Frugal February- Spicy Sausages and Polenta

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I was really pleased with how these turned out. We have had a packet of polenta sitting in our larder for months, and I had never really registered that it was there…simply because I have never before cooked with polenta and very rarely eat it. This ended up being  a delicious, simple supper. Perfect for a cold wintry Sunday evening.

From the larder

One packet of polenta or cornmeal

I jar of spicy tomato pasta sauce

From the freezer

1 packet (6-8) vegetarian sausages or other sausages of choice

From other parts of the kitchen

Butter-lots

freshly diced bell pepper

1medium sliced onion

1 stick celery sliced

Score

10/10

I placed the diced vegetables in an oven prof dish then laid the sausages on top of them. I poured in the jarred sauce then cooked at 200 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes.

I then cooked the polenta according to the packet instructions…. about 1part polenta to 3parts water and simmered until tender. I used quite a bit of salt and a good knob of butter right at the end which lifted the taste considerably. When the polenta was at the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes it was ready.

Dinner is served!

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Frugal February – Kidney Bean Chilli

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Once or twice a year I survey our groaning larder and  then our diminishing bank account and have a complete shit fit. Husband-Gusto likes to buy in bulk. I like to buy for the next day or so. The result, inevitably, as I insist on doing most of the cooking, is that we have thousands of tins, pulses, pasta and frozen food- most of which is nearing a use-by date. For a few days I impose a household ban on food shopping and try and cook my way through our store cupboard.

Hence, Frugal February. Granted, considering we have things like caviar and marinated artichokes in our larder, the term ‘frugal’ is a stretch, but I am determined that until our stores are depleted I am going to cook from what we have.

Today, at H-G’s request we had red kidney bean chilli. It was a pretty simple concoction of onions, garlic, red kidney beans, tinned sweetcorn given a bit of spice with diced fresh hot chilli.

From the larder.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tin red kidney beans

1 tub passata

1 tin sweetcorn

6 squares dark chocolate

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup rice

Fresh food

1 diced onion (medium)

1 sliced chilli pepper

1 sliced red bell pepper

parsley

Method

Chop and chuck.

Chop all items that need to be chopped. Chuck all chopped items and fresh diced vegetables into olive oil. Add passata and water to cover. Simmer for as long as you wish.

Serve with rice.

Score

7/10.

 

 

 

 

Fridge Freezer February- Bacon

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I have never been so unwell so often since Baby-Gusto arrived. Every single minor bug or sniffle that enters into his orbit attaches itself to him and comes home for a sleepover. So, yesterday I came down hard with my 4th cold since Christmas. Poor old B-G is also unwell, and so we have spent the bulk of the day cuddled up on the sofa, sniffling, coughing, and drinking chocolate milk while watching CBeebies. (And Real Housewives of Beverley Hills).

Despite my best intentions and thoughts of a decent roast chicken, the only thing I can stomach is soup. And so, it has to be bacon, and sweetcorn chowder.

Ingredients

4 slices bacon, diced

1 large onion finely diced

3 large potatoes diced into smallish chunks

1 veg stock pot jelly knorr thing (I am on a mission to be their ambassador so will mention them at every possibility)

2 litres hot water

2 cans sweetcorn

1 pint milk or half pint cream. (I prefer milk as cream is too creamy)

1 large tablespoon dried tarragon.

salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onion and bacon in olive oil. Add everything else except for milk/cream. Cook until potatoes tender but not mush. Take out a bowl-full and blend then add back to soup (makes it thick and yum).

If you want this soup to keep or freeze then it is better to leave the milk or cream out until re-heating the individual bowls. Then when ready, heat up, add milk/cream and enjoy!

This was nourishing and comforting. Perfect for a cold day when we were filled with cold.

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Fridge Freezer February – Spinach

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Green Soup.

It’s soup. It’s green.

2 medium onions diced

2 litres vegetable stock

1/2 bag of frozen spinach

1 courgette chopped

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Sautee the onions, add water, stock, spinach and courgette. Cook until tender, blend, add nutmeg. This benefits from sitting for several hours to develop. 

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I love love love these Knorr jelly stock pots. When they were first advertised I scoffed at them and opined that Knorr were just selling little blocks of jelly for large prices. It is true these are not cheap- our Co-op sells them for £1 per pack of four, but they taste so close to homemade stock and are alot better than the dehydrated cubes. I am a convert.P1070111

Fridge Freezer February- Prawns

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Potted Shrimp

2 oz butter

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

100 gm prawns… cut into small pieces

salt and pepper

Melt the butter, add prawns, cayenne and nutmeg and stir until all covered with butter. Pop into ramekins, top with remaining melted butter and chill.

Serve with toast or bread and a squeeze of lemon.

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I am not so sure about this. I could almost feel my arteries harden with each mouthful. It was tasty, and will develop nicely in the fridge though. I am a big fan of fish terrines and pates however so next time I will use less butter and add cream cheese and lemon. It will be less traditional, but very tasty.

Fridge Freezer February- Seafood Selection

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This is one of my favourite meals from childhood. My mother cooked the seafood mix either curried and over rice, or as stuffed pancakes. I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that the recipe probably originally came from a cookbook dating from the 1970’s.

This is really simple. Sautee half a finely diced onion (and celery if you have it) until soft. Then make a simple white sauce and add a tablespoon of mild curry powder. Don’t worry if adding the powder makes the sauce lumpy- that is what sieves were invented for.

Turn the sauce off the heat and add frozen seafood and leave.

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The seafood will defrost slowly. Then when ready to cook, heat, and serve over rice.

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I really love this dish. Pure comfort food from home.

Fridge Freezer February – Minced Beef

We have two freezers… a little one that is stuffed full with- I don’t know what (can’t open the drawers) – and a much bigger one that is also stuffed so full that everytime I open it I have to have my hands ready to push comestibles back in.

We have had enough of that big freezer and want to consign it to the garage where it will no longer take up too much room. So, I have designated February as Fridge Freezer February. My mission is to eat out of the freezer until there is simply nothing left. Originally, these posts were going to be named ‘Frugal February’ but considering that we have inordinate amounts of smoked salmon in said freezer, it seemed that ‘frugal’ it was not.

So today- Frozen minced beef. In a lack of inspiration it simply had to be spagetti bolognese.

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