How To… assemble the compenents of a good stew.

Repost from a while back. ^^

Stew is awesome for you.

Think about it: it’s a combination of anything you want or need (fruits, tubers, meats, legumes, grains, fish, nuts, seeds, leaves, roots…), all cooked until perfectly digestible. If you want to preserve certain heat-unstable vitamins, then you can just add an ingredient at the end, when your bowl is cooled and ready to eat. The only utensils you need are a chopping board, a few knives, a pot, a stirring spoon and a ladle for serving; all of which clean easily because of the amount of moisture in a stew. You keep all of the nutrients that are lost in boiling and throwing the water away. You keep all of the fat that is lost in roasting or frying something. Chances of getting charcoal in it are very low, which reduces potential carcinogens. It is full of fluid for hydration. It can be recycled into soups, pies and curries. A stew is absolute nutritional and gustatory perfection, specifically because it’s so adaptable. You can make a Paleo stew or a legume-based stew or a fish stew or a vegetarian stew or a four-meat stew or a vegan stew or a boiled stew or a soaked stew… You can make it however you want or need and season it perfectly to taste. It is warming like a soup and hearty like a roast dinner.

It’s also amazingly good for you. But Jamie Lewis has already gone into this in far greater depth than anyone else; so, provided you’re not easily offended and/or can block images on your computer, read on: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Being the way I am, I’d also like to go into how economical stews, curries and the likes can be, as well as how easy they are to make. So, without further ado, here are some stews (new and from my old blog) that are cheap to make and good for you. Every one of these was basically made by hacking the ingredients up and putting them in a pot on a low-to-medium heat for a few hours. They are also hatchet stews: stews made with whatever we had lying around or needed to use up. So, whilst they’re all amazing and worth making, think of this more as an example of how cheaply and easily you can make an amazing stew with anything you have in the house.

Stew 1: Lamb and chicken stew.

  • Ingredients: 800g lamb chump chops, 6 chicken drumsticks, 5 chicken thighs, 800g chopped tomato, 700g potato, 2 large carrots, Italian herb mix, salt, pepper.
  • Servings: 9.
  • Cost per serving: 91p.
  • Nutrition per serving: 743kcal, 47g fat, 59g protein, 21g carbs.

Stew 2: Chicken liver curry.

  • Ingredients: 800g chicken livers, 300g rice, 400g peas, 200g mixed veg, 400g chopped tomato, (300g butter), tahina, paprika, anis, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, salt.
  • Servings: 6.
  • Cost per serving: 42p without butter, 62p with butter.
  • Nutrition per serving: Without butter: 375kcal, 7g fat, 28g protein, 50g carbs. With butter: 744kcal, 48g fat, 28g protein, 50g carbs.

Stew 3: Ox heart stew.

  • Ingredients: 300g ox heart, 10 mushrooms, 3 carrots, 1 onion, 300g chopped tomatoes, 75g butter, thyme, rosemary, basil, garlic.
  • Servings: 1.
  • Cost per serving: £2.14.
  • Nutrition per serving: 1093kcal, 73g fat, 64g protein, 45g carbs.

Stew 4: Sweet chicken stew.

  • Ingredients: 2 chicken quarters, 4 stalks of celery, 24 dates, 100g raisins, 100g butter, 600g potato, peppercorns, salt, cloves, thyme.
  • Servings: 2 without rice or butter, 4 with 100g rice and 50g butter.
  • Cost per serving:£1.07 without rice and added butter, 78p with.
  • Nutrition per serving: Without rice and butter: 1601kcal, 69g fat, 66g protein, 179g carbs. With rice and extra butter: 1484kcal, 76g fat, 35g protein, 165g carbs.

Bake in the oven near the end to brown the tops of the chicken quarters..

So not only are stews good for you and easy to make, but they’re probably one of the most economical dinners out there, regardless of whether you’re looking for pure value, value-fullness or value-calories.


For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

We Found Venison and Wild Boar Salami In Aldi.

And here are two things we made with them!

Venison Salami and Eggs in Red Wine.


(Made 6 portions.)

  • 300g venison salami
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 200g carrrots
  • 200g cabbage
  • 200ml red wine
  • smoked paprika, soy sauce, pepper to taste
  • 15 eggs
  • butter for frying


  • chopping board and knife
  • 2 frying pans


  1. Wash and shred the vegetables.
  2. Chop down the salami.
  3. Place all in the pan on a medium to low heat with a little butter and fry until soft.
  4. Season and add the red wine.
  5. Bring to a boil, turn down. Leave to simmer.
  6. Use a bit of butter to scramble the eggs.
  7. Once both pans are cooked through, mix the contents together on a low heat.

Wild Boar Salami and Pork Belly Stew on Pasta.


(Makes 4 servings.)

  • 400g meaty pork belly
  • 100g wild boar salami
  • 200g swede
  • 200g carrots
  • 200g onions
  • 200g parsnips
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2tbsp chopped basil
  • 2 large broad leaf sage leaves
  • black pepper, rock salt, smoked paprika, cloves to taste
  • 200g dried pasta


  • chopping board and knife
  • 2 pots


  1. Chop the vegetables, pork belly and salami into equally sized cubes, or thin rings for parsnips and carrots.
  2. Just cover with warm water with the seasonings and bring to a boil. Keep on a medium heat until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is reduced.
  3. Cook the pasta once the sauce is ready.
  4. Serve the stew over the pasta with a sprinkling of cheese.

And that is what we have done so far with our wild salami!

Any ideas what do do next?


For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Eating all the pig!

Because yum!

I am still blending vegetables to create sauces and am considering writing a short recipe booklet on blended vegetable bases for pasta, rice and dipping sauces. Who wants? 😀


  • 400g pork and beef mince
  • 300g chorizo
  • 3 pork sausages or 200g bacon
  • 150g black pudding (optional)
  • 300g dried turtle beans
  • 500g carrots
  • 500g parsnips
  • 1 aubergine
  • 100-300g assorted vegetable scraps and end bits
  • garlic, salt and pepper to taste


  • pot for soaking
  • chopping board and knife
  • large pot
  • blender or food processor


  1. Soak the turtle beans in hot water. Rinse and put on to boil in fresh water until soft.
  2. Chop the vegetables and boil them until tender. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Blend the vegetables in the water until smooth. Season.
  4. Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces and add it all to the vegetables.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer until thoroughly cooked.
  6. Serve with beans stirred in or on the side.

I’m loving blending all these vegetables into our weekly sauces. This one looks like there isn’t a veggie in sight, tastes awesome and yet hides a few less favoured vegetables, like aubergine and cabbage. Chances are I will go back to regular stews soon enough, but I’m going properly crazy with this, trying all sorts of combinations. Got any suggestions for a blended vegetable sauce?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!


For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Blending vegetables into sauce like a sneaky little witch…

Well, Jon does call my cooking “Slavic witchcraft”, after all!

As an experiment to add some variety to our stews and sauces, I have begun using actual vegetables as the seasoning. And here is the result of one of my recipes. This one actually needed no salt, no sugar and no herbs or spices! Well, I did actually use some garlic, but nobody is perfect…


  • 1kg tomato passata or chopped tomatoes
  • 600g soured cream
  • 500g beetroot
  • 500g carrots
  • 300g sweet potato
  • 300g mushrooms
  • 200g cabbage
  • 500g mince
  • 200g chorizo
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1tbsp minced, pureed or diced garlic


  • chopping board and knife
  • large stew pot
  • blender


  1. Wash the vegetables.
  2. Peel and chop the beet, carrots and sweet potato.
  3. Chop the cabbage and mushrooms.
  4. Combine the chopped vegetables, tomatoes, soured cream, wine and garlic in the pot.
  5. Add water whilst stirring until everything is covered.
  6. Boil until the vegetables are soft. Take from the heat.
  7. Blend everything when cool enough. Do not melt your blender like an idiot (me) would.
  8. Add the mince and chorizo.
  9. Simmer until the meat is cooked and the flavours melt together.
  10. Serve over beans, rice or pasta.

The depths of flavour, the saltiness, the spiciness, the meatiness and the sweetness of this dish are undeniable. Yet without using any added salt, any chili peppers, any brines or rubs or any sugars to bring the flavours out! All this taste can be achieved through the magic of stewing and blending.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!


For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Ugly Turkey Stew.

It’s ugly. The stew, not the turkey. Turkey mince is ugly and tomato based stew is ugly and cabbage is ugly. But it’s delicious and it’s high protein and low carb, so no complaints. Well, at least not since I managed to get Jon to put on surplus fat with a bulking diet (I knew he wasn’t an alien!) and he wants to lose it.

So here’s our current staple, with herbs and spices as needed.


  • 500g minced turkey
  • 800g chopped or pureed tomatoes
  • 400g cabbage
  • 400g peppers, aubergine and courgette
  • 2 large onions
  • 100ml chili sauce (10% chili, so around 10ml concentrate or paste)
  • 10 large leaves of sage
  • 1tbsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • chopping board and knife
  • pot and wooden spoon


  1. Rinse and chop the vegetables very finely.
  2. Tear the sage leaves.
  3. Mix the tomato, chili, paprika, sage, salt and pepper together and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the vegetables and turkey mince.
  5. Keep simmering until everything is cooked through.
  6. Serve up with baked garlic, jalapeno sauce, mustard or all three.

Not very pretty, so no pictures, but it’s yummy, warming, filling and low carb, so it wins all round.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How To… use eggshells, banana peels, etc.

This is part of my Nutritional Health Series. Just check the tag for the other posts!

Oftentimes we throw away the outer shell of a food because we can’t think of what to do with it. But many peels and shells, especially from organic, local foods, are clean, healthy and rich in nutrients. The issue is: what do we do with them?

The different types of waste we have are…

  • Hard mineral shells. Like the shells from eggs or shellfish. Rich in minerals like calcium, selenium and zinc. Soak in water or lemon juice for 24h. Discard any shell that remains, keep the water.
  • Peels. From fruits or vegetables. Have many vitamins and antioxidants. Wash and chop.
  • Kernels and seeds. From fruits. Rich in minerals and healthy fats. De-shell, wash and roast lightly. Always check online as some seeds are poisonous.
  • Soft bits and ugly plants. From fruits and vegetables. Same nutrients as the rest of the plant. Process normally.
  • Bones and gristle. From meat. High in collagen, healthy fats, minerals and protein. Steep and then boil in water until the bone is clean and the gristle melts and is soft.

And all these types of waste can be repurposed. You just need to know how to do it.

1: Stew and broths.

Bone broths and vegetable broths can be easily made by boiling leftover trimmings from animals and plants. At the end you can either blend the remainder in to make a nice soup, strain and keep the broth or strain and use it as a basis for a stew.

2: Smoothies.

Ugly fruits and vegetables, seeds, vegetable trimmings and peels can all be blended into your morning smoothie. Cucumber peel, unwaxed lemon peel and melon rinds and seeds go lovely in a banana and melon smoothie.

3: Dirty water.

You can always use water from eggshells or seafood shells, soaked seeds or blended plants as a basis for some nourishing, rehydrating “dirty water”.

4: Pasta sauce.

Ugly vegetables, peels and trimmings can be boiled and then blended into a tomato base to make a pasta sauce.

5: Chutneys and jams.

Most peels, rinds and bruised or ugly fruits and vegetables can be easily made into a jam or chutney by just boiling with sugar and/or salt and vinegar.

And that’s how to sneak some of the less pretty looking leftovers from cooking into your meals. After all, they are often packed with nutrients, so why not?

What nutrient dense “kitchen waste” do you enjoy?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Belated WWW.

Sorry it’s so late. Just getting back into the swing of things and working around a new puppy, improved nutrition for when we’re TTC (around February or March, wish us luck!), new students and loads of writing, I’ve not had much time for recipes or fitness posts.

However I have completed my Beginner Homemaker book and got the timetable mostly in order, so regular recipe and fitness updates can return.

Recipe 1: My best pie crust.

Between a music festival and lots of jam to get through before berry season, I’ve been making many pies and I think I have worked out my best crust recipe yet.


Makes enough for over one pie, so freeze or make snacks with the rest.

-2 cups plain flour

-3 eggs

-150g butter

-5tbsp sugar

-1tsp salt


-mixing bowl



1: Mash the eggs, salt and flour together.

2: Fold in the butter and sugar.

3: Knead until uniformly yellow. Fold in half, stretch and fold again at least 10 times.

4: Place in the fridge.

5: Bring to room temperature before halving the dough. When you roll it, roll it out nice and flat.

Recipe 2: Chicken pan stew.

Another new staple, can be mixed up with different seasonings but really makes for a wholesome and tasty dish on its own.


Serves 4-6.

-6 deboned chicken thighs

-200g bacon

-2 onions

-2 carrots

-400g pureed tomato

-400g presoaked lentils

-400-800g presoaked butter or cannellini beans


-chopping board and knife

-frying pan


1: Chop the carrots and onions finely.

2: Place in a pan with tomato and lentils and bring to a boil.

3: Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and add the chicken and beans. Let both rest on top.

4: Turn the chicken once cooked on one side.

5: Once both sides of chicken are cooked, lightly salt and pepper.