Thursday, 22 March 2012

Cooking

Thank you to those yesterday who helped me to identify the tree. Here is some trivia about it that you may or may not know - new to me anyway, but those who new the tree may know this. The Berberis is originally from South America and the berries it produces in Autumn are edible and make a very nice jam apparently. Anyone tried this? Full of vitamin C it seems.

I have company today, a very good friend is coming over from Cheshire to see where I am living and to have lunch (which is lucky because I have to stay in for a delivery today as well). Now I don't think I have spent very much at all on food this month, I had a lot in the store cupboard and have just topped up on basics now and again, probably about £20. Having said that I have spent excessively on gardening stuff, which is fine, but it has been done with a certain amount of gay abandon. I just feel that I have no idea what I have spent and I need to very much get back on track before I decline into overdraft. So with that in mind, yesterday I set about cooking. I didn't particularly wish to get the car out and go to the delightful Rochdale supermarkets so I took the 20 minute walk to the co-op instead. My co-op is a very expensive shop! There are rarely any bargains to be had (although I did pick up a couple of little gem lettuces for 49p) and so I shelved my original plan of making a Thai green chicken (or prawn) curry because the chicken and the prawns were just too expensive in there. Instead I opted for using up the rather large amount of eggs I had nearing their use by date and to utilise the fact that the oven would be on by filling it to capacity and beyond. So £5 was spent on a piece of gammon that was over a kilo (apparently half price but I know that a piece like that was never really £10 to begin with - they are such cheaters). Still, not a bad price for a large piece.

Now before I start on the food, I would like to just point out that my photography does tend to make anything like deeply unattractive, the camera on my phone gives most things a slightly orange tint that makes the food look rather ghastly. I promise you, it looks better in reality.

So last night, first I made an apple cake to use up 3 rather sad looking apples and 2 of the eggs.


and then I made a banana loaf to use up another couple of eggs and 2 black bananas. Sampled 2 slices.


Third was the tortilla which used the remaining 4 eggs up and some old potatoes. Instead of frying the potatoes (a job I hate) I actually just oiled them and put them in the oven to roast as it was on and then transferred them to the frying pan when they were done. Made life much simpler and no real difference to the end result.


and lastly was my gammon, which I boiled first and then I blackened in the oven with a honey and mustard glaze.


Along with a salad and some fresh bread which is cooking now, I think that all of this will provide us with a nice lunch and will leave me with great leftovers for the next few days.

19 comments:

  1. A wise use of your oven - well done. Quite a feast you have prepared :)

    And, as you say, there should be food for a couple of days ahead too.

    Now I'M hungry LOL

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    1. I'm always a bit cross if I can't fill the oven.

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  2. Wow, how busy you have been. Regarding the berberis, is it meant to be a tree or should it be cut back to be a shrub? Haven't heard about cooking the berries, very interesting. I can never fill my oven as I don't have enough of everything at the same time. I do make 2 loaves of bread at a time though and try to then cook something for tea in it before turning it off. An old WWII trick was to take a washing up bowl (they obviously used metal) fill it with water and put in the oven as you switch it off. It should then be warm enough to wash up in when the oven is cooled (providing you don't forget about it)

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    1. Nice trick, like you say though, plastic washing up bowls would be a disaster!

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  3. That'd be an interesting jam to try. I love new flavours! :)

    Co-Op is definitely expensive. They're just never big enough to have a range of foods, and they never have a value brand. In London I lived within walking distance of a Sainsbury's Local and a Co-Op, and the Sainsbury's Local was cheaper! If I had that problem again I would use Tesco/Asda online for big shops.

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    1. I'll let you know how the jam turns out in october!
      Co-op is a big no no. I do the majority of my shopping in aldi now and now and again in asda or morrisons for stuff I can't get there. Massive differnce in price.

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    2. I find Co-Op far too expensive, too. I tend to buy my fruit and veg from Aldi now, then go to Tesco for the rest, or even occasionally head out to Sainsbury`s for some other bargains. Shopping wisely like this saves me some pennies.

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  4. I have to admit to not using the oven here, its full of baking tins. I have a combi mocro which cooks fast and takes care of most things. I guess I would have to use the main oven if I ever had to cook a turkey again, but thats very unlikely.

    Well done you will have enough to keep you going for a while, cake can be used for pudding with some custard and you can slice and freeze some of the gammon for later. One thing you could look at getting if you do not already have one is an electric slicer, I regularly use one to slice meat and bread. You can cut thinner slices than with a knife. Mine cost £29 I think a couple of years ago. Kenwood is a good make.

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    1. I have considered getting a mini oven or a halogen oven, i must admit. I only use the oven if i am baking lots at once in general, but am always looking for ways to reduce the cost of cooking. I also have thought about a slicer, i can't afford it right now, but I keep my eyes open for second hand or reduced.

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    2. Go to car boots on weekends if you can. You will be amazed what electrical goods are on offer there. You might well find a cheap slicer.
      Good luck.

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  5. I've never heard of eating berberis berries either - I like the idea of having yet another 'foraging opportunity' though
    Also like the idea of putting a bowl of water in the oven - that's definately going to be a regular thing here.
    Well done with the cooking !

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  6. Wow, makes me hungry from way over here! I must admit though, I had to look up Gammon to see what it was. Looks delicious!!

    Great use of your resources...using up stuff that someone else might through out just because it's not "pretty" or something is perfect. I love doing the same thing. Had a coworker once ask if I wanted some apples she was going to throw out, because she thought they were too old. I said sure, went home and we made an apple pie and brought it back the next day. She was amazed. People can be so wasteful at times...

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    1. your food look's wonderful!i would love the recipe for the apple cake!and you will have some leftover's as well,i don't use my oven hardly at all these day's,unless i'm making a few thing's!i now use a Halogen Oven,which i got off of Free-Cycle,it's great!

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    2. HI Carol, Here is the recipe for the apple cake, it looks a little dry when it goes in the oven, but seems to come out ok.

      Apple cake

      225 g sr flour
      110g butter
      450g apples, peeled, cored and copped
      110g caster sugar
      2 beaten eggs
      25g soft brown sugar for top

      Preheat oven 200C/gas 6
      Grease and base line a 20cm cake tin.

      Rub the fat into the flour. Mix in the apples, eggs and caster sugar.
      Put into the cake tin, level the top and sprinkle on the brown sugar.
      Bake for 30 –40 mins – till skewer comes out clean.

      This cake doesn’t keep very long because of the apples, but it freezes well.

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    3. That's great!thank's so much for posting it,will make it today(Sunday)perfect!Bye!

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  7. Looks like a good meal you concocted - hope you both enjoyed it.

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  8. You really made good use of the oven! I always try to fit several things in at once, too, and what a great idea about using the oven heat to warm up a pan of water. And it's great that the pretty tree also offers edible berries, always good news for our frugal efforts to have something for free!

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  9. Amazing amount of cooking. I just came across your blog and look forward to reading your money saving story when I next get time. As a family we are trying to live more simply, work less and spend less.

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