Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunday Potterings and back to basics

I did not sleep well last night not sure why but I was still awake at 4:00am and not the least bit sleepy.  Whether it was the wind and its howliness that kept me awake I am not sure.  I was still awake at 7:00am wherein I seemed to have gone into a very deep sleep and did not wake until 11:30am.  I think I must have crashed as my back was not good again so I suspect I have been laid in the one spot for too long. 

I do apologise for the length of this post especially as I seem to have been burbling and then we have the photos.  Its been a horrible day all day and the wind is getting even howlier and rougher and it is raining.  We get it light to the rest of the country which makes us fortunate and it is bitterly cold again.

Since we got up I found that I needed soap powder so I paid a visit to the Cash N Carry buying more soap powder and fabric conditioner and some chicken thighs and some mince, some cheese, some Whelks for OH and then we came back and proceeded to get the things put away and also packaging the meat up for the freezer.  I had run out of freezer bags so I nipped round to the shop obtained my bags plus some sweet n sour sauces at £1 a jar.  They are normally £1.60+ a jar so I bought six and have squirrelled them away in the pantry

We buy chicken thighs and then package them up into fours which are ideal for a meal during the week with a sweet and sour sauce, a Balti sauce, curry sauce or with a Barbecue sauce or cooked on their own and served with veggies.  Or used as a base for a stew or a soup.  I think we have 6 packs of chicken thighs in all x 4 portions and two of those packs have 5 in.  Not bad for £6.  The mince is also a big tray.  One single tray has gone towards our tea tonight and the other pack has been split into two and we should get two good meals from that either a shepherds or cottage pie or a Bolognese.  Both trays cost in total £7 but you do get a lot of mince for the money and it is nice dry and firm and has not gone "sweaty" and makes a lovely Cottage Pie or indeed Lasagna.

Some of the mince as I have said was turned into Lasagna capably made by OH.  This is one of his signature dishes.  We do not buy mozarrella or parmesan cheese but use strong cheddar and boy is it yummy especially if you pop some garlic in too.  I am partial to a dollop of red wine in the Bolognese also as it gives is a richer flavour but OH not so inclined.  We had it simply with bread and butter and it was delicious.

After we had the goodies sorted from the Cash N Carry I ended up in the kitchen after OH had finished cooking pottering by myself. I had some veggies I did not want to waste, sweet potato, swede, carrots, mixed peppers and red peppers which were destined for the freezer.

I started with some mixed colour peppers which I absolutely love.  They are ideal to keep in the freezer to give that extra zing to a dish although I predominantly use with chicken they are ideal for going into a quiche, pizza mixed veggie lasagne,  a home made sweet n sour, stir fry, casserole and all I ever do is wash them, get rid of any pith and seeds and cut very finely.  I do not blanch them they go straight into polythene bags for popping into the freezer and then each time I need some I just crumble a few in from frozen.   Even the ring at the top of the pepper that is usually attached to the seed pod if it is in good condition I slice that finely too.So ladies if you see any peppers reduced nab them up and pop them in the freezer you will not regret it. My mixed peppers were 8 for £1 two bags of 4 x 50p a reduction at the veg shop.  Unusually the peppers were mixed colours which I absolutely love. Not just one colour adds more interest to you food.  I also had 4 red peppers which I dealt with in the same way.  So I have six probably two portion maybe three portions bags of peppers popped up into the freezer.

I then nipped around to the shop again and this time came across some bargains which would be useful for the freezer and for meals during the week.  There were a load of roasting chickens reduced to £2.50 each (originally £5 each) so I brought 3 of them home with me.  Two are now safely tucked in the freezer and the third is for tea tomorrow night.

4 cauliflowers only small but reduced to 27p each from 86p each.

4 bags of mixed casserole veggies pre-prepared normally £1 a bag  reduced to 25p per bag.  Two bags have gone in tomorrow night's tea and I can make soup with the other two bags.

2 bags of onions reduced to 45p per bag.

3 punnets raspberries 50p each normally £1.50 a punnet destined for some home made white chocolate and raspberry muffins.

Bunch of bananas normally 99p reduced to 19p.  OH likes these I love them but they do not like me. 

So I did not do badly.

And the veggies; well I have managed to squirrel away quite a lot of good food but it should also save me time in preparing stuff during the week as all I will have to do is take it from the freezer to the steamer and cook it.  One of the things I take care with when preparing food for the freezer is to make sure that I can get as much use out of it as I can so I do not tend to mess with it too much.  The veggies can also be popped into soups as well as casseroles and as part of the main meal in their own right.  The sweet potato I usually roast so it has been blanched and then popped into little metal trays.  Once defrosted I will pop some olive oil on and some fresh rosemary and cook them in the oven until they go all nice and caramelised.

So far prepared is:

9  x 2 portion bags of broccoli
9 x 2 portion bags of cauliflower
6 x 2 portion bags of leeks
6 x 3 portion bags of peppers
5 containers of sweet potato for roasting

Sweet Potato

Simply peeled, chopped into cubes and then blanched in boiling water for a couple of minutes; then cooled rapidly and allowed to drain before bagging up.


Done in exactly the same way although I tend to put some lemon juice in the water to keep the curd nice and white.


This is split into two parts.

The good part of the leek

I prepare this by taking off the outer leaf and then cutting the leak at an angle until you get to the end of the white and it starts to go green.  I then pop straight into freezer bags and straight into the freezer.  No blanching and then I pop it from frozen into my chosen dish or serve it with a white or cheese sauce as a side veggie.

And the Leafier part.  I never waste this but cut it on the angle and then pop in a roasting pan with some olive oil and a nob of butter and some black pepper.  Then once it has roasted and cooked in the oven I let it cool and store it in the fridge.  Makes a nice short term relish for a meat sandwich.  Yummy.  This is something I have done for years and I do not like to waste a thing.

Tomorrow night's tea:

The chicken is all prepared for tomorrow night's tea in my slow cooker.  All it will need when I get in is the gravy thickening and then some mashed potato might do Champ with Spring Onions and Cabbage.  Think that will go down very nicely and be a warming meal to come home to.

I have tomorrow to prepare Brussel Sprouts, Swede, Swede N Carrot Crush, Carrot batons, parsnip and I have also made some vegetable stock for use with soup during the week and also to put in the freezer for use at a later date.  I also want to start the first batch of Seville Orange Marmalade.

Right have to get ready for tomorrow.

Take it steady and keep safe wherever you are.




  1. Phew, now I am worn out just reading. I do like a good bargain and get as much as possible prepped and frozen to save both time and money.

  2. Hi Pam, sorry if I have worn you out. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time for a change so I took advantage. I am not always in a position to do so. I hope you are keeping safe with all this awful weather. Catch you soon.




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