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Finance Friday | Frugal skills


I made a shepherd’s pie this week (pictured) and that was nice. We have to try to cook frugal meals now. It looks a little burnt around the edge just it wasn’t. That was the reason for the foil tray to stop the edges burning. It is a good idea to pop in under the grill to brown the top a little. They are easy to make, a meal in themselves and can be frozen.

I made that one with minced beef, it was on offer but more traditionally they are made with minced lamb. Just fry your minced meat with diced onion until they are cooked, crumbling in a stock cube (Bovril cube) add some hot water to make a little gravy. Then I add some frozen peas and cook for about 5 minutes. I also mix a little corn flour with cold water and add that to thicken the gravy. That mixture should half fill your foil tray. The gravy should be below the other ingredients, so it doesn’t soak into the mashed potato topping. You can freeze the finished pie and when you are ready to eat it warm it through in the oven and if it needs to be browned better on the top; pop it under the grill for a minute.

I went shopping yesterday and as usual went to a discount supermarket. I noticed a pack of chicken thighs that is usually a kilo was the same price, but the weight was reduced to 750 grams. I still saved money especially on fruit, vegetables and eggs. The UK government recommends 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, a portion being 80 grams and so you need 400 grams in a day. That is nearly 3 kilos each week and so the price of fruit and vegetables  can add a lot to your food bill. I bought seedless grapes for half the price of buying in a major supermarket. I also had bananas, broccoli and a kilo of frozen peas. The lettuce and tomatoes I use on salads will add to my fruit and veg; you can also used fruit juice and canned fruit.

One luxury that people buy after they have paid for housing, food and other essentials is alcohol. You can make your own wine fairly easily and if you practice a little it will even be drinkable! I intend to start a series of blogs on my other website, A Zillion Ideas; with all the information that you need to make your own wine. It costs a fraction of what you would pay for wine in the shops and is as good if not better. You can make a really cheap plonk, like the stuff they sell 3 for £10 in the supermarket. You can make a really good wine that sells for well over five pounds a bottle. I haven’t priced all the ingredients yet, but you can make 6 bottles of good quality wine for ten pounds.

The first thing to do if you want to make wine is ask around for containers to make it in, 5 litre demijohns are good and 25 litre fermenters are even better. Find out if you have a supplier for the wine yeasts and other ingredients you’ll need, close by, otherwise you might have to buy them online.

I shall start that series of blogs soon, I’ll start with cheap plonk and work my way up to vintage wine that you can make in your own kitchen. In the meantime, there are more amazing blogs on the Home Page and on A Zillion Ideas.

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5 responses

  1. Claire Cappetta

    I give my “Shepherd’s Pie” a healthy twist now, I use Turkey mince and sweet potatoes lol actually it comes out pretty good, but for thiftyness you can’t beat a good ‘Toad in the hole”! maybe that’s my ‘Yorkshire’ side coming out lol 🙂

    4, May 2012 at 5:54 pm

    • Hi Claire,

      I stick to a gluten free and dairy free diet and so no sausages or flour. I do agree shepherd’s pie using turkey is great and you can do it with left over turkey at Christmas. If you add mushrooms, peas and onions; it’s even nicer. The best ingredient for me is a Bovril cube to make the gravy! My most thrifty meal is egg ‘n’ chips; I had that for dinner tonight. Yummy!

      Thanks for visiting and for the comment. 🙂

      4, May 2012 at 7:54 pm

      • Claire Cappetta

        Baked beans on toast! But people here in NY look at me funny when I say it’s good. They also have a soup here called Ramen, which boiled down makes “Super Noodles” with a fried egg, that gets an even weirder look! lol 🙂

        4, May 2012 at 9:30 pm

  2. Hi Claire,

    Beans on toast is good, I’m a fan of toast even though I can’t eat bread. I bought some gluten free bread just so I could make a club sandwich! I’ve tried egg on toast, beans on toast, spaghetti on toast; even soup on toast! 🙂

    4, May 2012 at 10:47 pm

  3. Pingback: Finance Friday | Quality « Mike10613's Blog

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