Continuing with my challenge to slash the weekly grocery bill to an average £5 per person, I decided to adapt a very simple recipe for potato cakes. It's very similar to making fish cakes, except I didn't have leftover potatoes and fish, I had leftover potatoes and the bacon bits from making a pot of ham and lentil soup.
I had considered making a ham quiche, as the ducks are laying eggs every day and these need to be used. Despite giving many to friends & neighbours, we still have more than enough for the household. Adding potatoes to pastry, however, seemed a bit too starchy and stodgy; I do want to fit into a swimsuit at some time during this summer, especially when there's an indoor heated pool within walking distance of the new home-from-home at Frugaldom! But I digress...
With the potatoes, I'd cooked enough to do two meals then ended up making a Bolognese sauce and lasagne with the extra mince. I had also made a big pan of ham and lentil soup in the slow cooker, so had the cooked bacon bits still to use. (Some were added to cheese and ham pasta, but that still left quite a bit, so I'd to freeze the remainder of the bacon until needed.)
- Boiled potatoes - chopped/mashed
- Cooked bacon bits - chopped
- Onion - diced
- Salt & pepper
- Self-raising flour
I had about a mugful of chopped potatoes and the same in bacon bits, so I added a large serving spoonful of flour and 2 duck eggs, then mixed it all together. (If it looks too sloppy, add more flour, too dry, add a little water or even another egg, if you need to use them up quickly.)
The mix doesn't look all that appetising at this stage but these taste great once cooked as cakes. You could add any type of meat or vegetable leftovers; I have tried tuna and sweetcorn, corned beef and beans, cheese, onion and ham, mixed vegetables (no meat) and mince with carrots and onion. Frugal brunch cakes are a meal in themselves, depending on what's added. Otherwise, they are simply potato cakes.
Once mixed, scoop out a heaped tablespoonful per cake and place in a hot frying pan. I'm using vegetable oil but this is through choice and availability. I'd normally use this or lard for frying savoury foods. The cakes should sizzle as soon as you put them in the hot pan.
Press each of the brunch cakes down to begin forming a flat, burger-like shape, so they cook evenly. Once they cook on the bottom, you can turn them to flatten them more.
These are quite large brunch cakes I'm making because we are big eaters in this household! Once the cakes are flattened out to about 1cm thick, the four of them fill my frying pan.
Turn them again to ensure they are properly cooked all the way through. They don't take too long if you are using pre-cooked leftovers - only the time it takes to cook the eggs and flour. You could even use leftover pancake mix for this, if you make your pancakes unsweetened. I did have some pancake mix leftover yesterday, but I used it as the base for my white sauce when making the lasagne.
Because I just roughly chopped my boiled-in-their-skins potatoes, these were a bit like hash browns without batter. In all honesty, you could do a full English cooked breakfast of potatoes, bacon, eggs, onions, tomato, mushrooms and beans etc. all mixed together and fried as brunch burgers! Frugal food is fun, filling, nutritious and, on some occasions, fattening, especially if you over-indulge and then don't follow a frugal fitness plan. Zero food waste does not mean eat everything in site all at the same time.
We chose to have our brunch cakes on their own, hot with traditional brown sauce, but they will go equally well with other things like extra vegetables and/or salad once the garden is into full summer production. They are also ideal for campfire cooking, so get that cast iron skillet seasoned and ready for use in true Frugaldom style. Failing that, a camping pan on a BBQ may suffice.
These are very filling and very tasty, adapted from a very east to follow recipe for basic potato cakes, found on the Back Roads Living website. I got 8 cakes from my mix, so ha;f is now back in the bridge and will be used tomorrow at lunchtime.
Join us in the frugal forums to discuss this and other cheap and cheerful ways of slashing your grocery budget and freeing up more of your cash for more fun in the sun this summer!
NYK in Frugaldom