Friday, 11 October 2013

Frugal Friday

One ongoing theme of frugal or simple living is making the most of everything you have - whether that is by looking after your clothes and caring for your belongings, extracting every last squeeze of toothpaste from the tube or getting the best value from your money by keeping your eye out for bargains on the things you use regularly. Shopping seasonally is also a part of that - it makes sense to buy what is in season as a general rule - it will be fresher, taste better, have traveled less miles and probably be cheaper too.

Visiting the farm shop recently we really noticed "seasonality" in action. A huge pile of corn-cobs sitting outside, on offer for 10 for £1.80 - at that price they work out cheaper and far tastier than buying the corn in tins - simply cut it off the cobs by holding the cob upright against a chopping board and running the knife down - the sharper your knife the easier and quicker this is. I then blanch it in boiling water for a minute or so, drain and once cooled, freeze it loose on baking-parchment lined trays. It then gets transferred to a sturdy freezer bag - in fact you could re-use old bags from other frozen veg, just re-label them first if they're opaque! By loose freezing like this it means you can easily tip out just the amount you want each time, saving waste.

More seasonal vegetable bargains acquired recently - a huge marrow which has been a component part of a LOT of meals since, cauliflowers (regular white and one of those stunning romanesco ones) and some of the little onions usually used for pickling. Add these together and you get a) a surplus, and b) PICCALILLI!  We threw in the last carrot from the fridge too, and in a moment of inspiration Mr EH recalled that nasturtium seeds go well in it, so he dashed outside and found.....2! Oh dear! Everything was chopped into bite sized pieces (no, not the nasturtium seeds obviously!) and salted and left overnight to draw out the excess moisture.

The following night we mixed cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, cumin & coriander...

...together with a little vinegar, then added it to the rest of the quantity of vinegar which had been set to boil in a large pan, with the additional of some sugar & honey.A little stirring later and we had our sauce ready for the veggies...

A brief stir to coat the veggies and it was ready for jarring up. We sterilise our jars by setting them in the washing up bowl and pouring boiling water over. The jam-funnel, ladle and any spoons we plan to use get that treatment too, and fingers crossed (tightly) so far we've never had any issues.

This batch made 5 jars, several of which will get given away as gifts, probably. There was still more cauliflower to use too so a dinner of cauliflower & pasta cheese saw that off - perfect autumn/winter food!
Also in the spirit of making the most of things was our Sunday joint this week - a small bacon joint, supermarket bought, unusually for us, but UK in origin. Half of it was used for our Sunday dinner - boiled until tender, and then the water from the bacon used to cook potatoes and cabbage. The remainder went into meals on Monday and Tuesday nights, with the last chunk being chopped up and added to veggies and rice to create This Wee Lass Eats... inspired Special Fried rice. No pictures, sorry, we were too busy eating it and saying Yum! £3.70 lump of meat = 4 meals. That'll do for me!



dreamer said...

All sounds excellent! and your picalilli looks devine :)

Robyn said...

The taste we had from the pan after jarring up was certainly promising - should be even better by christmas!

Scarlet said...

That's a great price for the corn. Supermarkets are still charging an exorbitant price for it. Luckily we have an abundance of it from the allotment. I've never eaten picalilli - my Mum used to have the bright yellow stuff in jars when I was small and it always looked awful. Yours looks so much more appetising!

Robyn said...

We ALWAYS grew corn when we had the allotment -best taste in the world is a cob freshly picked, wrapped in foil and shoved on the barbecue within a minute. Mmmm!