Monthly Archives: September 2009

Economy Gastronomy Inspiration

Has anyone been watching the BBC2 show Economy Gastronomy? Over 6 weeks 2 chefs helped families to dramatically reduce their food spend and at the same time to improve their eating habits. The families were encouraged to follow some basic rules:

  • Menu planning
  • Writing a shopping list
  • Using up leftovers
  • Using up anything about to go out of date
  • Cooking meals from store cupboard staples

We watched and enjoyed the show and got some good tips. In fact we liked it so much we bought the recipe book!

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This is very similar to the food philosophy that I try to live by, getting the most from good ingredients and not wasting anything!

As there is not much in the fridge at the moment and I didn’t want to go shopping again yet (still on my Grocery Challenge) I decided to look for inspiration in the book and found a store cupboard meal that sounded right up our street!

Economy Gastronomy Norwegian Fish Pie

Despite the name, this is more of a tuna pasta bake than a pie. I made some substitutions to the recipe to make it healthier and based on what we had in the house.

Changes I made:

  • Semi skimmed milk
  • Left out the caraway seeds (I don’t have any!)
  • Low fat cream cheese
  • Used red onion in place of white
  • Left off the anchovies
  • Added diced red pepper

This was the result!

DSC02137 DSC02139It was really tasty although next time I would fry off the pepper and onion to soften it a bit. The flavour was fantastic and even better we have 1/2 left over for dinner tomorrow!

As I was cooking this I noticed that there was a selection of veg at the bottom of the fridge heading past its best. So in true Economy Gastronomy style I decided to turn it into a soup!

Before…

DSC02134 Potato, carrots, peppers, red onion

After…

DSC02135A large bowl full of flavour!

I will package this up and take it for lunch tomorrow. What a great use of something that would normally have got wasted!

Wedding Photo’s of the Day

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I loved having my hair curly and my hairdresser did an amazing job of colouring and styling my hair. Love this tiara – it really made me feel like a princess! 🙂

Local Cider Decider!

Evening! We’ve just come back from…

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The Cider Decider at Darts Farm, a massive farm shop & shopping complex just outside Exeter. Hubby and I met up at home briefly after work to get changed and head off to this event!

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There was a huge marquee set up in the grounds filled with local cider producers. Cider is a Westcountry tradition and is really becoming popular again in the UK.

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The atmosphere was great with tables set out in the middle, straw bales around the edge and some music too!

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We headed straight for our first sample – a warm mulled cider with spices and bitters. It was delicious and would be really comforting on a cold night!

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We were hungry and it was about dinner time so when we saw the food offering we couldn’t resist!

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A Hog Roast – Hot roast pork, apple sauce, stuffing and crackling in a bread bap. Yummy 🙂 I love eating great local food like this! We thought about having a hog roast at our wedding – its quite a popular idea at the moment and this almost made me wish we had!  DSC02122

This was followed up by a couple of the hubby’s hot crispy chips from the fish shed.  DSC02129

Washed down with a few more un-pictured samples!

We bought some of our favourites home with us…..

DSC02132The bottle on the left is a ‘blush’ cider which is apple cider mixed with raspberry juice to give a yummy summery drink. The rest are apple ciders of various types.

This was a really fun way to spend a couple of hours and I enjoyed being out with the husband. Now that we aren’t planning a wedding we have so much time on our hands for fun things like this!

Wedding Photo of the Day!

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I loved my butterfly cake! I had layers of fruit cake, chocolate sponge and vanilla sponge – yummy! The cake was a dramatic centrepiece in the dining room! 🙂

Dare to dream

Gosh there are a lot of exciting developments in the blog world at the moment! I’ve just been catching up on my Google Reader and have seen some great news for a couple of my favourite bloggers! Firstly Jenna’s new job and a move to California this weekend! And secondly Caitlin’s fab news that she has given up her job as she has been commissioned to write a book based on Operation Beautiful! Congratulations girls – I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

When you see developments in other peoples lives it makes you think about your own life. Although I have obviously ticked one major box in my personal life by getting married, there are other areas that I need to work on such as work life. When I hear about people being paid to write, it gives me a pang of jealousy 😦 I would love to be in a position where I was being paid to write. Now I have a little more time on my hands I would like to develop my writing online and see where that might take me!

Still, back to today! It was a quiet day at work – I have a team of 3 people working on a project I am running, but today 2 of them were out of the office so that makes the day go slowly. I am so looking forward to the weekend! The high of the first few days back at work is wearing off and I just feel really tired. Tonight will be a nice quiet night at home catching up on yet more tv! Planning to watch the second part of the Heroes season opener tonight. Lets hope its a little better than the first!

Dinner for tonight was the Lamb kebabs I bought last night with lemon couscous from the cupboard and the leftover peperonata from last night.

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We served dinner with a glass of this sparking Rose Cider.

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I really enjoyed a glass of this with dinner. The flavour was really fruity and light. A perfect accompaniment to food!

In blog news, I’m planning another giveaway soon, just as soon as I come up with a suitably fabulous prize so keep watching this space….

Todays Food

Food Units
breakfast – chocolate chip brioche (oops!)  
tea and an apple  
lunch – 2 mini sausages sliced in a roll (leftovers from last night!)  
2 oreo cookies and a cup of tea  
minted lamb kebabs, couscous and leftover pepperonata  
small scoop low fat vanilla carte d’or icecream 🙂  
Total: N/A

Table provided by Roni’s Food Tweet, Eat, Post Generator.

 

Wedding Picture of the Day

JG-296 This is one of my favourites as I love that we are looking right at each other. As we were walking along we were talking about how well everything had gone and it was our first chance for reflection.

Routines & Peperonata Recipe

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I am so glad to be back home and back at work after the wedding! By last weekend I was really craving my routine and some really good home cooked meals! Don’t get me wrong – I had a fab time while I was off, with the wedding and then Honeymoon which were both amazing but at the same time I needed to get back to my real life and get on with settling into married life.

I find routine settling and comforting, and I think most other people do too. Whenever my routine is disrupted I find that things like food and exercise go out the window. Is that just me? I know that when I come home from work I have a quick computer break and then get on with dinner. And I used to know that Tues/Thurs and Sat were Gym days (hmm I need to relearn this I think!). But when the whole day/weekend is free in front of me I struggle to get done what I want to. Last week when we were back from honeymoon we weren’t getting dressed until 10am and that is a nightmare for me… I always feel like I’ve lost half the day by that point! So setting the work day alarm this week has been strangely comforting.

I’ve started changing my name with some of the companies I deal with but it is proving to be a very slow process. One of my banks is done, my passport was updated ready for honeymoon and I have informed work too. I have the driving licence form on my desk to do this week. I also have to send off some vouchers to John Lewis to use for the last few items on our gift list.

Dinner tonight was inspired by a dive into the freezer! My search through the freezer yielded a pack of uneaten thin pork sausages left over from when I had my niece to stay in the summer. A glance through the fridge revealed a surplus of peppers so Peperonata with Sausages was created!

Peperonata with Sausages

Peperonata is an Italian dish of stewed peppers and tomatoes which works well as a side dish to grilled meats and sausages.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 peppers, sliced (I used one red and one yellow)
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Basil

Method:

  • Melt some butter in a pan with some olive oil. Add the onions and sweat until soft
  • Add the peppers and cover with a lid for 7 minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and crushed garlic and simmer for 8 minutes with the lid on, followed by 5 minutes with the lid off
  • Stir in torn basil leaves

I served this with grilled sausages and some potato wedges.DSC02111

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Yum!

Grocery Spending Challenge

After dinner I had to pop to the supermarket and spent the first of this months budget. I spent £8.50 on bread, sunflower oil spray, mayonnaise, creme fraiche and some kebabs for tea tomorrow. I managed not to get distracted and only bought items from my list. So far so good!! 🙂

Todays Food! 🙂

A quick peek at what I have eaten today….

Food Units
breakfast – bacon roll and cup of tea #tep  
baked walkers crisps (mango & chilli – yum!)  
lunch – chicken & bacon pasta salad, grapes  
mid afternoon skinny vanilla latte, granola bar and apple  
dinner – sausages, peperonata and potato wedges  
Total: N/A

Table provided by Roni’s Food Tweet, Eat, Post Generator.

Grocery Spending Challenge

One of my favourite motivational tools is targets and challenges! So to get me back into the swing of things, I have decided to do a grocery spending challenge for this month. I have a freezer full of food (not all healthy I should add!) which needs clearing and I also want to keep my spending down this month. We had to put a number of wedding expenses on a credit card in the last 6 weeks as the savings were slightly short (not too much – don’t worry!) and I am keen to clear them off as soon as possible!

The Challenge:

To keep to a budget of £180 for this months grocery shopping

Not sure whether that will sound like a lot or not a lot to you guys but it’s a reduction for us! This should be achievable as we have a lot of food in the cupboards and freezer.

I should warn you that this may mean that you see some slightly odd combinations of food over the next few weeks 🙂

I’ll blog to let you know how much I am spending when I shop and what I buy. I’ll aim to incorporate some of the less healthy items into healthier meals and hopefully by the end I will have a lot more room in the cupboards and freezer!

My month runs from 21st September to 20th October (based on my pay day) and today is day 2 with no spends – yay!!

Todays eats…. (courtesy of the cool Tweet Eat Post feature created by Roni)

Food
breakfast – grilled bacon roll #tep
apple and cup of tea #tep
lunch – chicken and bacon pasta salad grapes #tep
granola bar and cup of tea #tep
dinner – grilled pork steak, cubed potatoes, green beans and tbsp cauliflower cheese
evening snack – another cup of tea and a cookie – yummy

Table provided by Roni’s Food Tweet, Eat, Post Generator.

Did you miss me?

I missed you! I can’t believe its been so long since I blogged. I had really good intentions of blogging through the week leading up to the wedding but what can I say – I had no chance! It’s amazing how fast that last week went. I have now been married for 17 days and am loving every minute of it. Wanna see a pic? Oh, ok then if you insist!

 

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At some point I’ll recap the wedding in detail, but for now I want to say that I had the most amazing day and married the most amazing man I could have wished for. The wedding went perfectly and I felt like a princess all day. Everything came together like a dream – exactly as I had imagined it. Since the wedding I have heard so many nice comments about the day from family and friends so I think I can count it as a success.

 

We have been back for a few days from our Honeymoon in Italy where we spent the week sightseeing, eating, drinking and relaxing. I will definitely do a photo post soon for the honeymoon – as soon as we have worked our way through the huge number of photos on the camera!

 

However, hubby and I are really pleased to be back home and living our normal lives as a married couple. We have so many plans for the next few months. We need to get on top of our finances now that the wedding is over and do some work on the house (diy and decluttering!). I am also really excited to get back into the kitchen and start cooking delicious healthy food again. Am I the only one who gets sick of restaurant food when they go on holiday? You can also expect to see a lot more activity on the blog over the coming months.

 

Thanks for sticking around!