Monday, 26 September 2016

Day 270 - Courgette Fritters

I've been making good use of the last of the Courgettes from the outside plants before the chilly nights finally kills them off.  As well as grating and chopping them for putting straight into the freezer ready for Winter soups and stews (no need to blanch)  we have been eating them as we pick them.
The other day I whipped up some  Courgette Fritters for our tea to have with some oven roasted tomatoes and lettuce, along with a dollop of yoghurt.  It's really simple to do and you can play around with the ingredients and the amounts to use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge, the basic recipe comes from Sarah Wilson's 'I Quit Sugar' programme.
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Courgette and Haloumi Fritters
2 large courgettes, grated
a handful of fresh coriander, stems and leaves finely chopped
1/2 a cup of frozen peas
100g Haloumi Cheese
4 Spring Onions finely chopped
1/2 cup Plain Flour
1 Egg
salt and pepper
Heat some butter inn a medium frying pan and add the courgette, coriander stems and peas.  Cook for 2-3 minutes then transfer to a large mixing bowl to allow to cool slightly.
Add all the other ingredients and combine well.
Using the same pan melt some coconut oil (or whatever  you prefer to use) and cook tablespoonfuls of the mixture, about four at a time.  Cook on each side until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper, keeping them warm until you have cooked all the mix.
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Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Day 269 - Almost at the End of the Tomatoes

I spent some time last week snipping off ALL the foliage on the tomato plants in the polytunnel, so that all the remaining fruits would have a chance of ripening in the lovely autumnal sunshine we've been having.  I don't mind using some unripe ones for Green Tomato Chutney but it's nice to have as many red (and yellow) ones as possible to eat now and use in other recipes.
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Green (or Red) Tomato Chutney

1.5kg chopped Tomatoes
750g chopped or sliced Onions
6 Garlic cloves
2 Red Chillies
4cm piece of Ginger, chopped finely
400g Brown Sugar
225mls Red Wine Vinegar
1tsp Paprika
Tip all the ingredients into a jam pan  or similar and bring to a gentle simmer.  Leave simmering away for one to one and a half hours stirring occasionally so nothing  sticks to your pan.
Then bring it to a gentle boil so that the mix turns darker, shinier and thicker.  When you can draw your spoon through the mix and briefly see the bottom of your pan your chutney is thick enough, and then you can begin to ladle it into hot sterilised jars and put the lids on when it has cooled down.
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I'll be sad to see the end of the tomato season but I intend to make good use of each and every one of them in the meantime.
Today is a No Spend Day

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Day 268 - Homegrown Herbs

The kitchen windowsill is looking very lush at the moment.
 I've recently brought all the pots of herbs in from the polytunnel,l as the dramatically fluctuating temperatures between daytime and night time were having a very detrimental effect on them, and anyway it's so much easier to snip a bit of this or a bit of that off when you're cooking and they are there right under your nose.  It also tempts me to add them to things I might not ordinarily add herbs to if they are close at hand. 
The rest of my herbs are outside in the old tin bath near the kitchen door and I'll start to bring a few sprigs of some of them inside soon, to dry over the heat of the Aga so I know I'll have a good selection for Winter use.
The cut herbs that I  entered into the Llanrwst Show were all chopped finely and dried, and then fitted into this one jar on the kitchen shelves ... handy for a sprinkle here and a sprinkle there of intense herby goodness.
Today is a No Spend Day

Friday, 23 September 2016

Day 267 - There ... But Not For Eating

Last week and this we've had another few loads of wood chippings delivered by the guys who work to keep the roads clear of overhanging trees, including some of ours. 
 Every day when I walk the dogs past the heaps in the paddock I notice new batches of mushrooms and toadstools,  there's a new crop almost every day but they are most definitely not for eating.  I just don't have the confidence even with a book in my hand to know for sure if they are edible or poisonous. 

 I don't like any of the fungi family so I would hate to poison my beloved just in an attempt to save some money .... even though his life insurance is up to date  ;-)
Today is a No Spend Day

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Day 266 - Slimmer Pickings

A lot of things on the Veggie Patch and in the poly and net tunnels are coming to an end now, and the cooler nights means that some plants will not be with us for much longer, especially those out on the veggie patch which is pretty exposed on the hillside.
With this in mind some days the pickings are small, but are always worth bringing in and processing for the freezer ... or eating for tea :-)
This is pretty much the last of the outdoor sweetcorn, although in the net tunnel the plants are still full of slowly swelling cobs almost ripe for  the picking.  The chopped beans are a gift from last year, the one plant that didn't get eaten by rabbits seemingly has sprung back to life this year and is now giving us a decent harvest of small runner beans every couple of days.  I much prefer to pick them whilst they are small, they taste lovely with a little dollop of butter or mayo.
Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Day 265 - Making Cheese

I had a tub of homemade yoghurt that needed using up and no time to think of anything, so I did the easy cop out of making some home made cheese.  This sort of cheese is called Labne and is a mild and creamy soft cheese.
You simply pour your yoghurt into a muslin square and leave it to drip overnight or for up to 24 hours for all the whey to drip through.

As you can see you get lots of lovely whey.

Once you squeeze out the last of the moisture you are left with a lovely creamy Greek yogurt style cheese that is ready for any flavours you wish to add to it.  I simply added some salt and pepper before it went into the fridge, but I can add in some garlic or chives when I come to use it depending on what I want it for.  Seemingly it should last for up to a month,, but it's never made it that long in our house, it gets eaten up on crackers and toast much too quickly.

And of course you are also left with all the whey that has dripped out, which I pour into a large ice cube tray, so that I know each cube is a tablespoonful.  Once frozen the cubes are popped out and kept in a freezer bag to free up my tray for other things 
This whey can be used in all sorts of recipes, Google it for some more inspiration.  I tend to add a tablespoon to homemade mayonnaise as it keeps it fresh for so much longer, and it's also great for adding to homemade bread or scones and savoury biscuits as it makes them lighter and richer tasting.
So much better than throwing away some yoghurt that needed using or losing.
Today is a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Day 264 - Spending Review

The Last Shop/ 4th September
Money Spent Today - 9p
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £4.00
Money Spent in Total - £321.08
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £286.75
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £7.63
A comment by 'Maryb' left on yesterdays post made me realise that I haven't discussed money for ages ... mainly because nothing has altered.  We still have a paltry £7.63 in the cash pot, there is still £48 worth of M&S vouchers in my purse and the Nectar point total stands at around the £10 mark.
We simply haven't needed to shop, we have been eating fresh every day from the poly and net tunnels supplemented by bits and bobs from the freezer in a vain attempt to make room for more freshly picked and processed crops to go in there.  The milk that was photographed on the 4th September post was put into the freezer for the following weekend and was used then.  We were both down in southern England over this last weekend so no milk was needed at all for home.
It's all back to normal now and I will have to venture to good old M&S and blow a whole voucher to get some milk for this coming weekend so you will have a shopping post in the next couple of days.  I don't know what else we need except milk to warrant spending a voucher ... but I will find something, I'm determined to hold onto the cash!!
16 days of No Spending - a record  :-)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Day 263 - Freezer Tetris

It's that time of year ... with lots of the home grown food now prepped and in the freezer the space has almost run out.
We have two freezers, one is in the kitchen and is the smaller half of the large fridge freezer and the other is the large chest freezer in the conservatory, they are both almost full to capacity.  So at the moment whenever I have something that I just have to squeeze into one or the other of them it's a question of a quick game of freezer 'Tetris', which was once my favourite computer game but it's not so much fun with packs of frozen food in either hand and seemingly no room to put them down.
Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Day 262 - Bread

I've been trying to get into the habit of making our own bread again. 
It's one less thing to draw me to the shops, when really I don't need to go, if we already have some bread in the house.  Of course it's so bl**dy delicious it gets eaten twice as fast!!
My loaves haven't yet reached the pinnacle of perfection to look at that I used to churn out regularly, but they taste the same and really that's all that matters  :-)
My basic bread recipe, if you're interested, is over on Our New Life in the Country, on the 'Recipe' page.
Today is A No Spend Day


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Day 261 - Beating Mr Birdseye

Our peas haven't done brilliantly this year. 
We've been eating them directly from the pods while we've been out and about on the Veggie Patch and in the tunnels as delicious little snacks with the pods being thrown to the chickens for conversion to eggs, but the only peas that made it into the house before the plants were struck with mildew were these.
I am pleased to say though that in getting them from 'field to freezer' in under 30 minutes I've beaten any promise made by Mr Birdseye (of frozen pea fame) for freshness :-)
Today is a No Spend Day