Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A Bit of Freezer Cooking

This is part of my life audit, a really mundane example of it but it's a nice (for me) illustration of how things are being put into practice. I have still only chosen two of my important words but they're already helping me to focus on things in small ways. It seems to be easier and easier to just do that one extra thing or one little primp which is brilliant for me.

I don't really batch cook, I don't have pans big enough to cook more than about 3 meals worth of anything but I do cook for the freezer. I spent quite a lot at the supermarket on Monday so it looks like today is going to be a cooking day. 

Before we went shopping I needed to make something with what we had left so I made a ... thing. I roasted half a shallot, a green pepper, some mushrooms and a few bits of broccoli with sundried tomatoes in oil, paprika and sage. Then added a tin of butterbeans, a big squeeze of veg puree and some veg stock and shoved it back in the oven. It was very nice, even with the green pepper, not my favourite thing in the world, but there was one in the bag so it had to be used. There was a little bit left over so I grilled some veg sausages, chopped them up and chucked them in to have for tea last night. Splendid again. I was even organised enough to write the idea down so I can make it again. I'll probably use some green lentils next time too. 

Today I'm going to make two chestnut pies, well they're not really pies, they're stew with a pastry lid. I bought some puff pastry on Monday and before I put it in the freezer cut each sheet in half so it's stored in portion size pieces. I 'll just make the stew and freeze it like that rather than adding the pastry, so if I want to make cobbler or make shortcrust pastry instead then it's easy to do. Easier to store too. It's a variation of this Rooty Chestnut Pie recipe, but I haven't got any beer so I'll just use soy sauce or yeast extract to make the saucy bit. 

I'm going to make a pan of chilli, curry, shepherdess pie and lentil bol type stuff. I usually make these together as the basic ingredients are the same. In my biggest pan I cook some shallots, leeks, carrots, peppers, mushrooms and whatever other veg there is. When the time comes divide it up and add red lentils and cauli to the curry, kidney beans and lentils to the chilli, red and green lentils and maybe some veg mince to the bol and baked beans, red and green lentils to the shepherdess pie. Nice and simple.

That will make enough for at least 10 meals which is 1/3 of a month without even thinking about it. The chilli and bol might stretch to 3 meals each which is even better. They're the family favourites for us to fall back on when the menu plan falls by the wayside and we just need to grab and go. Having this safety blanket of ready meals frees me up to be creative with what's left. There will still be a ton of veg left over so it's making the £50 spend seem not too bad. 

Oh, I bought a red cabbage too, I know it's a basic thing but I've never cooked it, or really eaten it before. We had it alongside the hotpot we had at Tate Liverpool on Saturday so now I want to eat it all the time. Isn't it cheap! That's another thing to cook, might try to make a hot pot too. Now I know I'll run out of pans. 

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