Saturday, 31 August 2013

Day 4 and 5, no food shopping

So it's my 5th day of not shopping for food.  After Jamie Oliver's comments about the poor in society not having good, nutritious, cheap food more out of choice than necessity, I challenged myself.  On Monday I thought I needed to get an urgent food shop.  It's now Saturday and I've been eating pretty well without it.

On Tuesday I made dahl for lunch from the freezer and sausages (from the freezer) and home made coleslaw for tea.
On Wednesday I had leftovers and home made vegetarian lasagne.
On Thursday that lasagne was my lunch and I had beetroot and bacon soup for tea.
On Friday I finished the lasagne at lunchtime and reheated some spicy lamb meatballs with cous cous for tea.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Day 3 of raiding my cupboards; have I lost the plot? Has Jamie Oliver?

Something A Girl Called Jack said rang true.  Why are we so judgemental about people?  Why does it matter what people eat, what people spend their money on?  Doesn't the judging turn people off?  After my first post on Jamie Oliver's comments on what people on low incomes, it's interested me and I've started to think about it much more.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Were Jamie Oliver's comments patronising? Day two of no food shopping

I posted yesterday about Jamie Oliver's comments about poverty and food.  Although this seems to be courting controversy I do see his point.  I've always thought of myself as a pretty thrifty cook but for the rest of this week, despite thinking I desperately needed to do some food shopping, I'm just going to eat what I have in the house.

Having had more time to think about Jamie's comments.  Do I think they were patronising?  Perhaps a little but I do think it's something that needs to be said.  Junk foods are cheap but you can still cook deliciously and cheaply from scratch.  In traditional cultures across Europe, people did that (including the UK) but it does take some knowledge and experience.  Irrespective of Jamie's comments, it's not only the UK where that knowledge is being lost and it's harming our waistlines, our health and we're losing the joy of food.

For me though, thrifty cooking and joy need to be brought back together.  There are still places in the country where country fairs judge the best jams and chutneys.  These things were once made because there was no alternative available and to make use of the autumn glut and there are still people out there who take pride in these things.  We forget that there is a joy and a pride in food, irrespective of how humble it's origins.

Perhaps I would have liked it more if he talked about respect for food irrespective of your pay or upbringing rather than the size of a person's television but the point is no less valid.

He mentioned how cheap a mussel and pasta dish is, which is true, I've made something similar in the past myself but not many people have mussels in their shopping basket.  Perhaps they should but I suspect few know where to start.  The fact is though with a bit of knowledge you can make a meal out of lentils, eggs, bread, pasta, any of these things which might seem basic or boring and sometimes necessity shakes us out of our autopilot rut.  It doesn't have to be fancy to taste great.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Haricot Beans for Babies, Toddlers and the Whole Family

Haricot beans are the basic staple carbohydrate of some of France.  The great thing about them in comparison with potatoes is pulses can count as one of your five a day.  Although they aren't mass packed full of vitamins, they are a decent source of fibre and protein.

For babies, exclude the seasoning and use salt free or low salt stock.  This would be great for babies on soft lumps or you could mash or puree them for younger babies.  Don't miss out the garlic though.  Some babies might reject something so garlicky but if you don't try it, you won't know.  You could always tone it down a little if you like.

For adults, toddlers and older children, this is a great side dish for sausages; think of it like a deconstructed cassoulet.  For adults certainly, some seasoning would be welcome, salt seems to bring out the flavour of the garlic.

By using dried haricot beans, this is a super cheap dish.

Don't miss out the overnight soaking or boiling stage, it's important for food safety.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

My favourite apple recipes for kids

Apples aren't the most glamourous of fruits but they're one of the fruits we grow really well in the UK and they're great in sweet or savoury dishes.  Soon it's going to be apple season as we approach the autumn and I thought I'd share some of my favourite recipes.

My wholemeal apple pancake recipe might be appearing in a magazine soon which is kind of exciting! I will keep you posted...

With only a drizzle of honey (for over 1s) it's a great way to get fruit into breakfast time.  Bircher muesli is another great way to do this.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Easy Gazpacho for Grown Ups

An inauthentic gazpacho for people who can't get decent tomatoes!  It is the prerequisite to get decently ripe ones for a proper gazpacho, this is a sneaky and cheap way around it.

I've not tried my son on this yet, soup for a meal is a generally popular choice for him but cold soup... perhaps a stretch too far.  But this is delicious and easy.  Great to take for lunch and a healthy and quick summer dish for parents when you really are tired after bath-time.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Hidden Vegetable Sausage Rolls for the Whole Family

I've often said it's great to have a hidden vegetable recipe up your sleeve to ensure your kids are getting enough of their 5 a day.  All kids go through their fussy stages and vegetables are often the victim of it.