Sunday 28 November 2021

Cottage cheese

 If there was one everyday item which I used to waste a lot, it was milk.  I know this isn't a problem for most people but in a household of one person who doesn't eat breakfast cereal and drinks her coffee black, it can be difficult.  

I buy UHT milk to use for tea/coffee when guests call unexpectedly.   If I know guests are coming I buy pasteurised milk.  The UHT stuff comes in one litre containers but I can buy just a pint of pasteurised and sometimes even less.  I can manage to use up the remains of a pint but a litre is a lot of milk!

So I make cottage cheese.  Heat the milk to just below boiling point, add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and stir.  The milk will curdle.  (IT IS NOT THE SAME AS LEAVING MILK TO GO OFF!)  Leave it to cool a little then strain it.  I use muslin inside my sieve.  Leave it until all the whey (a colourless liquid) has drained off then put the cheese to chill in a dish in the fridge. The whey can be used in baking.

It does not have the same texture as a commercially produced cottage cheese but it has more flavour.  You may want to add salt.

Saturday 27 November 2021

No waste!

Although my stated aim of doing this challenge is to keep food expenditure low for a few weeks, the real need is to minimise food waste.  I think we've all become more aware of this issue over the past few years.  Awareness of the need to respect the planet has been added to our consciousness of hungry people in our own country and abroad.   Rising prices are driving the message home even in households with a "comfortable" income.

The soup which I made yesterday from the lurking calabrese is lovely.  I just sweated some onion in rapeseed oil, then added the calabrese and sweated that, added stock, partly vegetable and partly made from the chicken skin and bones from yesterday, then blitzed the lot.  It is delicious.  Today I had it with some of the bacon lardons which I cooked yesterday but the remaining soup portions will be served with either cheese or yoghurt.  Just the job on a cold November day.  

Friday 26 November 2021

The Fridge

 When I made my decision to eat down my supplies I had just been shopping so I had new stuff to deal with as well as stuff which had taken up long term residency in the fridge.  The fridge was very full and very disorganised and, while I haven't fully inventoried it yet, I have made a start on organising it.  

Fruit and vegetables which had been in plastic bags has now been transferred to dishes or net bags.  Some of the vegetables have been transferred to the vegetable box in the conservatory/utility room so tat I can see better what is left in the fridge.  

There was a head of calabrese which had been there for several days so it got made into soup.  The pack of cooking bacon was cut into lardons: a few lardons were then cooked for salad and soup garnishes in the next couple of days while the rest were made into 100g packs and frozen.  The chicken thighs have now been skinned and deboned and again frozen although the skin and bones are still simmering to make stock.  

My main aim in organising the fridge is to make sure I can see everything so there is less chance things will be wasted.  I threw away one apple and one courgette this morning.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Am I crazy?

 Don't answer that!  It's just that I fancy a mini challenge about food purchases in the run-up to Christmas.  

Let me set the scene for you.  As always I will spend Christmas alone after I come back from church.  This is my choice: I always have lots of invitations.  I always cook a special lunch for myself although that is often not on Christmas Day.  This year I've bought a frozen three-bird-roast. I've made the pudding when I made lots of other puddings as Christmas presents.  I just need to buy things like cream, vegetables and the treats which I enjoy at Christmas.  

At this time of the year the shops are full of very tempting treats and, like Oscar Wilde, I can resist anything other than temptation.  I have a fridge full of food and I want to make sure I waste very little of it which is what would happen if I spent a lot of time in a supermarket or on its website.  

So, I am allowing myself just £20 for food between now and 22nd December when I have a delivery slot booked.  I'll be very honest about how I get on!  The only exception I will make is for purchases for the food bank.

Today I am going to clean the fridge to make sure nothing is lurking which needs to be eaten soon.