What is Operation Jam Jar?
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
So often you might think there is not enough food in the house to make dinner. It’s time to get creative! You don’t always need meat to make a meal. Actually, a great way to be a bit thrifty and save money is to reduce the amount of meat that you eat each week. There are loads of tasty vegetarian recipes but one that I use regularly is for lentil burgers – for some reason I always have a random can of lentils in the pantry. These freeze well too and are great for a last minute dinner. I usually make them as a burger but you could always just serve them with a side salad or some rice.
1 tin of red lentils
1 onion sliced finely
1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Lettuce, beetroot and tomato
1 tbsp sweet chilli
3 tbsp parsley, basil or mint (if you don’t have this, don’t worry)
Oil for the pan
1. Place the lentils in a saucepan with a cup of water, the onion and ginger. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 mins. Set aside to cool (I usually put it in the freezer for a while).
2. Combine the breadcrumbs and egg in a food processor (or just mix with a fork). Add this to the cooled lentil mix and stir together with a wooden spoon. Wet your hands and form the mix into 4 large patties or 6 medium ones
3. Heat the oil on the pan and cook the patties over a medium heat for about 4 mins each side, or until golden brown. They may fall apart a little but will still taste good
4. Toast the buns. Mix the herbs, sweet chilli and the yoghurt to use as a sauce. Place the patty and the salad onto the bun, and finish with the yoghurt sauce.
A good habit to get into is to put your stale bread in a food processor, then freeze for when you need breadcrumbs. I just started doing this recently, as I was always using my fresh bread, which seems like a waste.
I would love to hear about any of your pantry meals that you've made lately!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
If you are already trying to be thrifty you probably know my mate mince. He is so good for so many things. I am just writing today to big up the humble mince, which for some people is just for Spaghetti Bolognese. Not so! There are so many great ways to turn mince into a great meal. If you are health conscious you can also get really nice diet or premium mince which has a lot less fat than traditional mince.
My top 3 mince meals:
Now most of you probably know how to make lasagna and meatballs. But Bobotie, I hear you ask, what is it? Pronounced ba-boor-tea, it’s a South African mince dish that my mother in law has been cooking for years.
Now don’t freak out when you read the ingredients. Yes there’s some sultanas. Yes you put a custard like mixture on top with some banana. Yes you have to mush up some bread in milk. But it’s delish! Trust me.
I was explaining the recipe to one of my friends the other day and she said it sounded like the episode of Friends where Rachel’s recipe for English Trifle gets muddled up with a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. But seriously, stick with me and you will get a sweet and savoury mince that is totally moorish.
1 large onion, chopped
500g minced beef
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp apricot jam or chutney or relish (whatever is in the fridge)
1 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp sultanas
1 apple, chopped
1 squeeze of lemon juice (if you have it)
2 slices of bread soaked in milk and crumbled
4 bay leaves
3 Large eggs
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions until soft. Set aside.
Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and fry the mince, without oil, until golden brown.
Remove from the heat, add the onions, spices, herbs, bread, sauce, sultanas, apple, and jam. Mix well and put into a medium sized ovenproof dish. Press the mixture down with the back of a spoon.
Beat the milk and eggs together lightly and pour over the mince mixture. Thinly slice the banana and place on top of the mixture, along with the coconut and the bay leaves. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until the topping has set and is golden brown.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
If you feel like getting a bit of kitchen-cred from your family / friends / workmates / strangers on the bus, what better way than to bake a cake?
There are loads of top cakes that you can try. One that I love is the River Cottage Pear & Almond cake (check out the recipe on the River Cottage website http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/chefs/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall/pear-and-almond-pudding-cake-recipe_p_1.html). When I made this for the first time my husband said “This is the best cake you have ever, or will ever make”. Not sure if that is a compliment or not? Either way, tasty.
My favourite cake at the moment is Daisy’s Carrot Cake. This recipe is from a little café in NZ where my sister in law Daisy worked. Aside from taking orders, making coffee and serving the food, she was also put in charge of baking all of the cakes & biscuits for the café. Luckily she made sure to pinch this recipe before she left. It is so so good, totally moist and delicious. I also love that you just mix everything together in a bowl. And most likely after you make it once you will have all the ingredients in the cupboard for next time. Well, except walnuts. Who ever has walnuts in the cupboard?
¾ cup self raising flour
¾ cup wholemeal plain flour
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup walnuts
2 cups grated carrot
1 tbsp coconut
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
Put all of the ingredients into a big bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed together.
Cook at 150 degrees in the middle of the oven for about 60 mins. Check it now and see how it looks, it most likely will need around 90 mins in total depending on your oven.
Place a tray underneath to catch any leaks (the oil can drip a little bit but don’t worry it will still be fine)
It’s ready when you can stick a skewer in it and pull it out clean
Once it’s completely cooled, make the icing:
60g cream cheese
1 ½ cups icing sugar
Beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric hand beater until light and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Top with crushed leftover walnuts if you have any.
Try to make the time to bake a cake next weekend - and be prepared to be showered with love & affection!