Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Balancing the act.

After a week of festive meals, yesterday's supper- despite it seeming meagre- was more than enough for full tums. Beloved was delighted by the appearance of his plate, gleaming rice 'with just enough butter for it to taste how how he likes it' and 'the salmon, prawns and parsley made the rice look really attractive'. He has been asked to criticise and normally he is very picky, but yesterday went well. He didn't taste mine, but I can say it made good eating and was quite filling.

To balance the scales, today's main meal will be Chinese Stir-Fry composed entirely of vegetables: sweetcorn, peas, shredded cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower florets (their stalks shredded and included). Some shredded red and green bell peppers (another recent purchase), onions, carrots and celery (and anything else I can think of).. Served this time with noodles (to be costed). Also will be opening a tin of pineapple rings that I seem to have had for ages (to be costed at today's prices), one ring to be chopped and added to the stir-fry, the rest drained and frozen separately. Maybe some pineapple juice to go into the sauce, the rest put into small tubs and frozen. Aiming for a great plateful. Doubt we will need a pudding, but expect my husband will settle for a yogurt.

Already planning the week ahead, I will be trying to balance things a little better. So tomorrow sees me serving Cold Meat Platter (a pack each of home-cooked chicken and ham, some corned beef (the remainder to be sliced and frozen for the next CMP), plus a couple of cooked sausages, so my carnivore husband should be satisfied. The remainder of his plate will be filled with coleslaw (shredded cabbage and grated carrot bound with mayo and yogurt), his favourite Waldorf salad (apple, celery and walnuts - the fruit and nut part to be costed), and a jacket potato (with butter). Possibly a pineapple cheesecake for dessert. Or Ticket Office Pudding.

Am planning a vegetable curry for Thursday, followed by an Indian dessert or maybe another helping of home-made ice-cream. Friday will be another fish dish, yet to be decided.

With milk to spare I have cancelled some this week and asked for more eggs, thus not increasing my milk bill, in fact it will be slightly less. Porridge can always be made with water and I'm now changing from drinking coffee to (green) tea without milk. With three packs of cheese delivered each week am sure we are getting enough calcium.

With the aim being to serve a fish dish one day, a vegetarian another, followed by meat, then maybe vegetarian again, then back to the fish, I'm hoping to provide a good balance of interesting meals. On vegetarian days, the lunchtime meal would be protein based with a choice of chicken pate, cheese, scrambled eggs or even sardines on toast. On meat days the lunch would be Soup du Jour, perhaps a pea and lettuce soup, or carrot and orange, or chunky vegetable. And others.
Once we have a good assortment of ingredients, they can be put together in so many ways (for anyone who watches Ready, Steady, Cook you get the idea). You may wish to try a recipe I've given, or make up one that you know will be more to your family's taste. All I am aiming to prove is that even on a tight budget, starting with a good amount of supplies, we should all have the makings to eat well and (hopefully) in the manner to which we would like to become accustomed to.