Saturday, 19 September 2009
This is a key word in our household at present. Some financial changes in my income - as in, I now have NONE nor will have until I claim my pension in three year's time - and a couple of hefty unexpected bills have caused a sharp intake of breath and frugality on a level not practiced quite so fanatically in this household for many a long year.
I have remembered that making a dish and then eating it until it is gone is possible, if boring, though remind me not to make quite such a substantial risotto next time, and perhaps less heavy-handed with the cabbage strips too?
I have remembered that home-made stock for soup gets that last mouthful of flavour and goodness from a chicken carcase, and is a habit I had quite gotten out of in the last couple of years. I have some in a jug in the fridge now, just waiting for me to fry off some onion, add various veg - leek, carrots, an ageing parsnip, and some of the recently-made roasted tomato'n'garlic to give depth of flavour. That's a job for this afternoon, although we have a weekend of back-to-back car boot sales and will be off to the 2nd shortly, so I may not be feeling like doing anything vertical by then - my back and hips are complaining after being on my feet all day yesterday. However, since any money made from car boot sales is fairly vital to our cottage economy right now, it's not something we can cry off from.
I must remember more eggs too, as we are getting low and I am doing a lot more baking one more, to "fill up the corners". I had started buying free range from a neighbour of mine, and indeed, can barter jam or whatever with her for her eggs. Unfortunately, several of the last eggs we had from here were not just a bit off, they were BLACK when broken open. OMG, the pong of an egg past its best lingers in the kitchen like a particularly bad f---! So we have been reduced to seeing if the eggs floated before using them, and so as my husband doesn't have a bad shock when he boils an egg for lunch, we have had to pay top dollar for half a dozen FR eggs from the supermarket, though doing so sticks in my craw. £1.45 or more for 6 eggs and then their idea of a large egg seems to be my idea of a pullet's offering . . . Having had our own free range hens in the past, I will not, on principle, buy anything other than free range eggs, even though I doubt very much if the hens producing them have ever seen a blade of grass, since the yolks are a pale insipid yellow and not the deep orangey-yellow of a hen on grass.
Mondays have long been "instant" food, something simple as it is often a busy day and I don't always feel like cooking. It's nice to have one night off a week. Sometimes we have cheese on toast, or just cold meat and chips. Lately we have been buying steak and ale pies from Morrisons, and they are quite palatable, though my friend's chef husband would probably have 40 blue fits rather than eat one! They fill a hole though, and in fact, we had them for supper last night after a long day at the car boot sale. Home-made oven chips (spuds had been peeled breakfast time on Friday) and some beans from the garden hit the spot as accompaniments.
There are no shortage of apples for pies at present, even though the trees are in a resting year (I hope it's that and not the extreme shortage of bees around here this year), and I have been picking blackberries to freeze. The freezers (we have 2, plus the top half of our 1/3 - 2/3 fridge freezer) are chocca block now, so time to start emptying them before the next lamb is due in December. I always keep a good store-cupboard, so now is the time to fall back on it, though I will still have to keep things ticking-over in the re-stocking it department. The proportion of what we buy in Lidl has been gradually rising all summer. I've never been a brand-name shopper anyway. The fruit and veg place at Abergwili has seen the colour of my money and whenever we are going past I check in there to see what has been reduced to £1 a box and I can use in some way. Hence the full freezer, which has seen its fair share of cherries, apricots, plums, greengages etc in recent weeks.
Well, breakfast calls and hopefully we will come home with less belongings and more money later on . . .