Monday, January 01, 2007

Mean Cuisine starts here !

Began with making chicken pate. This made over half a pint of pate in total, so enough for several helpings. Cost less than £1. One pot was put in the fridge, the rest frozen. Covered with a layer of melted butter, it will keep in the fridge for at least a week, but use up a couple or so days once started.
Whilst the pate was cooking, I set to making another fruit cake. As I really hoped for a further egg white I was pleased to read the recipe required 2 standard eggs and my eggs were a bit larger than that, so I broke one egg into a dish, just adding the yolk from the second. This worked splendidly. Using four eggs I had spread them between the pate (two yolks), the cake (one egg plus one yolk) , and finally - leaving three whites to make the ice-cream.
While the cake was baking I then made the ice-cream, mint choc chip as requested by my husband. The recipe was given yesterday. Using three egg whites and 7 oz sugar + 7 dessp. water, plus flavourings, cream and yogurt it just about filled two 1 litre ice-cream boxes. The cost to make the two tubs came to less than £1. Allowing my husband to lick the spoon and bowl I then made him promise 'no more than three scoops at any one time, and not every day'.
If all this sounds labour intensive, much of the work was done sitting at the table and all completed, baked, and/or frozen within 2 hours

Didn't get around to making any bread as we still have half a loaf of bought to use up. The bread I will make today and possibly a batch of 'Ticket Office Pudding'. Maybe also a fruit pie or crumble, then that should give my husband a good selection to see him through most of this week.

In yesterday's TV supplement there was a feature on the size of a portion of food. I've known for years my husband eats enough for three and this proved it. Eating the correct size portion is healthy, but not only that it can help with the budget. I'm all for it. In the case of ££ v lbs it will be a case of win some lose some. Think of a portion as representing something else:
cheese = size of a matchbox
cereals = small wineglass
salmon = size of a chequebook
cooked rice or pasta = size of a tennis ball
fruit cake = a cassette tape
meat = a pack of cards
but you can eat as many fruit and vegetables a day as you wish and preferably more vegetables than fruit.

Now for Day one of the Challenge. Breakfasts and lunches will rarely be mentioned as we eat much the same thing every day. Porridge for me, muesli or porridge for my husband, and - as we run out I will make more. Otherwise we eat toast spread with marmalade or Marmite, or even just toast. Sometimes even just a coffee will suffice. Lunches are either 'something on toast' (a choice of cheese, Marmite, or scrambled eggs), if we have omitted breakfast, this comes early as in 'brunch'. In the winter months we are more likely to have home-made soup with a slice of home-made bread. If on my own I tend to favour a jacket potato with some baked beans. To this list I can now add the occasional serving of chicken pate.
Most of these goodies are eaten by my husband, I am easily satisfied with the plainer things in life.

Today's main meal (the bit you have been waiting for) will be a his and hers. He will be eating my version of a poor man's Paella, and I will be eating a pasta dish. Details below. His put will bewith 3 scoops of ice-cream, and I probably won't want anything else.

Poor Man's Paella: (in truth, not even that) for one serving
1 piece of salmon (size of a pack of cards), freshly cooked
1 chicken drumstick or 3 chicken wings, freshly cooked
3 large (frozen) tiger prawns,
one portion of cooked rice
butter, and chopped parsley
black pepper
Remove skin from salmon and break into thick flakes. Remove cooked flesh from drumstick. If using chicken wings, these can be tucked whole into the rice.
Put a walnut of butter in a frying pan, stir in the cooked chicken flesh, followed by the rice to coat the grains. Fold in the salmon and (if using) the cooked chicken wings, finally the thawed prawns. Cook on until the prawns have turned pink. Season with plenty of black pepper and scatter over the parsley. Serve, eat and enjoy.
Tip: This is economical because I used the free chicken wings from the butcher. The price of a whole pack of frozen tiger prawns will be included in the final costing. Instead of tiger prawns, add more of those smaller ones. Peas can be used instead of parsley, or both.

Shirley's Supper:
One good helping quick-cook pasta,
1 rasher bacon
2-3 oz cheese grated (Red Leicester this time),
4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
the dregs of cream (see below)
black pepper
Snip the bacon into smaller pieces. Fry gently to release the fat then add the mushrooms.
Stir in the cooked pasta and the cream. Finally stir in the cheese. Mix the lot together , season well with the pepper, and dish up.
Tip: when making the ice-cream a little cream was left over stuck to the lid and sides of the carton, this I scraped out and saved to add to the above.