Day 1 and 2 of Cheap Food Challenge

I brought my $12 fruit and veg bag on thursday. So all of the fruit and veg in my meals revolve around what I got in them. Which is 5 potatoes, 3 brown onions, 1 red onion and 1 punnet of cherry tomaotes. As well as 4 oranges, 4 apples and 6 bananas! One quick note on the vege packs is that my meals are obviously going to be a lot cheaper because I am getting my fruit and veg at a highly discounted rate. I would highly recommend joining (or starting!) A fruit and vege co-op!

Day 1 –

Breakfast –  2 slices of toast + cup of tea = $0.30

Lunch – tabbouleh, which was 1/2 red onion, 4 cherry tomatoes, handful of paisley from the garden, 1/4 cup couscous, and I had some hummus that was given to me for free + a salad dressing that I had in the fridge = $2.5

Dinner – Leftover Tabbouleh

Total – $2.80

Day 2 – 

Breakfast – Nothing! Eeep, well I did have a glass of freshly squeezed orange and apple juice, does that count?

Lunch – Banana + popcorn = $2

Dinner – 2 minute noodles = $1.5.

Okay so day two wasn’t my most finest day of the week, but to be fair I have spent the whole day doing study

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Yoghurt Pasta

I was sceptical about this recipe. . . . .:.  I had never used yoghurt in a pasta before. However I was pleasantly surpised to find that the yoghurt offers a rich tangy pasta! 

I used this recipe from jamie oliver,  however I added half a chopped brown onion which gave it a nice sweetness. 

One of the things that I love about this recipe is that you can change up depending on what you have in the fridge. Use salami, bacon, chicken or pancetta instead of chorizo. Changing the herbs to match whatever you choose. 

Another bonus is that it’s super quick and easy! Great 10min meal at the end of the day 

Tom Yum Soup

Until 5 years ago I had never heard of this! My partner introduced it to me. Now I absolutely love it! I have to be honest and say that I don’t really use a recipe. I usually go to Countdown and get this ready make packet. Which comes with, dried kafir lime leaf, galangal and lemon grass. As well as chilli paste, fish sauce and soy sauce. I can’t seem to find a photo of it unfortunately. But it is in the international section, usually tucked away and only at the large countdowns. If you can get your hands on it, grab a few packets, you won’t regret it!

Two key things that I do when I make tom yum is add tomatoes and serve it with rice. I’m not sure how common this is but that’s how my partners mum has made it and that’s the way I like it!

The key to this soup is the balance of flavour, hot, sour and sweet. Tweek the amounts listed below to get the right balance, add more of less depending on what you like.

For the soup in the photo above this is what I used:
Serves 2 – 3

  • Thumb sized piece of Galangal
  • 3 Kafir lime leaves
  • 5 to 10cm piece of lemon grass
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 chilli
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce  or Fish sauce
  • 1 Tsp lime juice
  • sugar
  • 1/2 tin or tomatoes juice drained
  • coconut milk
  • Spinach
  • Bean sprouts
  • Leftover chicken

Instructions:

  • Put galangal, lime leaves, lemon grass, chicken stock and chilli into a pot and simmer over low heat for 15- 20mins fo flavours to infuse.
  • Then add worcestershire sauce, lime juice, sugar (to taste), tomato juice and coconut milk. Boil over heat for 5-10mins then taste and add any extra’s to taste.
  • In a bowl arrange chicken, spinach and bean sprouts in a bowl and pour boiling soup over.
  • Serve with rice or noodles or as is.

Speady Cheap Tomato Soup

The thing that I love most about this recipe is that it’s all about whatever you have that needs using. I have made it at least 10 different ways. This is one of the versions that I make.

Feeds 1

  • Small bunch of herbs – I had a couple of leaves of sage, paisley, oregano, thyme and basil from the garden. You can use any or all of these. However if using basil don’t add until the very end and just quickly stir through.
  • Small amount of chilli sauce (- can use chilli oil, sauce, fresh chilli or preserved. If using fresh saute in pan first.)
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Optional – garlic and onion. – I add these if I have the time to chop them up, otherwise its yum with out.

Instructions:

  • If using garlic and onion, saute in a pot over medium heat.
  • Add herbs to pot and let soften
  • Add tinned tomatoes, chilli sauce, sugar and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Heat over medium heat until desired thickness and tomatoes have softened and broken apart (roughly 10 mins).
  • Taste the soup and tweek to taste.
    Too acidic – add more sugar.
    too chilli – more sugar
  • Serve in a bowl with, bread or crackers.

Ginger Crunch!

This recipe is from a book called Ladies a Plate. A New Zealand cookbook, made up of “historic” New Zealand home baking recipes. Good old ginger crunch is among them. One thing that I love about this recipe is that it’s cheap, while being indulgent.

Image result for ladies a plate

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If you have a food processor put all of the dry ingredients in first and give it a quick whizz to blend. Then add the butter and blend until it resembles bread crumbs.

For years I didn’t have a processor, so I just used my hands. Smooching the butter between my fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. I occasionally I do still do this for the full experience. Either way the result is the same.wp-1485487674807.jpg

Once mixed tip into a tray (mines about 30cm by 20cm). Press until nice and compact but don’t stress out about it.  Once pressed down pop in the oven. The thickness will effect the cooking time but 20ish mins is usually good.wp-1485487674837.jpg

The key to making this recipe a success is the thickness. Forget about any ideas of a thick ginger crunch. Thin is the way to go. As you can see here mine is max 1cm thick. This is a thick crunch for me, I usually go even thinner. But a good starting point is around 8ml or 0.8cm. Try working down to thinner for a more satisfactory crunch!

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While the biscuit/slice is cooking cook the icing. I didn’t have any icing sugar so instead of following the recipe. I whizzed normal white sugar in the food processor until it was roughly the same size as caster sugar. The put all of the ingredients into the pot and stirred it over a medium heat until the sugar dissolved.

One thing that you might notice is that the butter will separate a little bit. You can kind of see it on the sides of the pot in my image. If that happens, just whisk it up real good before putting it on the base.

One thing I haven’t taken a photo of this the colour of the biscuit when I took it out of the oven. This part is important, you want it golden, but not just a little bit golden here and there. Aim for most of the top to be golden. This will make sure the biscuit is crunchy not soft.

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Once cooked ice! Do this as soon as you take it out of the oven. Distribute the icing over the whole biscuit, then spread. While hot slice. Sometimes as it cools the biscuit will join a little bit but it will break apart easily.

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Speedy Vegetarian Nachoes 


This is a great recipe if you want something that’s quick and easy but still delish and healthy! You can add any extra’s you might want. Such as onions, , use beans instead of lentils or whatever takes your fancy. This is just the quickest and simplest recipe that I use.

Serves 3 adults Or 2 adults and 2 children

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1tsp cumin

1 tsp crushed garlic

Chilli

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tin lentils

Turn hob onto medium heat and wait for pan to heat. Add 2 TBsp oil, chilli, garlic and spices to pan. Heat for 1min careful to not burn spices.

Add tinned tomatoes and cook until tomatoes soften and break apart.

Then add tinned lentils. Heat through and continue cooking until desired thickness. Add cornflour if your a bit impatient like me!

Serve with tortilla chips, sourcream, spring onions and chilli sauce.

Pizza!!

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I haven’t eaten pizza in so long but a few nights ago I decided that it was time. I pulled out my new Comfort food cook book and started making the dough.

It was simple enough, the recipe for the dough is here.

You can see the difference between the size of the dough between me finishing kneeding it and after proofing! 

After beating the dough down roll it out and cut it into segments, like above. Then roll them into pretty little balls and leave to proof. They don’t need long, 30mins. 

Or before letting them proof you can wrap it up in plastic wrap like below and pop it in your freezer! Its great because it defrosts in a couple of hours. I use it for pizza and for other flat breads that I might want to quickly whip up for tea 🙂

As for toppings, I kept mine simple, a bit of grated cheese, homemade pizza sauce, basil, and a couple of pieces of ham and salami.

The sauce was pretty cool to make, I’ve never made the sauce before.
I used Jamies recipe:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • 1 x 400 g tin of quality plum tomatoes

  1. For the sauce, peel and finely slice the garlic. Pick the basil leaves and discard the stalks.
  2. Heat a saucepan on a medium-low heat and add a splash of olive oil and the garlic. Cook gently until the garlic starts to turn golden, then add most of the basil leaves, the tomatoes, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Cook gently for around 20 minutes, or until smooth, mashing the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When done, have a little taste, and season again if needed.”

 

I cooked the pizza in the oven and for the first time I cooked it at 250 deg, as this was the recommended heat. It was delish this way, would recommend. I heated up the tray first as well as that gave the base a crispy base! It only needed about 10mins in the oven. 

Savoury Scrolls

The recipe that I used was from here but again I have changed it up a bit 🙂

  • 2 cups self-raising flour – or plain flour with 3tsp or baking powder. 
  • 30g butter, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup  milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese – I used 1.5 cups 
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
  • Optional – 1/2 cup of capsicum, tomato or
  • optional – 1/4 cup red onion, sun-dried tomato or olives
  1. Preheat oven to very hot, 220°C. Lightly grease a scone tray.
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl. Add butter; rub in lightly using fingertips. Stir in basil.
  3. Make a well in centre of flour mixture. Pour in combined milk and water all at once, reserving about 1 tablespoon. Using a butter knife, mix quickly to a soft, sticky dough; do not overmix.
  4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly. Press or roll out to form a rectangle about 1cm thick.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cheese, ham, capsicum and gherkin; sprinkle over dough, pressing slightly.
  6. Roll up to form a log. Cut into 2cm-thick slices; arrange slightly overlapping, cut side up, on prepared tray. Brush with reserved liquid.
  7. Bake 12-15 minutes, until scrolls sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.