cheap, Chicken

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie- (84p per portion)

My grandparents who I was very close to always used to say, waste not want not. They both experienced the shortage of food, under the war and also the shortage of other necessities in those years. My grandad especially hated food waste, he remembered the depression and people queuing for food. My grandma was more off a practical cook instead of an experimental cook. She often cooked the same things. But what she cooked, she cooked really well, especially her biscuits. 

However, it never occurred to me how much the things my grandparents used to say to me as a child has actually stuck with me. I hate waste, I hate throwing good food out. Also, I use my nose and my eyes to judge whether food is still ok to eat. I think a lot of people have become way too reliant on the best before and use by date. I rarely stick to that, except when it comes to mussels and other sea food like that. But only because I once became really ill eating sea food that was well out off date, a friend cooked it for me… and ohh we were sick…

It’s a good thing I’m not too bothered about the dates, as I now tend to pop to my local shop in the evenings. Often, I pick up amazing offers at either 7pm when it’s 75% off the price and 9pm where its 90% of the price or 10p each item. The Other day I picked up lots of reduced Chicken… Drumsticks and whole chickens for 10p each!! I made a roast chicken not long ago for friends, I kept the carcasses and stripped off any meat we didn’t eat. I also stripped some meat of drumsticks that we didn’t get through. I have been keeping it all in the freezer.

This week Flipper has been poorly with tonsillitis and double-sided ear-infection and as he was relaxing, I spend all of Tuesday cooking, he loves being around whilst I cook. I made a lovely chicken soup on the carcasses and with the leftover meat (see my previous blog) and I made this chicken pie containing reduced mushrooms, leek, bacon and the leftover chicken together with a bit of the soup to make a yummy filling. I also had puff pastry, just the basic ready-made stuff from the super market. That’s one thing I can’t be bothered to make from scratch I must admit.

Blip really enjoyed the food, Flipper tried it, but with his hurting throat and ears he really wasn’t too interested. Luckily, he finally seems to be recovering.

I served the pie with green trees (broccoli) and yellow tree trunks (baby corns) which I had found reduced as well. Blip won’t eat them if I call it broccoli and baby corns. We also had potatoes on the side.

Chicken Pie

Serves 4 – 6 people

Ingredients

1 packet puff pastry
Leftover meat from chicken (approximately 400g)
1 leek
4 rashers of streaky bacon (or cooking bacon)
250 g closed cup mushrooms
1 garlic clove, grated
½ teaspoon nutmeg
250ml chicken stock (or leftover soup)
100 g cream cheese
100 g Greek yoghurt
1tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil 

Method:

  1. Take the puff pastry out of the fridge and leave out for about 10 to 15 minutes before using. Clean the leeks thoroughly then cut them into 1 cm discs, set aside. 
  2. Clean and quarter the mushrooms and put aside. 
  3. Make sure the chicken is made into small pieces and all deboned. 
  4. Chop the bacon into small squares. 
  5.  Now line the pie tray with 2/3 of the puff pastry, reserving the rest for the lid, ( I use a non stick tray so its not necessary to grease it first).  Place thelined  pie tray in the fridge until it needs using. 
  6. If cooking the pie straight away, turn the oven on now to 180C (fan oven) or 200C traditional oven. 
  7. Add the oil to a frying pan and fry the bacon on a medium heat until crispy and then set the bacon aside. 
  8.   In the fat from the bacon add the mushrooms, garlic, leeks and saute until the leeks has softened. Then add the chicken and stir.
  9. Now add in the yoghurt, cream cheese, nutmeg and 200 ml of chicken stock mix it well and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes. 
  10. Whilst the mixture is simmering, add the flour to the remainder of the chicken stock and mix it until it forms a paste. 
  11. Now add the flour mixture to the filling, mix and simmer for another 1-2 minutes, the mixture should have thickened up. Taste the mixture and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
  12. Add the filling to the Pie tray and place the remaining pastry on top so it forms a lid. You can decorate it with any of cut pastry if you wish. Ensure you make 1 or 2 holes in the pastry so steam can escape. 
  13. Place in the warm oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is nice golden and flaky. 
  14. Serve with vegetables of your choice and potato bits.

 

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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 March 2019).

 

–      This time costings are harder as I’m using a leftover chicken. However, I have calculated it on ½ a leftover medium chicken from Tesco 1.3-1.5 kg.


Puff pastry £1.30
Chicken £1.50
Leek (£1.50/3)x1 =50p
Bacon (£1.25/14)x4 = 36p
Mushrooms (95p/300g)x250g=80p
Garlic clove 3p
Nutmeg 2p
Chicken stock (or leftover soup) (50p/10)x1 =5p
Cream cheese (49p/200g)x100g = 25p
Greek yoghurt (85p/500g)x100g =17p
Plain flour (45p/1500g)x 10g = 3p
Salt and pepper 2p
Oil (£3.50/5000ml)x15ml =1p

 Total cost £5.04  – Per Portion (£5.04/6)= 84p

 

 

Chicken, Meats, Pasta

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

cheap, Fish, Frozen fish, Low carb, Savoury

Low Carb Fish – 12 fish cakes £1.84 or 16p per cake.

 

Now, I cooked and wrote down this recipe a few weeks ago, but never got around to post it to my blog. Being busy with Toddler “Blip” and having a few rough days again with Hyperemisis Gravidarum.

Now, why I though, making fish cakes for my husband was a good idea when feeling rubbish.. (it must be love).. At least I’m much better than in the beginning of the pregnancy, and managed to survive it, with only a couple of times having to lay down on the sofa… Ohh.. I can’t wait to see Baby “Flipper”.. until week 30 of my pregnancy, I couldn’t even open a cookbook, I was feeling so badly.. but now I can actually manage. I’m still on 3 different types of medication, and the one day I forget even one pill I’m in big big trouble. But then the family still needs to be fed.

What surprised me mostly, was that when I served this for Toddler “Blip” he happily ate a whole fish cake and asked for seconds. I served it with potatoes for him (he needs the carbs) and some salad. I ended up having a rice cracker. Which is totally against my house rules, which states that everyone eats the same or go hungry, no I don’t actually starve Toddler “Blip” but he has to try the food. If not, I’ll end up cooking 3 different types of dinners, which I can’t be bothered to do. But having Hyperemisis Gravidarum, whatever, gets you through is allowed.

My husband had it with a huge portion of salad with homemade Tartare sauce. The following day he took it with him for lunch, with salad and some fried Halloumi on the side.

I should add that I felt so horrible when I cooked this that I never managed to take a picture of the fishcakes on its own. The picture was taken by the husband when he put together his lunch in the morning!.

The husband did ask me to make it again for him, and for me, that is always a good indicator to if he likes the food or not. I must admit that I won’t be making anything with fish again for a whilst… not until I’m well over this pregnancy!!

Low Carb Fish cakes

Serves 4 – Makes 12 small cakes.

Ingredients:

200g white fish deboned
50 g of either Rocket, Spinach or Watercress (I used a mixture of all 3)
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves (optional)
1 large egg (or 2 small eggs)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp turmeric
½ tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Zest of a lemon (optional)
2 tbsp veg oil for frying

Method:

If the fish is frozen, ensure to fully defrost the fish before preparing the fish cakes. In a food processor, coarsely chop the fish, (make sure it doesn’t become mushy). Then put the mixture into a bowl, (if the fish was frozen beforehand, you may want to put it in a colander to ensure any excess liquid drips off).

In the same food processor, add the onion, garlic, and rocket/spinach and mix until it has become finely chopped. This could be done by hand as well.

Mix it all together, adding, salt pepper, turmeric, lemon juice and the zest of a lemon.

Form the fish cakes into 12 small fish cakes or 8 larger ones. Then fry until golden in vegetable oil in a frying pan, make sure to not flip them too early, as this will make them break up.

These fish cakes can be enjoyed either cold or hot.

Carb count

I used the Fitness Pall App to calculate this.

Because there is no potato, or flour in this recipe, 12 fishcakes, comes in at 11 Carbs in total, which about 2.75 per person. – It does however, mean that the texture is different compared to normal fish cakes, and they break up more easily when cooking them.

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 July 2017)

Ingredients:

Tesco Everyday Value white fish fillets (£2.00 /520g)x200g =77p
Rocket/spinach/watercress (£1.00/80g)x50g =63p
Onion 5p
Garlic 6p
Egg 8p
Salt 1p
Pepper 1p
Turmeric 2p
Lemon juice – 18p (approximately ½ lemon).
Zest of a lemon – Free, as you are using the lemon for juice.
Veg oil  (£2.95/3000ml)x30 ml = 3p

Total cost = £1.84 for 12. Per fish cake 15p

 

 

 

 

Cakes, Danish, Desert

Grandmas Apple cake – Traditional Danish cake

Some of you may wonder why I haven’t posted until this afternoon, main reason was that Toddler “Blip” hasn’t been feeling too well this weekend. A “lovely” tommy bug, which I’m praying that I’m not getting. Being 37 weeks pregnant I really do not need that. The husband also wasn’t feeling too well.

Anyhow, today, Monday and Toddler “Blip” seems much much better, but I decided it probably was better to keep him home from nursery today. So, he requested to bake a cake, this definitely indicates he is better. How proud he was when we finished baking that cake!

I have been looking through, some old recipes, I got from my dad, they belonged to my grandma and are mostly written on small random pieces of paper and very few instructions. Therefore, I had to use a bit of my baking knowledge and the memories I got of apple cake. I never met my paternal grandparent as they passed away before I was born. But this type of cake is very popular back home or at least it used to be. I have baked it a few times now and made sure to perfect the recipe.


Really, it’s more of an Autumn cake I would say but you can bake it at any time, served nicely on a lovely plate a cup of tea and with whipped cream, this is so cosy or as you would say in Denmark, it is proper Hyggeligt!

The recipe card said use down fall apples, I think this was meant to be in Autumn, when you collected the apples from the trees and they were a bit bruised etc. I just used some wrinkled apples we had in the fruit bowl, I always seems to end up with some that are a bit wrinkled.

By the way, as you can see the kitchen was a proper mess, why? because, I didn’t follow any of my own guidelines for cooking with a toddler… LoL.. yes, there is a reason I normally follow them. I think that pregnancy is making my brain a bit fuzzy!

Grandmas Apple cake

Serves: 9 pieces

Ingredients:

3 apples
1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
2 eggs
125 g unsalted butter
250 g granulated sugar
250 g plain flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
150 ml milk

Topping:

1 apple
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp granulated sugar

Method:

Start by peeling and cutting 3 of the 4 apples into squares, add to a bowl, mix with the cinnamon and leave to the side. Peel and cut the remaining apple in to thin wedges, leave for the top of the cake.

Melt the butter in a pot, whilst melting combine the eggs and sugar in another bowl and mix with a hand mixer until it is a white and airy mixture.

Then mix in the flour (I don’t sieve it), baking powder, milk, and melted butter when all combined you should add the apple pieces. Make sure it is well combined.

Pour the mixture into a baking tray lined with baking paper 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) approximately.  Then add the reserved apple wedges to the top and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the top.

Bake for approximately 1 hour at 180C in fan oven or until a knife/skewer comes out clean.

This can be eaten straight away and warm, or you can serve it with whipped cream or I seem to remember it was served with Crème Fraise.  Alternatively, you could just eat it as it is.

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 July 2017) – I would recommend for spices to look in your local Asian grocery stores, you can get it much cheaper.

Ingredients:

Apples 60p (6 in a packet for 89p)
Cinnamon 40p (if you buy it from an Asian Grocer it is much cheaper)
Eggs 16p
Sugar 17p
Butter 65p
Plain flour 9p
2.5 tsp baking powder 8p
Milk 7p

Total: £2.22, (per piece 25p)

 

Chicken, Freezer challange

Almost free, Chicken Stock (1.5l for 31p) – Freezer challenge

The freezer challenge

So, I have mentioned before that I save bones and skin and roasted carcasses from any chicken we eat in the freezer until I got a large portion. Then I make it into a super delicious stock, believe me, it can be used for so many things, soup, risotto, anything that requires stock. This time, I only had a small bag full of bones and skin, but it was more than enough to make 1.5l of stock!.


All it took was my slow cooker, the bones, and a few vegetables peelings and spices and stock was made. Obviously, it takes some electricity as well. But, when calculating the price of the stock, I do not calculate in the bones/skin, as that is calculated into my original dish (like the fake away I mentioned yesterday).


I think my husband thinks I’m slightly nuts making stock out of this, as I could just throw it, but I do enjoy it. I remember my grandad mentioning that under the second world war this was done and absolutely, nothing was wasted! Ohh.. how I miss my grandad and grandma at times. I wish I had asked them many more questions when they were alive, but at least I spend a lot of time with them.

Chicken Stock

Approximately 1.5l

Ingredients:

Skin/bones of chicken
3 cloves garlic
1 cm ginger, finely chopped
1 small onion, halved

The washed peel of a few potatoes and carrots (or you could just cut a carrot finely/and a potato)

Whatever, else of sad vegetable ends you got in the fridge. But nothing too overpowering, like broccoli and cauliflower (except if that’s the flavour you are going for).

Salt and pepper.

1.5-2l water (depending on your size of slow cooker as well)

Method:

There are two ways to do this A or B (I prefer B)

A) Bang it all in the slow cooker on high, forget about it for 4-6 hours or longer. This will intensify the taste. If you don’t find the taste strong enough, leave the mixture on high without lid for a while to intensify further.

After 4-6 hours, add salt / pepper to taste then strain the mixture and it is ready to be used.

B) Put all the ingredients into a pot and place on the stow (the inside of my slow cooker can go straight on the stow). on high heat, and roast the mixture, until the skin, bones starts slightly colouring and releasing the oils. Then add the water to the mixture and bring to the Boil.

When Boiling, put it into the slow cooker and leave it on high for 4-6 hours or longer, then after this time, add salt/pepper to taste. Strain the mixture and it is ready to be used.

If you don’t find the taste strong enough, leave the mixture on high without lid for a while to intensify further.

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 July 2017)

Ingredients:

Chicken bones and skin (free)
Garlic 9p
Ginger 5p
Onion 10p
Salt and pepper 2p
Left over vegetable peelings 5p? (estimated as it depends what you are using!)

Total 31p

Asian, cheap, Chicken, Chinese, Fakeaway, Freezer challange

Sweet and Sticky Chilli Chinese Chicken Fakeaway Stir fry (89p per portion) – The Freezer Challenge

Freezer challenge 

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m doing a bit of a freezer challenge, as we got way too much random stuff in the freezer that needs using up. I would like to get as much of it used before the baby arrives. However, I do think I have started way too late to achieve this, but never mind.

My husband was away yesterday for a business meeting, so only needed to cook for myself and Toddler “Blip”, however, I still ended up cooking for 4. At least I can freeze the portions and I got some ready meals for when the baby arrives.

Now, you may ask what is a Fakeaway? In my opinion, it is exactly the same as a takeaway, except that it is made at home and it resembles a takeaway. I always, like to cook from scratch, one, it is cheap, two, I know what goes into the food and three I know how fresh it is.

In the freezer, I had quite a bit of chicken, 2 drumsticks and 4 chicken thighs. In general, I like to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for stir-fries, it got more taste and it is much cheaper. I must have been lazy when I froze the thighs, (or just pregnant) as I froze them with skin on and bones in. But never mind, I defrosted it and removed bones from thighs and drumsticks and there was almost 450g of meat. Which is a perfect amount for 4. But you can use more/less as it fits with your family, don’t forget you can always bulk it out with more vegetables.

Now, with the skin and bones, don’t throw it away, instead debone them and remove the skin then put it in a separate freezer bag and keep in the freezer, until you got quite a large portion. Why you may ask? Because it makes a fantastic stock (almost for free). I will post the recipe for that another day.

I served the Fakeaway with rice which Toddler “Blip” loves. He tried the chicken and vegetables but wasn’t keen, but at least he tried it.

Also, because I cook it wanting my son to eat it, I don’t add the chilli, but use my special chilli oil instead.

Sweet and Sticky Chilli Chicken Stir-fry

Serves 4

Ingredients

450g chicken thighs (bones and skin removed) cut in chunks
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Cloves of Garlic (finely sliced)
2 Cm Ginger finely cut (finely sliced)
2 Hot Dried Chillies (or 2 teaspoons hot chilli flakes or to taste)
1 Medium onion (cut into wedges)
2 Medium carrots (cut into slices)
1-1/2 bell peppers cut into bite size pieces (I used a combination of red, yellow and green, but you could choose just one colour)
3-4 Medium Mushrooms (quartered)
Handful Sugar Snap Peas
2 Spring onions (diagonally sliced)
1/2 tin pineapple pieces (reserve juice for Marinade)
Handful Salted Cashew nuts (optional)

Marinade

All the juice from the Pineapple tin
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Corn flour
Served with rice for four, approx. 240g

Method:

This dish is really best if you can let the chicken marinate for a few hours or overnight. I marinated it for 6 hours. However, even if you just marinated it for half an hour it would still taste amazing.

Start by mixing all the ingredients for the marinate, leaving the corn flour out, this needs to be added at the last minute when cooking. Then cut the chicken into bite size pieces and combine with the marinate. Leave covered in the fridge until needed.

Because this is a quick cook, you need to prepare all your vegetables before starting to cook. You won’t have time to do it as you go along.

Slice the garlic and ginger and place in a bowl with the chilli. Then cut the onion and carrot, and bell peppers and place together with the mushrooms and place in a different bowl. Then wash the sugar snap peas and place it in a bowl with the spring onions.

Have the pineapple pieces ready and the cashews if using them.

The cooking

Cook rice as per packet, or your preferred method (I use a rice cooker)

In a none stick wok, add the oil, and bring it up to high heat, then add the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry it for around 30seconds to 1 minutes. Now, with a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the marinate and place in the wok (reserve the marinate, we need this later). Now stir-fry the chicken for around 2-3 minutes until its coloured all over. If you find that a lot of marinate came into the wok, then pour it off back into the reserved marinade.

Now add the onion and the carrot to the wok and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the bell peppers and mushrooms cook for another minute. Then add the pineapple pieces and pour in the reserved marinade (except for 2 tbsp worth), give the mixture a good mix and cook for around another 2 minutes, until it starts slightly reducing. Then mix the corn flour into the last bit of marinade and pour it into the wok give it a good stir. At this point add the Mangetout and spring onions. Cook until it got a sticky consistency, shouldn’t take long.

Serve, with the cashews on top, with steamed rice on the side. Prawn crackers goes well with 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 July 2017)

Ingredients:

Chicken thighs 99p
Vegetable oil 3p
Garlic 9p
Ginger 10p
Dried Chillies 5p (bought at Asian Grocer)
Medium onion 10p
Medium carrots 5p
Bell Peppers 46p
Mushrooms 20p
Sugar Snap Peas 35p
Spring onions 10p
Pineapple pieces 30
Cashew nuts 20p

Marinade

Ketchup 5p
Tomato puree 5p
Brown sugar 5p
Ginger 10p
Garlic 6p
Soy Sauce 10p
½ tsp salt 1p
Pepper 1p
Corn flour 3p
Rice 11p

Total price: £3.59  (per portion 90p)  

 

 

Condiments, Salad, Side dishes, vegetarien

Minty Cucumber and Leftover Fridge Veg Pickle (25p per person)

Being Danish I absolutely adore pickles… we always have something pickled with our food! However, most of these pickles takes forever to make.. and many people back home simply buy it ready made. When it becomes autumn and if Baby “Flipper” and Toddler “Blip” allows me, I’m going to post some traditional Danish pickled recipes here. 

However, I thought I would still post my quick Minty Cucumber Pickle recipe which I mentioned yesterday. It goes so well with Asian flavours, and it’s a brilliant way of using up those sad looking vegetables from the fridge.. 

We had it with the Firecracker prawn, tofu and Chinese leaves stir-fry I made yesterday. Now, this is a very quick and more or less instant pickle, so it will only last a few days in the fridge. Also, you can use more or less what vegetables you got in the fridge or even just with cucumber and mint. Depending on what I’m serving it with, I sometimes, add some chilli flakes, but as my dish from yesterday was rather spicy in itself it wasn’t needed. 

I had some radishes and daikon that also needed using up, you could make it and it will be ready after 30 minutes. I would recommend to put the mint in at the last minute, however, if you put it in at the beginning it still tastes yummy!.

Minty cucumber pickle

Serving size – approximately 6 people

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
2 Tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1/4 cucumber finely sliced
1/4 Daikon finely sliced
Handful Radishes, finely sliced
Small bunch of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds (optional)
1/2 Tbsp. Chilli Flakes (optional)

Method:

  1. In a bowl, add the rice vine vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper together and give it a good stir. 
  2. Then finely slice the cucumber, daikon and radishes and put them in the bowl with the marinate and make sure it is proper mixed together. 
    You can use a knife if your knife skills are good enough, I used my mandolin, but be careful with your fingers!
  3. If you got the time, leave the marinate/mixture up to 30 minutes to get a nice pickle taste to it. – you can leave out this step. 
  4. Now add the chopped mint and the sesame seeds (and Chilli if using) to the pickle and mix well and it is ready to be eating. 

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 July 2017).

Rice Vinegar 20p
Toasted Sesame Oil 20p
Sea Salt 10p
Black Pepper 3p
Cucumber 13p
Daikon 18p
Radishes 10p
Mint leaves 18p 
Sesame Seeds 10p
Chilli Flakes 5p

Total cost £1.47 – This serves around 6 people so 25p per person. 

 

Asian, Fakeaway, Prawns, Tofu

Firecracker Prawn, Tofu and Chinese Leaves Stir Fry with Rice (£3.17 per person)

I’m now 37 weeks pregnant with Baby “Flipper” and I can’t wait for him to be here, seriously, being pregnant is the hardest I have ever done in life. Yesterday I was sick quite a bit and the husband mainly cooked for me. This morning as well, he made me breakfast as I was not feeling well. I just about managed to have some bread with butter this lunch time, but was feeling so sick. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is awful, I wish no other woman should ever suffer from it.

However, this afternoon, I was feeling better again. In the fridge, we had Chinese Leaf that needed to be used. To be honest, I wasn’t inspired, but then I remembered that Wagamama does a gorgeous firecracker prawn dish, so I sat out to try and make that, price in restaurant is around £12.00 and you get 5 prawns each.


Looking around again in store cupboards, fridge freezer I found quite a few items that would go well together. At 15:00 I managed to do all my preparation for the dinner, I even put the rice in the rice cooker so when Toddler “Blip” came home from nursery all I needed to do was cook the food. And what a good idea, especially, as on my way to the nursery I started to get lots and lots of contractions. They have settled down now though, but made cooking much easier as all I had to do was put the food in the wok, in the right order and taste it… Amazingly, I also managed to keep the food down.

Now, I have had a warm bath and the contractions seems to have settled so Baby “Flipper” probably won’t appear today. But soon I got a feeling. Toddler “Blip” tried the prawns and rice, but he was quite tired so it didn’t really hit the spot for him. Luckily, that meant he was happy to go to bed around 19:30.


The Husband loved the dish, he didn’t have the rice though, as still doing low carb.

Firecracker Prawn, Tofu and Chinese Leaf Stir Fry with Rice

Serves 2

Ingredients

Rice, enough for 2 people (around 1 cup full)
3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Ginger, grated
3 Spring onions, finely chopped
½ Small Red Onion, finely sliced
2 Tbsp Coriander, chopped
1 Green or Red Chilli (optional)
½ Chinese leaf, cut into 1 cm slices
15g dried black fungus (optional)
150 g Firm Tofu (optional – you could just use a bit more prawns)
150 g Tiger Prawns
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Chilli Bean Paste (alternative Siracha sauce will work)
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Black Sesame Seeds

Method:

  1. Start by cooking the rice as per your preferred method. I use a rice cooker and it works for me.
  2. Then whilst the rice is cooking prepare all the vegetables.
  3. Peel the garlic and finely chop it, grate the ginger, finely chop the white part of the spring onions and quarter the chilli if using. Place it in a separate bowl.
  4. Finely chop the green part of the spring onions and coriander and add it to a separate bowl (this is going to be the garnish).
  5. If using the black fungus, make sure to add it to a bowl and soak it in boiling water (normal mushrooms could be used instead or you could just leave it out). – drain the black fungus and place in a bowl.
  6. Finely, slice the red onion and put it together with the black fungus.
  7. Cut the Chinese leaves into 1 cm slices. Keep it separately
  8. Cut the Tofu into pieces, try and use a firm but NOT silken tofu, as this will hold its shape much better.
  9. Clean the prawns, making sure the poo string has been removed (nothing worse than eating that part).
  10. Then make the chilli sauce by adding 1 tbsp sesame oil, Chilli Bean Paste, Tomato Puree, Rice Vinegar and Soy Sauce together in a bowl and mix well.
  11. Now if your rice is almost finished you are ready to cook the dish (it takes around 10 minutes to cook)
  12. Firstly, heat the sesame oil in a large wok on a high heat (non-stick is best if not non-stick you may need more oil). Once it’s hot add the bowl of garlic, ginger, spring onion and green chilli to the wok. Cook for around 30 seconds, then add the red onions and Black fungus if using and cook for another minute.
  13. Now add the prawns and tofu to the mixture, as soon as they start to turn pink you should add the marinate you have made. Stir everything together and cook for another minute or so.
  14. Toss in the Chinese leaves and cook for another minute and make sure everything is coated in the sauce.
  15. Now serve the stir-fry with your cooked rice and sprinkle over the coriander, green part of the spring onions and sesame seeds.

This dish is lovely served with a fresh minty cucumber pickle on the side, I’ll post the recipe for that another day.

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 July 2017). For this dish, I have also had to refer to the prices for some ingredients from other stores.. mentioned in the description

Rice, (basic Tesco) 5p
Garlic Cloves, 9p
Ginger 10p
Spring onions 15p
Red Onion 10p
Coriander 10p
Green Chilli 20p
Chinese leaf 63p
Dried black fungus 41p  – Chinese supermarket
Firm Tofu 76p
Tiger Prawns £3.00
Sesame Oil 20p
Chilli Bean Paste 15p
Tomato Puree 5p
Rice Vinegar 20p
Soy Sauce 5p
Sesame Seeds 10p 

Total price: £6.34  – which is £3.17 per person.

 

Condiments, New Recipes

Using up Leftover Cream – To Make Homemade Garlic Butter (£1.79 for 250g of Garlic butter)

Lately, because the husband is doing this low carb diet, we seem to always be buying double cream. Apparently, on Atkins and Keto diets, cream is good for you? Help you lose weight… problem is that we quite often end up with some we can’t use before it runs out of date.

The other week, I needed 200 ml of double cream for a quiche, when I went to the local Co-op shop 600ml was reduced to £1.19 but 300ml was £1.39. Now, I know that we may just about have got through the 300 ml, but I wasn’t sure. Therefore, I purchased the 600ml cream to the lower price. But what to do with the remaining 400ml, I really didn’t want to waste it.

Looking in our fridge I had parsley that needed to be used up and I also had garlic in my cupboard, so I thought why not try and make homemade garlic butter? You could just make normal butter, but that wasn’t what I fancied. So therefore I decided to try this new adventure. homemade butter… And it turned out lovely, even though, it was a bit messy as I used a tiny bowl and my hand mixer started to throw butter everywhere in the end… so word of advice… use a bigger bowl!!


When the garlic butter was made I froze it and before totally set I cut it into slices, so whenever we need it we can take a slice out.


I’m always looking for ways of cutting out food waste as I think it’s a bit of a crime, there are people out there who can’t afford food for themselves or their kids.

I also think making butter would be a good project for kids when they are around 4-5 so they understand where food comes from and how it’s made. It’s such an interesting process to watch!

I must admit though that I can’t see myself making butter if it wasn’t because I had leftover double cream or found some really reduced in the super market. But to buy a full 600ml just for this, I probably wouldn’t, then I would just buy a basic butter and mix it with garlic and herbs and make that into the garlic butter.

If you purchased all the ingredients, just with the goal of making the butter then it would cost you £1.79 for 250gram.. However, because I grow my own parsley and the cream I was using was reduced, I only paid £1.03 for the garlic butter. But this would be an unfair price to put up.. as someone else may not find the reduced cream or grow their own parsley etc..

Homemade garlic butter

Now you absolutely do not need to stick to these measurements as if you have more/less cream use that.. just remember that the volume of cream becomes much less as you lose a lot of liquid making it into butter.

Ingredients:

400ml double cream
Pinch of Sea Salt
4 large garlic cloves
A bunch of parsley

Method:

  1. Place the cream in a large bowl, use a hand mixer and mix on high and keep mixing until the cream starts splitting. You will now see a lot of liquid coming out of the cream. Poor the excess liquid out of the bowl. Now you continue mixing for a bit longer, then when you don’t think more liquid is coming out of the mixture, put the butter into a colander and squeeze it, either with your CLEAN washed hands or put it in a muslin cloth and squeeze excess liquid out.
  2. Finely chop the garlic and the parsley, then add it to the butter together with a good pinch of Sea salt. Make sure it is very well mixed together.
  3. Taste the mixture, does it need more salt, parsley or garlic. If not put the mixture in baking paper or cling film and form to a sausage/square and freeze.
  4. Before the mixture is fully set take it out of the freezer and slice it. That way you can take out slices of garlic butter as you need it. It is delicious.


For this recipe, you could choose and change it as you like, really, it could be plain unsalted butter, salted butter, or you could have garlic and chilli butter. Whatever your imagination says would be nice.

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 July 2017).

Double cream £1.07
Sea Salt 10p
Garlic 12p
A bunch of parsley 50p

Total price: £1.79 for 250g.

In Tesco if you bought ready made garlic butter you would pay £2.50 for 250g so still a saving 

 

 

 

Fish, Tinned fish

Store cupboard fish cakes, super easy and cheap (15p per fish cake)

One thing I always stock up on is tinned potatoes and tinned fish, I also know these are some of the stables that you often find in the foodbank donations. It doesn’t need to be plain tinned fish and you can combine different types. If you got a spicy Mackerel, it will just change the taste slightly.

I like to have tinned fish like Mackerel, sardines, tuna etc. in my store cupboard mainly  because we always had that when I was a child on rye bread. Now a day its rarer I would eat it like that, because there is so many options for toppings you can put on your bread instead. Also, rye bread is a bit rarer to have here in the UK. Saying that tinned fish is a very good way of getting your weekly amount of recommended Omega-3.

The tinned potatoes, is perhaps a bit more of a strange thing to have as a back up. The reason I like to have them in my cupboard is because back home in Denmark we use them to make caramelised potatoes for our roast pork at Christmas time. But I will write about that another time.

The good thing about both tinned potatoes and tinned fish is that they are already cooked, so in theory you could just open the tins and eat it straight out of the tin. But to be honest that’s not the most exciting thing to do in life. So instead, I like to Jazz it up a bit and make fish cakes.

You could also use fresh potatoes for this which is also cheap, takes slightly longer if boiling them from scratch or alternative use the leftovers from the day before. I hate waste and always try and use any leftovers we got, that is better for the environment and also for my wallet.

With fish cakes there is so many different ways you can make them, but this recipe is for the simplest way really. Then you can jazz it up however way you want. I have used a ratio of 50/50 so the equivalent amount of fish to potatoes, however, if you need to bulk them out a bit, you could easily do more potatoes than fish.

Fishcakes – the simple recipe

Makes 12

Ingredients:

2 x 125g Tinned Mackerel (boneless preferred)
250g tinned Potatoes
Handful fresh Parsley (or a tablespoon of dried parsley)
2 teaspoons lemon juice from bottle (or the zest and juice from ½ a lemon)
pinch of Salt and Pepper
100g plain flour or 100g breadcrumbs to coat the fish cakes in
2 tbsp veg oil for cooking the cakes in

Method:

  1. Firstly add the tinned tomatoes into a bowl and mash them up with a potato masher, then add the mackerel (without any liquid) to the bowl. And mix it together, but don’t over mix, you still want some nice pieces of fish in it.
  2. Then add the Parsley, Lemon juice (and zest if using) together with salt and pepper. Have a taste and adjust the flavours.
  3. Now form them into fish cakes and if you got time place them on a plate and let them rest in the fridge for at least 30 min. Take out the fish cakes and coat them either in the bread crumbs or the flour.
  4. Pour the oil into a pan and on a medium heat cook the fishcakes on both sides. Remember, the inside is already cooked so you don’t need to be over cautious with cooking them through. They should have a nice colour on the outside though.

I like to serve it with salad, homemade Tartare sauce and a wedge of lemon. But even just with some mayo and lemon juice from a can it is delicious.

Cooks tip: I tend to only cook, however, many we need. When I cooked it on Friday it was just for the toddler and me and I made 3 small cakes for me and 1 for the toddler and froze the rest. You can either cook them from frozen or defrost them and cook. It’s a really nice standby meal to have in the fridge.

Surprisingly, the tinned potatoes fries quite nicely in a bit of oil and is nice to have on the side with the fish cakes. Alternatively, decant them, put them in a bowl in the fridge and use it for another meal. If using fresh potatoes, just make sure to only cook the amount you need!

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 July 2017). I grow my own parsley and I always make bread crumbs from the odd end of bread we don’t finish. This brings down the price a lot. However, to make it fair for everyone all the prices are based on Tesco prices.

Tinned Mackerel £1.32
Tinned Potatoes 16p
Handful fresh Parsley 25p
Bottled lemon juice 2p
Salt and Pepper 2p
Plain flour 4p
Veg oil 3p

Total cost: £1.84 for 12 or 15p per fish cake