Sunday, January 01, 2012

More Stores!

Managed to get most of my fresh produce on the kitchen table to be photographed, the only things missing are a small fabric sack of large baking potatoes (8 spuds but each large enough to feed two), and 7 lemons and 7 limes that had been cling-wrapped and are kept in the fridge.
All the produce in the photos, except the onions, butternut squash, and fruits are stored in the fridge, and have to say in there most of them keep for weeks.

The first two photos show veggies/salad etc that were put on two trays side by side, so to get close enough for everyone to see what was there, took two photos - this means the produce on the right side of the first photo will be the same ones as seen on the left of the photo following. Think you will understand this when you start looking.

The first pic shows two cauliflowers, (one delivered recently, the other delivered in a previous order - shows how well they keep). The outer leaves/core of these will be kept to later turn into 'cauliflower soup'. On the same tray (left of picture) is a bag of six parsnips, and next to that a bag containing Chinese leaves (this also from a previous delivery). In front is a white cabbage, and three 'clumps' of celery hearts.
Between this tray and the next is tucked a whole head of celery (I find celery one of the most useful veggies to have and it keeps so well).

On the second tray (on the right) is a bag containing two 'Sweet Gem' lettuce, at the side of this a bag of Baby 'new' potatoes. Below are four tomatoes resting on a punnet of chestnut mushrooms, on the left of this are two red bell peppers. Below are four packs of vacuum packed 'long-life' cooked beetroot.
Continuing with the second photo, we see some of the above again plus two cucumber halves, a butternut squash, 2 kg carrots, some more baby spuds (total 2 kg baby spuds in all). You can just see the bottom of my balance scales at the top right.

There was not enough room to show the onions as I keep these in a very large basket that sits on top of the washing machine, so took a separate photo of these (seen below), have just a few red onions, a few shallots. one large mild flavoured onion, and the rest are just 'cooking onions' (cheapest to buy and a stronger flavour so only need to use one at a time).
Next is a photo of the fresh fruit (remember this does not include the lemons and limes). Basket on tray on the left holds four large oranges, seven clementines, four kiwi fruit and two avocados. Four bananas in front (there are two more unripe bananas in the fridge - they last a bit longer when kept in there, flesh still firm although the skins discolour).The basket on the right holds 3 Bramley apples, four red Gala apples, the rest are a mostly Granny Smiths with a couple or so Golden Delicious.

Suppose frozen veg could be called 'fresh', so have to include the ones in the freezer as 'produce'. These being two bags of garden peas, one of Brussels sprouts, a part-bag of broccoli, and the same of string beans. One bag of oven chips. Frozen fruit in containers or bags, separately holding blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, and raspberries.

Even the above is now a bit depleted as last night I ate one of the clementines and a kiwi fruit. Also B and I shared a pack of the beetroot as it was past its date (still OK though). Myself also had a jacket potato.

It even grieves me to start using what's in store. How silly is that? Yesterday Beloved wandered into the larder to get himself a can of Baxter's Scotch Broth, and I had a can of baked beans (with the jacket potato). So alread a gap here and there has appeared.

At least I have an unopened pack of dried haricot beans, these - when soaked and cooked in a tomato sauce will equal several more cans of baked beans, so won't feel that deprived. Must give a mention to Tesco's cheap baked beans, to me they are ALMOST as good as Heinz Beanz, so from now on will be buying the cheapos instead of the more expensive (unless my home-cooked turn out even better AND cheaper).

Although the 'challenge' has to some extent already started (as no food has been bought since the delivery before Christmas we've had to eat SOMETHING), today it really HAS to begin. Last night brought out two packs of minced beef that I intend turning into spag bol meat sauce and also chilli con carne, with the hope of making enough to freeze away several portions for B's suppers. Probably we will eat some today. I might even extend the chilli by using a pack of 'Mexican chilli' Beanfeast. Not forgetting the can of red beans that makes the meat go so much further.

Also intend making a chunky soup using carrot, celery, and onion, maybe even turning part of it into a Minestrone. We are running out of bread, so another loaf needs to be baked today. Also have run out of cake, biscuits and desserts, so looks like being a busy day for me today.

There are 2 x 10 boxes of large eggs in the fridge, plus another 10 at room temperature. Plenty of fresh milk (I always buy 3 x 4 litre containers semi-skimmed fresh milk - keeps well in the fridge - and also have at least 6 litre packs of UHT milk, some semi some full cream milk. Plus a large packet of dried milk. Also four tubs of UHT double cream and four tubs (assorted) of extra thick double, ordinary double, and whipping cream. Plus a can of 'squirty' cream.

In the fridge are 3 packs x 12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, plus a few more rashers left in an opened pack. Half a pack of thinly sliced chorizo. Plus plenty of butter (for B) and unsalted butter (for baking) and Stork marg (also for baking), plus a large tub of Clover. Not forgetting three tubs of low-fat cream cheese, and one each pack of Cheddar, Red Leicester, halloumi, and Feta cheese. Two tubs and one block of Parmesan. So now it is just a matter of putting things together to make 'things to eat'. Think its going to be fun.

Must thank you all for your comments, mainly New Year greetings, so a 'blanket' thanks to all who sent these. Les has given details of a soy milk maker, and although this 'milk' ends up dearer than cows milk, the home-made may work out less than buying 'ready-made' soya milk. Or it could be the US 'maker' is cheaper than those here in the UK.

Was gob-smacked when I read that Alison has 76 jars of assorted preserves stored in her garage. Thought my shelf full of jams was a few too many (forgot at the time of writing up the larder contents to mention the marmalade is kept on one of the shelves across the end of the larder). But then, as it is only Beloved that eats the sweet stuff, and as I do give some away when freshly made, it will take him a full year to work though what I have stored (although do need to make more marmalade - he prefers that to jam on his breakfast toast).

Must have hit the wrong button somewhere for I now can't type out a recipe without a double or triple space between each line, so will have to wait until tomorrow, then will begin with 'things we can make from what we already have', in the hope of filling up any gaps that will keep appearing on our shelves. As I've said before, gaps on larder shelves makes me feel uneasy.

We had planned to have a fairly quite evening watching TV yesterday, but 'upstairs' had a party, which included children who seemed to be spending the time jumping over things and landing on the floor with great thumps. All night long. Beloved came into our dining room (which is under their kitchen), but the children still kept running from room to room so not a lot better. In the end he went to bed. I stayed up to watch Stephen Fry's 100 favourite gadgets - quite interesting, and as this ran into New Year heard 'upstairs' singing Old Lange Syne, then other houses in the street let off fireworks. Watched a bit of Poirot (but seen it before) so then took myself off to bed. Peace and quiet everywhere so expect all the residents of our small street are sleeping off their celebrations. Myself - once Gill has phoned me at 9.00am - will be busy working in the kitchen, and you will hear more about that tomorrow.

With New Year's Day normally a Bank Holiday, and as this time it is on a Sunday, no doubt that means tomorrow will be the Bank Holiday. Still no trade mag, so it may well be next weekend before they begin publishing again. Can't wait to see what we have to look forward to (not!) these next few months.

For those who feel that to cook well we need to have the right equipment, then you might be relieved to read these two comments written by renowned chefs and cooks:

"The dangerous person in the kitchen is the one who goes rigidly by weights, measurements, thermometers and scales. All these scientific implements are not much use, the only exception being when making pastry and jam, where exact weights are important."

"The fact is that it takes more than ingredients and technique to cook a good meal. A good cook puts something of himself/herself into the preparations - cooking with enjoyment, anticipation, spontaneity, and always willing to experiment. "

Something worth thinking about. Enjoy your day, join me tomorrow and - over the coming year - together we will work culinary miracles and save loadsa money whilst doing so.