Today I sowed my overwintering broad beans. They are a variety called ‘Aquadulce claudia’ which are really good for autumn sowing. I sowed them into the inside of toilet rolls, as I find it is a more reliable method to get them to germinate, as when I sow them directly into the ground, either mice eat the seeds or the seeds rot when the ground is too wet.
After I sowed them, I watered them and then I put them into my cold greenhouse, until they germinate. When the weather is suitable, I will transplant them.
Every weekend I spend a couple of hours batch baking ready for the week ahead. I find if I do this, then we don’t run out of things during the week, which would inevitably lead to a trip to the supermarket to buy tasteless equivalents that usually cost twice as much to buy, not to mention the added chemicals, preservatives and e-numbers the foods contain.
The things I usually batch bake at the weekend are bread rolls, cakes, biscuits, scones, etc. for the week ahead. I then freeze them so they stay fresh.
So by just spending a couple of hours each weekend, I save money by not buying the equivalent at the supermarket, but I also save money on our gas bills because I cook more than one batch of things in our gas oven at one time. For example, on Saturday I made ginger biscuits and chocolate brownies and twenty bread rolls. The biscuits went in the oven, two baking trays at a time with the chocolate brownies, while the rolls were rising on top of the oven (they rise quicker with the warmth). Then the bread rolls went in.
Another way of batch baking is to make double portions of a meal you are cooking anyway. A good example of this is the pasta sauce I cooked for tonight’s tea. I made a double portion so we could eat one portion tonight and I have frozen the other portion for another time. So this not only saves money on cooking expenses, but it also saves time, as all I have to do another day is defrost the sauce and microwave it for ten minutes to heat it up again.
I always make double portions of pasta sauce, chilli and spaghetti bolognaise and freeze them. Once the meals are defrosted, they must be reheated until they are piping hot.
A Week Of Main Meals For Under £10.00
This week I thought I would set myself a challenge of cooking seven main meals for my family, for under £10.00. If I can do this, it will show people that we can and do actually ‘live well on less’. So watch this space Jamie Oliver!
To keep the costs down, I have been using my home grown vegetables and in the style of ‘Ready Steady Cook’, I have free use of store cupboard items, which can be found on Mondays post.
Today I made a Tomato Pasta Sauce. You can find the recipe here. All the ingredients I used were from my store cupboard and even my passata was made from home grown tomatoes. I mixed the sauce with value spaghetti and sprinkled it with cheese.
I served this with salad from my polytunnel and garlic bread which was made from store cupboard items and home grown garlic and frozen home grown parsley. You can see how I make my garlic bread here.
So this meal cost just an amazing £0.63 (the cost of the value spaghetti and cheese).
So, the total I have spent so far this week is:
Sunday = £ 3.33
Monday = £ 0.87
Tuesday = £0.00
Wednesday = £0.63
So my total spent so far this week is £ 4.83
Below is a really easy recipe for the chocolate Brownies that I made at the weekend. It uses Weetabix and I buy the cheapest ones that I can find for this recipe.
The brownies freeze really well and they are good for lunch boxes. I take out a frozen Brownie and pop it straight into my daughter’s lunch box in the morning and it has defrosted by lunchtime.
Chocolate Brownies Recipe
8 oz. caster sugar
8 oz. self-raising flour
4 tablespoons of coco powder
8 oz. margarine
Preheat your oven Gas Mark 4 / 350F / 180C
Crush the Weetabix in a bowl.
Add the caster sugar, flour and coco powder and mix together.
Melt the margarine.
Add the eggs and the melted margarine and mix until it completely combined.
Put the mixture into a baking tray, approximately 23cm x 33cm, that has been lined with greaseproof paper. (I find it’s easier if you use a metal spoon to press the mixture into the corners).
Bake for 30 minutes.
Put the brownies, still on the greaseproof paper, onto a cooling rack.
Cut into squares while they are still warm.
(You can add sultana’s or raisens to the mixture if you want to).
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