Easy and Delicious Aubergine Bake – 95p per portion

I absolutely love aubergines. When I see that deep purple almost black colour of the skin, it makes me so happy. It’s strange because I know that aubergines weren’t used a lot back home in Denmark, however, I clearly remember my mum buying them (occasionally) and we must have eaten them as well… I have no recollection of eating them in Denmark!

 Since I arrived in the UK Aubergines are still one of the vegetables that I love to cook with. I have tried many different recipes. Aubergines aren’t technically a vegetable but a fruit from the same category as the tomato! Luckily the husband also enjoys aubergines, for Baby Blip, the jury is still out on Aubergines.

Baby “Flipper” is almost 10 months and is still only happy having breast milk (mummy is getting very tired). However, he has lately at least started to put some food in his mouth… a bit of pizza today! HURRAH!!!!!  Hopefully, by the time he is 18 he will be happy eating normal food… He was happy to squeeze and play with the Aubergine bake I made today… however, none of it touched his lips. But hey, one day!

I have tried purees and all the tricks under the sun, however, he is stubborn like his mummy and know what he wants.

The dish I made today is really simple, this year I am growing thyme and oregano outside so using fresh herbs. however, you could just substitute it for dried herbs instead.

I added frozen spinach to the dish which was lovely. However, next time I would love to try and layer it with potatoes, this would help give the dish a bit of texture. I often buy Aubergines from my local market, they normally do two for a pound. However, they are widely available from super markets as well. This dish is meat free, however, you could add some bacon to it or even some sausage meat between the layers. I like to make my own bread crumbs with the ends of bread. It’s cheap and easy.

I served the dish with garlic bread.

This recipe serves 4 people, I made it in foil trays, so we could freeze one portion.

Aubergine Bake

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium aubergines

2 tbsp oil

1 medium onion finely chopped

½ large leek – white part (optional)

2 clove garlic finely chopped

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

100g cream cheese

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp thyme

75g fresh spinach

3 tbsp bread crumbs

3 tbsp grated mature cheddar

Salt and pepper

 

Method:

  1. Cut the aubergines into 1 cm long slices, lengthwise. Lay them in one layer on a baking tray (or a grill pan) and lightly brush with oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Now cook them until slightly browned, then turn them over and season again and cook until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, clean and chop up the leek finely.
  3. Put the remaining oil in a pan and on medium heat add the garlic, leek and onion and cook until translucent.
  4. Pour in the chopped tomato, the thyme and oregano and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, the consistency should be rather thick.
  5. Assemble the dish by, adding half the aubergines to the bottom of an oven proof dish, then spread the cream cheese on top of it. Then add a layer of tomato sauce (1/3 of the tomato sauce) a layer of spinach and top with the remaining aubergines. Now add the remaining tomato sauce on top and finish off with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
  6. Cook at 200C in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread and salad

 

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per June 2018).

 

Aubergines £1.40

Oil 1p

Onion 10p

Leek 25p

Garlic 6p

Tin Tomatoes 30p

Cream cheese 55p

1 tbsp oregano 5p

1 tbsp thyme 5p

Spinach 30p

Bread Crumbs 20p

Cheddar (£2.50/500g)x100g = 50p

Salt and pepper 2p

Total amount = £3.79

Per portion = 95p

 

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Vegetarian Chickpea Curry! (60p per person)

It has been a while since I have written a recipe or even updated my blog. But so much has happened in the last year. Baby Flipper is getting big, 10 months now, but he refuses to eat anything except my milk. I so enjoy breastfeeding, but it is draining that he never wants anything else. However, I’m sure that before he turns 18 he will have learned to eat proper food (I’m not breastfeeding that long!!!). However, Baby Flipper is growing really well, he is gaining weight and so content.

joshii & noah

His big brother “Blip” is almost 4 years old and becoming a fantastic little boy. He can count to 10 in Danish and English and almost to 20 in English. He understands all Danish but still prefer replying in English. He no longer uses a dummy!! JUBIIII and is still so in love with his little brother. He can’t stop giving him kisses and hugs. They are the two most amazing things that ever happened to me. Continue reading Vegetarian Chickpea Curry! (60p per person)

Sophie goes on holiday

Sometimes with a busy family life it’s easy to forget to appreciate the small things in life. It’s so easy to forget to appreciate the small moments in life. In the autumn, just a few months after I gave birth to Baby “Flipper”, the husband was working from home one Saturday. This meant that Toddler “Blip”, Me and Baby “Flipper” had to try and not disturb daddy.  With a toddler and a baby in tow this is much easier said than done. Blip isn’t big enough to fully understand what works means and constantly tries and disturb daddy.

The sun was shining but it was freezing cold outside, however, as I was getting more and more irritated inside trying to not disturb daddy, I decided to take both the kids out for a walk. In Denmark we say, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Blip wanted a picnic I packed him a sandwich and juice and of for a walk and picnic we went.

Flipper was wrapped up nice and warm in his pram and Blip in a warm jacket. Off we went for a walk, Blip had his bellowed elephant Sophie with him.

We walked through this wooden kind of forest and over a bridge, to a playground. Blip was exploring the nature, flowers, stones everything you can find in the forest. When we got to the big bridge he was fascinated seeing all the cars driving underneath. We spend a whilst just looking at it. Then finally we got to the playground and had our picnic. I had brought a small towel with me to sit on, just so you had the feeling of picnic.

sophie and joshii sopha

Blip was so excited and had such a good time, I joined in and we played “We are going on a bear hunt” I climbed with Blip op on all the playground features and we had a giggle. Flipper was sleeping and nice and cosy in his pram, finally it was time to get home.

When we got home I realised that Blip had lost his blue nosed elephant Sophie on the trip. I left him with daddy and re-traced our trip. But Sophie was nowhere to be found… I looked everywhere. That evening Blip couldn’t sleep as he was so sad that Sophie was gone. In the end I told him that Sophie had gone on holiday and we talked about what she would be experiencing on her journey.

Next morning Blip told me that he was waiting for his postcards from Sophie and that she soon we come home to him.

I ended up buying a replacement (4 in the end as they all where the wrong sizes except the last one) on eBay. I was lucky that the lovely members of The Hygge Nook (a group on Facebook) were so kind and offered to send Blip lots of postcards, as if they were from Sophie.

Within a few days we started to receive postcards, we got from America, Canada, Different places in the UK, and Australia. Every morning Blip would run to the door and check if there was news from Sophie. We also received a baby brother to Sophie – a tiny elephant. And a card from Millie the cat that Sophie visited in Scotland.

 

I also posted on our local pages if anyone had found her, 3 weeks later (I still hadn’t received the correct replacement) I got a message on Facebook that she had been found in a charity shop and a lovely man had bought her and she was delivered back to us. – It amazing what kind people are around, normally we only hear the bad stories

Finally, we got Sophie home again, however, she was rather dirty. I gave her a wash and ensured she was ready for when Blip returned from pre-school. She was standing inside the door with a tiny suitcase… Never have I seen him so happy being reunited with his elephant.

It’s now about 4 months since this happened and he still talks about her journeys, we still got all the postcards. The other day he said to me… Can she go on holiday again (my answer) NOOOO!

However, creating the picnic and when she was lost coming up with the story about her on the holiday and getting her returned with the small suitcase was amazing. It will always be surrounded by a mystery and a bit of hygge connected with it.

Blip still sleeps with his Sophie every evening. I want to say a big THANK YOU to all the members of the Hygge Nook… You guys are amazing.

In the end it all turned out lovely, and it is so  lovely to be a part of your children’s life and try and create the best childhood you can for them. It’s about remembering that the best times doesn’t need to cost money and you can experience hygge if you have an open mind and look for it.

 

 

 

Delicious Orange Shortbreads (12p a piece)- What is Hygge?

What is Hygge? Is it baking Orange Shortbreads with Toddler “Blip”?

It’s funny to see how the Danish expression Hygge has become so popular all over the world.

In lots of magazines, and big furniture stores or even in super markets you will see different items or articles about hygge. This includes how to experience proper Danish hygge or creative the feeling of hygge.

Strangely enough a lot of it seems to turn its focus on tea candles and creating the right atmosphere in your house.

Sometimes when I read articles like this I feel exhausted by just looking at it, as it sounds like experiencing takes quite an effort, or does it?

It is true that you can create a lovely cosy atmosphere with blankets, candles and lots of lovely things, but this in itself does not mean you will have a lovely hyggelig time.

Continue reading Delicious Orange Shortbreads (12p a piece)- What is Hygge?

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom “Leftover” Pie (£1.45 per portion)

Now the other day me and Toddler “Blip” had the Lemony chicken pasta, well he just had the plain pasta as he wasn’t feeling too well. His chest sounded really wheezy, luckily,after a good night sleep he seemed better. I decided to keep him home from nursery though.

I know for a fact that I don’t like going to work, if I’m not 100% and therefore I don’t believe he would like to go to nursery before he is feeling well again. Luckily, he loves being home with me and Baby “Flipper”. I love to see them together and how much love they got for each other. Toddler “Blip” adores his little brother and can’t stop giving him cuddles and kisses.


It was Halloween not long ago and Toddler “Blip” was absolutely obsessed with it, therefore, the pie we ended up making was “Halloween” inspired. Saying that, it was the wrong pastry to use if wanting to decorate it (which I knew), but he had fun, which was the most important part.


What was even more impressive is that he was willing to try the pie after, and he ate quite a bit of it

This recipe can be made either from the leftovers, just add the nutmeg, mushrooms and bacon, and add the pie lid, alternatively make it from scratch following the steps below. 


Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

4 large closed cup mushrooms
3 streaky bacon rashers
Puff pastry
2 Onions, sliced
2 Leeks, sliced
2 Courgettes, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, Chopped
Thyme, 20 sprigs (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Chicken breasts
200 ml Chicken Stock
100 ml Crème Fraiche
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vegetable oil
½ – 1  Lemon depending on taste
Zest of one Lemon 

Method:

Start by thinly slicing the onions and put in a bowl. Then clean and slice the leeks into fine slices and cut the courgettes into 1 cm strips and add to the bowl and set aside.

Grate the garlic cloves and have it ready.  Also Pick the thyme leaves and set aside for later in the cook.  

Cut the mushrooms into slices.

Now, in a frying pan, fry the bacon until cooked but not crispy, take the bacon aside and fry the mushrooms in the fat from the bacon. Cut the bacon into 1 cm strips. Whilst mushrooms are cooking cut the chicken into 2 cm pieces.

When the mushrooms are cooked put aside together with the bacon. In the same frying pan add 1 tbsp of oil and cook the chicken for about 6 minutes or until brown all over. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Turn the heat to a medium heat on the frying pan and add the onions, leeks and courgettes to the pan you cooked the chicken in. Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Then return the chicken to your pan with the vegetables, the mushrooms and bacon, and add 200 ml of chicken stock to the pan together with 1 tsp of nutmeg, stir it and bring it to the boil. When boiling reduce the heat to low, add a lid and let it simmer for around 5 minutes with the lid then remove the lid and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or until reduced to half (and the chicken is cooked through).

When the chicken is done, spoon in the crème fraiche and warm it through. Then add the thyme, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, if the mixture is too thick add a bit of water to it and mix well.

Then add the pie mixture to the a pie dish and roll out the puff pastry and place on top. Make a hole in the pastry to let out the steam. Cook in a 200C oven until the pastry is done.

I like to serve it with some vegetables on the side..


Bon Appetite – As my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per November 2017)

Mushrooms 30p
Bacon 11p
Puff pastry 55p
Onions 20p
Leeks 50p
Courgette 69p
Garlic 12p
Thyme 70p
Nutmeg 5p
Chicken breasts £1.89
Chicken Stock  5p
Crème Fraiche 28p
Vegetable oil 1p
Lemon 35p 

Total cost £5.80 or £1.45 per portion

Delicious Lemony Chicken and Leek Pasta (£1.46)

I love pasta dishes, but often only cook it for me and Toddler “Blip” as the husband is still doing his low carb diet. If I do cook it for the husband I would give him Courgette Pasta instead of the normal pasta.

The first time I cooked this I cooked it for 4 people and I wasn’t left with any leftovers. However, this time when I cooked it I didn’t half my portion and still cooked it for 4 people instead of just me and toddler “Blip”.  As you can imagine, I was left with lots of leftovers, which I turned into a lovely pie the next day.

Luckily, I did realise when I was half way through and cooked pasta just for me and Blip. I think sleep deprivation does get to me these days, I seems to be doing some weird things occasionally. But then this is, apparently, rather normal when you got a baby and a toddler, or so I’m told.

I like this pasta dish because of the lemony creamy taste, created by the lemon and crème fraiche. You can use any kind of pasta you like, I always keep my eye out for offers on different shaped pasta, because I like to change them. But you could use basic penne or fusillo pasta.

I know that it would seems logical to mix the pasta and the chicken/leek mixture together in one pot and then serve and if you know its all going to be eaten this is brilliant. But as we rarely will eat it all I keep them separately, also, Toddler “Blip” is much more likely to eat them if served separately  

Unfortunately, Toddler “Blip” has not been too well lately with his asthma, so he only ate the plain pasta. However, the following day he ate some of it the mixture in the pie. I don’t like to put too much pressure on him to eat, especially when he isn’t feeling well. I remember being a small kid and how awful it was when people tried to push me to eat more, I was extremely underweight though and picky!

I try to always encourage him to at least try the food I have made, which seems to make him much more willing to try new things.  


Lemony Chicken and Leek Pasta

Serves 4,

Takes around 35 minutes

Ingredients

400g Rigatoni, or pasta shapes of your choice (4 people)
2 Onions, sliced
2 Leeks, sliced
2 Courgettes, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, Chopped
Thyme, 20 sprigs (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Chicken breasts
200 ml Chicken Stock
100 ml Crème Fraiche
1 tsp vegetable oil
½ – 1  Lemon depending on taste
Zest of one Lemon
Grana Padano, Grated (for serving)

 Method:

Start by chopping up and prepare all your vegetables and get them ready for the cook.

Start by thinly slicing the onions and put in a bowl. Then clean and slice the leeks into fine slices and cut the courgettes into 1 cm strips and add to the bowl and set aside.

Grate the garlic cloves and have it ready.  Also Pick the thyme leaves and set aside for later in the cook.

Place a large saucepan of water on the stove, and add salt to the water to cook the pasta, place a lid on the pan and leave on medium heat. Don’t add the pasta until the water is proper boiling.

Whilst the pasta is cooking, start making the pasta sauce by cutting the chicken into 2 cm pieces. Take a large frying pan and heat 1 tbsp of oil on high heat, then add the chicken and cook for about 6 minutes or until brown all over. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Turn the heat to a medium heat on the frying pan and add the onions, leeks and courgettes to the pan you cooked the chicken in. Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften, then add the  garlic and cook for another minute.

Then return the chicken to your pan with the vegetables, and add 200 ml of chicken stock to the pan, stir it and bring it to the boil. When boiling reduce the heat to low, add a lid and let it simmer for around 5 minutes with the lid then remove the lid and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or until reduced to half (and the chicken is cooked through).

Now, cook the pasta by adding it to your boiling water and cook as per the instructions on the packet or until al dente. Then reserve a cup of the water and drain the pasta.

When the chicken is done, spoon in the crème fraiche and warm it through. Now, add the thyme, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  You can add a bit of the reserved cooking water if it has become too thick.

Serve on top of the pasta and with the grated parmesan on top.

Bon Appetite – As my grandad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per November 2017)

pasta 45p
Onions 20p
Leeks 50p
Courgette 69p
Garlic 12p
Thyme 70p
Chicken breasts £1.89
Chicken Stock  5p
Crème Fraiche 28p
Vegetable oil 1p
Lemon 35p
Grana Padano 60p

 Total cost £5.84 or £1.46 per person

Soy and ginger glazed salmon with rice and cucumber for two.. (£3.54 per portion)

Over the next few weeks I’m afraid I may be posting quite a few different recipes for salmon fillets. I was so lucky to pick up 8 packs of reduced salmon at my local supermarket, when I went there one evening with Baby “Flipper” and Toddler “Blip”. Reduced from £5.24 to £1.31.


It was quite an outing, I had “Flipper” in a carrier and “Blip” in the pushchair, to be honest “Blip” is getting too big for the pushchair, but as it was after nursery and it is quite far to walk I thought it was the best option. “Blip” were extremely good in the shop, and got a treat of yoghurts… that boy does love his yoghurt! We had to go to the shop for milk and it was just a coincidence that I saw the reduced offers. I also got minced beef £1.09 per pack, seabass £1.04 a pack and a whole chicken down from £6.00 to £1.50. I could easily have grabbed more reduced items, but I always think about freezer space and the second most important thing…. Will I use them! No point in buying something reduced if I then just throw it in the bin later!

I got the inspiration for this recipe after eating a similar dish at a lovely Asian restaurant in Morden long ago, the restaurant is now closed therefore I had to create something similar myself. As I didn’t know the recipe it has been the trial and error method I used. However, we ended up with a recipe that fit in with our store cupboard and our likings. There are some things we always got in the house.  I do try and avoid recipes that contains too many specialist ingredients, except if I know I’ll use them again.

In my fridge and store cupboards you will almost always find Sesame seeds, Cucumbers, ginger, garlic, spring onions, and definitely rice, soy sauce and honey! Ohhh and loads and loads of chillies (I grow chili plants and all the excess chilies goes in my freezer).

I must admit that this dish is a bit strong in the flavour for “Blip” he tried plain rice, and a bit of salmon and the broccoli… the rest he didn’t like at all. I made enough for 2 people, however, I didn’t realise that the husband was going out and therefore would not be home for dinner. The good thing is that this dish freezes really well so now I got a portion in the freezer for a day where I just need a quick dinner.

If you are cooking this dinner and you are not lucky like me to have gotten the salmon reduced the price comes to £7.08 for 2 people or £3.54 per portion. Always, keep your eye out for good offers it really can be worth it. Because of my salmon being reduced I only paid £4.14 for the full two portions.


Soy and ginger glazed salmon with rice and cucumber

Serves 2
Cooking time 35 minutes

Ingredients

150g rice
Tender stem broccoli (around 150g)
¼ cucumber
2 fillets of Salmon, preferable non-smoked (but both types work)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 lime
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
3 cm ginger
1 red chilli
2 garlic cloves
3 spring onions
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 vegetable stock cube

 Method:

Start by preparing the broccoli, by cutting the stem of the broccoli into small flat discs and leave the florets whole or just break them up slightly if too big.

You now need to get on to the cooking of the rice, just follow the instructions on the packets or cook them the way you normally make rice), but add the stock cube to the water together with the broccoli stem and a pinch of salt. When the rice is finishing cooking add the florets to the rice, making sure the rice is off the heath (drained if you don’t use the absorption method) and leave covered until the rest of the meal is almost finished. The residue heath will cook the florets.

Cut the cucumber in half lengthways then scoop out the seeds, and as finely as you can cut them into half-moons. Place the cucumbers into a small bowls and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and the juice of ½ a lime. Scrunch up the cucumber and then leave to pickle until serving.

Now make the marinate for the salmon by finely grate the ginger, garlic and finely chop the chilli (or grate if from frozen), and place in a bowl. Then trim the spring onions by cutting the white part as finely as you can and add to the ginger / garlic mix. The green part you slice into small pieces and leave to the side. Add the remaining soy sauce (5 teaspoons or 1 ½ tablespoons), and the honey together with the rest of the juice from the lime mix well.

Place a medium non-stick frying pan on a medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan, then add the salmon fillets, skin-side down and cover to cook for about 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, pour the marinade over the salmon then turn the fish to coat it and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until just cooked through.

Take the salmon out of the frying pan, ready to be served. The remaining marinate in the pan you pour into your rice and mix well. (you may need to add a tbsp. of water to the pan first. Now season the rice.

Divide the rice and salmon between your plates, and add the cucumber pickle then scatter the sesame seeds and the green part of the spring onion and serve.

I like to add an extra wedge of lime if I got it.

Bon Appetite – As my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per October 2017) – I didn’t choose the cheaper frozen salmon as I have never cooked a dish with that but I assume it would also work!

Ingredients:

Rice (45p/1000g)x150g = 8p
Broccoli (£2.00/220g)x 150g =£1.36
Cucumber (45p/4)=12p
Salmon £4.25
Soy sauce (£1.80/500ml) x 30 ml = 11p
Lime =35p
Sesame seeds (90p/100g)x10g = 9p
Ginger 20p
Chilli 20p
Garlic cloves 6p
Spring onions 15p
Honey (99p/340g)x10g =3p
Salt and pepper 2p
Vegetable oil (£1.15/1000ml)x15ml =1p
Vegetable stock cube (49p/10) =5p

Total £7.08-  per portion £3.54

 

 

 

A busy mummy, trying to live, eat and cook on a budget

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