Like a lot of families, heck, like a lot of people, we’re finding things tough financially at the moment. It was never really the plan for me not to be working at all while the children were babies (much as I know that’s what some people choose to do) just as it was never really the plan for C to be made redundant, or for us to have to move house, three times within two years, with all the attendant expenses. On top of this there’s the rising cost of living and just as food gets more expensive, we’ve two little people who want to eat more and more of it!
Still, we know we’re still better off than most of the people on the planet so we breathe in and tighten the old belt a few more notches. That said, I refuse to eat dull uninspiring food just because every penny has to be watched at the supermarket. So it’s even more cooking from scratch, more poring over recipe books and more building of skills in making everything go further.
For example, on Sunday we bought a Freedom Farms chicken (we just can’t stretch to organic sadly) and had a family roast. That evening, C stripped and chopped up the carcass so I could make stock, which I then froze in measured portions (the measuring was, I thought, remarkably forward thinking of me!). The next day, keeping some cold chicken aside for lunches in the week, I used the meat and leftover gravy to make pasties, using the River Cottage ‘Everyday’ cookbook for guidance and a rough puff pastry recipe and had enough filling left over to make a few baby meals for M. I have to admit to being a bit of a fan of the River Cottage books, although I do find that ‘Everyday’ is pushing it a bit as a description for a lot of recipes, at least on our budget.
While I was in the baking mood, I also made some olive focaccia bread, from the same recipe book, and some hummus using a recipe my sister-in-law gave me. Today this was added to Tabula Kisir (recipe from guess what? That book again!) which is a lovely tabouleh type thing with bulghar wheat, fresh herbs, tomatoes, peppers etc, and made a really rather superior lunch for an otherwise ordinary Tuesday. The bread is all gone, but the hummus and Tabula will do us for the rest of the week I think.
Given that we stayed more or less within our miniscule budget this week, it’s gratifying to have such good eating going on.