Friday, 22 October 2021

Topping up the Fridge and Pantry

When I can I add a few extra basics to the Pantry shelf, normally when there are sensible true offers on stuff that will keep for a relatively long period of time and which we will eat. I do also keep an eye on the long stop dates as well. This is useful as you can to some extent plan out the sort of eating you can achieve for your family by using these dates. I do tend to keep an extensive "Tin" Pantry as well. Several reasons for this as well. If I am not here OH needs to get himself something and whilst not to everyone's mind a good meal, it does provide a meal of sorts. The same as home canned items do.

This evening (Thursday night) I popped to the shop and found a few such offers. I will list what I bought below and why I bought them.

I tend to use butter if I am using a fat in cooking, although I do use a little lard and also Stork.  I do try not to cook these days in oil or fat, I have been either grilling or dry frying, for health reasons, but I do still have OH to cook for. I do use a little in pastry, and fruit cakes and a little with steamed cabbage and mashed potato.  I have always used butter even when the Officials said we shouldn't because it was bad for us.  I never really took to the spreads.

This evening I have bought a bag of Lentils.  These I add to home made soups and stews.

Risotto Rice, for making home made various Risottos and I also hope to package up for my own pantry some home made mixes so that it will literally be grab a pack add to the pan and cook.  Ideal for either of us.  

I now have my large Excalibur Dehydrator back in operation. It has been cleaned within an inch of its life and I am looking forward to experimenting more and getting bigger batches of food sorted. One of the problems I have had is keeping it safe and away from the cats who accidentally knock anything over.  I am gearing up to using this a lot more than I have been as I am keen in the longer term to keep waste to a minimum.

Two bags of Macaroni as OH can quite easily prepare this for himself if he needed to and it is something he is fond of.

Sweet and Sour and Chilli Con Carne sauces buy two for £2.  These have a long stop date on.  Again it is something OH can use or I can.  However I do tend to make my own sauces if I have the time, but life is not always perfect so I try and have things in to cover all eventualities if I can.  

Sugar.  I always keep sugar in for baking, general use and also for preserving and winemaking.  For me preserving is an all year round thing although I do predominantly preserve during the seasons if you get a bargain on something then take advantage of it.  Also, you can make preserves such as chutneys and jams out of dried fruit.  With dried fruit there is always more of a season.  Mincemeat is a favourite with ,most come Christmas.

Chocolate chips were on offer  two bags for £2 instead of £2.40. Not a big saving but the pennies make the pounds.  I use for cookies and baking.  I shall probably nab another couple of bags if I can.

Chocolate Vermicelli (the brown strand coating usually on rum truffles) were £2 for two small tubs, and the variegated threads for cake decorating.  So a couple of tubs were grabbed of each.

Plain biscuits like, Digestives, Rich Tea, Hob Nobs I keep in as you can crumb them and use them as the base for puddings and cheesecakes.  We also eat them with cheese and other savoury bits and bobs and of course for "Dunking" with a cup of tea.  You have to "Dunk" a biccie!  Well you do here.

Butter we use this on sandwiches and also in baking such as rich fruit cakes; the Christmas cake being a prime example.

Milk we use a lot of milk so I tend to buy in 4 pints at a time. Our Local shop does not do the bigger size otherwise I would have that.  Waitrose do, but I cannot always carry it back unless OH agrees to come and fetch me.

Pickled Gherkins a treat for OH.  I pickle cucumber for him in slices but I always snaffle a few jars of these away as well. Shush do not tell him otherwise we will have none left. They are like his sweeties. He is the same with Picalilli!

On the "milk" front, I have bought in a couple of tiny cans of Evaporated milk which I use in rice pudding; I also keep in dried milk, and some long life milk which if getting near the use by date, I tend to use up in custard or milk puddings. That way there is no waste.  

In the spirit of "Waste not, Want not" I do recycle all the jars and bottles I buy in though, for the sake of sourcing new lids it is a shame not to.

I do have more stuff to pick up. I need to stock up again on the flour front again, and different sugars.  I do this as and when I can a little at a time, usually focusing on one or a couple of items to stock up on.

It is essential that whatever you stock in your Pantry is personal to you and what you or your family eat. There is no point storing something when you want to achieve at least a couple of options for using your ingredient at least for that item being stored on your pantry shelf.

Fortunately on the jam front I am pretty well stocked up so we have the choice of cake fillings, tart fillings, using on toast or croissants, with bread and butter, in a rice pudding or semolina pudding, in a bread and butter pudding, in a trifle, in Milles Feuilles. Cranberry jelly or Redcurrant jelly is also used in gravies and sauces and for glazes of sweet, meat and savoury items.  There is so much more that you can do with very simple ingredients.

I will say it again, Preserving is worth every effort you take to put something different on your family's plate.  Over the years the preserve recipes have remained but their social use of how they used those ingredients was not saved. As a result people do not know what to do with it once they have made it, which is another reason to put off would be preservers.  There is so much more that you can do with home prepared preserves. So it is always worth playing around with your store of preserves to see what works for you.  For example, Crab Apple jelly, is delightful on toast but we tend to use it more as an alternative apple sauce to serve with roast pork.  Crab Apple jelly is an absolute favourite here.

Catch you soon.



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Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)