Friday, 28 April 2017

Menu Plan - May

I haven't written a menu plan for yonks but as May is going to be an expensive month, plus we're both off work for a fortnight I thought it would be a good idea. Whether or not this is what we actually eat remains to be seen! I've chosen lots of recipes from my Aine Carlin books, I also love the blog.

1. jollof rice
2. black bean chilli
3. vietnamese noodle bowl
4. l/o
5. thai green curry
6. soup & sandwich/ we're at the footie then I'm out with people from the shop so we'll probably nip to the chippy too *yay*
7. aduki bean casserole

8. fry up! (start of the holiday)
9. mujadara
10 roast tofu sandwich
11 lentil bol
12 sushi
13 pizza
14 l/o

15 bulgur w. roast veg & falafel
16 out*
17 out
18 enchiladas
19 l/o
20 chana masala
21 picnic

22 lentil stuffed peppers
23 moussaka
24 l/o
25 pad thai
26 quinoa tabbouleh w. roast mushrooms
27 tacos
28 l/o

29 smoky jambalaya
30 plaki 
31 mid-week stir fry. 

It'll probably get mixed up and altered but this gives me something to work with.

*I've added a couple of out days as I'm sure it will happen, I just don't know when

Monday, 24 April 2017

April Week Three

Other than £3 on a football programme (I was beyond disappointed that Zlatan was injured and wouldn't play) and some groceries we haven't spent much money on ourselves this week. We even treated ourselves to a lazy afternoon and parked on a car park in town rather than up using on-street parking up the hill when we went to the football, the car park is free on Sundays. The day improved immeasurably when we were able to meet up with some friends who were in the area for the weekend. 

I bought Father's birthday gift, how the times change - its from the charity shop! He's not a charity shop person, but when I mentioned a lot of brand new garden tools we had (they were donated, but still in their packaging) he became interested. My parents had passed on Easter eggs for the children so between the gift and the eggs it all worked out even, plus it made buying a birthday gift far more simple, he's not easy to buy for!

A few things we ate this week, it was a bit leftovers upon leftovers but that's fine by me 

Thai green curry noodles with broccoli and peas/ leftover curries and sweet potato fries (I had to have them after Kezzie mentioned them the other day)

bulgur with roast veg/ burritos with bulgur and sweet potato chilli

I made a cake! I really, really wanted a muffin, but I didn't have the necessary ingredients and I didn't want to go out just to buy them when I could make do for the time being. It's cherry and mango, a variation on the East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra, looks a bit boring, tastes lovely. / leftover chilli made into a pasty (I made two pasties from half a sheet of puff pastry, in this picture is half of one). Yes, we have a lot of bulgur to get through.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Far Out

I wanted to buy some onions this morning so we walked to the town via the beach. The tide was on the way out so we had a good stroll about on the beach as it was such a gorgeous morning. 

We could see The Big One rollercoaster and Blackpool Tower in the distance 

and were well past the end of the pier.

Before heading back to the town we had a look at the old bit of the pier, the winter storms have done quite a lot more damage

and some new areas have been revealed

people have started adding locks to sections too.

It was starting to get busy by the time we arrived in the town, so we beat a hasty retreat back home for tea, cake and salad on the picnic blanket. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Monday At Home

I was talking to my buddy Tracey last week about important world issues as we often do when she asked me to share Dan's bread making. So on Monday I forced him to make some pitta so I could see how it was done. I'm sure everyone that wants to know already knows how to do this but here it is anyway. Dan uses the Magic Bread Dough recipe from the excellent book River Cottage Veg Everyday. 

Makes 3 pizzas, 12 pitta and however many flatbreads.

250g each plain and strong white flours
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp easy blend dried yeast
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil plus a bit extra

I am far too lazy to type all that out. I think you mix everything together, knead it for 10 minutes, leave it for a bit until it's bigger then make it into whatever you like. 

If you don't have a handy indoor rabbit pen to hold your bowls of dough then just improvise with any flat surface you may have about the place. I lifted the cloth off to have a look.

I am by no stretch of the imagination fancy enough to own a cloth-lined dough basket. While Dan was doing this I cut up some more of the original doodle as I plan to see how it looks as a patchwork piece. 

I also drank tea and ate ginger biscuits. After a long time the dough was shaped into many pieces (Dan made three batches) and cooked the pitta for 7 minutes at 220C, ten pitta come from each batch of dough.

My part in the process was to eat some!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

April Week Two

I splashed out a bit for our anniversary meal which might blow our £100 grocery budget this month, oh well, I should have taken that into account in the first place. 

We've filled in the forms to reclaim the £10 for the football tickets. Speaking of which, high praise for Merseyside Transport. To get to Goodison we decided to take the train from Ormskirk to Kirkdale then walk to the ground, but we then found out about Soccerbus a service that runs from Sandhills station the ground (it also runs when Liverpool are at home). Parking at Ormskirk station was free, the ticket for the 30 minute train journey (it's more of a tram really) and the connecting bus was £5.20 each, absolutely fantastic value and an excellent service. 

We socked some money into savings and that's about it financially speaking. 

I went through my wardrobe again and decluttered some buying mistakes. I do not suit t-shirts, and I don't suit white, so a white t-shirt had to go. One of the black and white skirts I love but I always have trouble with the lining and zip so I frequently look bulbous, as a consequence I never wear it, gone. The other two skirts I bought from charity shops and they were just mistakes. I really need to stop buying things from charity shops, more and more they're just things I don't wear much. Having said that the t-shirt and the bottom skirt were from real shops.

A few things we've eaten this week, it was a bit junk foody.

Sweet chilli noodles with cashews, panko coated mushrooms and half a spicy Quorn patty/ TVP patty with chips, guacamole and a beany rice salad. The chips were 72p from Aldi, very nice. 

Lots of smoothies. This one is banana, (frozen) cherry, flax and almond drink/ Grilled mushroom, falafel , spicy potatoes. 

For our football picnic I made an unpictured yet tasty leek and cauliflower soup to use up the 29p bargains and pictured above is the before and after of our pasties. These are just cooked and mashed Ikea veggie balls wrapped in puff pastry. So glad I made these as everyone at the ground was enjoying a scouse pie, they smelled amazing!


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

In The Frame

After saying I didn't know what I'd do with some of the craft items I'd been given I decided to choose what to keep and what to donate. I decided to make the most of my original seaside inspired doodle and frame sections using the embroidery hoops. 

My original plan was to have a large panel, but when I'd done it I didn't like it, chopping the fabric has made things better, I think I'll just hang a selection up around the place. 

I quite like them, and it's better than having things stashed in the sideboard doing nothing much for anybody.

Monday, 10 April 2017

April Week One

April for me started last Monday so we've just finished week one, and it has been a dear do. I was given a large amount of clothes pegs, which is brilliant, plus some more craft stuff. I don't know how much of the craft stuff I'll keep but I'll get to it at another time. 

As mentioned yesterday we went to the football on Saturday at a cost of £30 each. While we were there we bought tickets for the Everton game this coming weekend, again these are £30 each BUT we will receive a £10 rebate on each ticket. Last season the Football Supporters' Federation had a "Twenty's Plenty" campaign, aiming to limit the cost of tickets for visiting fans to £20 for Premier League games. It was finally agreed that £30 would be the limit, so the FSF and Virgin Media have teamed up to offer £20 tickets, via a rebate to fans for certain games. Luckily for us Burnley v Everton is one of those games. A picnic keeps down other expenses while we're enjoying football, but we did treat ourselves to cake from The Green Room this week. We will avoid Liverpool city centre at the weekend to avoid temptation! 

The other large expense was the kettle, it's an essential so we couldn't shop around for the best deal, we went to the local retail park and looked in a couple of shops there and ended up with one that looks nice enough and most importantly makes water hot! One upside of this is that a new Aldi has opened there and so I nipped in for some broccoli and made the most of the Super 6 and ended up paying £2.67 for a nice mixture of veg.

To me that looks like smoothies, a stirfry or two, curry, stuffed mushrooms, risotto and almost certainly soup! 

We visited the discount pet food shop, rabbit food has increased in price by 14p since we last bought some back in January, this shop is still so much cheaper than anywhere else. We paid £3.99, the last time we looked at the fancy pet shop the same product was £5.15. 

To keep me quiet I've decided to start eating the elephant that is my huuuuge book, I've decided to read a few pages a day, that should mean I finish it by the end of the year, it's not light reading at over 4kg, I'll be stronger by the end!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Away Days

it's our 16th anniversary soon, the proper one, the anniversary of when we met, not the wedding one. We generally treat ourselves to a nice day out somewhere, this year we went to Middlesbrough to watch Burnley.

It's very important to take a large picnic!

I'm the kind of girl that opens up the bottle of pop too early in the journey, we weren't even off the M6 before I ate my sandwich. We arrived in plenty of time for a trip to MIMA, which has soome great exhibitions at the moment as the gallery is celebrating the 10th anniversary. I was particularly happy to see a painting by Sonia Boyce on display, her artwork makes me very emotional. 

Bottle of Notes (1993) Claes Oldenburg
We walked in beautiful sunshine to the ground, past some old footballing favourites

and beautiful buildings

I soaked up a lot of sun, not an inch of shade to be had by kick off. We had a good old sing and I made some new friends!

It must have felt like a longer walk back to the car for the home fans than the away fans though.

Temenos (2010) Anish Kapoor & Cecil Balmond
A pretty perfect day. I suppose it was only right that when we got up this morning to find the kettle had stopped working, nothing lasts forever!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Pantry Philosophy

I have mentioned it many times before, I love my pantry. Yesterday I had to ask myself whether I did really love it - if I did why was it a filthy mess? Very much like my adventures with yeast extract reminded me that it's never too late to try a something new, maybe cleaning the pantry is there to remind me not to neglect the things in life I love. Now I just think I need something to illustrate the idea that just because I say I do something it doesn't mean I'm suggesting others should do it too. 

I bought two trolleys, one of which lives in the bathroom, from the charity shop when I very first started there, I think they may have even been my first purchases. You'll have to take my word for this as I accidentally deleted the before photo, but it was in a sorry state this morning, overloaded with all manner of things - bubble wrap, toys that other people had given me to give to my nieces, tea lights, straws, empty bags. The bottom shelf had given up!

The shelf back was popped back in place and the whole thing primped, now it contains what it should. At the top the essentials of life - crisps, chocolate, bread (in the fabric bag) and the medicine box. Middle shelf contains spare dried goods and the bottom holds old newspapers, I use them to line the bunny litter trays - the freebie property paper from the supermarket is particularly good. 

Everything else just needed to be dragged out, shelves cleaned, and everything rehoused. I did give some of the shelves a bit of a rejiggle, hopefully it makes sense to Dan, as it's his bread making stuff I've moved. 

Lots of space! Since this picture was taken I have drunk the Cherry B (I couldn't find out if it was sfv) and the Vimto, together I call them an Up The Clarets. It goes with my two other football related drinks, The Steaming Clattenburg - Pimms Winter, vodka and hot apple juice, and The Dyche which is Benedictine or Jagermeister with ginger beer. Slight wander away from the topic there. 

I did find a couple of things to remove from the house 

Mung beans. We've had these for a looooooong time, they just don't agree with me, my belly swells up like a gigantic, pasty beach ball, not pleasant. The tonic water is a leftover from when my brother came to stay, he didn't drink it and it's not been looked at since. The beans are in the bin, I don't know where the tonic water will go. 

Despite me being as forceful as I can be without causing a rift, every Christmas I tell my family I don't want presents, every year my SIL ignores me and sends something on behalf of the children. That's fine, but I would rather receive something they'd actually chosen than this (it would be a pair of Minions socks). Don't get me wrong I love benedictine, but it's not vegan. I've mentioned it to her, to my brother and to my mum, but every year the bottle of bene turns up. I think Dan is going to offer it to his friend who has probably never tried it - with him not being from East Lancs and all that. While I'm on the subject - fridge magnets, why do people keep buying fridge magnets for me? I can't stand them (the magnets, not the people).

At the very top live tea and coffee pots, jugs, empty jars. Next one down, noodles, rice and grains plus tins. In the middle tea, herbs, spices, spreads and for some reason onions. Bottom shelf, breakfast stuff, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, oils and vinegars, crackers etc. 

The jackfruit remains uneaten.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

A New Mate

My first experience of Marmite was at university, I was kissed by someone who had been eating it. Oh my goodness, you should not be allowed to surprise a girl in that way. 

That put me firmly in the "hate" camp, until a few years ago when I read a few recipes assuring me that if I added it to a stew it would add a delicious flavour with none of that surprising edge, it's true and helps to make a lovely savoury gravy. One day last year Dan came home with some Marmite crisps, now if there is anything that can tempt me it's crisps, so I tentatively tried one and loved it! So then I thought if I eat it in a stew and eat more packets of the crisps than I would admit in public then maybe I could eat it as it is. 

So I have been in training. I started with the teeniest amount of the stuff on the end of a spoon, probably around 1% of a teaspoon, and gradually built up to maybe half a teaspoon. This morning I took the leap and had some black gloop on toast for my breakfast. The initial bite was unpleasant, but then I got over the shock and finished the whole slice. Progress!

The swingometer needle has moved and I'm hovering around "not bad" for the time being. If I ever make it to "love" I'll let you know.