Sunday, December 24, 2006

Almost Ready...

Cooked the small turkey roast, and simmered the gammon on the hob, both taking the same time to cook - which helped. As you may remember, I bought the gammon joint (£4,19p) in the hope it would prove cheaper than my buying packs of ready-cooked and sliced ham. The great news is (like the chicken mentioned in a previous posting) I have made a monster saving of £6.53p as it worked out that I would have had to pay £10.72p for the ready-prepared, and that is comparing the price at the lower end of the range. As Cold Meat Platter is almost a weekly serving in this house (certainly in the summer months) this coming year I will now stop buying the packs and do more home preparation.

Whilst waiting for the meats to cook, I boiled the fruits, fat, sugar and water for the cake and sifted the dry ingredients. Then suddenly realising I hadn't any breadcrumbs in the freezer for the breadsauce went to the breadbin and found three sad crusts, so tore the crumbs out of those. I didn't even bother to blitz them as I know that once milk has been poured over them and left to stand, they can be mashed up with a fork. The bread is being left out to dry, the milk will be prepared with the onion today. Assembled tomorrow.
Once the turkey came out of the oven, the cake went in.

While the cake was baking, I decided to check the contents of the two small drawers in my deep freezer in which I keep meat and fish. Oddments of a variety of things - chicken livers, a small piece of belly pork, those 'free' chicken winglets and a few 'free' chicken portions. One small pheasant, some diced chicken, some minced beef (also the recent purchases of fish). With any luck I can use the meats up before the New Year to allow me room to spend the remainder of the 'Mean Cuisine Challenge meat budget.
Tip: When minced or diced meat is bought in bulk (say 2lbs worth), the way I measure it out is to get a small plastic bag, put my hand inside and just grab a handful of the meat, then turn the bag back over the meat, so that it has never been touched by human hand as the saying goes. One handful - probably about 4 to 6oz - gives enough meat for a dish for the two of us, and I do this until all the meat has been bagged up. These bags are tightly folded, frozen, then put into one larger bag with a note saying which meat it is. As I have said before, this labelling is important as many meats (minced beef/lamb/pork, or diced stewing beef/mutton look alike once frozen).

Wonders upon wonders, I unearthed a small bag of frozen cooked chestnuts unused from a Christmas past. These can be served this year with the sprouts.

Yesterday my husband came home earlier than expected, in a much happier mood. He had called in at the supermarket on the way and plonked two carrier bags (one was shiny gold) on the table containing 'things he thought I would need' all of which totted up to over £26!! The only thing I had asked for 'some time' was the smallest bottle of rum he could find, but he said he couldn't find one so had bought a big bottle instead (I only use it for cooking, so it should last me the rest of my life). He also brought a bottle of gin as he had noticed the milkman had delivered some bottles of bitter lemon, and he thought it would go well with those. Tip: Never let your husband loose in the supermarket at Xmas (or any other time for that matter) unless you have a strict understanding that you pay for only what you have asked for. I know I've given this advice before, sadly this time I broke my own rule.

But what the heck! It's Christmas. Will be back with you all on Boxing Day.