Monday, 29 July 2013

Recipe: Stuffed courgettes on the cheap!

Stuffed courgettes

I'll be the first to admit that these stuffed courgettes weren't the most appetising meal I've ever cooked, but don't be fooled by appearances - they tasted great!

And they were cheap too! The courgette, which was actually more marrow sized, was free from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald's veg plot and I decided to use up some yellow-sticker specials from the freezer and cupboard.

In somewhat of an experimental mood, I used a small pack of minced beef reduced from 96p to 45p and a jar of salsa reduced from £1 to 49p.

Here's how I made my stuffed courgettes on the cheap:

1) Pre-heat the oven.
2) Slice the courgette in two length-ways.
3) Scoop out a well in the centre of each courgette half for the filling.
4) Brown the mince in a pan with a drop of oil and a clove or two of garlic. Add the scooped out courgette if you don't want to waste it.
5) Add the salsa to the mince and warm through.
6) Rub a little olive oil on the skin of the courgette, add a good grinding of black pepper and salt and place on a baking tray.
7) Spoon the mince into the courgette and sprinkle some breadcrumbs over the top.
8) Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the courgette is cooked but still firm.

I had some filling left over so popped it in a little casserole dish with some breadcrumbs on top and served it on the side.

It might not look all that but it really did taste good - the experiment certainly paid off!

And with 45p for the mince, 49p for the salsa, courgettes and garlic for free (we've grown our own garlic!) and a few pence for the olive oil and seasoning, this came in at just over £1 to feed the two of us. Result.

Looks like we're going to be getting a lot more courgette deliveries from Uncle Gerald soon so I'd best get my thinking cap on for more recipes!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Waitrose lemon sole fillets reduced from £4.71 to 78p!

Waitrose lemon sole fillets reduced from £4.71 to 78p!

Not a lot puts me off my food but this heat certainly is! Light meals are the order of the day at the moment and I really enjoyed my simple supper tonight. I used a pack of two lemon sole fillets from the freezer - one of my bargain buys from Waitrose reduced from £4.71 to just 78p.

I always think fish should be cooked as simply as possibly to properly enjoy the flavour - all I did was season the fillets with a little salt and black pepper and then cooked them skin-side down on a griddle pan for a few minutes before turning over to to colour the fleshy side for no more than a minute.

I served the fish on a bed of spinach as we had some left over nearing the end of its life in the fridge. I added flavour to the spinach by chopping a red chilli and softening it in a pan with a glug of olive oil. I added a touch of garlic and ginger paste before wilting the spinach.

Lemon wedge to serve - done! Healthy fish supper for two for around 50p each. Bargain.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Free home grown fruit, veg and eggs!

Free home grown fruit, veg and eggs!

No need for scouring the reduced section for fruit, veg and eggs this week - we got all of this for free today! I took a trip with Mr Kate to see his parentals and whilst we were there paid his Uncle Gerald a visit. Regular readers of my blog will know we often get veg deliveries from Uncle Gerald and today was no exception!

Freshly picked blackcurrants, raspberries, cabbages, carrots and beetroot - what a haul! Add to that a delivery of fresh eggs from another neighbour in the village and we are more than sorted for the week!

Blackcurrant bushes
Uncle Gerald's veg plot is amazing - his blackcurrant patch is bigger than our entire veg patch put together! We picked a huge bowl of blackcurrants and barely made a dent - it would have taken all day to harvest this lot!

We are mere beginners in the growing your own lark - Uncle Gerald on the other hand has years of experience and we certainly have a lot to learn from him.

Summer fruit pudding or a berry compote anyone? Any other favourite recipes for summer fruits?! Will see what I can come up with when I cook up this lot tomorrow.

We also now have cherries to add to the haul as our lovely neighbour popped a bowl over the fence to us - freshly picked from their cherry tree. Only fair for us to share out our veg haul in return!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Recipe: Broccoli, chilli, lime and mint summer soup

I have veg coming out of my ears at the moment. Our novice veg patch is coming along nicely and we've also been getting weekly deliveries from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald's considerably more established veg plot.

I have to admit that we're still making lots of beginners' mistakes - we have been too late in picking some of our purple sprouting broccoli and it has gone to seed and started flowering. So we harvested this good bunch the other day to make sure we didn't miss out this time.

We also had some broccoli left over from Mr Kate's reduced Waitrose haul from the other day, reduced from £1.69 to 15p. Now I know that summer isn't really the time for soup, but with all this veg to use I decided to try and create a light, summery soup. I found half a lime and some spring onions (on their last legs) in the fridge and the idea started to come together.

Here's how to make my broccoli, chilli, lime and mint summer soup:

1) Chop a few spring onions, a red chilli and a clove or two of garlic. Reserve a bit of chopped chilli to garnish the soup later.
2) Soften in some olive oil in a large saucepan on a low heat.
3) Cut the broccoli into florets and add to the pan.
4) Add boiling water to the pan to cover a third of the broccoli.
5) Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer with the lid on for five minutes or until the broccoli is tender.
6) Blend the soup in a liquidiser or hand blender - add more water if needed.
7) Squeeze in the juice of half a lime
8) Chop a few leaves of fresh mint and add to taste.
9) Add freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.
10) Sprinkle red chilli on top and serve.

I know it's far too hot at the moment for soup but I served this warm (instead of piping hot) and the mint and lime made it deliciously light and summery. Mr Kate was sceptical when I served him up some soup for lunch but he soon changed his mind when he tasted it!

Leftovers for lunch tomorrow and a big dent made in my veg glut! Price? No more than 50p for the whole lot!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A tenner's worth of Waitrose veg for £1.75!

A tenner's worth of Waitrose veg for £1.75!

I've been neglecting my shelf raiding duties of late but Mr Kate got us firmly back in action with this Waitrose veg haul tonight.

He's working in Market Harborough at the moment and was given firm instructions to see what the reduced shelf at Waitrose had on offer when he left work tonight. And he didn't disappoint...

Mediterranean mixed veg down from £1.99 to 65p, corn on the cob down from £2.29 to 25p, asparagus down from £1.99 to 25p, mixed carrots, beans and sugar snap peas down from £1.99 to 45p and broccoli down from £1.69 to 15p.

In total, £9.95 worth of Waitrose veg for £1.75! And it's all perfectly fresh and will last several days yet.

That's our five a day intake sorted for a while!