Clever Cooks, Glut(tony), Reviews

Relaxed cooking on a budget: Save with Jamie

Save with JamieI’ve collected a few Jamie Oliver titles over the years; none of them get used very much. Jamie’s Kitchen horrified me with its egg-laden Baileys and Banana Bread and Butter PuddingJamie’s 15 Minute Meals and 30-Minute Meals demanded too much multitasking for me to really stuck into them. Still, I’m a sucker for budget cookbooks, so when I found a discounted copy of Save with Jamie, I had to have it.

This time round, Jamie Oliver focuses on ‘delicious, exciting food that’s not hard on your wallet’. He’s also enlisted the aid of nutritionists, giving his recipes a transparency that’s sometimes missing from similar titles. Continue reading

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Clever Cooks, Glut(tony), Going Green

Your pumpkin for my onion?

Many moons ago, I wrote a post about veggie swaps, meets where you swap your excess homegrown produce with others. Being a lazy gardener, I haven’t planted many annuals this year but that doesn’t mean I can’t swap my food.

In order to minimise waste, I’ve been splitting my bunches of spring onion and coriander with my friend Sarah. Yesterday, she returned the favour by giving me a chunk of her pumpkin, corn, and some coriander:

Food swaps don't have to involve homegrown produce
Food swaps don’t have to involve homegrown produce

She even gave me a soup recipe that uses up the pumpkin, the coriander plus the short-dated peanut butter jar that she offloaded to me the other day!

Food swapping doesn’t have to be limited to fruit and veg. Make two trays of lasagna and exchange one of them for some of your neighbour’s casserole. Swap short-dated stock with friends and family. Set up a ‘free shelf’ in the pantry and the fridge between housemates.  Bribe your local grocer with banana muffins and end up with an armful of free, overripe bananas. Not only will you cut back on waste, you’ll also nurture a sense of community amongst all those involved.

Clever Cooks, Glut(tony)

Crumbed

Cheap Geek likes his sliced bread but he and I rarely finish our loaves before the use-by date. We could buy smaller loaves, but they cost nearly as much as the regular-sized ones, so we end up buying the big loaves ‘just in case’ and throwing half of it away. It’s a prime example of how much good food goes to waste in our society. According to Food Wise, ‘Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase’ or $1036 in an average household, money that could have been better spent on six months worth of electricity bills. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Gardening on a Budget, Glut(tony), Going Green

When life denies you lemons…

Growing food to save money seemed like a smart idea until I discovered that planting a lemon tree and getting it to bear fruit are two different things. It’s been three years since Dad put in a Eureka for me and so far there have been no lemons, only gall wasps; I can’t count the number of times I’ve driven past someone else’s tree and had lemon envy.

The rhubarb is doing well though, alongside the thyme that thrives on my neglect. But there are only so many rhubarb crumbles one can make. What to do with the glut?

Some folks preserve their harvest. They freeze it, pickle it, turn it into jam or chutney. The last time I tried my hand at preserving though, I ended up with rubbery marmalade. 😦

Whitehorse Urban Harvest (October 2012)There is an easier way to make use of the glut: veggie swapping. Veggie swaps are like clothes swaps but tastier. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Glut(tony), Thrifty Asian

Kongnamul banchan (soybean-sprout side dish from Korea)

My mother uses bean sprouts in her rice paper rolls, salads, noodle broths, stir fries and savoury crepes. Like Metamucil, it keeps her regular and she’ll happily crunch through kilos of the stuff.

Unfortunately, I’m not so keen on bean sprouts, which means that a packet from the supermarket usually goes slimy before I have the chance to finish it off.

Bean-sprout shelf-life can be extended by blanching them (yuck)* or turning them into Korean kongnamul banchan (nom). Continue reading