Cheat’s Beef Stroganoff

Easy beef stoganoff. Pictures by Baby- Gusto again (although the novelty of taking pictures is wearing off for him).

Slice a whole onion thinly and sautee in olive oil and a knob of butter.

thinly slice some steak. One p;iece of steak was ample for the two of us (Husband-Gusto was eating leftover spinach curry).

Add a big tablespoon of cream cheese. Beef stroganoff is of course usually made with sour cream or cream, but I really love using cream cheese for sauces. It tends to thicken them really rather well.

Simmer. I also added stragetic amounts of hot water at regular intervals to loosen up the sauce and make it – well- saucy. Of course beef stroganoff should have mushrooms or peppers in it but honestly sometimes I just want to cook what is in the fridge and Not Go Outside the front door. Today was one of those days.

Serve with rice and broccoli!

Loaded potato skins

This was actually meant to be a tuna pasta salad.

I know. (It isn’t)

I came merrily home late Thursday. I was feeling rather smug in the knowledge that we were going to eat out of the larder and would not be purchasing A Single Thing (Frugal February is in full swing again) that day for dinner. I had tinned tuna. I had mayonnaise. I had sweet corn. I had green olives. I was going to make an epic tuna and sweetcorn pasta and I was REALLY looking forward to it.

What I did NOT have, was pasta.

It is hard to convey just how deeply shocking that last sentence is. (I mis-typed that word as ‘shicking’. It was also shicking. Deeply shicking.) As I have mentioned before, Husband-Gusto likes to buy in bulk. Serious, deep and committed bulk. The 15 kilo sacks of rice and 27 tins of smoked oysters kind of bulk. We always have pasta. We have SO much pasta that some time ago I banned Husband-G from buying MORE pasta. It never occurred to me that he would actually listen to me, and … well… cease….buying pasta.

A conversation was had. H-G gave me a short lecture about the joys of keeping the grocery list up to date. I was just so astounded that in the 16 years we have been together that this is quite literally the first time ever we have not had any pasta in the house (a half pack of tagliatelle does not count, sorry).  I briefly gave thought to making a rice salad, then abandoned this idea as just too off-putting for words. Thankfully we had baking potatos. And cheese. And ham. And  the afore-mentioned sweetcorn.

So we had loaded potato skins. I bake the potatos in the microwave, and because I like alot of potato I also cook sliced potato on the hob to mash. Mix with the innards of the baked potato, mix with grated cheese, tinned sweetcorn and sliced ham. Lots of butter and little bit of salt. Then put back in the oven and brown and bubble. Served with garlic bread. It would have been great with ribs or wings. But, you know… that updated grocery list….

The pasta salad is a thought for another day. The tinned tuna is back in the larder (along with all the other tins of tuna). The mayonnaise is in the fridge (ditto). Not the dinner I was expecting, but okay none-the-less.

Turkey meatball pasta

The turkey pasties the other day were great. And they made perfect leftover turkey meatballs. I just added breadcrumbs to stiffen the mixture up a bit, rolled them into balls and browned them. Then added jarred pasta sauce, cooked through and served over pasta. Lovely. And with leftovers the next day. A perfect lunch.

It was so simple and easy that at the same time I whipped up a quick coq au riesling that was destined for the next night’s supper. So lovely to come home on a cold Tuesday night knowing you have a luxury dish ready and waiting to be heated up.


It is an ongoing joke (for some decades) in my family that I hate pasties. Hate them. Hate.

This morning I was on the phone to my parents (who are in a totally different timezone and had already eaten dinner) and i asked then ‘what did you have for dinner? I need inspiring so I promise to have whatever you had’. My dad just laughted and said ‘Pasties!’. At which point I promptly changed my mind.

Later in the day I thought that – actually- turkey mince pasties might be fun. This, added to the fact we had pastry in our local friendly freezer and turkey mince in our lcal friendly Aldi meant that pasties were a go.

Baby-G was given the task of taking the photos. He took 22 photos and I will not post all of them here. Some included the ceiling and for some reason the hallway window.

I started with grating one carrot. Baby-G calls these ‘lined carrots’. Makes sense.

Grating potato (with the rest of our Aldi shopping in the background)

Grated carrots, potatoes and half an onion

Add turkey mince

Cracking an egg

Action shot!

Cutting the pastry into thirds

Two pasties ready for the oven


pastry parcel layered with fresh tomato for Husband-G

Carpeted with dried basil


and cheese….

Pasty and broccoli

This was very good. Baby-G ate his, whcih is always a bit of a win. I have loads of turkey mince left over so turkey meatballs are on the agenda on Monday.

I still am not a massive fan of pasties. But this hit the spot for today.


Mizzly Sunday on the Isle of Wight

We decided to go for a short tour to Ventnor, on the southern side of the Island to check out the shops and have lunch. But Sundays are quiet in this small seaside town in winter and hardly anything was open, so we wandered around for a bit.

We had coffee and hot chocolate.

Then we drove along the Miltary road towards Freshwater Bay stopping off at the Isle of Wight Pearl cafe for lunch

Then home out of the cold and the drizzle for a glorious afternoon of preapring for the school and working week ahead.


Happy New Year

Early New Year’s Lunch at our beloved Coast.

Prosecco for me.

Virgin Mary for H-G

Vegan pizza

Fish goujons with chips for B-G (who ate the lot, unusually, as he is a very small eater)

Sea bream with spinach

Self indulgent purchase of a Thornback and Peel tea-bag tray. I absolutely adore their homewares and designs.

Our neighbour’s cat who is staying over for a while.


The Duck

The Office Christmas ‘Do’. We went for the second year running to The Duck which is down by the beach at Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. It was sublime. Terrific atmonsphere and great service and wonderful and inventive food. I cannot recommend it more highly and will definitely be returning soon with the Family Gustis.

The dish above was plaice with a cream and pink peppercorn sauce.

My starter of smoked fish pate with homemade bread. A hint of horseradish and lovely chunks of delicate fish.

There is a full range of both cocktails and mocktails for the non-drinkers among us. This was the Superstar martini mocktail with a shot of lemonade. It is nice to have decent proper options as a non-drinker!!

Plus a full range of beers (and a weeping candle)

Signature dish Duck Duck Mash. Glorious tender duck with mashed potaoes that had even more duck mixed through it. Colleagues who tried this were in raptures.

Now THAT is a burger!

Vegan chilli. Laden with vegetables and home amde guacamole.

The puddings are epic. Even a non-pudding eater like myself was tempted! This was the lemon posset with soft-poached meringue. Incredible.

Trio of Christmas puddings- cfreme brule, Christmas pudding pot and rum and raison icecream.

We shall definitely be back.