Sunday, 29 August 2010

Really basic biscuits for really basic people

So it's day two of the Great £10 Food Challenge. So far, still so fun.

Woke up this morning feeling a bit strange (might have been the appetite suppressants we've been necking) so decided against the much hyped kippers and scrambled eggs. Instead I had a bowl of the cheap coco pops, which lovingly cling to each other in the bowl. Not like the Kellogg's ones, which bob independently in their own pool of milk all confident like. This sticky sugar content saw me through until about 2pm when I had a bag of potato rings. The salt content in these little babies had me immediately craving something sweet again. As our budgets don't stretch to McVities I cracked out the recipe book and set to work on some home-made peanut butter biscuits with extra nuts.

Peanut Butter Biscuits with Extra Nuts

* 250g Butter (c)
* 140g Light Muscovado Sugar (c)
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 tbs peanut butter (or as much as you like) (c)
* Mixed nuts (handful) (c)
* 300g plain flour (c)

Mix all this stuff together, form into biscuit shapes and cook in 180oC oven for 15 minutes.


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Saturday, 28 August 2010

on your marks COOK!

Unless you are thoroughly well paid or live in the woods, there are always a couple of months a year when you have a bit of a freak out about your lack of money. August has become that month in our household. Sacrifices will have to be made on both sides. My side consists of not buying Word Magazine and looking up pictures of crusty old folk musicians on line instead, not indulging in Boots' incredibly reasonable Meal Deals and staying away from the horses. But it was on the way to Tesco(s) that Martin came up with the biggest compromise of all, one that will help our bank balances as well as our ever-increasing waist sizes.

Martin has had a life-long admiration for the BBC's seminal pre-teatime television host Ainsley Harriot and in the spirit of his award winning show he suggested we take our sacrifice to the limit. I discussed the idea of wiggling our behinds whilst we one-handedly drove a sword into a shaven goat, humming euphorically. But that wasn't the Harriet Sacrifice he meant. Martin was more inclined towards the idea of setting ourselves a shopping limit of £10 each for a week, shopping separately and seeing who lasts longest. I laughed. Well no at first I scoffed, THEN I laughed as i realised it might be quiet fun and might make me think about the food i buy.

So here are the rules:

*We each have £10 with which to buy food and drink.
*This £10 must last 7 days, and money left after 7 days can be rolled over. However if we EXCEED £10 in one week this amount will be deducted from the next weeks money.
*The food that we already have in the cupboards is available to both of us.
*Milk, eggs, cooking oil and any essentials that are purchased,that we BOTH need does not count towards the £10. It would be pointless us both buying bread and half of it going mouldy.
*Bread can be made using the bread maker or bought.
*We are not allowed to let each other starve and the safety phrase is "feed me".

This week our shop of choice is Tesco (other supermarkets are available (no really! they are! and may appear in this blog during later weeks). I spent just £7.93. This was a much better result than Martin who having placed Special Beer in his trolley bumped himself over the £10 threshold.

Here, in all its Value glory is "My Bag"

Shiny aren't they? Those peppers. Going to be eating ALOT of peppers this week shiny or not. Please note the student staples pasta and cheap coco pops - lots of energy there. Star buy this week were the avocados which i got for under a pound. YOU TOO can dream of treats like these if you seek out the magical "golden price" person in store. This person is the guardian angel of the tight budgeted shopper. They go around in the early evening marking down all the stuff just on the cusp of freshness. If you enjoy a good soup, or know how to form a bag of apples into a crumble then this person can hold the key to a three course meal for a matter of pounds. Granted, some people may see this as just a step up from rooting around in bins, but be positive - its a step up. UP.

The potato rings you see there were the first things i tasted this side of my new life and they are incredibly salty and literally not for the faint hearted! But its all about those kippers! which i am already looking forward to. Tomorrow morning they will be flaked into some milky scrambled eggs and i shall sit back, my belly full, and declare: "today will be a good day".

But back to tonight. I had a number of options in mind, but eventually plumped for a lasagna. "But you didn't buy any mince!" I hear you call. Well, I'm a pescatarion so such things don't bother me (a fact which will make my challenge a slightly bit easier). So, here it is:

Purple and Red Lasagna


You will need:
*One red pepper
*One red onion
*One tablespoon olive oil (c)
*One tin of chopped tomatoes (c)
*Dried herbs (c)
*Balsamic Vinegar (c)
*2 lasagna sheets (c)
*1 ounce plain flour (c)
*1 ounce butter (c)
*half pint milk (c)

Once you have formed all those things into a lasagna, voila! teatime!

I'm very happy because it actually didn't taste that bad! And the best thing is, i get to eat coco pops for dessert, like i always wanted to. You are probably wondering what Martin had. He had soup and macaroni so it could only have been the Special Beer that made him go like this:

Balance: £2.07

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