In these challenging times I am taking a moment or two to share the basics of living better on less. Here are some recipes that have worked for me. I am not a professional cook so these are easy to make recipes.As a British ex-pat, of course, they reflect my background, but also include some favourites from Australia. Some are simple enough that older children can make them.
Porridge for one. (Winter Breakfast or supper choice.) Quantity can easily be multiplied.
¼ cup rolled oats ¾ cup water
To serve -Golden syrup/maple syrup/Brown sugar or topping of your choice.The Scots use salt .Place oats in a saucepan pan, add water and stir over medium heat until thickened. About 5 minutes.Pour into cereal bowl and top with syrup to taste.
Note: can be made in microwave if liked- adjust timings . Quick Oats are chopped finer and give a smoother porridge.
Muesli for one (summer breakfast or snack)
You can double or triple this recipe. I find it easy and refreshing
¼ cup rolled oats. ¾-1cup water. Few raisins, sultanas, or other dried fruit.
Apple. Natural yogurt
Pour water over oats and dried fruit and leave to absorb *
- this can be 5 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
- Overnight results in more liquid consistency and softer fruit.
Grate or chop apple over mixture and add as much natural yogurt as you like. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.
What the heck is a frittata?
Think a pasty less quiche and a convenient way to use up leftovers
2 rashers of bacon, or ham, salami or sausage etc ( For a vegetarian frittata omit these and add more vegetables).
I small onion thinly sliced. 1 cup cooked diced pumpkin
Assorted leftover vegetables, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli , any or a mixture. Or tinned vegetables like asparagus
4 eggs * vegetarian eggs for vegetarians
1/2 cup cream or natural yogurt (I always use yogurt ,the original recipe called for cream.)
2 tablespoons Plain Flour * I have experiment and you can omit the flour-especially as flour is now in short supply
I cup grated tasty cheese.* Can be a mix of cheeses using up odds and end or special vegetarian cheese.
Salt and fresh milled black pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 180C 350F
Fry onion and bacon for a few minutes until onion is transparent.
Place in the base of a well-greased 25cm flan dish. I line my dish with baking paper for easy removal .Add cooked pumpkin and any leftover vegetables.
In a bowl beat together eggs and cream or yogurt, add the plain flour and make sure there are no lumps. *Add the grated cheese and season well.
Stand flan dish on metal baking sheet and pour egg mixture into the dish. Bake for about 30 minutes.
I have made this without adding the flour ,bulking up with more vegetables and it still works. Good served warm or cold. Can be sliced and frozen and reheated. Makes an easy packed lunch.
Roast Dinners: Into the Oven and forget it!
It probably isn’t worth roasting a piece of meat much under 2 kilos./5lbs Yes, meat is expensive, but one roast can give you meat for several meals.
Meat needs to be at room temperature so remove from the fridge about ½ hour before cooking. Roasting pan big enough to take the meat and about 6-8cm /2-3 inches deep.
Meat can be set on a rack or even an upturned cake tin. Roast vegetables can go in the tin for the last 45minutes –hour depending how large they are.
Roast Meat Cooking times and temperatures.
Beef. 60 mins per kilo for medium well done. 180C oven / 350 F
Adjust times for rare or well done.
Lamb 60 minutes per kilo 180C oven/350F
Pork 90 minutes per kilo 180C oven/350F
Leave the cooked joint in a warm place for about 15-30 minute before carving it. Serve with Roast vegetables; Potato, pumpkin, carrots, onions and some green vegetables.I always try to have at least one orange vegetable and one green one.Parboil potatoes or microwave them , prior to roasting to speed cooking process. I microwave pumpkin briefly to make the skin easier to remove.Packet gravy is easy to make and work well.
Peel and boil the potatoes, smaller pieces will be cooked quickly but may disintegrate easily. When prodded with a fork with the potatoes will feel soft when cooked. Tip into a colander or sieve and drain them well , return to the pan .Add butter or milk to the mix if liked and mash. Spoon out to serve
How to freeze mashed potatoes.
You can of course place individual tablespoons of potatoes on baking paper and freeze them. I prefer to make them a bit fancier , so I put the mash into a large piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe swirls of mash potato which I open freeze until solid and then bag and store in the freezer. Can be reheated in the microwave or oven.
The roast meat I slice into individual lots-I use 100gm/4oz when cooled and pack and store in the freezer. It can easily be reheated by placing it covered with a lid on plate over simmering water. Add gravy when serving
100gm/4oz Self raising flour (British version)
50gm/2oz margarine or butter. 50gm /2oz sugar
Fruit and sugar if needed for filling, apples (eaters or cookers) peeled and chopped and stewed OR frozen berries OR tinned apricots or peaches.
Put the chosen fruit into greased ovenproof dish.
Place the flour in a bowl and use your fingertips to lightly crumble the margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add sugar and mix thoroughly. Spoon over the fruit. Bake in a 190c/375F preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
Serve with custard or ice cream. Good hot or cold. Can go in the oven after the roast meat.
Jelly Delicious: A Sneaky Way to Get Children to Eat Yogurt.
This recipe goes into the jelly mould as a single layer, magically it separates into a creamy layer and a clear jelly layer. Looks pretty.
I packet jelly (any flavour). ¼.cup natural yogurt.
250ml/8. 5 fl oz Boiling water. ¾ cup cold water.
A jelly mould 500ml / I pint capacity or 6 small jelly moulds.
For children use the individual moulds.
Lightly oil the jelly moulds with oil or non-stick spray.Dissolve the jelly in 250ml boiling water. Mix well, add the yogurt and mix again. Top up with cold water and pour into mould or moulds. Leave to set in the fridge.
Pumpkin & Sultana Scones
250gm chopped pumpkin, cooked, cooled and mashed.
40gm/1.5 oz approx butter or margarine ¼ cup caster( superfine) sugar
I egg. 2 and a half cups self-raising flour-sifted. ½ cup sultanas (or raisins)
1/3 cup natural yogurt. (The original recipe called for Buttermilk)
Preheat oven to 200c /395Fand grease a baking sheet Cream the margarine and the sugar and add the beaten egg. Stir in the cooled mashed pumpkin and the sifted flour. Add the sultanas and the yogurt. Spread a little flour on the board and turn the dough out. Pat out to a thickness of about 2cm.Use a scone cutter or an upturned glass dipped in flour to cut out roundS of dough. Do not twist the cutter. Recombine the remaining dough and cut more discs.
If you like a crisp top brush with milk, otherwise leave them plain. Bake for 15 minutes and then cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter and or jam. To have a soft-top cover with a clean tea towel whilst they cool. The recipe can be doubled or trebled. The scones freeze well.