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Showing posts from 2018

December Food

I've been cooking once and eating two or three times so far this month, and on top of that keep forgetting to snap what we have. At the start of the month I made a very nice pot of chilli, enough for three days, probably the nicest one I've made for years. No photos though. 

There's been quite a lot of soup. This was a cheep and cheerful lentil, carrot and onion.



This week we've eaten the first chestnut stew of the winter. This was chestnut, mushroom and green lentil with some mash and veg. 



I have been struggling to find a spread I liked, most have a weird tang to them that I just don't like. Over the past couple of months there had been a lot of talk about one brand that was a bit more butter-like. Unfortunately, the nearest stockist is over 40 miles away, fortunately, the stockist is in the centre of Burnley - somewhere I visit once a fortnight!



It is absolutely delicious, and it melts on hot toast! (£2 from selected Sainsbury's) Visiting the supermarket was a s…

The Dark Side Of The Room

If you've been reading for a bit, you'll have this this type of view before, the overstuffed shelves of my pantry. We did a larger shop, which should cover most of this month, so there's no space to squeeze much else.  


We have more than enough treats to keep us going as our friend sent over a ton of goodies from Germany


I'm probably going to place this next picture in the top 5 most boring pictures I've shared here, its the far end of the pantry. Not an area I tend to share as it's the most functional space in the whole house - far less exciting than under the sink. The plan had been to have new shelving fitted this year to make the most of the space, but we've had so many other household expenses it will have to wait.


Today I decided to sort it out as it can become a bit of a dumping ground. This area needs to work really hard as along with storing all of our non-refrigerated food it needs to hold quite a bit of household stuff too (some of you may find this…

Thrifty December - Gifts

It's pretty well documented here that I am not a Christmas person, so I'm only going to mention it on one occasion after today. Over the past couple of years I have managed to have the "no gift buying" conversation with some success but for other people gift swapping is still a thing, most people I know love the festivities, it means more to them than it does to me so I go with it. Well, actually the person who was most reluctant to not giving gifts has just given us money for the past few years, but whatever. 

Funds are very low at the moment so we've had to be extra thrifty this year with our gift giving. I realise my thrifty is still not as inexpensive as some people, but I don't move in circles where second hand would go down well at all, it's all been about balance.

Regifting. We have regifted a few things, some bunting I made for the shop a couple of years ago. I found it when tidying the workroom a couple of weeks ago and so when we needed an emergen…

Where You Come From Do You Put The Kettle On?

Each December we like to treat ourselves to a special something or other. In previous years we went to the theatre to see Tommy Steele (who was amazing), a couple of years ago we headed to Llandudno for a Super Furry Animals gig, before that it was a trip to a festive market, in the days where train travel was still a thing, and markets weren't too ridiculously busy. 

This year we made the short journey to Lancaster to The Vegan Cakery Afternoon Tea at Lancaster Town Hall. It's a beautiful building, made just a little more special by the lights and ice rink outside in Dalton Square.


The room was absolutely gorgeous, with soft music playing and it was the ideal temperature - very welcome on a wet afternoon. We were welcomed with a glass of prosecco or non-alcoholic alternative, then the fun began. 


Raspberry jelly to start.



A choice of teas were on offer from the traditional Earl Grey through to flowering tea. Dan went for Lemon Gelato, I decided on the special, festive Rudolph'…

November Food Week 3

We don't often shop at Morrisons but made the trip in order to try the cupcakes from their new V Taste range, as we'd heard so much about them. 



We went for the chocolate option, although red velvet were also available. I know this range has had a lot of coverage but the cupcakes were a really nice treat, lots of frosting with a nice soft sponge. While we were there we had a little look around and ended up with some pesto, we don't buy it all that often but I do enjoy it when we do. The brand we buy Zest was half price, £1 a jar so we bought two. It's ideal for a quick and easy pesto pasta.



The weather turned a little chilly this week so we ate a lot of comfort food, I made lentil hash, this bowl is a little liquidy as we were too impatient!



Noodles are back! 



There were a couple of pointy peppers loitering in the fridge, they came from Lidl and were a really good size, ideal for stuffing. These were filled with quinoa, green lentils, broccoli stalks, squash and onion, wit…

Finding My Voice

I stood up for myself twice this week at the shop. The first time things worked out well, the second time the resolution remains to be seen.

The first incident was with a customer, he always hugs me, sometimes it doesn't bother me, sometimes I just can't be bothered with it. I don't know if he noticed I'd been avoiding him or of someone said something but he asked me if I was offended by him and I said no but I wan't a huggy person (which I'm not). All was well and we both went on our merry way.

The second incident was at a staff meeting, we were asked at the end of the meting if we had anything to say, turns out I did. For once I was the person who caused everyone else to roll their eyes as they knew things were going to drag on rather than us all just going home to get on with our lives. I confess I got more than a bit cross (when I thought I was being fobbed off) but I think we have a way forward - I'll find that out this week.

But have you ever been in tha…

Just Add Coffee

I don't tend to work on a Friday, but I did an extra day last week to make a start on the festive displays. I didn't make a start on the tree until 2pm, which didn't give me nearly enough time but I can tweak as the days go on. Thankfully we are not entering the competition for the Victorian weekend, I'm still recovering from the stress of last year (I predict the posh curtain shop will win again). 

So it really was a day where my luck was in, even more so when I was walking through to the workroom and spotted a coffee table, something we currently don't have money for, but is on the wishlist. This table had a price ticket of £9.99 which is much closer to my budget for things at the moment, so I hastily sent a picture to Dan who agreed I should snap it up.

My manager even gave me a lift home to save me faffing with a taxi or trying to carry it home myself. 


Ideal size, fits on the rug, glass top so I can keep an eye on rabbits, oval which is what we wanted, near perfe…

November Food Week 2

We are trying to cook from scratch a bit more so are spending more time in the kitchen, Dan making bread and me just getting into the swing of cold weather cooking. We started off with another cauliflower curry, we're finding lots of inexpensive cauli at the minute which is great. 

Then using a cheap squash from Aldi there was a quinoa and lentil one pot, served with a soy and linseed schnitezel and topped with the toasted squash seeds. I should make my own celeriac version, but on this occasion it was shop bought. It looks a bit bland in this picture, but was very nice indeed.

Soup of the week was cauliflower and carrot.


Dan fancied some sausages, he's very fond of the Shroomdogs from Sainsbury's at the moment, I kept it simple and serve them with peas, mash and some mushroom and onion gravy.



As we were being traditional we decided to make apple crumble too.



I made more soup mid week, but had a slight incident that ended up with soup all over the kitchen so Dan whisked me away…

Carrot and Chickpea Sandwich Filler

As requested here is how I make my sandwich filling. This came about as neither of us want to smell too much of garlic when we're at work, and not wanting to go nip to the shop to buy anything. 

During the summer we visited The Apple Pie Cafe in Ambleside where I had their harissa chickpea and carrot sandwich. So I decided to make a version if it myself.


I roasted the carrots first then put them into a frying pan with the rest of the ingredients, I used around 1 teaspoon each of cumin and coriander, plus around half a teaspoon of paprika and a glob of lemon juice. It might be the juice of half a lemon, but I'm common so use it from a bottle. Heat everything up, I don't think there's a reason for cooking it, I just do, season with salt and pepper and that's it!


Admittedly, it doesn't look great,  I mash some of the mixture, leaving some whole chickpeas, but the taste and texture are good for a nice chunky sandwich, especially with something like beetroot or red cab…

November Food Week 1

This year has been one large expense after another so we are now at a point where building up the savings account is a necessity. As such I'm trying to make the most of the grocery budget to find an extra few quid each month.

Last weekend I saw sweet potato and lentil soup as a special at a cafe, I was on the verge of buying a sweet potato for the dhal I already had planned when I remembered the three carrots in the fridge and decided to use them instead. This small jar of dressing was lingering in the pantry so added that to the pan too along with a tin of chickpeas. 




As mentioned in another post, I made up a packet of falafel mix for lunches


Mid week the fridge was looking pretty bare


But I managed to cobble enough things together for some spicy rice with IKEA veggie balls


We are the last of the dhal with some baked onion bhajis (looks a bit orange due to the dining area light!)


At the weekend I made some squash, carrot and chickpea sandwich filling, based on something I ate at Apple …

Freebie and Bargain of the Week

Quite a few things this week. 

I bought a book from the charity shop for 49p. I think I've borrowed this from the library before, there are some good, basic recipes in there so should be good. If not, I'll pass it on.

Someone offered us a bag of rabbit food, which was gratefully accepted. It's the brand we regularly buy so it won't go to waste. 

The main thing that saved money was to stretch the food we had to make an extra meal. Dan was in London one day and didn't think he's be eating at home, but he was home early enough, so although the only vegetables we had were onions and broccoli I made some spicy rice, based on a recipe for jollof rice, and served it with some life saving IKEA veggie balls. 

The night before we fancied a bit of a treat because a couple of things had gone wrong with the house and we were at a bit of a low ebb. I had already made dhal so I spent 36p on onions and made baked onion bhajis, Dan made flatbread. Saved us money on shop bought item…

Convenience Eating

Last week we ate a ton of processed food! On Sunday we visited IKEA and took the opportunity to splash out 50p each on a veggie dog for our lunch. I don't like mustard so had some ketchup, Dan said it was perfect with the sweet mustard they offer, the crispy onions and red cabbage were a lovely addition. 



We had a couple of meals that only existed so we could eat cauliflower, I love cauli so much! This was a chipotle and sage veg stew.


I had half a sheet of puff pastry In the ice box so made a big pasty each filled with tomatoey lentils, served with some broccoli I pinched from the buns.



This was a bit of an I don't know what to cook meal. Rice with leftover lentils with spring onion, red pepper and mushrooms and a sweet potato burger. I hadn't seen these before but I bumped into my boss in Aldi and she told me about them so I thought I'd give them a go. I actually really enjoyed it, I think Dan was slightly less keen, they're not the cheapest of the cheap at £1.49 fo…