WWWhere have I been?

So, I’ve neglected my weekly update posts a bit… or a lot… or a very lot.

Where have I been?

Putting the SUPER into SUPERSlavisWife, of course!

Some of you may have noticed I have a vlog now. So that was being set up, the concepts were being worked out, the lighting and camera was being tested. Good fun.

I’ve thrown myself into work and setting up some new projects, so that now I am looking at £1000-1200 a month working on average only 4 hours a day, around 20 days a month.

I’ve also all but finished my book On A Budget and am working steadily at some other books, as well as working out release dates.

I’ve made a whole fridge full of preserves (well, half a fridge anyway), after last year’s lasted a full 12 months without problem. Crab-apple sauce (or “crapple sauce”), raspberry, elderberry, blackberry, sloe and plum jams, mixed jams and Autumn pie mix (pumpkin, apple, plum and spices) are now ready for Halloween and Christmas cooking and the remainder should last me the year!

And my weights are increasing apace as my figure further tones and shapes itself.

All in all, it’s paying off.

But now I have time to write recipes down again, so here’s the Wok! 😀

No pictures yet due to my poor timing of the post, but maybe I’ll add some of the cake and the fridge of preserves tomorrow. 🙂

Pork and vegetable stir fry.

Ingredients:

  • -1 deboned, degristled, skinned pork shoulder
  • -6 eggs
  • -200g dried turtle beans (presoaked)
  • -200g fresh garden peas
  • -100g runner beans or green beans
  • -2 onions
  • -2 bell peppers
  • -1tbsp ginger
  • -1tbsp tahina
  • -1tsp soy sauce

Utensils:

  • -chopping board and knife
  • -frying pan

Recipe:

  1. Chop up your pork. Roasting it first makes degristling and deboning easier!
  2. Roughly chop your onion, peppers and green beans.
  3. Roughly dice your onion. Pan fry with the peas, ginger and tahina.
  4. Add the pork, turtle beans and green beans. Cover and simmer.
  5. Add the soy sauce, diced red pepper and make a pocket for each egg.
  6. Cover and simmer until the eggs belong to go solid. Stir up and allow to finish cooking.

Jam cake.

Ingredients:

  • -500g jam of your choosing
  • -500g flour with raising agents
  • -200g dried fruit, chopped
  • -2 eggs

Ingredients for the topping:

  • -chocolate ganache icing (200g chocolate, 200g butter, 100g sugar, spices)
  • -chocolate toppings of choice

Utensils:

  • -mixing bowl and fork
  • -greased cake tin
  • -mixing bowl and spoon

Recipe:

  1. Mix the flour and jam together.
  2. Beat in the two eggs. You shouldn’t need more water.
  3. Fold in the dried fruit.
  4. Pour into the baking tin.
  5. Bake for around 1h at 130-160C.
  6. Once a fork comes out clean, leave to cool.
  7. Melt the ganache frosting and pour over the top.
  8. Affix the chocolate toppings.

We used plum jam, so Jon obviously wanted chocolate carrots as toppings. :p

Beef curry with veg and beans.

Ingredients:

  • -1kg minced beef
  • -350g dried turtle beans (presoaked)
  • -2-4 onions
  • -2 heads of garlic
  • -1 leek
  • -2 bell peppers
  • -1l of curry sauce (mix 1 cup of curry powder, tomato paste, salt and olive oil to taste, add water)

Utensils:

  • -chopping board and knife
  • -large pot

Recipe:

  1. Roughly chop all the vegetables.
  2. Place in a pot. Just cover with water and leave to simmer with the beans.
  3. Once the water has boiled down a bit, add the sauce.
  4. Once the sauce is hot, add the mince, stir in to cook through and leave to cool.

Also, a while back ASDGamer said he’d like to see a meal plan and some of the lower carb foods I have.

Disclaimer 1: I don’t plan recipes, I plan ingredients. For example, that particular week I was using the very last of last year’s jams as pie and cake mixes, we have a lot of chicken and I had set vegetables to use. But I get creative when it comes to seasoning!

Disclaimer 2: Whilst I generally eat low carb, only 1/3 or 2/3 meals are VLC. Jon’s diet is generally high carb with one or two low carb days a week. This is because our bodies, workloads and schedules are different, so I need to make meals and meal plans flexible.

Note 1: Unless mentioned, most complex dishes don’t have an extra carb source.

Note 2: All cakes, pies and breads are homemade by yours truly fitting the week’s ingredient plan, budget and dietary requirements. Sometimes they can be low-carb or no grain or low calorie or tiny portions. Basically, just because it’s baked doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy.

That said, here’s our meal breakdown from last week.

W 16 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: Porridge.

A: N/A.

Lunch

J: Sandwich and pie.

A: Chicken curry.

Dinner

Chicken curry.

T 17 09 2015

Breakfast

Eggy bread and sausages.

Lunch

J: Chicken curry and pie.

A: Salad with chili garlic sauce.

Dinners

J: Pizza, waffles and beans because change over day treat.

A: Chicken vegetable bake because fat.

Cake for pudding.

F 18 09 2015

Jon was ill today, so he’s been snacking on biscuits and tea.

He took an energy drink, an apple, two bananas, some sandwiches and porridge into work, but he may not eat it all.

Breakfast

Mango, leftover pie.

Lunch

Roast chicken and roast veg sandwich.

Dinner

Roast chicken and roast veg sandwich.

S 19 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: Finished the pizza.

A: Mango.

Lunches

J: Pork stir fry.

A: Two tomato sandwiches

Dinners

J: Pork stir fry.

A: Roast chicken with vegetables.

S 20 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: Oatcakes.

A: N/A

Lunches

J: Porridge.

A: Pie and coconut-milk plum ice cream.

Dinner

Pork stir fry.

M 21 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: Eggs and sausages and vegetables.

A: Beef sandwiches and half a mango.

Lunches

J: Porridge

A: N/A

Dinner

Pork stir fry.

T 22 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: A sandwich.

A: A mango.

Lunches

J: Eggs and sausages and vegetables.

A: N/A

Dinner:

Mince with vegetables and black beans.

WWW. Cheap to Glorious Burgers and Frozen Cakes.

Seeing as Jon’s work is now very different, the Wok will be a little different. Rather than making the nicest, most elaborate or most interesting meal on Wednesday, I will make them as and when he needs them and choose the best food of the week for the Wonderful Wednesday Wok instead.

This week, the main’s some burgers that I made turning cheap, value brand, reduced price beef mince into something with the bite and texture of steak mince and the flavour of a BBQ patty. And the pudding’s an ice-cream cake in a cup I made for Valentine’s day. There were five flavours: pear, blackberry, pear and currant, strawberry and peach. I had the pear and currant one as a carby treat on Valentine’s, but the rest were Jon’s for the week.

The rest of the Valentine's meal.

The rest of the Valentine’s meal.

Cheap to Glorious Burgers.

Ingredients:

-500g cheap mince; ground beef is not suitable, but cheap, unfrozen pork mince or turkey mince would work too

-1 egg

-2tsp herbs

-2tsp onion granules

-2tsp paprika

-2tsp salt

-1tsp pepper

-1tsp soy sauce

-butter or tallow for frying

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and fork

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: With high quality beef you’re told not to overwork the mince or the burger will lose its consistency. With cheap mince you want to do the opposite. Mash it together before adding the spices and the egg. Mash thoroughly until everything is mixed in.

2: Form patties by making a ball, flattening it in the palms of your hands and pinching the middle so it’s got a little “bowl” at either side. This ensures good browning and even cooking.

3: Heat the fat in the pan at medium temperature until all melted. Add the burgers.

4: Cook for 5 minutes either side.

5: Serve with sides of choice. I went for salad, Jon went for beans and cheese.

The burger’s texture is firm and meaty, the taste is subtle, salty and very beefy, the grease levels are minimal and the crust on the outside tastes of soy sauce BBQ.

burgj

burga

Fruity Ice-Cream Cake in a Cup.

Ingredients:

-1 conference pear

-1 peach

-15 blackberries

-8 strawberries

-40g mixed currants

-150ml double cream

-50g 85% chocolate

-80g 55% chocolate

Utensils:

-microwaveable bowl and a fork (not to be put in microwave, obviously)

-chopping board and knife

-mixing bowl and blender / food processor

-jelly molds or other freezable cups/pots

Recipe:

1: Crush the 85% chocolate and share between the bases of the containers.

2: Cut up whatever mix of fruit you like and share between the bases of the containers, leaving room for the chocolate ice cream to drip through.

3: Microwave the cream and 55% chocolate together on medium until they form a smooth chocolate paste.

4: Share the paste between the containers, making sure to get it down into the chocolate later and to cover the fruit. Freeze.

5: Blend the remaining fruit into a smoothie-like paste.

6: Once the chocolate ice cream is frozen, add the fruit paste on top and refreeze.

7: To serve, gently warm the container’s sides only, turn it upside down and squeeze or tap until the cake is released. Leave a little to soften for easy eating.

Pear and currant version.

Pear and currant version.

So those were, in my opinion, the best meals we had this week. What was the best meal you had this week? Recipes, anyone? 🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Recipe Corner. 5 Budget-Friendly Healthy Dishes.

Phew! For the first time in my life, I think I can legitimately say I am a busy woman. I shall ignore the fact that having children will absolutely make me revise this statement and, for now, just feel satisfied that housework, tutoring, DIY, cooking, shopping, workouts, writing, reading and sewing makes me busy.

Also, I am currently nibbling on a “Peaches and Cream” tart which is divine and I shall share with you tomorrow, because I’m nice like that. :p

Yum. :D

Yum. 😀

Anyhow, onto the recipes.

I used to run a blog where I would make meals for £1/portion or less. I wound up a bit too busy to plan out every meal, as £1 was a bit restrictive in terms of what I wanted to eat (kcal count, variety, volume, etc), so I eventually gave up. But budget-eating is still very much important to me If anything, that blog showed me how well I could eat for very little, so the principles have been carried-over into my current cooking. Of course, the food isn’t quite as cheap as it used to be, not all the time, but Jon and I eat heartily due to our activity levels, so it wouldn’t be. In fact, that WAS the very reason I had to leave the previous blog. Yet considering he initially wanted to give me £50-60/week (that’s $83-100) for our food and toiletries and that at the moment I’m spending £20-30/week ($33-50) and still providing us with 1800-3500kcal/day, I’d say I still have the magic touch.

So, in the spirit of my old blog, here are five budget-friendly, healthy meals, complete with the cost. The cost is for the total we make and I will include how many portions we get out of it, though someone with a small appetite may get more and a bulking bodybuilder may get less. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how many servings it makes. Besides that, the costs haven’t been translated into any other currency because:

a: My blog’s readership is too varied.

b: The cost of things is too variable even within the UK.

It’s just there to give you an idea of my expenses and how I keep them down. 🙂

These are all things that show up on our table regularly or semi-regularly, are tasty and cheap.

Recipe 1: Lamb’s Liver Curry.

currylambliver

Pros: very quick and easy.

Cons: pre-made sauce or curry mix, not much variety of veg, kids may find lamb’s liver too strong.

Ingredients:

-400-500g/14.1-17.6oz fresh lamb’s liver (Sainsbury’s, reduced: 55p)

-1 large leek (market: 12p)

-1 onion (Sainsbury’s, family bag: 5p)

-100g/3.5oz broccoli (market: 12p)

-25g/0.9oz grass-fed butter (Kerrygold: 20p)

-2tbsp curry powder (Asian store: 5p)

-1tsp smoked paprika (Sainsbury’s: 5p)

-100g/3.5oz rice (Sainsbury’s, basics: 4p)

Total: £1.18. Makes us two portions.

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Wash and slice the vegetables. To include broccoli stalks, slice as thinly as possible.

2: Pan-fry the vegetables in a little of the butter until the onion and leek are limp and translucent, but not caramelizing. Take off the heat briefly.

3: Put the rice on to boil.

4: Slice the liver as desired. Add to the vegetables alongside the seasoning and remainder butter.

5: Return to the heat until the liver is as cooked as you like it.

6: Serve with rice.

Recipe 2: “Hellmince” bolognese.

spagbol

Pros: can make a lot of it, instant winner with all taste buds, not much washing-up, little involvement once the pot’s simmering.

Cons: not as nice if you aren’t eating pasta or rice.

Ingredients:

-8-10 medium carrots (Sainsbury’s, basics: 50p)

-200g/7oz celeriac/swede/squash/beet (variable: let’s say 25p)

-1-2 large onions (Sainsbury’s, family pack: 10p)

-2 courgettes (Sainsbury’s, basics, reduced: 50p)

-900-1000ml/around 30-35floz chopped tomato (Sainsbury’s, basics, one carton, one jar: £1)

-1kg/35oz “hellmince” (Sainsbury’s, basics, frozen: £3.15)

-5tbsp olive oil (Sainsbury’s, reduced: 25p)

-4 crushed garlic cloves (Sainsbury’s, basics: 10p)

-smoked paprika

-salt

-pepper

-mixed herbs

Total: £5.85 discounting herbs and spices. Makes us around 6-8 servings.

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot

Recipe:

1: Wash and dice all the vegetables. Keep the tuber and onion fine and the carrot and courgette chunky. Crush the garlic.

2: Mix them in a pot with the tomato, about one cup of water and the seasoning.

3: Bring to a boil and then turn down. Add the olive-oil. Leave to simmer for 40-50min.

4: Add the mince. Continue simmering for 20min.

5: Serve over pasta or rice, or just as a stew.

We served ours with spelt spaghetti, but I may thicken the sauce a little with rice flour, so it sticks better next time.

Recipe 3: Mixed vegetable chips.

chips

Pros: lots of nutrition, better than your average chip, kids should like.

Cons: not much protein, better as a side or a snack.

Ingredients:

-2 large carrots (Sainsbury’s, basics: 10p)

-1 large parsnip (Sainsbury’s, loose: 20p)

-200g/7oz celeriac (Co-op, reduced: 20p)

-200g/7oz swede (market: 10p)

-rendered lard or tallow (leftover: free)

-salt, pepper, onion powder

Total: 80p, give or take. Makes two or four servings, as it’s usually a side-dish.

Utensils:

-knife and chopping board

-small pot

-baking tray

Recipe:

1: Wash and peel the vegetables.

2: Slice them into evenly sized pieces.

3: Put them in the pot, add water and boil until they’re tender, but not falling apart.

4: Drain them and leave them on paper or in a colander to dry.

5: Once they’re drier, toss them in the fat and seasonings and place them in the baking tray.

6: Set the oven to 180C/355F and cook the chips until they’re browned. This should take around 25-30min. You will need to give them a shake or stir a couple of times.

7: Serve with freshly ground salt on top.

Recipe 4: Bubble and squeak.

Pros: delicious, cheap, good way to use leftovers, kids like it, good as a side or a main.

Cons: none, it’s marvelous.

Ingredients:

-200-300g/7-10.6oz roast or boiled potatoes (leftovers: free)

-leftover cabbage, carrots, onions and any other veg, around 200g (leftovers: free)

-200g/7oz bacon (Sainsbury’s, basics: 38p)

-25g/0.9oz butter (Kerrygold: 15p)

-salt and pepper

Total: 53p extra expense on the leftovers. Two servings.

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan and spatula

Recipe:

1: Chop up the assorted vegetables and mash up the potatoes. Dice the bacon.

2: Warm the butter in the pan. Fry the bacon until the fat is rendered from it.

3: Add the vegetables and cook until the potatoes are browned.

4: Add salt and pepper before serving.

It’s normal for this dish to make squeaking, crackling and popping sounds whilst it cooks.

Recipe 5: Chicken liver curry with rice.

Pros: nutritious, quick to cook, very cheap, good staple.

Cons: it’s still liver and some may disapprove, low calories.

Ingredients:

-250g/8.8oz chicken livers (Sainsbury’s, frozen: 50p)

-1 large onion (Sainsbury’s, family bags: 5p)

-300g/10.6oz mixed veg (Sainsbury’s, basics, frozen: 22p)

-100g/3.5oz rice, cooked (Sainsbury’s, basics: 4p)

-50g/1.8oz butter (Kerrygold: 30p)

-2tbsp curry powder (Asian store: 5p)

Total: £1.16. Two servings.

We sometimes add chopped leftover chicken or bacon to it, as the kcal content is a bit on the low side.

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Mix the butter and spices in the frying pan on a low heat.

2: Slice all the vegetables finely and fry them in butter at a high heat.

3: Finely slice the liver and add it to the mix.

4: Add the rice and some tomato puree or water.

5: Cook until everything is thoroughly curried.

Recipes. WWW and Mince Sauce.

I had it with rice, Dad had it with pasta, I didn’t follow a recipe and I’m not Italian, so it’s a “mince sauce”.

Also, apologies about the lateness of the wok and lack of photos. We were kind of busy, what with me leaving for the South later that day and Jon heading off to work as usual.

First: to prepare a jar of beans.

Ingredients:

-200-300g of dried pulses

-250ml boiling water

-2tbsp salt

-1tsp paprika

Utensils:

-jar

Recipe:

1: Soak the legumes in cold water.

2: Add them to the jar.

3: Make sure the jar is only 1/2-2/3 full of beans.

4: Add the boiling water, salt and paprika. Fill to the brim.

5: Seal the jar as quickly and strongly as possible. Shake.

6: Leave for at least 2 days, at most 1 month.

Recipe 1: Hellmince Stew.

Ingredients:

-750g hellmince

-500-600g potatoes

-3 large carrots

-5 small onions

-1 can/200-300g peas

-1 jar of soaked yellow peas and beans

-800-1000g tomato

-1tsp mustard

-salt

-paprika

-mixed herbs

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot

-stirring spoon

Recipe:

1: Slice the potatoes, carrots and onions.

2: Place the potatoes and legumes in the pot.

3: Cover with water and bring to the boil.

4: Add the tomato, carrots, onion and mince.

5: Stir it all in and make sure it’s covered.

6: Simmer for 20min. Add the herbs and spices.

7: Cook on a very low heat for another 45-65min.

[8: Jon likes to add curry powder to his, but I like mine plain.]

Recipe 2: Mince Sauce for pasta or rice.

Ingredients:

-500g lean mince

-3 medium-large onions

-400g tomato

-1 tin/200g tomato concentrate/paste

-2 small carrots

-6-10 cherry tomatoes

-2 tbsp butter

-1tbsp garlic olive oil

-4 tbsp Italian seasoning

-salt

-pepper

Utensils:

-deep pan

-stirring spoon

Recipe:

1: Finely dice the onion. Pan-fry in butter.

2: When the onion is clear, add the mince, salt and pepper. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add them too.

3: Stir until the mince is browned. Add the Italian seasoning.

4: Chop the carrots, add the carrots and tomatoes.

5: Simmer for 20min.

6: Add some water, the tomato concentrate/puree and the garlic oil.

7: Stir-in well. Simmer for 25min.

8: Serve hot over rice or pasta.

P1000475

P1000477

So there’s the Wonderful Wednesday Wok dinner and the sauce I made for Dad. I will be adding the Wok pudding (spelt-based apple pie) next week, when I have the photos.

Until later, TTFN and happy hunting.