Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Cost of Living

We have all got into the habit of buying food on a regular basis, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, and ALWAYS while we still have food in our larder or fridge (not to mention frozen foods)that we could be cooking and eating. Break this shopping habit, and begin using up what we've got. Discovering we can make something ourselves that might normally have been bought for a higher price (than the ingredients) adds to the enjoyment. Then time we begin stocking up again (using the March budget), we will probably find we don't need half of what we thought we did, and end up spending only half of what we used to.

Tried out a chefs way way of placing paper in the pastry lined tins before adding dried beans (to hold the paper down) and it does work very well. Just take a square (or circle) of baking parchment to the size to cover the base and sides of the pastry case, then tightly scrunch up into a ball. When unwrapped it is then easily pressed into place, and fits more tightly than when just pressing in 'flat' paper. After filling with baking beans, cooking, then removing, the paper can be used for the same purpose again (and again, and again..).

For our own security we should all keep a few weeks supply of foods in store, especially when coming up to the winter months. This last winter proved that we need to have something to fall back on when weather conditions prevent us shopping (or even having foods delivered). Things such as UHT milk, baked beans, canned tomatoes, canned fish, corned beef, flour, raising agenst, sugar, rice, name but a few, and the usual butter, oils, vinegar etc. Also no reason why we shouldn't fill shelves with home-made jams, marmalade, chutneys and pickles as our grandparents used to do. Possibly also making mincemeat, Christmas Puddings, and rich fruit cakes that also have a long shelf-life. Make more, buy less.
The odd jars and packs of things we thought we might find a use for and never have - well, perhaps discovering these will have taught me a lesson at least.

It may be sensible to buy a pack of sticking plasters just in case we might cut ourselves, it's another thing to buy a can of anchovies when we KNOW nobody likes them. I have these in store because the chefs use them regularly (to stuff into a joint of lamb before cooking - they say no-one realises they are there. So why bother?). Suppose I could use them on a home-made pizza and eat this myself, but am I likely to? Prefer chorizo to anchovies. What a silly girl I've been. Always wanting to play chef when all I am is a 'just a housewife'.