Thursday, 31 January 2013

Lemons - use it up

I have had 3 manky lemons sitting in my fruit bowl, leftover from Christmas. Today I decided to take action and get them used. I also have a biscuit tin with lots of odds and ends of biscuits, so I came up with a concoction of a lemon meringue with a cheese cake biscuit base.

My base was made up of 200g of digestive biscuits and a few shortbread biscuits whizzed up in the food processor into crumbs. These were added to 75g of melted butter then pressed into a loose base tin.

The filling was 4 egg yolks, 150g sugar, juice of 3 lemons, 300mls boiling water and a little lemon zest. I would have added a lot more zest but the lemons were a bit old and soft so made it difficult to zest them. I whisked all this together then added 2 tbsp of cornflour mixed with a little water. Brought this to the boil then poured it onto the biscuit base.

The 4 egg whites were whisked until stiff then I added 100g of sugar. I topped the tart with the meringue and baked for 25 minutes.
I baked it at fan oven 170C. I was impressed how high the meringue rose in the oven but it did settle on cooling.
It was a lovely lemon meringue but I would have preferred it a little bit tarter.  I would have been able to achieve this if the lemons had been a lot fresher. Anyway, the lemons got used and the old biscuits got used. Nothing was wasted so I'm happy.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Bargain of the week

My bargain buy this week was a large shoulder of pork priced at £9.71  yellow stickered to £5.45. It had to be used that day so it was popped straight into the oven as soon as I arrived home from shopping.
Now, Hubby is a huge fan of pulled pork sandwiches and loves to take a container of meat to work with his bread and heat the pork in the works microwave to have a lovely hot sandwich. A little was eaten for tea last night and the rest shredded and left to cool for portioning up and leaving in the freezer for when hubby wants a pork sandwich. A pile of fat was reserved for the birds who devoured it this morning.Like to always keep the little things fed whatever time of year it is.

Tonight I made The Hairy Bikers sausage and apple puff I used the recipe from my book, Perfect Pies.
The gang really enjoyed this and want me to make it again. There's also a big chunk leftover to freeze. What did not go down so well was the lettuce, bacon and pea recipe I made to accompany the the pie.
Only one daughter really enjoyed this dish. The others said they were not really wanting to eat it again. Ah well! You win some, you lose some. There's not much they refuse to eat that I make. I do like them to try new things though because if you don't try them, you'll never know if your going to like them I say.

Do you have many complaints on different dishes you try on your family?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Menu plan Monday 28/01/13

Here we are again. Another week of menu planning. Actually got two weeks of menus already sorted so here goes with this weeks

MONDAY - Freezer leftover portions, 2 x lasagne 1 x creamy beef and potato layer 1 x lentil curry

TUESDAY - Roast chicken, cheesy leeks, roast potatoes, gravy and steamed veg

WEDNESDAY - Sausage and apple puff, peas with bacon and lettuce, jacket potato

THURSDAY - leftover chicken, broccoli and bacon sauce on pasta with homemade garlic bread

FRIDAY - Me & Hubby out. Kids homemade fish, chips and mushy peas

SATURDAY - Creamy pesto chicken, roasted veg and sauteed potatoes

SUNDAY - Mushroom tart, salad, homemade coleslaw and jacket potatoes

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Dal and butternut soup - Dish of the month

I am entering a bloggers challenge called Dish of the month created by Janice from FARMERSGIRL KITCHEN. The challenge is to cook a recipe from ANY of Nigel Slater's recipe books. I have the book, The kitchen diaries and decided to make a soup I have had my eye on for a while, it's Dal and pumpkin soup from the January recipes.  I love my soups and eat them all year round but this one caught my eye with it's simple ingredients and spiciness. What could be better for a cold and snowy January.

Pumpkins are very hard to come by in the UK except  in October for Halloween so I substituted the pumpkin for a butternut squash. The butternuts are on offer at the moment in Aldi as one of their super6 at 49p each.  You can find the recipe here on The Observer webpage he writes for. 

I made flatbreads to go with the soup (another of his recipes from the book). Froze 7 of the dough balls to be used when a fresh flat bread is needed and just cooked the one for my lunch.  The soup was really tasty and one I shall be making again. It had a good kick of chilli  and really hit the spot on this cold winters day with its flavour and vibrant colour.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Menu plan Monday 21/01/13

Just a quick post to post my menu plan. Have to dash to take Daughter No3 to the doctors.

MONDAY - Creamy beef & potato layer, steamed carrots and broccoli

TUESDAY - Hairy bikers easy chicken, salad, homemade coleslaw & jacket potatoes

WEDNESDAY - Roast chicken,vegetables, sage & onion stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy

THURSDAY - Beef Goulash with rice or jacket potato

FRIDAY - Fish fingers, chips, mushy peas and bread & butter

SATURDAY - Chicken/tofu fajitas

SUNDAY - Sausages & onion gravy, cheesy leeks, veg, mashed potato

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Clear out

Daughter was looking for something to eat for brunch. She looked in the fridge and declared there was nothing at all to eat in the house. Now I know the fridges are quite bare as it's Sunday and I shop on a Monday so like to have the fridges empty and cleaned for the new load of shopping. Here are my fridges

Her brunch ended up being a quesadilla made with two leftover wraps 3 lonely mushrooms from the fridge, half an onion, half a tin tuna and some cheddar cheese. Hubby had the remaining tuna in a sandwich for his lunch.

A small portion of mashed potato went to the birds as it had been lurking at the back of the fridge for too many days forgotten about. The small portion of rice and the bit of a sandwich daughter left were mixed with some chicken fat scraped from my stock. This is food also for the birds. Hate to see the poor little things scrounging for scraps in this cold weather. The bits of leek trimmings were added to a pan of pony carrots I cook for the dog to bulk out his food.

Daughters boyfriend did not stay for tea last night so I did not use all the minced lamb when making burgers. This mince will be mixed with the beef mince to make a bolognese. Some leftover tomatoes will be used in the bolognese along with a few roasted peppers. I'm going to use what's left of the bolognese in a pie with some gravy mixed in for a meal through the week.

The rind left from some Grana Padano cheese was added to the bolognese to add extra flavour. It will be fished out at the end of cooking.

The gammon I bought last Monday. It was not needed for sandwiches as we had other things to use up first so this has been boiled and roasted in honey ready to slice for sandwich meat for the coming week. I'm one of those annoying people in supermarkets who stand examining joints of meat for ones that are not fatty and look the best. We don't eat the fat so I'm not going to pay for fat on a joint which will end up in the bin.

The large pan in the fridge had leftover leek and potato soup in it. I had a portion for lunch and a portion went in the freezer. That's my fridges cleared of a lot of odds and ends and all washed down ready for tomorrows shop.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Can't be arsed

I'm having one of those days. Can't get motivated and I'm not really that bothered.

Done the usual dog walks today and had to take the dog for his booster jab and get some worm tablets today. My purse is £49.62 lighter now! Run the vac over the carpet and dusted around and that's about it for housework today! As I've said, I just can't be arsed today.

I have made myself make some of my Spicy bean burgers which are for tea tomorrow evening. I know after a night shift and a day in bed I will not feel like making them tomorrow so a batch were made with 3 being frozen and one for tomorrow stashed in the fridge.

I also made a big pan of leek and potato soup to keep the gang going at lunch time over the weekend. Will be yummy with some lovely homemade bread.

The snow  has just started to fall here. Lets hope we don't get much here in Yorkshire. It's bitterly cold  which means there's no chance of it melting for a while.

Keep warm everyone and enjoy your weekend x

Monday, 14 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday

MONDAY - Roast chicken, yorkshire puds, mash, sage & onion stuffing, veg and gravy

TUESDAY - Hairy Dieters Easy Chicken, salad, homemade coleslaw & jacket potatoes

WEDNESDAY - Beef casserole & dumplings, Cabbage and mashed potatoes

THURSDAY - Salmon maybe in a sauce, not sure yet

FRIDAY -  Pasta bolognese & homemade garlic bread

SATURDAY - Lamb burgers and bean burger for me, chips and homemade coleslaw

SUNDAY - Mushroom risotto. Apple & blackberry crumble with custard or cream

Yesterday was to be tuna and vegetable lasagne instead I made a lasagne with the leftovers from the Tacos on Saturday night. Got four portions of a meaty lasagne from the leftover beef. Two eaten and 2 for the freezer. I made a beany lasagne with my remaining Taco filling. So that's 2 tins of tuna saved and leftovers used up : )

Guess a lot of you have been in the same situation as me with snow falling today. Managed to just finish my shopping this morning before it started to fall quite heavily. Had a lovely walk with the dog when it was lovely and crisp and about 2inches thick. It's all been melting for a few hours now so is at that horrible slushy stage which I hate. Hopefully we won't get much more over the coming days.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Getting organised

Dropped into Boots today and had a look around for a present I could give to Daughter No2's boyfriend for his birthday. Did not have a clue what to get him. Then I saw the half price shelf of Christmas stuff and spotted this.
The set included socks, body spray and a pair of underpants. Was originally £18.00 but I got it for £9.00 so pleased I found him something which was a bargain. Could have bought more things to put away for next Christmas or for birthdays  but I'm trying to stick to a month of not spending, only on necessities. His card and wrapping paper were bought from The Card Factory and only cost me just over a pound so pleased I got it all for £10.00.

Finally 10 days into the new year I have my A4 desk diary. I searched all over to find one of these this year but could not find one only in WHSmiths for a rediculous price. Normally I pay a few pounds for one from places like B&M bargain but they had none when i was looking a day or two into the new year. Finally had to order one off Amazon at a cost of £3.50 with free delivery which was not much more than I would have paid for it in the bargain shop.

Tonight I shall sit and fill in all birthdays and highlight then. Date nights with Hubby will be written in. Each day I shall write down what I eat to keep track on my healthy eating. When I've worked out my menu plan each week I shall write at the top of the page what we are having each day. I shall write a TO DO list on each page of jobs and stuff I may need out of the freezer for the next days meal. So I should be super organised from now on.....we shall see ; )

Monday, 7 January 2013

Menu plan Monday

Craving fresh wholesome food with lots of colour at the moment so that is reflected in my menu this week. Just been shopping and bought lots of colourful fruit and veg.

MONDAY - Creamy mascarpone tomato sauce with roasted vegetables on pasta & HM garlic bread

TUESDAY - Roast chicken/couscous patties, HM coleslaw, jacket potatoes and salad 

WEDNESDAY - Sausage, onion gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables & yorkshire puddings

THURSDAY - The Hairy Dieters Roasted Cod & Parma Ham with peppers & salad potatoes

FRIDAY - Italian meatloaf, steamed vegetables, roast potatoes & gravy

SATURDAY - Beef Tacos and Bean chilli Tacos for me

SUNDAY - Tuna & vegetable Lasagne, salad and small jacket potato

Well the big clear up happened yesterday. Three of us whizzed around the rooms removing all traces of Christmas. All boxed up and back in the loft until December. All done in record time of an hour. We all hate putting the decorations away so it's done as quickly as possible in our house.  A good clean around and you would never know it had just been Christmas. Feels all tidy and bare now but I like that.

Then this morning onto clearing out the fridges. Some cottage pie and gravy leftover from a meal the other day was devoured by Daughter No3 for her lunch today. Old grapes, an orange and a couple of apples which were still in good condition were made into a fruit salad with the addition of some fresh fruit bought today. All the outer leaves of a cauliflower were chopped and boiled to add to the dogs food over the week. The only thing I had to waste was a green pepper that had started to decompose in the bottom of the salad drawer oops. He's now on the compost heap. Half a tub of mascarpone cheese will be mixed into the tomato sauce I have made for tea tonight after I have removed a portion for myself (back on healthy eating). Now the fridge is restocked with lots of lovely fresh stuff for the coming week. 

Girls back to college and school tomorrow so onwards with my 'To Do' list. I'll get started on my first job listed in my diary which is to declutter the utility cupboards and give it all a good clean. Are you feeling the need for, 'a new year new start' on anything?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Not quite back to normality yet

I'm looking forward to the girls getting back to school and college to return to normal household routines. Don't get me wrong; I love it when they are on holidays but I need the space  in my head clear to continue with moving on into a healthy and organised 2013. Having the house strewned with teenagers, everyone messing up stuff I've tidied and  Christmas decorations and presents still everywhere is not helping me get into mode.

Daughter No2 THINKS! she's back at college tomorrow. Told her she better make sure she's enough change to get the bus home after I've dropped her at college if they are still shut,  I can't take her back home because I'll be at my voluntary job tomorrow morning.

So... I'm trying to get organised and made soup today from one of my old weight watcher cook books for Brie and courgette soup. This has used a last chunk of brie I have leftover from my Christmas cheese board.

Rind removed and this was added to the soup.

The soup tasted really good if I do say so myself.

All portioned up and labelled for the freezer and ready for my healthy eating tomorrow. I finished off making a nice loaf for sandwiches for the gang for tomorrow.

Getting there with using up most of the cheese board now. Will have to freeze the remainder I think so not tempted to nibble it with the leftover cheese biscuits. Now,... what can I do with leftover cheese biscuits?