Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***, Thrifty Asian

Leftovers – Mum’s way

Last weekend, my Aussie mother-in-law showed me her photos from her Vietnam trip. Amongst the scenery shots of Hoi An and Ha Long Bay were the photos of food. The food, she said, was lovely and healthy, though the soup that was brought out with each meal was ‘very bland’.

While the tour guides had been very careful to explain the stories behind the sights, they had not bothered to explain the method to Vietnamese dining. Soup is usually brought out in a large communal bowl. Instead of serving it at the start of the meal as an entree, it is poured over rice and served with a salty dish (i.e. stir fry). There is also a dipping bowl filled with fish sauce for the bland bit of tofu that you’ve fished out of your soup.

Explaining this to my mother-in-law made me reminisce over the family meals Mum cooks. Mum doesn’t reinvent leftovers like I do. Instead, she batch cooks her food and then dishes it out over several nights. Continue reading

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

Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***, Thrifty Asian

Okonomiyaki: as you like it pancakes

Since it’s Lunar New Year Eve, I think a Thrifty Asian post is in order.

A few months ago, Cheap Geek and I honeymooned in Japan. Most of the trip was spent eating our way through Tokyo and Kyoto. We had the usual: sushi and sashimi at Tsukiji (the world’s largest fish market) and fancy s&*% overlooking the Shirakawa Canal in Gion. However, my favourite dish came from more humble establishments Continue reading

Clever Cooks

It was too hot to cook, so I bought a chook

chook bbqAfter what seemed like the gazillionth hot day in a row, I couldn’t face another session in front of the stove, so I picked up a roast chook from the supermarket. Buying premade goes against all things thrifty but I made sure every scrap of that chook was put to good use.

As soon as the groceries had been put away, I carved up the chook. The meat went into an airtight food container and was stored in the fridge; whatever we didn’t eat that night, we would slowly use up over the next few days in burritos, noodles, risotto, and chicken corn soup. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Gardening on a Budget, Thrifty Asian

The indestructible spring onion

spring onion5

Spring onions are hardy plants. Once established, they’re drought tolerant, snail resistant, and they grow back after a decent trim.

It always baffles me whenever I see spring onion seedlings at a nursery. Why do people pay money for seedlings when they can get spring onion plants for free? Whenever I bring home a bunch of spring onions from the grocer, the first thing I do is chop off the ends and use these to propagate new plants. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Going Green

Nice as Splice

When the weather warms up, we start craving icy poles. Unfortunately, store-bought varieties come with additives, packaging, and a $2+ price tag.

Homemade icy poles are a cheap and easy-to-make alternative. You’ll need to buy, borrow, or create your own moulds, but once obtained, these moulds can be reused (unlike the throwaway paddle sticks that come with a Splice). Continue reading