Wednesday, 1 October 2014

It's the first of October!!!

Hello Dear Reader,

It's October, everywhere and somewhere this is a month about going without. The give up smoking campaign is called Stoptober, go sober for October is all about raising money for charity by giving up drinking for the month and donating the money instead. My stoptober is all about stopping any unnecessary spending for an entire month. We will buy food to cook at home, put fuel in the car, pay for the wood burner to be installed and buy wood for the winter but that will be that. Every year, I invite you all to join in and spend nothing but the basics for an entire month. This is a big ask for some people, you might join in for a week, a fortnight or even the whole month. For me, this means no craft items, no jumble sales, no charity shops. I would encourage everyone to have a go at saving as much as possible. Smokers and drinkers? Well, why not try giving that up too as every one will be giving something up and it will save you money.

I will also be sharing some interesting budget fish recipe with you this month. Many people think that fish is too expensive but there are alternatives such as tinned or frozen. I thought I would start with a thrifty but luxurious fish pie. This was a favourite for my children when growing up "Eye, eye, fishy pie" as it was known in our house.

It's dismal how little fish some Brits eat and yet it's so vital to our health. Our bodies do not make their own omega oils, which are essential to growth, hormone health, mental health and mental capacity. They are present in oily fish, which in the scheme of things also works out to be really thrift conscious food. I'm going to be cooking with smoked herrings, salmon, pilchards, sardines and trout. I'm going to share ways of using these fish simply and cheaply.

Here's my recipe for "Eye, eye, fishy pie".- serves 6.

A saucepan full  of mashed potato  - I always add some chopped parsley to this.

Any fish! I used, two smoked herring fillets 99p Morrisons
200g of frozen salmon - £1.40 - Aldi
100g frozen prawns - 92p Aldi
100g of frozen spinach - 13p Morrisons

Place the prawns and spinach into a casserole dish still frozen.

Microwave the salmon and kippers/smoked herrings for 3 minutes until cooked enough to pull apart. I removed the skin from the herrings, I like fish skin left on, DB likes it taken off, as usual, he wins.

Stir in a cheese sauce - how to make the cheese sauce can be found HERE

Top with the mashed potato and bake for 30 minutes or until the potato is crispy on top. As you can see, the cheese sauce leaked. It's not perfect, it's homemade and tasted lovely.

Six portions, #1 son is working locally and home for a week or two so feeding him too. We'll eat 'ding cuisine' tomorrow night too to save me standing in the kitchen, time and the cost of having the oven on.

We ate ours with some steamed green beans (thanks to the lovely couple who gave them to me, I know you read......they were the best beans I've ever eaten) as it had spinach in the pie, we didn't need anything else. So delicious, easy and really affordable. I hope no one thinks that fish is out of their price range, or difficult to cook or smelly. It's none of those things. 

For lots more fish ideas, go to the  website for lots more ideas. 

Right then my lovvies, who's up for some challenges this month? Stoptober? Stopping spending on anything that isn't essential for a month? Who is up to my eat more fish challenge? Your body and your purse will thank you this month.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Meatballs in black bean sauce with rice and vegetables.

Hello Dear Reader,

I feel really rough today. DB has had a battering of sorts and we're all under the weather. If you don't mind, today isn't about cooking but assembling food and sort of making a meal out of it. Gordon Ramsay would roll his eyes! I bought the black bean sauce from Approved Food for 60p which is less than half of what it costs else where.

I am officially rubbish at cooking rice! So, as I don't want to ruin it, I buy boil in the bag from Aldi for 59p for 4 sachets. I get three medium portions from each bag at 15p a bag, so 5p a portion.

32 meatballs, at £3.59. They were very very good and we did pig out on eight each, they are small but delicious. DB is going to have some in a bread roll for lunch tomorrow. I usually buy 24 (venison or lamb - which is cheaper than beef) meatballs from the wholesale butcher for 99p. If I didn't have access to such a butcher then these meatballs from Waitrose are a good price when I compared them with others in other supermarkets.

A quarter of a bag of mixed veg from Aldi. 22p

Cook the meatballs. I drained out the excess fat and cooked them further.

I cooked the rice and vegetables together. Then, when the meat balls were cooked, added the black bean sauce which is always delicious with beef.

We're both tired and this cheat's stick it together meal was just what I needed. Cheaty, lazy and eaten in pyjamas before I went off for an early night.

Over to you, who else resorts to cheating when really tired? or, is it just me?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx