Saturday, 9 November 2013

Simplify It 2013 - the Final Stretch

Well I have rather taken my eye off the ball with this one, haven't I. Rest assured that behind the scenes the decluttering has been continuing apace - I'm pretty much there with my "365 Items OUT" challenge now, and the toiletries challenge is still going strong as well.

I've decided that for the final stretch of the year I'll concentrate on streamlining our food cupboards - using up those oddments of "stuff" from larder, cupboards and freezer that have probably been lurking around rather too long, and creating additional storage space for the large quantity of preserves etc we've made from foraged items this Autumn.

An Autumnal carpet in Harlow
Meal planning will play a big part in this - and I'm declaring the next week "Freezer week" to see what I can use up. (This post is being written on Friday afternoon so the meal-plan starts from then) Items marked * are coming from the freezer:

Friday: Square sausage*, egg & chips
Saturday : Lunch - soup & roll, Tea: Cheese & crackers
Sunday: Lunch (out) Rolls, crisps, flapjacks, Tea: Tartiflette
Monday: Ham* & mushroom pasta (cheats carbonara)
Tuesday: Pork* stir fry & Noodles
Wednesday : Lamb chops*, roasted squash & Red cabbage & apple*
Thursday: Sausages*, crushed tatties & sweetcorn* fritters
Friday: A decadent friday fry-up: Square sausage*, Stornoway black, white & fruit puddings*, egg, bacon, mushrooms, beans

The immediate aim is to clear enough space that freezer 2 can be switched off for defrosting - which it very much needs!

I've already been through both freezers - amalgamating the ends of a couple of bags of frozen veg, and working out exactly what we have that needs using. The larder will be the next to get this treatment with the focus firmly on the ends of bags of dried fruit, etc. I need to remember to incorporate stir fries into our menu regularly for a while too as we have lots of sachets of stir-fry sauce that were bought cheaply through our local "Approved Foods" style market stall.

This challenge will run through November and December and I will do a couple of updates on progress as it goes along, too. Hopefully some time around the end of November I'll be able to report defrosting happening!

I've also been asked for a recipe for my flapjacks - like a lot of my cooking they are a bit "make it up as you go along" but this rough recipe & method should see you right.

6 oz flour
6 oz porridge oats
3 oz Sugar - I use half soft brown and half demerera
6 oz fat - I use half stork & half butter
2 tbsp honey or golden syrup
The it gets random - couple of big handfuls of mixed dried fruit or sultanas (currants go too hard in the baking)
Big handful of mixed seeds - sunflower & linseed work well, and pumpkin seeds are excellent
Handful of chopped nuts - I used hazels and flaked almonds this time

Pop the fats & honey/syrup into a pan and set to melt together over a low-ish heat, mix the rest of the dry ingredients together in a bowl, pour the melted stuff into the dry and mix well until there are no floury bits left. Then press it all into a baking pan (lined with baking parchment - that's a lesson you learn after the first time!) - I use a square pan probably 8/10" in diameter - it needs pressing down quite firmly. Bake at about gas 5/6 (no idea what that is in electric!) for roughly 40 minutes - turning every 15 (unless you've got a posh fan oven of course ) - they should be lightly golden on top and smell gorgeous when they're done. Leave them to cool in the pan but divide them into squares as soon as they're out of the oven - that is ALSO a lesson you learn after the first time.... I cut mine into 12 usually.



Alison said...

Thank you for the recipe, duly copied down into my notebook, I will let you know the result in due course. Have 2 of Memorygirl's (recipe) Jamaican Ginger cakes that I made yesterday to eat first, OH is a happy man. LOL

Robyn said...

I've been hearing good things about that recipe - might have to try that one myself!

Sian said...

oooh thanks for flapjack recipe. Must give that a try..... sounds more interesting than just boring oats!! Not been that successful with my flapjacks - they seem to crumble awfully easily.....

Robyn said...

I was going to say that these are pretty resilient, but that makes them sound as dense as roof tiles, which they're not! I suspect that the durability of these relies on the fact that they have the honey or syrup in them - the extra moisture works well.