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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.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Apricot Chicken

I was recently asked to create some recipes using delicious tinned fruit, you can check out my delicious dairyfree Tropical Fruit Cake here.  For my savoury recipe creation I decided to make Apricot Chicken, a childhood favourite that my Mum used to make regularly.  She used a packed mix flavour sachet to make hers, and I wanted to see if I could replicate the flavours using store cupboard ingredients.  It took a couple of attempts but I think I managed it, and my family agreed that dinner was delicious.  


This recipe will be added to our Meal Plans for sure, it's flavourful and quick to make, using store cupboard ingredients.  I always have some tinned fruit in our pantry, so handy as it is has a long shelf life, can be one of our 5 a day, and the canning process preserves nutrients from the ripe fruit.

Apricot Chicken 

1 Tblsp Oil
6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp mild chilli powder (use more or less according to your taste)
3 Tblsp tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
400g can chopped tomatoes
410g can Del Monte apricot halves in syrup, drained
250ml chicken stock

Heat the oil in a large casserole pan or saucepan and brown the chicken thighs on both sides, remove from the pan and set aside.  Add a little more oil to the pan, if necessary, then cook the onion until soft and starting to turn golden.  Add the garlic and chilli powder and cook for a minute or so.  

Return the chicken to the pan and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well to combine then cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Uncover then simmer for a further 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.  Serve with mash or rice and mixed vegetables or steamed greens.



For more recipes, information and inspiration, check out Del Monte's website, Instagram and Facebook.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Tropical Fruit Cake (Dairy free)

I was recently asked by Del Monte to create some recipes using their range of delicious tinned fruit and decided the sweet recipe would have to be cake.  The weather has been decidedly wet and miserable recently so I decided to brighten our afternoon by baking a cake with tropical flavours so we could cast our minds back to warmer weather and enjoy a delicious treat after yet another cold and rainy school run.  



I used tinned pineapple in the cake which is handy to have in the cupboard.  I nearly always have a stash of tinned fruit in our pantry, it can be one of our 5 a day, and has a really long shelf life.  Canned fruit can retain more nutrients than fresh because it's picked fully ripe and processed immediately, preserving high levels of vitamins and minerals.   A number of respected studies have proven that canned, fresh, and frozen produce have similar nutrient levels when they come to be consumed.

The cake is very easy to make, just measure then mix and in the oven it goes.  Perfect with a cuppa, deliciously moist, and packed with fruity flavour, this Tropical Fruit Cake is guaranteed to brighten up your day any time of the year.


Tropical Fruit Cake (Dairy free)

435g can Del Monte pineapple slices in juice, drained and roughly chopped into chunks
60ml juice from canned pineapple
150g cup plain flour
75g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground mixed spice
200g light soft brown sugar
50g desiccated coconut
2 large over ripe bananas, mashed
2 large free range eggs
180ml vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Grease and line a 23cm/9 inch round cake tin with non-stick baking paper.  Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and light soft brown sugar into a large bowl then stir through the coconut.  In another bowl or jug, mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, reserved juice, and pineapple chunks.  

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir gently until completely combined.  Do not beat the mixture.  Pour into the prepared cake tin and cook for approximately 60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean without crumbs or mixture sticking to it.  Serve with a dusting of icing sugar. 


For more recipes, information and inspiration, check out Del Monte's website, Instagram and Facebook.


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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Food Bank Reverse Advent

We regularly give supplies to our local Foodbank, usually by adding a few items to our shopping then putting them in the trolley at the collection point in the supermarket.  This festive season I wanted to do something different.  I decided to take part in the Foodbank Reverse Advent, and donating a box of supplies at the end of November.  By donating at the end of November, or early December, it enables the Food Bank to distribute the supplies to those in need before Christmas.

A group of school Mums and I have been putting aside one item each day in November and will be taking our boxes to the local Food Bank at the end of November.  Our local Cambridge City Foodbank also has a Christmas Hamper Appeal which my family and I are also donating groceries to.

The Cambridge City Foodbank want to distribute 200 hampers to needy Cambridge families before Christmas.  So they are seeking 200 people who will fill one hamper each with specific items. If you would like to sign up please email info@ccfb.org.uk



The items needed for the Reverse Advent Christmas Hampers are, one each of the following, in a large carrier bag:

Chocolate Christmas Log or Christmas Cake
Children's Christmas Chocolate (Selection Box)
Fancy Sweet Biscuits
Pringles or similar
Cheesy Biscuits or similar
Nuts
Tinned Ham
Pickles (Sweet)
Tinned Tuna or Salmon
Chicken Paste
Dried Fruit (Apricots, Pineapple, etc)
Salad Cream or Mayo
Jam
Shower Gel or Shampoo
Christmas Crackers

Gather all the items and then drop of them off in the carrier bag on Saturday 10th December from 10am to 2pm OR Tuesday 13th December between 9am and 4pm at:

CCFB Warehouse
Unit 4
Orwell Furlong
Cambridge
CB4 0WY

Please do give to your local Food Bank if you can, even a few items will make a difference.  There are some local festive campaigns running, do contact organisations in your are to see if you can help out and which items they are in need of.