Friday, 13 March 2015

A frugal feast

I keep peering hopefully in the fridge, which is a bit mad.
Last day of the Challenge though, and even with an empty, echoey fridge, no one's gone hungry.
I thought I'd quickly whisk through how we've managed to stretch out our £15 supplies this week.

One of the first things I made was a tomato sauce, using the tinned toms, onion, sugar and a squeeze of ketchup (plus the end of a carton of passata). Very handy for pizzas and pasta, and I'm hanging on to what's left for the grand finale pizzas tonight.

Bread. Such a joy. We wouldn't have got through the week without homemade bread. I mixed the plain cheaper flour I bought with half a bag of strong white and some wholewheat flour from the cupboard. Worked a treat I've got to say. One kilo for each batch - enough for two decent sized, (flattish-looking) loaves. I did all the kneading before school pick up, and by the time we got home they'd risen, and were ready for the oven. Warm bread with a (rationed) slither of butter. So good.

The oat cookies kept the kids happy on the way home from school. We all decided they were better than my usual ones; probably because the porridge oats from Lidl are a bit finer than the oats I normally use. 39p a bag too - definitely be buying those again.

AND the 30p a bar dark chocolate. Of course no one noticed a change in the brownies; they disappeared just as quickly. No cries of, 'Mummy, I simply can't eat brownies with such a low cocoa content!'
Can you imagine.

A few spoonfuls of mango chutney livened up the mild chicken curry, so that's worth doing again too. We could have managed without splashing out 40p on rice - we didn't use much and I had a little left in the cupboard. The 40p could have gone towards getting some more milk…. I had to buy extra after the 10 year old (the only milk drinker) knocked the bottle over at breakfast. I hate cleaning milk off the floor, especially at 6.30 in the morning.

Making pancakes is another thing I don't really want to be doing at 6.30 in the morning - but the kids loved them, and for about 10 minutes I was the best mum ever.

The gnocchi was a revelation. I've never made it before - there only appears to be 3 basic ingredients (potato, flour, egg), but, frustratingly, ever recipe I found was different. So, I just mashed some spud, added an egg and mixed in flour until it looked sort of like dough. It was messy- even messier than my bread making, which is saying something, but everybody liked it. Even the fussy one.

I suppose I've missed fruit and a bit of green - our meals have been a rather samey yellowy orange colour… you've probably noticed. But we've all had plenty to eat; it's just meant more planning and more making for me. I've liked being one step ahead - though, as I've learnt from previous years, not quite enough to change my bumbling-along ways!

Still, I've picked up a few useful ideas and we've raised money for Comic Relief, so that's all good.

Fish and chips tomorrow.


  1. Great job, Tracey! You hit the nail on the head about planning and doing most of the work yourself. Maybe I should take the challenge. Enjoy your fish and chips tomorrow!!! Linda@Wetcreek Blog

    1. Thanks Linda!
      Do give it a go - think it's a good thing to try, on lots of levels!

  2. Give yourself a pat on the back for being not only resourceful, but thrifty and helping a charity. Will there be a glass of wine with the fish and chips?
    The bread and the brownies look very moreish. xx

    1. Too moreish - I'm having a bread break! Completely overdid it last week.
      Fab fish supper, washed down with a glass or two :) xx

  3. Brilliant! Well done you. I too never spend stacks of money on chocolate for brownies, I find that the cheaper chocolate tastes just as good, if not better! And yes, gnocchi is fiddly isn't it? But so worth making your own! :)

    1. Thanks Emma :) Definitely do gnocchi again, but will try following a recipe next time!

  4. Well done again! You did the challenge again :o)... and looks like you came up with some scrummy recipes. I am currently doing a sort of detox and feeling it with all the toxins clearing away - feels a bot like a cold. I'm looking at getting a lot more into baking again this year - homemade biscuits are so much nicer than shop bought! X

    1. going to try to keep up the baking - seem to have waves of enthusiasm - though not really having one this week….a bit baked out! x