Best great budget recipes for 50% or less: Cottage Smallholder 2009 Challenge January reviewPosted by Fiona Nevile in Save Money | 10 comments
So how did we do?
This is quite a tough challenge as it involves buying ingredients for 50% or less or being given food. Luckily D is honing his hunting skills at the Tesco condemned food counter and I am happy to try any transform these ingredients into something tasty. Or bung them in the freezer until we have enough to make a meal.
When I go shopping my trolley whizzes to the CFC in Tesco before I venture anywhere else. In the other supermarkets my eyes are now trained to spot the small red labels that indicate marked down prices.
This evening Danny brought home fresh herbs. So I decided to make soup for tomorrow’s lunch. We have two bags of potatoes knocked down to 40p for 2.5 kilos and a normal price leek. So it will be winter leek and potato soup chunky rather than the pureed cold version (vichychoisse). It will come in at well under 50% cost per portion. So it counts as a challenge dish. You would have to be very lucky to find all the ingredients for a dish discounted.
We have eaten very well this month and our monthly outgoings for food are steadily decreasing. We are having more fun with our cooking too. Finding a bargain definitely gives us a frissance and suddenly we are thinking on our feet. A whacky cottage version of Masterchef.
We have been swapping our bacon for food too. Curing your own bacon is almost like printing money. Despite being the best bacon that I have ever tasted, our freerange organic smoked streaky costs us about £5.00 a kilo. As a barter it is worth far more as you would be hard pressed to find it in the shops for under £12.00 a kilo.
In the past I never would have dreamt of eating streaky bacon for breakfast. Our bacon tastes so good that I rarely splash out on a loin to cure.
I started by giving it away and gradually people are giving us back game, home grown vegetables, marmalade and preserves. It’s a sort of polite, unspoken barter. If you cure and smoked a free range loin you would be even more popular. Five years ago six slices of free range back bacon cost me over seven quid from the butcher’s counter in Waitrose. It was good but not a patch on home cured.
As our friend Tessa has proved that you can smoke excellent bacon in a small chiminea. At the moment these are on sale locally for £20. Our wet cure recipe is here – it’s a low salt recipe that tastes wonderful. The organic free-range streaky lasts much longer in the fridge than an ordinary belly of pork. And of course pancetta is cured belly of pork so you have your own to toss into dishes for next to nothing.
This is the list of our recipes in January that cost less than 50%:
D also found fillet steak (enough for 2) for £3.30 and we cooked it using Che’s method. Mouthwatering.
We did well with our organic 1.5 kilo (£6.12 normal price) free range corn fed organic chicken too. We made it stretch to:
- Half a roast chicken (for two) with a lemon, saffron and cream sauce. The leftovers made one large (heavy on the chicken) sandwich
- Chicken and ham pie with vegetables for four (recipe to follow soon)
- Chicken risotto for four
- 1.2 litres of cheat’s Cock-a-Leekie soup (a starter or snack lunch for four)
The key ingredient in the risotto, pie and soup was the stock. Ten meals and another five snacky meals. So it wasn’t so expensive after all.
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