Where growing, making & good living come together

This week’s meal plan – garden a go go!

Posted by on Monday 27 June 2011 in weekly meal plans | 8 comments

Our first Swillington Farm meat box arrived last Thursday night – all the (fresh) meat we’re eating this week (and hopefully for the next three weeks!) will come from that. Most of it went in the freezer so we’ll have it across the month and like a veg box, we don’t have any choice in what’s in there, so it should encourage us to some try different things. We had some of the bacon & some of the sausages for breakfast over the weekend and I also jointed the chicken – we froze the breasts (which each weighed over 250g/half a lb!) and had the rest on Saturday/Sunday. Tuesday’s soup comes from stock from the carcass – it was supposed to be for eating today but it’s far too hot for that today!

As for the title for this one – the garden is finally providing! We’ve been having spots of salad for a few weeks (much later than last year for some reason) but various things are finally starting to shine. I think there is something from our garden – either veg or eggs – in every meal, hurrah :)

Sunday breakfast – eggs & sausage
Sunday lunch – leftover chicken & potatoes, with homegrown garlicky broad beans & salad
Sunday dinner – dining out – curry

Monday lunchmarrow flower fritters with salad
Monday dinner – rump steak with purple sprouting broccoli, homegrown potatoes, broad beans & salad

Tuesday lunch – chicken & sweetcorn soup
Tuesday dinner – pasta with chorizo, pepper & homegrown courgette

Wednesday lunch – leftover chicken & sweetcorn soup
Wednesday dinner – chicken jalfrezi with lemon rice

Thursday lunch – bread & meat with broad bean salad
Thursday dinner – leftover chicken jalfrezi with lemon rice

Friday lunch – curried egg mayo with bread
Friday dinner – homemade pizza, with salad

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Baking things that’ll last

Posted by on Friday 10 September 2010 in cooking, frugal, zero waste | 14 comments

I love baking bread, cakes and biscuits – the process is fun, the product is tasty and it’s very often cheaper than buying them ready-made from a supermarket. But I don’t have the time to bake every day at the moment – and that often results in having to buy expensive, pale imitations of nomminess, and sometimes food waste too.

Our slow rise bread is great – it’s edible as long as there is any to be eaten. Because it’s not quite so fluffy as supermarket bread, it doesn’t feel as instantly stale and it’s fine as fresh bread for three days or so, then good for toast for a couple more days. Other baked goods though – scones, cakes, biscuits – tend to be lovely on the first two days but then quickly stale – either going soggy or hard depending on which is undesirable in the item.

So what do you do to make sure your baked good will last until you can bake again?

Airtight containers (typically old ice cream tubs) don’t seem to help that much – perhaps with biscuits (cookies) I need something else in there to absorb the moisture… rice perhaps?

Freezing breads & cakes is a possibility – anyone got any preference to freezing them before or after baking (or part-baked)? I keep meaning to freeze homemade pizza dough – it can be frozen at any stage from after kneading or rising, through to full prepared pizza – does anyone have any preferences for freezing at any particular stage?

As for biscuits, I like the idea of making a roll of dough, which is then frozen and sliced & baked on demand (like for these Earl Grey tea thins) – but with all this breads, cakes and pizza dough, I suspect our freezer will quickly fill up! So what are your favourite longer-life biscuit tricks?

Any thoughts, recipes, suggestions etc would be gratefully received!

(Photo by hisks)

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Big portions vs food waste: a dilemma

Posted by on Tuesday 6 July 2010 in eating, frugal | 1 comment

While going about our chores, we had lunch in Saltaire on Saturday. We only wanted something light so got sandwiches – but when they arrived, the plates piled high with food – enormous sandwiches, stacks of salad and a generous portion of homemade coleslaw. It’s not often we’re overfaced by food portions but it happened there.

Big portions are obviously good from a being-cheap point of view – if we go back there again, we’ll half the cost by sharing and still probably have enough to eat – and people feel better about paying the (frankly quite expense) prices if they get so much food they can’t eat it. But we both ended up leaving food. Since they were covered in salad dressing and sandwich fillings, the stuff we left probably won’t be composted (if the cafe composts their leftovers at all) so our meal generated food waste that will be sent to landfill.

I like food and I like getting as much for my money as possible but I don’t like stuff going to waste. I might have been happy as a frugal bunny but sad as a waste-reducing greenie.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice? Where does your preference lie – in perceived value for money or minimal waste?

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