Sunday, February 04, 2007

Nothing in the Cupboard ???

Halfway through the Challenge and stores are depleting. Not often I find gaps in my cupboard fridge and freezer, so feel slightly more insecure than normal. Even so, plenty still there and apart from buying the occasional fresh produce (fruit and vegetables ) might just manage to end up with something left. Last week there was no need to buy any fresh, so that saved money. Very little taken from stores (I have kept a record, but my book is downstairs - I follows me around the kitchen where I write down everything, and, next week, once my friend has gone, I will do a halfway costing and let you know how the budget is working out). Yesterday we ate Cold Meat Platter (chicken, ham and corned beef, but without sausages ), with salad and jacket potatoes, Gill had the last piece of TOP with cream. Must make some more of that before my husband returns.
A mention of breakfasts through the week. Gill brings her own cereal, and I have had porridge or slices of home-made granary bread with home-made lemon and lime marmalade and I have to say this is gorgeous. This week I sliced the bread using my electric slicer. Got 20 slices from it which included the crusts, most of which were good toasting thickness. About six thinner for sarnies. I prefer it toasted. Handcut I don't get so many slices and the machine does cut them very evenly and professionally. No need to clean the machine after, just brush off the crumbs.
A tip from the past. When using a hand mincer, the old fashioned kind that is making a comeback, run a slice and/or crust of bread through the machine after mincing meat, this helps to clean it out and also the crumbs can go into the meat dish/burger or whatever.

Here are two recipes that I will be using over the next week or so as they contain ingredients that I still have and that I know are tasty:

4 oz (110g) bacon, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
8 oz (225g) long grain rice
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. fresh thyme, leaves only
1/2 pint (275ml) chicken stock
8 oz (225g) cooked ham, cubed
a few frozen prawns
1 banana, sliced
Using a large frying pan, fry the bacon until cooked but not crisp. Drain and put the bacon on one side but keep the bacon fat in the pan. Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes, add the pepper and cook for two more minutes. Then stir in the rice. Keep stirring gently until the rice has turned transparent. Add the tomatoes, bacon, thyme and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Pour in the chicken stock, stir and bring to the simmer. Stir in the cooked ham, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the prawns. Simmer for a further 10 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Add more stock or boiling water only if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in the banana. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.
Tip: This is a dish where you can make good use of the chunky bits of bacon taken from an economy pack. Likewise ham that may be able to be pulled off a cheap ham bone. Myself, I will be using my economy bacon, but my ham I have sliced thinly, so will have to make do with some of that, but only half quantitites - adding more prawns to compensate.

Spicy Ham and Beans:
1 onion, chopped
1 apple, washed, cored and chopped
8 oz (225g) white cabbage, finely shredded
8 oz (225g) cooked ham, cubed
8 oz (225g) red kidney beans, cooked
good pinch of allspice
Fry the onion in a little oil until transparent, then stir in the apple and cabbage and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ham, beans and allspice and stir to mix well. Simmer until heated through. Season to taste.
Tip: Garlic can be included, and also salt to season if necessary.