Monday, June 09, 2008

Money Saving with Style

Here is a useful guide to the balance of ingredients used with 8 oz (225g) plain flour when baking in a conventional oven. Teaspoons should be level. Bp = baking powder. For the rich and very rich cakes up to 2 oz more fruit (than stated) could be added.
scones: 4 tsp Bp; 2 oz fat; approx 5fl oz milk
plain cake: 3 tsp Bp; 1 egg; 3 0z each fat, sugar, fruit; 5 fl oz milk
rich cake: 1 tsp Bp; 3 eggs;6 oz each fat, sugar, fruit, 5 fl.oz milk
very rich: no Bp: 4 eggs; 8 oz fat, sugar and fruit, little milk
Victoria sponge: 1 tsp Bp; 8 oz fat and sugar; 4 eggs, little milk

Baking powder is the normal raising agent for cakes although bicarbonate of soda is better when a mixture contains an acid such as buttermilk (or yogurt).

For a final suggestion: imagine you have one piece of fruit per person.. One could have an orange, another a banana, a third could have an apple, the fourth a few grapes. One their own, eaten individually, not a lot to offer for dessert. On the other hand, the orange segmented, the banana sliced, the apple left unpeeled but cored and cut into thick chunks or slices, each grape cut in half. Put together they then seem quite an amount. Pile these into empty orange shells, pour over a little syrup (add a little kirsch or orange liqueur to the syrup if you wish), and serve - maybe with a dollop of cream on top. It doesn't take much more than presentation to move your average fruit several rungs up the culinary laddeer.

Booze is mentioned more than once in my recipes. You may think that does not fall into the frugal food territory, but then if you do as I do - for Christmas and Birthday pressies ask for a bottle of kirsch, a bottle of sherry, a bottle of brandy (you can make your own orange liqueur from that), and bottle of rum - and this request can given be over several years to different people. Believe me - just used for cooking, these last for AGES and never have I had to buy any myself. Tell a lie - did treat myself to some limoncello and also a bottle of Advocaat last year (still barely used), but even these can be included on my wish list when they run out.
Remember that WE don't have to buy anything expensive when we have a perfectly acceptable reason for someone else to do the purchasing.