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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Breakfast Cookies

Time can be short in the mornings and whilst I always ensure that my family have a good breakfast, I find myself sometimes forgetting to eat or waiting until after the school run to have breakfast at which point I am ravenous.

To solve this conundrum, on the mornings when I can't manage a decent breakfast, I baked these Breakfast Cookies and eating one is enough to get me through until after the school run.  My daughters like them in their lunchboxes for an energy boosting snack.  They are also great for an afternoon pick-me-up.  

These are also much cheaper than the breakfast biscuit offerings in the supermarket, and I know exactly what is in them.  I vary the dried fruit depending on what we have in the cupboard and also add some seeds for extra texture and nutritional value.  You can use vegetable or rapeseed oil instead of coconut oil if you prefer.  



Breakfast Cookies

150g rolled oats (use gluten free if necessary)
70g unsweetened dessicated coconut 
60g toasted slivered almonds
100g dried fruit, roughly chopped if necessary
30g mixed seeds
3 medium over ripe bananas, mashed 
1 Tblsp coconut oil, warmed 
1 Tblsp honey or maple/golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Heat oven to 180C/160C Fan. Line two oven trays with non stick baking paper.  Combine the oats, coconut, slivered almonds, dried fruit, and mixed seeds in a large bowl. In a separate bowl or jug combine the bananas, oil, honey/syrup and vanilla.  Pour into the dry ingredients then mix until totally combined.  

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls, put onto prepared trays and flatten slightly.  I made approximately 15 - 18 cookies.  Bake for approx 10 - 12  minutes, or until golden on top.






Sunday, 15 November 2015

FoodCycle Breadline Challenge



FoodCycle is brilliant, I have volunteered several times at my local branch cooking a three course lunch for the local community from food which would otherwise go to waste.  There are FoodCycle hubs around the UK and I wholeheartedly encourage you to check them out and help out if you can.   For information on all things FoodCycle, browse their website.

I was asked to compile a Meal Plan to promote the FoodCycle Breadline Challenge 2015 which will entail supporters living off a food budget of £2.86 a day for one week.  The Challenge will run from 16th – 22nd November and is aiming to raise awareness of rising UK food poverty and also raise vital funds for FoodCycle's work across the country.

My budget was £20.02 for 7 days worth of food, I overspent by 7p.  Here's my shopping list:

29 items: £20.09

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Muesli (1Kg)                                                    £1.18
1x ASDA Good and Balanced Pearl Barley (500g)                             64p
1x Whitworths Granulated Sugar (500g)                                           49p
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg)                                45p
1x ASDA Lemon Juice (250ml)                                                         55p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg)                                     40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g)                                       29p

Frozen
2x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                                   £1.54
1x ASDA Cook from Frozen Pollock Portions (368g)                         £1.75

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x ASDA Chopped Tomatoes with Garlic in Tomato Juice (390g)      80p was 50p
1x ASDA Good and Balanced Black Eye Beans in Water (300g)        40p Buy any 5 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Good and Balanced Chilli Beans (290g)                              40p Buy any 5 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Smartprice Dried Mixed Herbs (18g)                                  25p
1x ASDA Smartprice Strawberry Jam (454g)                                    29p
1x ASDA Good and Balanced Green Lentils in Water (400g)              40p Buy any 5 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Good and Balanced Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g)      40p Buy any 5 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Chosen by You Vegetable Stock Cubes (12x10g)               75p
2x ASDA Chopped Tomatoes with Chilli and Peppers (390g)             80p was £1.00
1x ASDA Good and Balanced Mixed Bean Salad (290g)                    40p Buy any 5 FOR £2.00

Dairy and Eggs
2x ASDA British Whole Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                                      £1.78
1x ASDA Butter - Unsalted (250g)                                                    85p
1x ASDA Mixed Weight Free Range Eggs (6)                                   85p
1x Anchor Grated Mature Cheddar (200g)                                         £1.00 was £2.38

Fruit and Vegetables
3 ASDA White Baking Potatoes by Weight (430g)                             86p
7 ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas by Weight (170g)                     69p
300g ASDA White Cabbage by Weight                                             17p
1x ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)                                       49p
1x ASDA Brown Onions (1Kg)                                                          74p

Drinks
1x   ASDA Smartprice Instant Coffee Granules (100g)                      47p


My Meal Plan is as follows:

Breakfast
Muesli, with grated carrot, a banana. and milk

Lunches
Onion Soup with Cheese and Herb Soda Bread x 2
Mixed Vegetable, Herb and Pearl Barley Soup with Cheese and Herb Soda Bread
Pearl Barley and Mixed Vegetables Risotto x 2
Black Eyed Peas Patties with Rice, Cabbage, Carrot Stir Fry
Rice, Chilli Beans and Vegetable Bake

Dinners
Fishcakes with Mixed Vegetables
Mixed Bean and Vegetable Stew with Pasta
Egg Fried Rice with Vegetables
Fish and Chips with Vegetables
Kidney Bean Patties with Vegetables and Champ Mash
Twice Baked Potato with Cheesy Chilli Bean Topping and vegetables
Lentil Bolognese with Pasta

Treats
Flapjacks
Rice Pudding
Oat and Fruit Soda Bread with Jam

Soda Bread

300g/2 cups self raising flour
30g butter
1/2 cup grated mature cheddar cheese (leave out if making sweet version)
1 or 2 tsp dried mixed herbs or a handful of muesli
250ml milk
2 tsp lemon juice

Mix the lemon juice and milk together and leave to stand whilst you grate the cheese and measure out the other ingredients.  Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter. Add the grated cheese, herbs  if you are making a savoury version or muesli if you are making a sweet version.  Add milk then mix until mixture forms a sticky dough.

Knead on a lightly floured board until smooth, don't over knead it or your bread will be heavy. Form into a round loaf then mark into four with the handle of a wooden spoon. Dust with a little flour.

Bake at 180°C for 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked. Serve warm or cold.

Mixed Bean and Vegetable Stew

Heat one tin of drained mixed beans with one pack of Chopped Tomatoes with Chilli and Peppers and 100g of frozen mixed vegetables, add a pinch of mixed herbs if you want.  Simmer until the vegetables are cooked then serve over 100g of pasta cooked according to packet instructions.

Kidney Bean Patties

1 tin kidney beans
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, grated
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 Tblsp flour

Drain and rinse the kidney beans then add mixed herbs, grated onion and carrot.  Mash together until a lumpy puree mixture forms.  Mix through the flour then form into patties. Chill in the fridge for half an hour to firm up if you have time.  Cook over a moderate heat in a frying pan for 3 - 4 minutes each side. 


Mixed Vegetable Pearl Barley Risotto

Rice Pudding

600ml whole milk
65g long grain white rice
50g white sugar

In a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan combine the milk and rice.  Place saucepan over a fairly high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is tender. This usually takes about 25 minutes. Stir the milk mixture frequently using a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stop the rice from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

When the rice is tender (al dente) take the saucepan off the heat and sugar to taste.  Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until the rice pudding thickens, this should take about 5 - 10 minutes. Remove from heat and spoon the pudding into a bowl to cool, cover with clingfilm to stop a skin forming. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. To make into a Mullerrice type treat mix in some jam.


What are your favourite budget meals?  Will you be taking part in the Challenge? 


Friday, 6 November 2015

English Muffins

I was asked to try out Clover spread and see how my family liked it. So that we could taste the flavour of the spread I baked some English Muffins using Clover instead of butter, and spread them liberally with Clover, so we could properly taste test the spread. 

Clover spread tasted buttery and full of flavour. It contains buttermilk and no artificial ingredients, with half saturated fat of butter, so is great for those wanting a buttery taste with less saturated fat when making family meals. 

I shall be creating a delicious recipe using Clover over the next couple of weeks, so do pop back and keep a look out. In the meantime, why not bake some English Muffins and enjoy them for breakfast on the weekend.



English Muffins

675g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
50g Clover
500ml milk
1 free range egg, beaten

To make fruited muffins add:
75g dried fruit, soaked in hot water to plump up, then drained well
2 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon

Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Heat the milk in a saucepan over a low heat or in the microwave with the Clover spread.  Once the milk is lukewarm remove from the heat, the Clover should be just melting.  

Make a well in the flour mixture in the bowl, add the egg along with the milk and butter mixture.  Mix until a soft dough forms.  Knead for 5 minutes then put into a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling film.  Leave to prove until doubled in size.  

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.  Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

Knock back the dough then roll out on a well floured surface until 1cm/0.5 inch thick  Cut our muffins using a large circular cutter, mine measures 10cm/4 inches in diameter.  Roll out the trimmings and cut out as many muffins as you can, I usually end up with approximately 12 - 15 muffins.  Put the muffins on to lined oven trays and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Back the muffins for 5 - 7 minutes then remove from the oven, turn them over, and put back in the oven for a further 5 -7 minutes.  They should be slightly golden and cooked through.  



If you bake some of these delicious morsels or any other yeasted bread bake, don't forget to link up with Bready, Steady, Go this month.  The linky is here!



I'm also entering these English Muffins into Credit Crunch Munch, the thrifty food challenge created by Helen and Camilla, hosted this month by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.  This recipe makes 14 - 16 English Muffins for far less than the cost of purchasing them from the supermarket.


** Sponsored Post **

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Quick Sweet Pumpkin Bread

I had a pumpkin that needed eating so roasted it and baked Pumpkin and Chorizo Bread with some of the delicious cooked pumpkin.  I also wanted something quick to bake using cooked pumpkin that was a sweet treat, suitable for afternoon tea.  

This loaf was delicious, spread with some butter and drizzled with a little maple syrup.  It was also great sliced and plain, with a cuppa of course.  My 3 girls took some in their lunchboxes for an after lunch treat and the friends they shared it with liked it too.

Quick Sweet Pumpkin Bread 

50g butter
450g self raising flour
100g light soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 large free range egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
125 ml buttermilk, or 115ml milk with 10ml lemon juice added
200g cooked pumpkin, roasted or steamed and cooled
2 Tblsp light soft brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 210C/190C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7.  Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Stir through the sugar, baking powder and spices.  In a separate jug measure the buttermilk and beat in the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin.  Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a 20cm/8 inch round.  Transfer to a lined baking tray.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of light soft brown sugar.  Bake for 25 minutes until golden and cooked through.


I'm entering this delicious bake into Extra \Veg, the blogging challenge created by Helen and I to encourage us all to eat extra servings of vegetables.  Helen is hosting this month.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Pumpkin and Chorizo Bread - Bready, Steady, Go November

It's my turn to host Bready, Steady, Go this month and I cannot wait to see all of your fabulous yeasted bread bakes! 


I have some chorizo in the fridge that needed using up and also a pumpkin that needed to be eaten so I thought, rather than make a risotto or soup, that I would attempt a pumpkin bread with chorizo chunks dotted through it.  I baked the recipe three times, to make absolutely sure it the recipe worked, and because it is rather delicious and we wanted to eat more of it.

This recipe makes a 2lb/1kg loaf so make sure you use a large loaf tin so the dough doesn't overflow the tin.  You could steam your pumpkin but I decided to roast it because I find it easier to cook pumpkin that way, no need to peel and faff about cutting it into chunks.  Just cut your pumpkin or squash in half, scoop out the seeds, then roast until tender.  I also cooked the chorizo and left it to cool before mixing it into the dough.



Pumpkin and Chorizo Bread

200g cooked pumpkin or sweet potato
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fast action/instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
300ml lukewarm water
100g finely diced chorizo, cooked and cooled

Mix all the ingredients, apart from the chorizo, together in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer until a dough forms.  Knead the dough, either by hand or in a mixer, for 5 - 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Leave the dough to prove in a lightly greased bowl, covered in cling film, for an hour or until doubled in size.  

Knock back the dough and knead through the chorizo.  Put the dough into a greased 2lb/1kg loaf tin and leave for 45 - 60 minutes until almost doubled in size again. 

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 and cook the loaf for 40 minutes.  To check if the loaf is cooked, carefully slide it out of the tin and tap the bottom which should sound hollow.  If the loaf does not sound hollow when tapped, return it to the oven for another 10 minutes.  


Challenge Guidelines
Bready Steady Go! will run from 1st until the 28th of each month and then a round up will be posted by the hosting blog at the end of the month.
You can link up any bread recipe, sometimes we may also run themed challenges, and feel free to join in with other challenges if your post also meets their guidelines. If you really love baking bread then you can add multiple entries up to a maximum of 3 per blog each month.
Please link back to Jen’s Food and Utterly Scrummy Food For Families and include the badge to help spread the word.
We’d prefer to see entries from new blog posts where possible but you can also add old posts if you add the badge and link back to our blogs as well.
You can tweet your entries to @JensFood and @UtterlyScrummy using the hashtag #breadysteadygo and we will retweet all that we see.
All entries will also pinned to our new Pinterest board as they come in.
If you make a recipe from a book/magazine/website etc please respect copyright and do not reproduce the recipe verbatim. Instead of copying out the recipe from the book, describe it in your own words and if it’s from an online source please link to the original content rather than copying full recipe.

So what are you waiting for?! Bready, Steady, Go bake some bread!



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