Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Official New Theme/Challenge: Frugal Food

My previous post should give some enlightenment as to my personal circumstances, and why exactly I have this overwhelming obsession with frugal food. It seems like a lot (if not all) of my posts (bar the restaurant reviews, where I have been lucky enough to be taken out by a host of wonderful friends/family) have been detailing ways of getting more bangers for your buck, of stretching your ingredients just as far as they'll go, and occasionally reverting to using odd (yet delicious!) insides to get a cheap meal. Whilst I'll admit that a lot of this is due to the fact that I'm hardly what you'd call rolling in dosh at the moment, coupled with the fact that I think the theme is highly relevant in a time where people are starting to feel the financial strain of the recession, this is not the only reason I'm interested in frugal food. I'm interested because, well, I'm not by nature a wasteful person. I like the concept of simple living, of more frugality and less extravagent waste. Less materialism, more productivity. Cooking can very quickly and easily become a highly expensive past-time, unless you use your noggin. And it's this sort of brainy cooking that I like - creatively and cleverly using your ingredients to the max. BUT - the results must be tasty, not all weird and wonderful, like say kidney beans with...erm...(she racks brain trying to think of something really truly odd to mix with kidney beans)...cauliflower.

So over the next couple of weeks, as I'm left home alone in a big house, with just a big kitchen and a computer to keep me company, I am starting an official experiment. I'm going to try to feed myself healthily, nutritiously, deliciously and colourfully for under £30.00 in a week. I should warn you right at the beginning, I am going to cheat a little, as I have to go up to London at the end of the week, to remind myself what a social life is like, and to see some real, live people. I've heard rumours they're still out there.

To be slightly more exact then, this week I will be detailing my food frolics between yesterday (Saturday) and Thursday. 6 days - well counted.

There are some more conditions, and you can decide for yourselves whether you think this is just stretching things:

  1. There is a storecupboard/pantry in the kitchen, which is full of lots of lovely basics - flour, tinned tomatoes, tinned - olives, capers, pulses, pasta, rice, etc. - I intend to exploit this for all it is worth. Expect details of some 'storecupboard meals'The Storecupboard: my first photo but I thought I would give it a shot. Not least because I am so proud at how tidy this is post a tidy-up session yesterday. Helping Ma Pea to generally get the house in order - this was a task I set my organisational skills to. I know, it's official. I AM A GEEK. (Lydia at The Perfect Pantry would be proud!)
  2. The fridge has a friendly smattering of bits and bobs - cheese, bacon, ham, some vegetables and some cheese - left over from when Ma Pea vacated premises for her fancy holiday, and I fully intend to use these up/come up with innovative ways of getting them involved in any way shape or form. Think of it as social food, and giving them an excuse to join in the fun.
  3. It is necessary to bear in mind that I am based from home, and not currently juggling a job at the same time (bar all my mini creative projects, which I may start to upload details of soon, if I can figure it out), therefore breakfast, lunch AND dinner can and will be cooked and eaten at home - something which would never, ever happen when I was back in the big smoke.
  4. We have apple trees, and intend to use 'em. I already have my eye on a recipe by Hopie, flagged and tagged by Psychgrad at Equal Opportunity Kitchen - keep your eyes/apples peeled ('scuse the pun) for that one.
I'm intrigued to know whether anyone else is as interested in eating frugally as me, and if so what your success stories have been - what you've managed to stretch out the most into multiple lunches and dinners, how you've used apparently discarded parsley stalks in stocks, that sort of thing. If you stumble upon me, do share hints, tips and/or encouragement!

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