Day 10 – Good cheap eatin’ and recipes

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February 12, 2009 by missmegany

We’re back on track!! I’m so happy that we didn’t go over today–even WITH me having a flapjack at work and adding seeds and nuts to our dinner. Pretty impressive, right? HOORAY!

Breakfast – Megan oatmeal – 18p, Mac had nothing
Lunch – leftover hot pot – 19p (turns out there was enough for 5 servings)
At Work – Megan had a cup of tea and a flapjack – 21p
Dinner – Purple sprouting broccoli with sesame seeds and garlic (from BBC Food) and Beet, Tamarind and Potato Gratin, 7p + 34p
Riverford – 75p

TOTAL: Megan – £1.74, Mac – £1.39 (I bet he snuck food…or I’m just a sore loser)

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Garlic and Sesame

– we only had a small amount of broccoli, so it made 4 VERY small side portions at 7p per serving, excluding the cost of broccoli.

It came from here. Here is their picture since I’m so rubbish at food photography.

This recipe does NOT take long at all. I wouldn’t start the actually cooking part until quite close to mealtime, although you can quickly boil the broccoli long before you heat the oil.

Toast 1 T sesame seeds (3p)
Cut the bottom of the broccoli (RIVERFORD). You can eat the leaves and the stems, so don’t start trimming off all the stalk. I cut the leaves off and sliced them up a bit before I cooked them. Cut the stalks/florets so that each floret has a stem, if possible.
Boil some water and cook the whole broccoli for 2 min. Immediately drain (unless you’re using the water again, which I did)
Heat 2T veg oil (6p).
Add 3 cloves garlic (20p) sliced fairly thin (but NOT minced) and cook until golden.
Add broccoli and mix it in to get it covered in oil. Cook 2-3 min.
Plate up and serve topped with sesame seeds.

Beet, Tamarind and Potato Gratin-ish

served 5 (at 34p per serving)
I got the idea of mixing beet with tamarind because neither Mac nor I really like the sweetness of beets. BUT, after Mac seemed VERY dubious about my making-up skills, I thought that it might be worth looking at a recipe for a basic idea. I found
this when I googled tamarind and beet. I’m glad I was on the right track. I wrote down the proportions for the sauce, ended up making the bulk of it up.

Now, the last time I made a gratin it took flippin’ FOREVER. I’ve decided that potatoes are far more stubborn than I am, and will happily take 1 1/2 hours to bake in a hot oven EVEN when sliced extremely thin. Stupid potatoes. Which is why THIS time, I cooked all of these parts separately before layering them in a dish.

5-6 beets
2 T olive oil (20p)
6 (or so) medium potatoes (10p)
2T veg oil (6p)
3c vegetable broth (4p)
4 heaping T of tamarind paste (see note below!!) (12p)
1 T lemon juice (3p)
2 T honey (we added 1T for 2p)
1 onion (6p)
1-2c of greens (spinach, kale, chard, purple sprouting broccoli leaves, etc)
50-100g walnuts (we used 50g for 31p because of cost)

Wash 5-6 beets (RIVERFORD) and chop off the top and tail. DO NOT PEEL.
Chop them into large-ish chunks (too small and they will shrivel in the oven) and place on an oiled baking sheet. I used chilli olive oil that Katey gave us for Christmas (20p if we use our regular olive oil price).
Roast in an oven at 200C.

Wash and DO NOT PEEL 6 (or so) medium size potatoes. Place in boiling water until tender. Originally I thought that I would try to follow the instructions for stuffing the potatoes, but realised that was a ridiculously time consuming idea.

While both beets and potatoes are cooking, start the sauce.
Add 2T veg oil, 3c of vegetable broth, 4 heaping T of tamarind paste((NOTE: if you buy a big block of paste, the seeds (which are NOT worth eating) are still in it. You can either take them out pre or post-cooking. I recommend post, except then your fingers get slightly singed trying to pick them out of a just-finished-simmering sauce.)), 1T lemon juice (the tamarind is PLENTY tart), and 2T of honey. I only added 1T (our couchsurfers bought us cheapass honey), but, in hindsight, I probably would have added two.
Let the sauce come to a simmer, and happily boil away and reduce down a little bit. You aren’t trying to get a thick syrup, but it helped blend the flavours a bit.

Towards the end of the beet and potato cooking time, heat up 1T veg oil.
Add an onion—-I added 150g of onion (three very small onions) and cook until soft.
I then added half of the purple sprouting broccoli leaves that I had. Spinach, kale, chard, spring greens etc would all work—it was just to add some different flavours. Kale, spring greens and broccoli leaves also add a nice crisp texture, too. Depending on the type of green you are using, you might need to adjust the cooking time here. Kale and spring greens will need a while.

Lightly chop 50-100g walnuts.
Mix together roasted beets, onion/green mixture, and walnuts.
Stir in half the sauce (watch out for those tamarind seeds!).

When the potatoes have finished cooking, drain them and slice. They should NOT be crumbly, just tender.

Lightly oil a casserole dish.
Put in a layer of potato slices, then the beet mixture, and repeat, finishing with a layer of potatoes.
Cover with the remaining sauce.

Bake at 180C (350F) for 20 minutes. Just long enough to finish the potatoes (just in case!) and get the flavours to meld a bit together. I only had about 10 minutes in the oven, but it worked fine.

I was VERY pleasantly surprised with this dish. I had warned Mac and apologised in advance in case it was terrible. It was FAR from terrible-—we both really liked it!


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Less and Less and More is all about enjoying more, all whilst worrying about less. Whether enjoying better health because you eat less junk, having more time for friends and family because you spend less time on acquiring, or lots of other big and little things that we want more of, I look at examples of people doing more.


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