Food

Baking bread is worth the bother

pexels-photo-263168.jpegFresh, warm, crunchy bread, doesn’t it just make your mouth water? That sound when the knifes cuts through and you slather it with butter, just to taste test it obviously. If it is as tasty as it looks, smells and sounds then I applaud you if you only eat the first slice… that’s some serious self-control you have right there!

But where there’s bread making there’s kneading and kneading is a skill that I don’t have or have the inclination at the present time to work at. In fact, the last time I tried to make bread by hand I got so sticky and there was so much flour involved it actually looked as though Dr Who had run through the kitchen in pursuit of a flour monster.

However I’ve recently found a no knead bread recipe which has become a firm favorite in the house. “Crunchy bread pleeeeease” ask the kids as it’s a dense, crunchy loaf that takes 5 minutes to make, an hour to prove and then…here’s the magic… 3 minutes in the microwave to cook!

It’s so easy! 1.tsp yeast dissolved into 150.g warm water plus 1.tsp salt and mix in 200.g bread flour. Either quick rise for an hour or overnight in the fridge and micro-zap for 3 minutes. I do like to crisp it up in the oven though and as I have silicone bowls I do all of this in them so the absolute minimum of faffing is required.

What have you made this weekend?

Financial Freedom · Food · Organising

Make Do March and A Quick Catch Up

jam-preparations-jars-fruit-48817.jpegMake Do March

The philosophy Mend and Make Do may bring to mind wartime rationing but looking through my house there’s an awful lot of stuff that just isn’t getting used. Who needs 5 deodorants? Lasagna sheets dating back to 2011? Scales with no batteries? 7 jars of jam?*

We’ve started from ground zero in regards to savings this month which gives me the chills but one consistence throughout financial freedom/independence blogs is the need to live below your means. Hell, it’s just good sense but over the past few years I’ve taken my eye off the ball. Cooking good food from scratch, using things that you already have rather than buying more and fixing what you can is good for everyone and something I feel we’ve lost.

I’ve decided that the simplest way to start is to simply use up the easy stuff first, the low-hanging fruit I heard it referred to the other day. So far Hubby has been asked to drink the random herbal teas I found and to use up the bubble bath that we have which happens to be a pink sparkly wand! I’m working my way through the deodorants that Santa always pops in my stocking despite them not being the brand I actually use and researching what you can use cornmeal for apart from cornbread since there’s a large bag in the back of a kitchen cupboard.

Can we make do in March with what we have or will that must have item lead us astray?**

A Quick Catch Up

Yes I know we’re in the second week of March already and I’m just coming up for air. Seven birthdays in one week together with the unexpected amount of snow we had is sure to scramble anyone’s brain but add an energy sucking virus into the mix and I’ve been concentrating on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Feel free to sing ‘Just keep swimming’ with me if you like, or shout ‘I’ve lost my Mojo’ Austin Powers style if that’s more up your street.

I do feel like I achieved Domestic Goddess status in February though as I made my first successful lasagna, baked bread and even made my own butter! I have lots of half written food articles/posts/whatever-you-want-to-call-them to finish and publish when the old grey matter gets up to speed again.

*It’s bloody good jam though. Blackberry Jam made by Mum and Apple Jam made by my fair-self.

**I’m joking, promise. Although I did see……

 

 

Food · Organising

Ugly, but Scrummy Freezer Food.

Some plates of food just make your mouth water by looking at them. And others do not, yet the taste and comfort of a bowl of rice and lentils is hard to beat.IMG_20180224_165549226

We’re having a cold snap at the moment where the days are bright and frosty. The kids and I venture outside wrapped up warm (today we went and played poohsticks) it’s too sunny to stay indoors and too cold to stay out for long.

So chilly and having built up an appetite we want something warm and comforting but quick to prepare and 10 minutes later there’s a bowl of beige goodness on table. It’s even vegan, one of the few vegan dishes that I can make without someone asking “where’s the meat?“*

Originally cooked for us by MIL from a recipe in Good Housekeeping I’ve cooked a variation of this cauliflower curry at least once every month. I often soak my own lentils to keep costs down, forget about the lime and coriander and double the ingredients because if you freeze it without the cauliflower then it reheats like a dream.

There’s really no need for rice as I can happily eat mild lentil curry by itself although hubby would protest. We ended up stuffing the pitta with the lentils as it was far more fun than eating with our forks!

The way I tend to make my lentil curry now is to:

  • Fry an onion
  • Add ginger, garlic and curry paste
  • Stir in cauliflower, green beans, lentils, coconut milk and stock
  • Simmer and add creamed coconut if it’s in the cupboard
  • Taste, season and maybe play with some spices like cumin and ground coriander, a spoonful of mango chutney is nice if you fancy some extra sweetness
  • Eat all the cauliflower the first day and freeze the rest.

What freezer foods have you eaten recently that warmed you up?

 

*I used to add chicken to the dish so the carnivores would be happy until one day I didn’t and nobody moaned.

Food

Best Chicken Ramen Ever!

Best Chicken Ramen ever!” say Hubby and the Boy.

Well label me super happy and while the monster was less vocal she ate an impressive amount. We have a habit of popping into Wagamama’s when we’ve faced the gauntlet of shoe shopping and their kids ramen always goes down a treat. But it’s pricey (after you add drinks, pudding and the sides*) and so after a particular request for “that noodle place” I went a-hunting for recipes.

Turns out Wagamama themselves share some recipes like their chili chicken ramen and I also found a kids chicken ramen recipe too from Truly Madly Kids. So I kinda combined the two with ingredients that I already had being:

  • Marinated chicken with garlic and ginger.
  • Chicken stock and added miso.
  • Egg noodles.
  • Spring onion, carrot and sweetcorn.

**The kids like it just as while I added chili sauce to mine and hubby added chili AND soy sauce. I actually feel like the kids ate a whole meal and there’s enough to reheat for lunch another day too.

 

 

*God, I love their crispy prawns and pork buns!

*I’m going to guess that you can figure out how to cook the ramen but if not give me a shout and I’ll add step by step instructions.

Food · Organising

Corr, how leftovers make wonderful lunches.

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Does that plate of deliciousness just not look too good to be true!?!

Here we have roasted peppers, green beans and spicy aubergine with homemade gluten free bread, piping hot and enjoyed thoroughly. Well, by myself at least as the other family members declined to eat said dinner last night and filled themselves up on cereal and peanut butter sandwiches.

While they missed out it meant that I had more than enough to eat for today’s lunch and being such a freezing cold day at that it was much appreciated. Good food can really brighten your day, especially when it’s a no-effort-heat-it-up from leftovers lunch.

I was especially pleased with the bread as I simply followed the packets recipe weeks ago and froze it after slicing. The bread mix is about a year out of date, a bag I found hidden at the back of the cupboard!

It was warm, comforting and starchy with that extra feel good factor that comes when you eat your vegetables and I give myself plus points for using up cupboard fodder, even just a little.

Feeling flushed with my success at accidental ‘batch’ cooking I made extra mushroom stroganoff with pasta today – unfortunately not photo worthy as the chestnut mushrooms turned it a strange browny grey colour – but I know I’ll be looking forward to it at lunch time.