Thursday, 8 January 2015

Let the battle begin!

When I was first married with kids I used to loathe baking with a passion.  All that time and effort spent in the kitchen, covering yourself and every available surface in flour in order to produce a single cake or dozen muffins, only to have the rest of the household wolf down all your hard work in five minutes flat?  Seemed like a big waste of time to me, not to mention a thankless job.  But that was back when we had money to burn.  These days baking is my sanity.  I do it out of love.  I do it because it makes me feel productive and useful.  I do it to survive.

Yesterday was one such day.  It was my day off and I had been looking forward to it excitedly (when you have four jobs a day off from all of them is a huge rarity!).  However instead of spending a leisurely day fishing off the rocks in a tiny, picturesque bay as planned, I woke up to the sound of torrential rain.  Grr, bloody weather - now what was I going to do?!  I decided it was probably best to try and get a little bit organised in preparation for the next five nights' worth of meals, when I would be working late.  Excellent idea in theory. The problem was, we didn't really have any food.  And with only $6.35 in the grocery account I couldn't really buy too much either.  Being the type to stick money in random 'safe places' I searched every pocket, every drawer and even shook out every notebook on my desk in the hope a $5, $10 or even $20 would fly out but to no avail. A quick look in the fridge, freezer and pantry didn't do anything to improve my mood either!  The only good thing was at least I had butter, sugar, flour and eggs.  And if you have an egg in the house, you have a meal.

So I got to work and used some squishy bananas and the last of the chocolate chips in the pantry to make the banana muffins I've been making for the boys for the past 15 years.  At least now they had something to snack on when I was at work.  I had two sheets of pastry in the freezer, a couple of rashers of bacon and two-thirds of a bottle of cream left over from Christmas.  That was tomorrow night's dinner sorted, Quiche Lorraine!  Even so, I still needed quite a lot more, including work lunch for myself.  I didn't even have enough vegetables to make vegetable soup!  That made me REALLY grumpy; I mean come on, how basic is vegetable soup?  Then I thought of a friend of mine called Rachel who has her own thrifty Facebook page called Stinge O Rama Mumma.  Rachel loves cooking and loves experimenting making new things even more.  There's no limit to her culinary imagination! Especially when it comes to using things up or making things stretch.  So I decided to take a leaf out of her book and make something up.  I proudly present to you:

Amazeballs Soup!

So called because the flavour really is quite amazing when you consider how little is in it. Super cheap and healthy too!  I just threw in the following in a large pot - 

Splash of olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 400g tin lentils (I just happened to have these on hand but you could use dried as well)
1 beef stock cube
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, stalks removed
Lots of water (I just kept adding until it was the consistency I wanted and season to taste)
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in the pan, then throw in the onion and carrot and cook gently for five minutes. Throw in the rest of the ingredients and let it all bubble away until everything is cooked through.  Makes a thick, hearty soup which is surprisingly delicious!

To top it off I managed to make two days' worth of dog food by cooking up a leftover roast lamb bone with some rice.  You're probably wondering 'why didn't you put the lamb bone in the soup?' Simple, I don't eat lamb!  Plus the soup was already nice and full of flavour as it was and using it to make dog food was going to save me a whole $3 out of my precious $6.35 on buying a can.  I still have three more days to fill with meals but I can do it on that tiny amount, I know I can!

1 comment:

  1. That's great Jackie, good thinking. Will check out your friends blog. PS I hate baking but mainly cause I eat the most and my knees aren't thanking me.