More than halfway through January and we are already looking ahead to see how we can save extra and do more during February. Time flies when you are enjoying yourself, especially when juggling a fresh, new budget. Meanwhile, we still have meals fit for a King, priced for paupers and easy enough that even the kids can make them - what could be better?
The new regime for 2015 involves slashing the grocery budget to an average of just £5 per person per week for all meals, so it is taking come creative thinking. The above soup no longer will have just a carrot grated and an onion chopped into it. Instead, it will have a portion of mixed vegetables served with every bowl to make it up to 2 portions of our 5-a-day in one meal.
We do have the advantage of a well stocked kitchen and the additional benefit of home-grown and freely foraged foodstuffs in the freezer, plus a full cupboard of preserves, all made from free fruit, but in order to reduce the overall average, I now need to focus carefully on both the nutritional values and the costs. I guess that's why we Scots love our oats - we can eat them with practically anything! So, after a hearty breakfast of porridge, sometimes with a handful of sultanas or berries to boost the '5-a-day', it's onwards towards soup-making for lunch.
At the moment, you can buy cooking bacon for 80p per 500g pack, so I recommend this for making your stock. Along with a 500g pack of split peas or lentils, plus a grated carrot and chopped onion, this combination can cook you up 3.5 litres of soup without a problem and leave enough stock for flavouring the meals you make with the resulting cooked bacon. I made the most of the current Asda offer for half price lentils and now have 10 kilos of them in stock, as they worked out cheaper than their split peas!
After slow cooking the 500g of bacon to make stock, this left about 350g of what looked like streaky bacon, so it was all chopped up and separated - lean meat in one tub, streaky bits in another. I salted the water, as the bacon isn't smoked. This is how I intend using the meat:
7 Main Meal Suggestions: Continued…