food we enjoy. A little bit of planning now and then, not even every week saves me time, effort and certainly money. 

If I were to work with any of the families on the show, I’d give them the following help.

1. Stock take what you already have.

2. Create menu ideas with what you have. If you’ve a pile of lentils/tinned pears/cheese , then a simple google search of “recipes with lentils” or whatever ingredient you have to give you some ideas of what to do with it.

3. Try and create as many ideas with what you already have.

4. If you have a whole pile of durable, in date food that you think you’re not going to use, bag it up and take it to a food bank collection point. 

5. If you have spare food you don’t think you’ll eat soon, investigate/google how to freeze it. Then use it later.

6. Eat down what you have.

7. Create a main meal menu plan for the week ahead. It doesn’t have to be fancy, you don’t even need to be able to cook. Your meal plan could just say baked potatoes and beans, fish fingers, oven chips and salad, or eggs on toast, just so you have an idea of what you’re going to eat.

8. Plan your lunches, breakfast and snacks. Breakfast here is always toast or cereals, snacks are apples or bananas, lunches are sandwiches, soup, or reheated leftovers. One standard size box of cornflakes feeds both of us breakfast for a week. 

9. When you shop, you’ll also need to buy cleaning products and toiletries, so before you create a list, stock take everything you have.

10. Now you’re ready to create a list. Remember to take it with you and stick to it. A bargain is no use to you if it’s not on the list. 

All of that seems like a massive task but anything you do for the first time is often really difficult. This gets easier as you don’t have a stock of food you’re not going to eat, you’ll know what you have and you’ll have menu plans for the week ahead. Give yourself a break now and then by batch cooking and having food in the freezer for the nights you don’t want to cook. Another time saver is to plan a ‘student food’ night and relive your youth with scrambled eggs or beans on toast or a plain old bacon or sausage sandwich. Of course, home cooking is far more fun but don’t beat yourself up if you’re just not a cook.

It’s easy to think, we don’t have time or planning is too much bother but it will save time and money in the long run.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Cooking ahead saves waste


Hello Dear Reader,

I know it Monday, but it feels like a Sunday, when I usually cook for the week ahead. I spent yesterday catching up on myself. It’s early evening now, it’s getting cooler and we’ve lit the wood stove. I’ve meal prepped for a few days.

I cooked roast chicken for today and tomorrow. Chicken and leek casserole for the freezer.

Here’s how I made that

8 chicken thighs (2.50 in Asda) – I removed the skins, cooked them in a separate dish and chopped the skin up for the dogs and added it to their supper bowls.

3 leeks, chopped and washed – 20p today – Asda

1 red pepper – finely sliced – 30p – Asda

Chicken stock pot – 25p with 500ml water

3 carrots – 6p – 20p a bag today in Asda.

Clove of garlic crushed, salt and plenty of pepper

Place in the oven at 180 for an hour an a half.

I also made minestrone soup, which is more of a veggie stew with GF pasta. I’ll take the reheatable mugs into work each day. 

To make these I used

1 pack of leeks chopped up

4 chopped carrots

1 yellow pepper

1 tin of tomatoes 

1 veggie stock pot and 1 litre of water

1 tin of mixed beans

I simmered all of those ingredients until the carrots were soft, about 30 minutes.

I added a cup if pasta and continued to cook until the pasta was soft.

2 minutes in the microwave is all it needs for lunch.

Whilst the oven was on, I popped in four jacket potatoes. I spray them with frylight. They need about an hour. I just microwave when we need them. They can even be frozen until I need to use them. They’ll go well with chicken casserole.

I bought a small chicken and roasted it, we’ll eat one meal tonight and we’ll eat ding cuisine tomorrow when we get home.

Even though it was a small chicke, there was enough to pull off the carcass and one leg for DB’s sandwiches.

I chopped the chicken and added, 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, 1 tsbsp of mango chutney and a sprinkle of curry powder. 

DB has sandwiches for three days and they keep well in the fridge.

Well, that’s me sorted up to Thursday.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Get on the thrifty train


Hello Dear Reader,

If you ever want a thrifty staple to add to your menu, then you won’t go far wrong with a stack of buckwheat pancakes. I’d never eaten them before we went to Brittany and when I found out I could buy the flour here (I found it in Waitrose) I’ve made them at home ever since. It’s a simple recipe

330g buckwheat flour 

75cl water

10g salt (it seems a lot but it doesn’t work if you use less)

1 egg

Some melted butter

Add the salt to the flour and mix well.

Beat the egg and water together,

Combine everything. Now traditionally, you beat that with a wooden spoon for about fifteen minutes. I use a k-mix!

Add some melted butter to a crêpe pan, and to the batter mix. Use a ladle to add the very runny batter to the pan and move the batter around by moving the pan. Cook a stack and keep them n the fridge. I use them as gluten free wraps and as meal staples.

I’ve got a very thrifty few weeks ahead of me. I have one more ferry trip to pay for and then need to put money aside to build another internal wall in Huelgoat. We’ll have to batten down the financial hatches for weeks ahead. It might seem like a little saving but it just means I don’t pop to the supermarket and top up. Here’s my menu plan for my main meals for the week ahead.

Buckwheat pancakes with mushrooms and spinach.

Veggie pasta bake.

Smoked mackerel fish cakes with salad.

Bacon and pea risotto 

Baked potatoes with baked beans and grated cheese

Chicken stew – made from chicken thighs with mash

Roast pork shoulder for Sunday lunch 

All extremely cheap, simple to cook and will keep my grocery budget to £30 a week. I’ll keep the utility costs low and we’ll also keep every other expense to a minimum.

The aim? To keep a smile on my face whilst we get there.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Not a lot, very slowly


Hello Dear Reader,

What a lovely two weeks.

Home cooked food, salads, chilled rosé wine and good company.

We helped some neighbours move furniture.

We got to know the French chaps next door (teachers).

We met the old guy, who wears clogs and lives with a blue eyed cat, opposite us, who chatted to us where he previously used to scuttle indoors.

We had a great night out (lock in!) with the locals.

We tidied the woodland, found and stacked logs, cleaned out the wood shed and sat in front of the fire each night.

Went to the charity shop in Morlaix and bought some furniture.

We built a wall with a door.

We painted a room.

We gave the house a good clean.

It was relaxing and we did not a lot, very slowly.

Tucked it up safely and waved goodbye.

We’ll be back in summer.

I’ll see you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx