Thursday, June 21, 2012

Money Saving Challenge 2

Week One of my Money Saving Challenge and I overspent by $25. I'm not too disappointed because I entertained twice on the weekend, with one night being a Family Curry Night for 10 people.

This week I've spent a total of $74.79 on food so far. That included a Pantry Pack of plain flour and some casserole beef that was on special.
Not bad, though there're a few pantry items that need replacing such as mixed fruit, brown sugar and sultanas. Today was a big baking day - three lots of biscuits and two cakes.

I've been making sure that I remember what's in the fridge and use everything up rather than finding something weeks later shoved to the back and growing fur.

There was some left over Mussaman Beef Curry from the Curry Night that was turned into Curried Beef Pies today for lunch.
A piece of pumpkin looked a little sad, so that was steamed in the Thermomix a couple of days ago and turned into Pumpkin & Ginger Cake and Pumpkin Fruit Cake today.  I substitute 100g of sherry for part of the water in the Fruit Cake Recipe.

The beef on special was semi frozen then minced to make a Potato Pie for tea tonight. Minestrone Soup for lunch tomorrow with Frozen Chicken Stock and Roast Lamb for tea tomorrow night. I'll be making ice cream over the weekend and some bread. I have some delicious fig syrup left after glacéing figs in summer, so that can be drizzled over ice cream for a quick dessert.

My sister has given me some citrus fruit so I'll be making some marmalade next week which means I'll have to add sugar to my shopping list...

Yours in frugalness,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Money Saving Challenge

A challenge has been put out by a member of the Forum Thermomix to only spend $100 or less a week on groceries. When I look at my grocery bill, I'm flabbergasted at how much I spend sometimes.
Often, it won't be very much as I tend to shop around the outside of a supermarket - fresh fruit and vegies, dairy, meat, but because I buy in bulk my bill can blow out at times. I'm also a sucker for specials and can't resist potato chips and chocolate...

Readers may remember that my sister and I undertook and Freezer and Pantry Challenge some time ago. We vowed to use everything in our pantries and freezers and not to shop unless absolutely necessary. We did this for a month and it certainly did save us both some money.

But, I still had to re-stock my pantry as I can't cope with not having everything I need at my fingertips when I decide I'm going to cook! We have such a wide variety of meals inspired by foods from all over the world that I simply must have all the spices, flours, nuts, seeds and dried fruits to be able to make these.

The freezer is another story. I've recently started freezing meals in vacuum pack bags so that they're flat in the freezer. Instructions (for Snaggers) are written in texta on the bag for re-heating in the microwave. The trouble is, there's not a lot of space in my freezer for these as it's full of stuff! Bags of frozen fruit, cakes, home made pies, anyone would think I'm preparing for a famine.

So, starting tomorrow, I will attempt to spend under $600 a month on food. Some may still think this is a little high, but I do prepare meals for my FIL (Father-In-Law) and occasionally for my DD (Dear Daughter) and her fiancée. Often, DS Number Two will be home for a meal or two as well.

I'm planning a bulk buy of meat on Tuesday, so will blow the first week's budget, but it should even out in the end.

Anyone keen to join the challenge? Allow $50 per week per person and don't include personal items, alcohol (Thank goodness!) or pet food.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Not something that you think of making yourself when they're so easy to buy.

The recipe can be found here on the Forum Thermomix and has been included in Dani Valent's In The Mix cookbook.

You need to start the night before making the batter. Once it has proved (about an hour), it can happily sit in the fridge for two days, if necessary. Why two days? Normally, one would cook the crumpets the following morning, but just as I was about to pour the batter into the egg rings, I had a call from nearest and dearest to head out to the paddock.

We all know what that means, could be ten minutes, could be two hours. So, back in the fridge the batter went.
It was fine the next morning and crumpets were delicious.

I honestly wouldn't bother making them again as it's much easier to buy them, but it's nice to know that I can make them if I want to.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Accident with Quince Paste

This week my sister came to visit to make Quince Paste in the Thermomix. She normally makes her Quince Paste on top of the tile fire and cooks it for seven hours, stirring regularly. The colour is a deep ruby red. Once she saw how I'd made it in the Thermomix in an hour and a half, she just had to try it!
The quinces were from her tree and since there were so many we made one lot while she was here and then I made a second lot after she'd left.

The only thing that I've found about Quince Paste made in the Thermomix is it doesn't have that gorgeous rich red colour. It's more of an orange, but does go a bit darker after it's stored for a while. The texture is probably better than that made on the stove and it's so much easier!

During the second lot of cooking, I was called out to help shift paddocks for an hour. The Quince Paste still had over eight minutes to go, but I turned it off and dutifully piloted the tractor.

I wasn't sure what I was going to face on my return, so imagine my surprise when I opened the lid to discover a deep ruby red paste! I gave it a further 10 minutes, but it probably didn't really need it. It had slow cooked in the Thermomix in that hour as the temperature was still at 80 after that time due to the large quantity of paste holding the heat in.

So, if you like your Thermomix Quince Paste to be a wonderful deep ruby colour, turn it off after 40 minutes or so and leave in the bowl for an hour.

Here's the comparison. The first batch is on the left.