Fast Day 67: Soupy day!

Tues 25 Feb 2014

Lunch – 1.45pm – beany soup = 218c

  • 53g onion = 15c
  • 5g teaS pork fat = 45c
  • 175g okra = 54c
  • 43g celery = 6c
  • 42g pork leg (roasted at the weekend!) = 60c
  • 300g black eyed beans = 348c
  • 3 cups bean broth = 339c
  • 2g cornflour = 7c

874/4 port = 218c

EXERCISE:  1 hr 20 min walk in National Park

Dinner – Onion Soup plus fruit n yog – total 278c

  • 164g leek = 100c
  • 5 sage leaves – 1g = 3c
  • 3 clove garlic – 12g = 17c
  • 418g white onion – 2 = 125c
  • 418g red onion – 3 = 150c
  • 33g shallots – 3 = 23c
  • 15g butter = 107
  • 2 tableS 30ml olive oil = 264c
  • 1L bean broth = 452c
  • 1L veg stock (Vegeta powder- 2 teaS = 6g) = 7c
  • 4g cornflour = 14c

1262 / 6 portions = 210c

  • 110g nectarine = 48c
  • 15g Gippsland yogurt = 20c

Fast Day 67 Total:  496c

Only managed one Fast Day last week- oophs – need to make sure I do my two this week- no failing this time!

Soaked some black eye beans and cooked them Monday morning, so that’s where my bean broth came from.  Was awesome, my bag of dried beans made so many portions- think I put about 6 bags of 250-300g each in the freezer- so much more economical than cans!  More time consuming of course, but if you do up a whole bag on one go and portion it out and freeze, it’s really not that much of an effort.  The remainder of the bean broth will be put into the paella on Wednesday night

The onion soup was a Jamie recipe (https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/english-onion-soup-with-sage-and-cheddar)  tweaked a little bit, and minus the cheesy toast as it’s for fasting.   Hadn’t made it before, does bubble/simmer away for quite a while when you’re softening the onions, but that means delicious flavour.

So yeah, it’s a bit of a soupy day really, oddly just how it turned out when I was going through cupboards and doing my thrifty thing with what needs using up etc.  Feel like we ate a lot over the weekend (had a friend for dinner, it involved having cheeses n crackers, pork leg roast, milky potatoes, and a Nutella cheesecake….) so I wasn’t hungry this morning at all so figured I’d skip breakfast as the whole point is you’re supposed to eat when hungry right?  Wasn’t hungry.  Anyways, just meant that I cou;d have the extra cals with dinner if I wanted, which I did, got a tasty dessert.

The walk was really nice again, the National Park- went with the boyfriend this time.  He’s in the closing stages of finishing his PHD and I think the fresh air did him lots of good, cleared his head n refreshed him! 🙂

Am glad we went out straight after work cos I was having food cravings!!!!!!!!!!!!

Watermelon Rind Jam

Watermelon Rind Jam

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Pretty huh?  That’s the watermelon rind all cut up into small bit, ready to be made into jam!  The recipe I followed said to keep a little bit of pink on- fine by me cos that made it easier to chop up, and am sure will add to the tastiness of the jam!

Ok, here’s my version of the recipe:

  • rind from 1/4 watermelon – roughly 3 cups = 391g
  • 375g sugar
  • half teaS allspice- optional
  • teaS orange zest- optional.
  1. Chop up rind small, leaving a bit of the pink.  All green bits go in the bin still am afraid!
  2. Put in saucepan, cover with the sugar, and leave overnight covered in clingfilm- this brings all the juices out, so in the morning you’ll have sugary goop.
  3. Bring to boil, add orange zest (or some lemon slices as the original recipe suggested) if using, and some allspice (if using)- simmer/boil for about 1 hours, till reduced and jam like- a splodge on a cold plate should be set and stay as a blob rather than collapses.
  4. Enjoy however you like to eat your jam!

Post Jam-Making – Wed morning

Ok, well, kind of successful and kind of not.  Basically I overcooked it and it ended up being a rock solid crystally mess.  I tried the blob on a cold plate thing, but it still seemed runny so I kept cooking it.  What I now know is that some of it is always going to spread a bit on the plate, but if there’s some wrinkly tension to it still then you’re done.  Jam making is tricky man!!  I saved it a bit by putting the jars in a hot water bath and pouring some boiled water from the kettle into the jam and mashing it all up- this morning it was spreadable so I had a bit on toast, although the rinds themselves were more like crystalised candy….  Oh well, at least its edible, and does taste quite nice, despite being a bit crunchy still!

Next time I shall cook for MUCH LESS TIME, and I think I will chop up my watermelon even smaller, probably food process it, cos the rind holds its shape, so can fall off your toast as they’re big pieces even when cut small.

Fast Day 62: not too shabby!

Tues 4 Feb 2014

 
Break- 6.15am – total 225c
  • 20g oat bran = 74c
  • 200ml skim = 70c
  • 2 dried apricots – 19g = 59c
  • 5g chia seeds = 22c
 
Lunch – 12.45pm – total 109c
  • Tamar Valley greek yog pot – Raspberry = 82c
  • 90g watermelon = 27c
Dinner – beany broth – total 166c
  • 1 cup bean broth (used calories from beef broth) = 17c
  • 10g pork fat I’d saved (used butter calories) = 73c
  • 100g cooked black beans = 132c
  • 100g pearl barley = 127c
  • 100g frozen sweetcorn kernals = 78c
  • 5g garlic = 7c
  • 2g chilli = 1c
  • 121g celery = 1c
  • 100g frozen veg mix = 46c
  • 2 cups water, 2 bay leaves, teaS rosemary, teaS mexican spice = 0
499 / 4 portions = 166c
Fast Day 62 total:  500c
Slightly odd lunch, but who says you gotta have sandwiches or play by the rules?  Food is food, and yogurt and fruit has lots of good nutrients so I don’t mind that my lunch was kinda weird today.  Savoury is prob best, but it filled me up so doesn’t matter too much!
Now, my beany broth soup I am especially proud of!  The only fresh veg we had was celery, 1/2 a red chilli, 1.5 lebanese cucumbers, an aubergine and some cherry tomatoes.  Well the cherry toms n cucumbers are for snacks, and I wasn’t sure what to do with the aubergine (or quite what possessed me to buy it Friday at the supermarket….) so I was basically working with celery here! Also in the fridge was 2 portions of black beans that I’d soaked/boiled up on Friday (1 portion went in the freezer for another day), and just under a cup of my beany stock too, so I decided to make a soup with them as they needed using up too!  Raided round the freezer for some frozen veg, and in the cupboard had some barley, so I made a very filling and nutritious soup with what originally seemed like nothing-  the portion sizes are quite large too!  Fried the chilli n garlic n veg for about 10 mins, added the spice/herbs and stirfried for a couple of mins more, then added my stock, extra water, beans n pearl barley and simmered away for about 30 mins- easy peasy. 🙂
After making this yesterday I decided to go through my recipe books to find something nice to use my aubergine in, as it’s not something we usually buy!  I think I originally bought it because I have a jar of tahini that I have no idea what to do with, and I do like baba ganoush…. so with some of the aubergine I might make a little pot of tasty dip.  But for most of it I am thinking a tomato-y ratatouille type bake with cheesy crispy breadcrumb topping.  Whilst scavenging for the soup I noticed a bag of bread crumbs I’d whizzed up n frozen and since we don’t really eat schnitzel type stuff didn’t know when on earth it was gonna get used- is just sitting there in the freezer hogging up space- so this is perfect!  One of the ratatouille type bake recipes I found had butterbeans in.  Which I don’t have.  But I DO have 2 cans of chickpeas.  For this dish I will have to purchase 2 items – 1 x red pepper and 1 x onion – which I think is not too shabby considering it’ll feed us for at least 2 nights worth of dinners and will use up loads of other foodstuffs in the kitchen!
AFTER THIS I chopped up watermelon for my snacks/lunch, and then chopped up the rind to start my watermelon rind jam.  After chopping up small you cover it with sugar and leaving it overnight in the fridge to go all goopy, and when I checked it this morning it had indeed gone goopy n liquidy.  Just finished dinner now, so let the jam-making begin!  I’ll let you know how it goes- the boyf will have to be the taste test guinea pig, which am sure he won’t mind! 😛

One seriously productive day! :-)

Today I have made a feast of food, but not like the pork belly feast I did the other week- this is more an economical feast as it was very thrifty and used up things I had in the cupboard!

First up, was what we’re having for dinner tonight, which is effectively pork, beans n rice, but that’s just literally what it is, and doesn’t in any way describe the tastiness or thriftiness of this big pot of goodness that I made!  The pork was scotch fillet (x 2) that I had in the freezer, and I roasted them in a foil pouch for 1 1/2 hours at 200c, then opened the pouch to brown them for 15 mins.  The meat was falling apart delicious all on it’s lonesome- could have gobbled it right there, and will definitely be doing this combo again!  I’d put them in the pouch with some olive oil, garlic cloves, seasoned with pepper, and my secret ingredient- pomegranate balsamic vinegar I had in the cupboard from when we went to the Hunter.  The sweetness of the fruity balsamic works really well with pork, so it gave it a lovely fruity taste and with the browning at the end a slight caramelisation.  So, whilst that was cooking in the oven, I made the bean part.  Well, the bean part began Friday morning when I put black beans in a big tub of water to soak.  Friday night when I got in from work I rinsed them in cold water, then in fresh water brought them to boil and simmered them away for about 3 hours till tender.  Apparently a small amount of bicarb helps make them tender, so I might try that next time to see if it’ll reduce cooking time.  Dried beans mean big savings so I am going to try and use them more and rely less on canned beans.  Oh, when I boiled my beans I put in a dollop of my pork belly fat I saved from last weekend- this is my secret ingredient for the beans, to give them a delicious seasoning.  Anyways, setting beans aside, I sweated chopped carrot, celery and onion (literally all that was in our fridge!!) in some olive oil for about 10 mins.  Then added some dried sage, chopped garlic (2 cloves), and 2 bay leaves and cooked for a further 2 minutes.  THEN, and this is my super thrifty tip- when I was looking up how to cook dried beans (yes I know, bit sad I actually had to look this up!), everyone said to keep your ‘bean broth’ that they were cooked in cos you’re throwing taste/nutrients down the drain otherwise, and to use them in place of stock- so I did just that- used my bean broth in place of 250ml stock, and then simmered the whole thing inc the beans (1 can of butterbeans from the cupboard and the equivalent weight of my black beans as the recipe I took this from said 2 x cans butterbeans) for 20 minutes till done.  Added in my shredded pork once it was finished in the oven, and some brown rice I’d done, and tadahhhhhhhhhh- a dinner that I am really quite proud of! 🙂  Even without the pork, rice and beans makes a complete protein, so if money is tight and/or you’re a vegetarian, this is a good thing to remember! 🙂

Next was soda bread!  Two loaves- one savoury with seeds and a dollop of basil pesto in, and the other was like a fruit loaf, I added some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger and dried fruits (sultana’s, apricots, some mixed citrus peel leftover from Christmas cake).  These soda breads are to save us money on bread products, which the boyfriend eats a mountain of- is way cheaper to DIY, esp when you make soda bread compared to yeasty bread, as it saves you time t00- no kneading, no raising, no waiting required!  This picture below is my fruit loaf, which I can’t wait to have toasted with butter, or with some jam or marmalade for breakfast!  The recipe I base mine on is the River Cottage one- http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/classic-soda-bread/  For buttermilk, use regular milk and per cup (250ml) add 2 x teaspoons of vinegar, so to make this, 400ml, you use 4 teaspoons of vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes before use.  Oh, and I use half whole meal, half white.  Do this for all my cakes or anything that requires flour, to make them that bit better for you.  I reckon this would work ok with full wholemeal though too.

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By the time they were ready was lunchtime, so I had my lunch – homemade pastryless quiche frittata type thing (lunch leftovers- made Thurs night) with a couple of slices of my pesto soda bread, and watched an episode of the Walking Dead cos it’s awesome- oh man, 9th Feb cannot come soon enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then looked up thrifty tips on Simple Savings and other foodie websites.  Discovered you can make jam out of watermelon rind (minus the green bit, that still goes in the bin am afraid), which, since I have watermelon in the fridge that I bought Friday is excellent news- I am trying to cut back on food waste and making something (hopefully) yummy with it at the same time, so this sounds perfect.  So once I’ve eaten the melon I’ll let you know how the jam goes! 🙂

And THEN I made some citrus curd- was supposed to be just lemon and lime, but discovered an orange that looked a bit past its best for eating, but perfect for curd, hence citrus rather than just lemon n lime curd.  I also have some coconut sugar that came in a roll and I had to grate (tried processing it and broke my little food processor in the process….)- suffice to say, it’s still a bit chunky, so I can’t use it in cakes or anything like that, but anywhere that calls for melting sugar I can use it, so I used it for this curd.  It kinda looks like brown sugar, so it is gonna affect the taste, prob will taste more caramelly, but hopefully it won’t overpower the citrus too much.  Either way, am sure it’ll taste good, so it’s not a problem if one batch of curd is a bit different to normal- as long as it tastes good is the main thing.  Is still in the process of cooling so can’t assess the taste completely now, but I did have a little dip of a spoon and yeah, it’s pretty good!  Is also super easy, so here’s how to do it:

Citrus Curd

  • 3/4 cup citrus juice
  • 1 cup sugar- c. 180g
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 125g butter, cubed
  1. Put juice, sugar and eggs in a saucepan on low and stir for a good 10 mins or so till it’s thickened slightly and sugar all dissolved.
  2. Add butter, a couple of cubes at a time, stirring the whole time until curd has thickened.
  3. Your curd will still be liquidy, but it will set once cool and in the fridge.  It is also likely to have some small eggy bits that didn’t get blended in properly- this is not a problem.  Just pour your curd through a sieve or cheesecloth when you put it into your jars!
  4. Cool on the side, then put in the fridge, and you’re done!
  5. Eat once fully cold, on toast, on yogurt- as I discovered over Christmas, it’s especially delish on pancakes!

SAM_6796Mine looks darker in this instance because of the coconut sugar, but usually it’s a beautiful light lemon yellow colour!  PS.  This would be an awesome gift for someone, in a nice jar (label removed of course!!!), tied with a pretty ribbon, v thrifty, and also, one jar spare for you to enjoy too! 🙂  The one with the label on the jar was originally a jar of storebought passionfruit curd actually, and I reckon this recipe would work with passionfruit too (strain the pulp through a sieve to get just the juice), so that might be a good one to try when they’re in season!  It wouldn’t even have to be all passionfruit (cos you’d need to buy a lot of passionfruit for 3/4 a cup), just a couple n the rest lemon/lime would be good.

Oh, and for good measure I zested up all the lemons n limes using the small side of the grater and put it in a baggy in the fridge, so now I’ve got some to add to recipes whenever I want.  And I put my carrot tops and celery ends in a ziplock in the freezer too- once full I’m gonna make some stock from it.  Edible bits of veg scraps go in a separate freezer bag, which when full will be whizzed up and turned into soup- it’s almost like free food! 🙂

I know this post isn’t regarding 5:2, but it is about food, and reducing waste and getting creative with food, which is one of my aims this year.  I want to stop throwing money in the bin.  I want to eat good wholesome and healthy foods- stuff that I know exactly what’s in it, not full of additives or colours- homemade is where it’s at!