(pictures to be added: poorly camera!)
I STILL need to finish my quilt. I have done the quilting, and as long as you don't look at the back, it is ok for a first ever job. Besides, Stella is too young to quibble. But now I need to bind it, and the thought of yet more hand sewing is making me wince. It got smaller and smaller as I tried to straighten it, so it is at least one month quicker to bind than it would have been had I had a straighter eye.
I MUST get a machine going. I have inherited 3. One handcrank Jones, one Singer and one New Home. None of them work, apart from the handcrank, as very little goes wrong with that mechanism, but it is totally seized up and needs oiling. I know I should just give up on them and get ebay them, put the money towards a new machine, but they are just such nice old things, I like them regardless of the space they take up and the frustration they cause me. I have promised one more fiddle with each of them, then they go to ebay or freecycle, where maybe someone will love and use them.
So I have tweaked and tweaked to get my weekly shop consistantly at around 40-45 quid. This time, I have gone for the full monthly. I've only mentioned dinners, but the shop includes sandwiches for lunch 3 times a week, and freezer lunches from the previous weeks dinners 4 times a week, plus cereal and fruit for breakfast.All veg comes from the allottment blokes and is of a negligible cost, as are eggs from the bloke opposite. All meat comes from the butchers van that visits, cheap cuts are ordered the previous week. God, I sound so 50's.It remains to be seen if knowing your dinner for a whole month will be as boring as it sounds. (All recipes are generally heavier on the veg and less on meat. So if a recipe calls for 500g meat, I use 250 and keep the rest in the freezer. DH eats a lot of meat but the kids only a little and me likewise. Not using too much meat keeps costs down)
Mon: chicken and leek pie (using leftover chicken)
Tues: Macaroni cheese with hidden veg and pork chops
Weds: Gasman's stew from Jamie Oliver. Want to slap him, like to eat his food. Whilst slapping him.
Fri: Fish cakes and veg
Sun: slow cooked lamb stew from Nigel Slater (using cheap lamb neck)
Mon: spicy pork and noodles
Tues: Sausage and veg casserole
Weds: Tomato bean and bacon stew
Thurs:Chicken and butter bean casserole (from the fragrantly annoying Tana Ramsay)
Sat:Cornish Pasties (from the superb Hairy Bikers, not annoying, just ordinary and tasty)
Sun:Steak and Kidney pie (from my nan)
Tues: Cannelloni with spinach and Ricotta
Weds: Lamb burgers and salad
Thurs:Pork, apple and juniper casserole
Fri: spicy chicken and fruity cous cous (basic marinated chicken baked with couscous)
Sat: Fish pie (whatever 500g x 2 is cheap in the fish van)
Sun: Lamb stew with pearl barley (The Nigel Slater again, everyone loves it so much it's on twice)
Mon: Whore's pasta
Tues:Jacket spuds, radish and orange salad and coronation chicken
Weds:Sausages and puy lentils with baked field mushrooms
Thurs: Lamb chops and baked aubergine and tomato layer
Fri: chicken kebabs and salad with rosemary focacia
Sat: homemade pizzas, spinach, egg, tomato, chorizo and olive using Jamie Olivers recipe for the dough.
Sun: Baked marmalade gammon with baked potatoes and salad. Gammon is fantastically cheap and not just for Xmas.
Here is the recipe for Coronation Chicken, a terribly 70's dish, but one that is a guilty pleasure. The kids like it, and I do too. Serves 4 and makes 4 sandwiches the next day.
1/2 finely chopped onion
3 tbsp curry paste
2tbsp tomato puree
100ml red wine
1/2 lemon juice
4 tbsp apricot jam
150g greek full fat yoghurt
6 cooked chicken breasts (I steam them)
Cook the onion in the butter, then add the tomato puree, curry paste, lemon juice and wine. Simmer and reduce the sauce (for about 5-10 mins). Add the mayonnaise, yoghurt and jam, mix up and blend if you want it smooth, if not keep it lumpy like I do. Slice the chicken into pieces, stir in the sauce, and eat with a big salad and jacket spud. Some people like sultanas in it, but that is just to make an odd recipe even odder. Yum. In a 70's way.