Sunday, December 23, 2012


It's (nearly) Christmas, so my last blog today until next Thursday 27th when the festivities will all done and dusted.  Only the leftovers to eat up.  Then sees the start of my new challenge - and I can't wait!!

They say things run in threes - well, B's car needs repair, and yesterday my electric hand mixer suddenly died on me just as I began to whip a pint of cream.  So what's next? Thankfully the last of the whipping (the cream cheeses, cream etc for the Tiramasu, and Cheesecake) had already been done.  Had to resort to whipping the cream by hand using a balloon whisk, and believe me, realised how useful the electric whisks are (or even the old-fashioned rotary whisks), as it took me at least 15 minutes continuous whisking to get the cream to even begin to thicken. 

Luckily our daughter was going to the club social, so she collected B and my desserts/quiches to take that evening, leaving me sitting at home feeling a bit exhausted - mainly due to the several weeks of coughs and colds more than the cooking.   Today feel much better, not a lot to do other than make bread (as B cannot now use his car to buy more), and a few other bits of baking this morning.   Will be meeting up with Eileen this afternoon, so am looking forward to that.

Decided to cook the gammon in the oven instead of simmering it in liquid on the hob as I normally do.  So put it into a roasting bag to cook.  Removed bag after the recommended cooking time, took off the skin and then smeared some of my orange and ginger marmalade - mixed with some whole grain mustard - on the fatty part of the gammon and then popped it back in the oven for 15 minutes to glaze. It looked really good and smelled wonderful.   However, the oven roasting seems to have shrunk the ham more than if it had been cooked in liquid, and so will have to find out how much weight it has lost.  There was about half a pint of 'juices' that came from the gammon (collected in the roasting bag) that I poured into a bowl and chilled - it has set to a gel to use as the base of a split pea and ham soup.  That with the fat will weight several ounces. 

Hopefully I'll be able to freeze some of the (sliced) ham before B eats it all (which he will if given the chance), and I'll be hoping to eat some too as I love ham sarnies.  Am a bit worried about the supply of butter in the fridge as have only about 8 packs left (B works his way through about 3 packs a week on his toast and in sarnies etc) as I'll be needing some for baking, although suppose I could use soft margarine instead.  Myself will make do with Flora pro-activ (until that runs out), and the Stork on my own sarnies.  At least having to restrict the amount of fat I eat to make it last longer will be good for my health.   When more butter needs to be bought am hoping I'll have saved a few pennies to afford it.

Yes, Cheesepare, the idea - re the new challenge - is to make the chosen Sunday roast last through most of the rest of the week (with a few vegetarian or fish dishes in between), like 'in the old days' of cooking.  Whether it will prove expensive remains to be seen. 
Our first 'roast' will be beef, the cost of this working out at £6.66p (half of a joint of rump that cost me £13.33 total - both halves in the freezer at the moment).  Enough meat on the one half to (hopefully) make at least four meals with maybe a few slices to freeze away for later. 

My aim is to spend no more than £20 on food each week (sounds a lot when you think there are only two of us, but have to start with the middle road then try to reduce the amount later), so the first week will have just over £14 left to spend on the veg and anything else 'bought' from my own stores. This in a way is a challenge in itself: try to spend less that what's left of the weekly budget.
Cost of fuel for cooking shouldn't be more than usual, perhaps even less as the meat used for later meals will have already been cooked and so just needs thoroughly heating through when turning it into other hot meals.  
Like most of my challenges, nothing is written in stone, so there could be difficulties (I like these as they give me something to overcome), and there could be pleasant surprises (such as spending far less money than expected).  It could be it all ends in disaster, but on the other hand be a triumph.  We will just have to wait and see.

That Maltese store opened near you Jane sounds lovely - especially the cheeses.  Wish we had something like that.
Thanks also to the other Jane (W), for her comment.

Have seen the trifle you mentioned, Janet.  Thought about making one myself, but preferred to set the social's trifle in layers (sponge cake, fruit, jelly, custard - then repeated, finishing with a pint of whipped cream studded with glace cherries, nuts and angelica).  This did look attractive, and easy to serve as the serving spoon could reach down and remove part of one layer instead of having to go right down to the bottom of the dish.  The Swiss Roll lined trifle dish is one I certainly will be making for family use.

As I have an unopened bag of Pudding Rice (called Carolina rice?) in my store cupboard, your mention of Rice Pudding Marjorie, has inspired me to include this pud during my challenge, esp as I have some UHT and also some evaporated milk in store (saves me using fresh milk which has suddenly gone up from £1.18 (for four pints) to £1.26.  Will this price rise be permanent, or could it be that Tesco took the opportunity to put up the price because it was Christmas). Then drop the price down again in a few weeks to what it was, just to make it appear it will be one of their special 'offers'?

Have quite a bit to do this morning, and no doubt all readers will be too busy to bother to read blogs, so will wind up now - returning again on Thursday.   All that remains is for me to wish all of you