Thursday, January 28, 2010

Change is as Good as a Rest

SweeterRita, it really would be good if you could set up your own blog, for when written as a 'posting' all the information you have been sending would be read by far more people than on this site, for not everyone reads comments sent in, and in any case these are almost impossible to find if they wish to be referred to later. Myself find that when I take a look at other websites rarely bother to read comments as it will be the main text that appeals to me most. Comments are worth more to the person who writes the site, than the occasional reader. Or perhaps I am biased.
It is easy enough to set up a site, and it doesn't have to be written up each day, some people do it when they feel they have something worth writing about, others do it once a week, some only once a month. This has made me realise it is not necessary to write daily, and also I should possibly write far less - as not everyone has time to read my seemingly endless babble each day so perhaps time for me to change. Might give it a try.

All comments are worth receiving, but the ones that I find really pleasing are from readers of this site who share how they cope with their budget, shopping, the meals they make, produce they grow, and anything that relates to the cost-cutting aspect of this site. This way we learn from each other and turn an onerous taskinto something enjoyable.

So today thank Ciao for telling us about her supper and making good use of some Pannetonne. This has reminded me that there are still Pannetone crumbs in the freezer to be used up.
Also Les who seems to be at a 'make-it-up-as-I-go' level of cooking. That in itself is not an easy thing to do and will be interested to hear of meals made. There is no real need to hunt out copies of my books Les, as a lot of the contents have already been put up on this site.

Moira's mention of making stock using a whole chicken - as shown on Hairy Bikers this week - is the correct way to make that rich stock that is often called 'Jewish Penicillin', all the more interesting as the medical profession are now saying that this stock really does have 'something' that does us good.
Although good stock can be made from just a chicken carcase (plus veggies), there is a lot more depth when a whole bird is simmered very gently for several hours (with carrot, onion or leek, and celery). In the old days this bird would be an 'old boiler', and although it seems a waste to make stock using a young 'roasting' chicken, this when cooked in water does give moister flesh - which seems to go further - and once the bird is out of the stock and left to drain, it can either be eaten hot as we would when roasting, or left to get cold and sliced. All the cooked flesh can be used for pies or what you will, in the normal way.
When in Leeds, was able to buy a 'boiling fowl' from the butcher, but it needed to be ordered, and although making wonderful stock, the flesh was a bit tough, although could be minced and turned into patties, rissoles and the like.

Your term 'large economy size' Stella - referring to us larger ladies - has quite a bit of truth in that, for we really do seem to have 'low running costs', as we appear to be able to eat less than some leaner people and still not lose weight. Come a major disaster when food is in very short supply, we would be the ones who survived the longest and probably the only ones who survive at all. All we would have to hope is that cannabilism wouldn't rear its ugly head for we might then find ourselves fleeing from those skinny people with their cauldrons at the ready.

Could not sleep last night for ages. Eventually did nod off and had a real nightmare. Can only put this down to having eaten some cheese later in the evening. In the past eating cheese late has nearly always ended up giving me nightmares. The reason why I ate cheese last night was the attention paid to a recent comment. Silly me - always believing what I am told.
In future will not trust a word that doesn't come from a book. And even then not always. Hope at least readers believe what is written in this posting to be true (I have no control over comments).

Thinking of what to write next, and looking out of the window for inspiration, see a dove flying into the cordyline again. Yesterday a dove was seen sitting on a branch of the apple tree (which is next to the cordyline) with a twig in its beak. So nest building has begun somewhere, and as I keep seeing one or t'other of the pair of doves flying in and out of the 'cordy', seems this is where they have chosen to build their home. Perhaps of no interest to readers other than it does show that we are moving away from the winter and slowly into spring. Today there is blue sky, sunshine and - well, the birds are busy!

For some reason yesterday felt very tired (was also late finishing my blog again, and for this apologise - have already said I write far too much) and had not the slightest interest in doing any cooking. Or anything at all for that matter. Persuaded Beloved to order a home-delivery from an excellent curry house for an early meal, and this we both enjoyed. Today for supper think it will be cold ham, corned beef, cold turkey with cooked (cold) beetroot, Waldorf salad, maybe a coleslaw, and a jacket potato. That's easy enough. Norma the Hair will be here this afternoon (my usual appointment having to be changed), and so won't have time to do any preparations for 'hot-cooking'. Will possibly make a Bread Pudding using some of those dried out 'rusks' (a baking disaster mentioned a week or so ago that eventually turned out to have a use) or maybe make something similar using those Pannetonne crumbs. This is best when it has several hours soaking before being baked, so can prepare it before lunch (crumbs in bowl, a large egg beaten with half a pint of milk, then poured over the crumbs and left to soak).

What was depressed me most yesterday was the spanner in my works that Fate threw at me. Probably my fault for mentioning Fate yesterday. It wanted to show me it was still boss.
Things started to go downhill when B first discovered that no newspaper had been delivered, so when going to the newsagents to fetch one, he found the shop had been broken into during the night, and had other things on its mind than selling and delivering papers. Driving to another newsagents this also had no papers due to the above bringing in extra custom. B then endingeup buying the paper at Morrisons's.
With B, being in a supermarket is like releasing a child in a toy shop. To cut a long story short, food was brought home. B now has his double cream and more butter, he brought some bread (to save me baking), and some bacon. Several yogurts for his 'evening' snacks. To be fair, B he phoned me from the supermarket to find out if there was anything I wanted and I did ask for a bottle of the tomato ketchup that was being advertised at half price at that store, but in the end B coudn't find these so brought home a giant plastic bottle of ketchup instead. Probably several other things as well 'that were needed' but have not yet found out what (he will have hidden them in the fridge). None of this really matters at all other that I feel this has blown my Challenge right out of the window.

At least if the food brought in is not touched until tomorrow (or even later - for we still have some of the original butter left, and some squirty cream and am not planning to put ketchup on anything), this means that a full five weeks will have passed without needing to purchase any food (not even milk - and we still have a couple of cartons of UHT left), so like to feel that at least have proved that it is possible to eat well for a month without going out to the shops.

Last at least a month is nearer the truth, for although we have been eating fish, there still remains a freezer drawer full of assorted. We have pork mince, lamb shank, sausages, chicken portions (various) and a pork tenderloin as yet untouched in the 'meat' freezer drawer. There are still some frozen packs of cooked sliced ham, beef and turkey, plus boxes of frozen cooked pulses (red beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas....). Add to these frozen peas, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and red cabbage and we are not short of veggies. There is also a box of rhubarb. In the fridge there is a cauliflower, white cabbage, carrots, half a butternut squash, and half a head of celery, three bell peppers (assorted colours), and a couple of packs of beetroot in vacuum packs. A pack of half a dozen tomatoes and some grapes. Oranges, kiwi fruit and apples are in the fruit bowl, so enough 'fresh' fruit and vegetables to last days if not weeks. And don't forget the onions - still plenty of those left despite using them nearly every day (well did start with a lot).

What we are/were running short of was mainly the butter and cream (B now having bought some) and it was getting a bit of a chore to continually bake bread, so in a way was grateful he brought in both a toasting and a medium loaf, but also have enough 'mixes' to last a month or more so could have managed. We still have half a dozen baking potatoes (each large enough to feed two), but had run out of the baby 'new' potatoes. Do have a tub of instant potato which is always useful.
We were low on cheese, although still enough Stilton to keep B happy, and half a pack of very strong cheddar. A pack of Boursin cheese, and a pack of cream cheese still untouched. Some mozzarella stored in oil, and Parmesan to grate. What is even more important, there are still half a dozen eggs in the fridge.

Unlike a similar Challenge begun at the end of 2006, this time there was no doorstep delivery of milk, eggs, butter, cheese, cream, creme fraiche, yogurts and potatoes to rely on, but then that Challenge was more to do seeing how long £250 worth of stores (which included all bought from the milkman) would last. So feel that now having no milkman, this Challenge was - at times - more difficult.

With plenty of 'basics' - rice, pasta, couscous, etc, there is no reason why good meals could not still not be served over several more weeks. And there is still canned food on the shelf - fruit, tuna, sardines, salmon, baked beans, sweetcorn, chopped and plum tomatoes. The last can of corned beef will be opened today, but some sliced and frozen for later use.
So it is hardly as though we are running out of food altogether. Perhaps I should just jot down how much was spent yesterday and pay for that out of the money already saved. Then carry on regardless.
But is it worth carrying on with the Challenge, or do you think the point I was trying to make has been well and truly proved? Would appreciate your comments re this.

Will finish now as want to watch the repeat of Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers on IPlayer. Have already seen this, but he is very watchable and having a slight glimpse of his veggie burgers (or whatever they were) feel they would eat well served with the Cold Meat Platter this evening. So need to know how to make

Hope the sun is shining today on all of you, and as sunshine is guaranteed to bring smiles to our faces, we should all enjoy our day, and hope that you will return to me again tomorrow.