Frugal Living Basics and Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes and Garlic to be planted

Happy New Year!

It’s wintry here in Scotland. Of course it is. It’s January after all. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have garden plans. Above are Jerusalem Artichokes (like wee nutty potatoes, but plant once and have them forever) and some garlic bulbs that sprouted in the fridge. This is a good time for planting both. We just have to brave the cold and dig them in now! See our gardening/foraging/free food section here and Jerusalem Artichokes here from Thompson and Morgan.

But on to the Frugal Basics, great for a new year and a new start. One of the quickest ways to start reducing your spending is to rein in the food bill. See our food shopping tips here and all our frugal recipes here.

frugal recipes

Also see:
Frugal Living Around the House
Cheap Holidays and Days Out
Healthy Eating on a Budget
The 25p Meal
Sourdough Bread for Pennies

Some cheap places to shop online:

Low Price Foods
Approved Food
Everything5Pounds (clothes etc.)

Featured Recipes:

Wishing you all a happy and fruitful 2022!

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Golden Soup: Turmeric Quinoa Vegetable

golden soup

This golden soup is light and nutritious and fragrant, the perfect panacea for all the rich food around at this time of year (post written in December). The quinoa is a great source of protein and turmeric is nicely anti-inflammatory for this hectic season. (See Frugal Christmas).

Quinoa has come down in price in recent years and most supermarkets now have it. We found it cheaply at Approved Food recently (also check Low Price Foods). Rice would also work well, as would rice noodles.

Golden Soup Ingredients (serves 4)

  • a handful of quinoa
  • 2 large carrots, cut into thin inch long strips
  • 2 sticks of celery, cut similarly
  • half a leek, ditto
  • 1 small sweet potato, same cutting
  • 1 yellow pepper, thin strips
  • a cup of frozen peas
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek
  • salt to taste

Golden Soup Method

It’s very simple. Place all the ingredients except the salt in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, turn down to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the quinoa has swollen and released its little tail things. Add salt to taste and enjoy!

If you liked this golden soup recipe, check out all our other tasty offerings here

Frugal Gifts

Everything5Pounds have a great range of clothes and homewares. All for £5, sometimes less. Designer items end up in the mix too.
The Works are fantastic for selling sets of books for the price you would normally pay for one, so great if you have lots of kids to buy for (or adults!).

Frugal Holidays

Travelling over the festive period?

Near the Motorways - a book to make holidays and days out cheaper

Near the Motorways: Affordable Alternatives to Service Stations (10th Edition). This book lists places that provide a meal or a quiet rest just five minutes from a motorway junction. The author has personally visited and selected over 200 entries in the guide which are included for their ambiance, friendliness, imaginative menus or peaceful surroundings. They do not pay for inclusion so each is chosen solely on merit. Each entry is illustrated by pen and wash drawing by the author, for ease of recognition. Special mention is made of the welcome for dogs and children and of any places of interest which are nearby. Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Festive Frugality and Winter Warmers

A fierce start to December!

Before we get to the festive frugality, we have to mention the 120 mile an hour winds we’ve had here, the extended power cuts and heavy snow. A huge tree came down over our polytunnel but happily no damage occurred. We were very glad of our well stocked pantry, gas hob, hot water bottles and log fire!

Festive Advice and Tips

See our Frugal Christmas page, the most important piece of advice being, we believe:

Remember what really matters in your life. Look after yourself.

festive frugality

You’ll also find gift ideas, decoration advice and Christmas recipes. See the page here

Festive Frugality: Gifts

Everything5Pounds have a great range of clothes and homewares. All for £5, sometimes less. Designer items end up in the mix too.
The Works are fantastic for selling sets of books for the price you would normally pay for one, so great if you have lots of kids to buy for (or adults!).

Warming Winter Recipes

tattie soup

Keep those pantries stocked!

With clearance sellers like Low Price Foods  and Approved Food

Popular Pages and Posts

The 25p Meal
Make Money, earn a few pounds

Festive holidaying anyone?

House sitting and/or pet sitting can be cheap ways to holiday. TrustedHousesitters have owners registered in over 130 countries, from townhouses in London to renovated farmhouses in Tuscany. For all our advice on holidays, days out, railcards, motorway secrets and more go here!

Keep cosy and well fed and rested dear ones…

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Aberdeen’s 1597 witchcraft panic (mermaid) and 18th century kidnappings (fireflies) combine with love and hope in THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR & FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE.

Christmas features in both books!

Red Dragon Pie and Bargain Seeds

red dragon pie

This Red Dragon Pie was inspired by a recipe in the classic book Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Kitchen (BBC cookery series). Topped with creamy mash, the base is a rich mix of aduki beans – traditionally said to give you the strength of the dragon – and brown rice in gravy.

Red Dragon Pie Ingredients (serves six)

  • Aduki beans, 200g dried and soaked overnight or two tins of cooked ones
  • 200g of rice (brown is best)
  • 4 sticks of celery, diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs (or fresh, lots of parsley is great)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • a teaspoon of yeast extract or vecon stock
  • salt, if needed
  • Potatoes, mashed with margarine and milk of your choice, for topping

Red Dragon Pie Method

Soak beans overnight if using dried ones. Place in a  large pan, cover well with water, bring to the boil and let simmer for a couple of hours until soft. Throw in the rice about half way through cooking. Add more water if needed. Once it’s all nearly cooked add the vegetables and boil a pan of potatoes for your mash topping, quantity up to you. We do like a nice thick layer of mash.

Frugal Potato Tip

Leave those skins on! It saves waste and money to not throw away a section of potato. Just give them a good scrub and cut any gnarly or bad bits off and you’re good to go (compost those gnarlies!). The skins are rich in both fibre and vitamins too. For mashing we cut them up quite small to save having large bits of skin in the mix; they also cook faster that way, saving cooking fuel.

Method cont.

As the beans and potatoes cook , add the herbs, puree and yeast extract to the bean mixture. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir well. Drain and mash the potatoes with marg and milk. Place the bean mix in an ovenproof dish, if not already using one, and top with the potatoes. Easier if using cookware that transfers from hob to oven such as a Cast Iron Casserole – and bake in a hot oven (200C/400F) until nicely browned. Running a fork round the top of your mash gives it lots of nice little crispy bits to brown.

Enjoy your Red Dragon Pie! Try our other frugal recipes here

beans for red dragon pie
Tinned beans from supermarkets: Tesco’s Adukis and Lidl’s mixed beans which do contain some adukis.

Thompson and Morgan have a seed sale on for the next 48 hours (time of writing 22nd October 2021 but they usually have good deals on)! Stock up on seeds for next year for £1. See the selection here and use code TM_TN2468W for the cheap price.

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic while FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children of Aberdeen.

The blend of dark events and romance in these stories is perfect for Autumn!

Paperback & kindle: http://author.to/mermaid

Novels by Ailish Sinclair

Newsletter: it’s all about the tatties today!

tatties

First up, soup of tatties. It’s simple and Scottish, it’s delicious and it’s a new recipe on site. Also told, is the frugal story of the plate of food above. See it here.

Composting Fun and Tatties

Admittedly this is only partly about tatties. We have a new article here on making compost to reduce waste and save money. There’s also a section on growing no-dig potatoes.

Great recipes for October

Blended Soups
Roast Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta
Chick Pea Curry
Mushroom Gravy
Banana Raisin Flapjacks

Popular Pages and Posts
Healthy Eating and Exercising on a Budget
Books on Frugal Living
Frugal Christmas

As the world opens up again
House sitting and/or pet sitting can be cheap ways to holiday. TrustedHousesitters have owners registered in over 130 countries, from townhouses in London to renovated farmhouses in Tuscany. For all our advice on holidays, days out, railcards, motorway secrets and more go here!

In case you missed it last time:
Use code FREE10 for £10 off at Flava Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket. Not a discount store but they do always have some offers for pennies and there’s no credit checks or interest.

Stay warm and well fed as the season gets colder…

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Tattie Soup, Potato Soup, Cheap Soup

Tattie Soup, potato soup, cheap soup

This tattie soup is so basic it hardly constitutes a ‘recipe’! Simple and traditional Scottish fare – children love it.

A Frugal Story

The full frugal story of the plate above: we lucked out with one of the £1.50 cheap veg boxes in Lidl. It contained about 10 onions, a burst bag of baby plum tomatoes, 3 lettuces, a pack of leeks, 5 oranges, 3 lemons, 3 apples and a wee box of chilli peppers. It was so impressive we wish we’d taken a picture of it, but it was unpacked and torn into the compost too quickly!

We used one of the leeks in the soup and those are the tomatoes. The hummus was one of a set of flavoured pots reduced to 20p, also in Lidl, and that’s homemade sourdough bread. Carrots, potatoes, parsnips and herbs were from the garden. If it weren’t for the olives (yellow stickered in Asda but still the most expensive item pictured) the plate would have qualified as a 25p meal.

Tattie Soup Ingredients

  • A little sunflower oil
  • Onions or leeks (1 or 2), chopped
  • Potatoes (2 lb/1 kilo/6 cups), cut into chunks
  • Carrots (about 1 lb/450g/3 cups), cut into chunks
  • Turnip or parsnips (8oz/200g/1 cup) – optional
  • Kale (or other greens) chopped
  • Garlic to taste, chopped
  • Herbs of your choice, fresh or dried. We used lovage (grow once, harvest for years) and parsley in the soup pictured above.
  • Sea salt to taste

Tattie Soup Method

Fry the onion in the sunflower oil for a few minutes to seal the flavour, then place all the other ingredients except the kale in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are cooked (15 – 20 minutes). Add the green vegetables 5 minutes before cooking is finished to prevent them being over-done. Mash.

The quantities given make quite a large pan of soup – we eat half one day and store the rest in the fridge until the next day – you may wish to change the quantities to suit your needs. It also freezes well.

If you liked this tattie soup, why not check out our other frugal recipes?

Making Compost, Reducing Waste, Saving Money

making compost in recycled pallet containers
Making compost in recycled pallet containers

Making compost is a great way to reduce waste and nourish the soil. It also saves money if you are in the habit of buying ready made compost. And it’s easy.

Making Compost in Triple Bins

Above are our triple compost bins made from old pallets. They are the perfect size for hot composting (faster composting) as you want your pile to be 3 feet wide x 3 feet high to make sure it heats up in the middle. You can, of course, just make it in a pile or heap. The idea behind having three bins is to have one that you’re adding material to, one that’s being left to rot down (usually for 6 or 7 months) and one that’s finished and being used in the garden or pots.

making compost from kitchen scraps and other materials

What to Put in the Compost

  • kitchen scraps of raw vegetable origin (cooked food will moulder)
  • used tea bags
  • coffee grounds
  • grass cuttings
  • leaves and twigs
  • weeds that have not gone to seed
  • garden waste such as dead or finished plants
  • seaweed
  • hair and nail trimmings
  • the contents of your hoover bag/bin
  • ripped up cardboard, the lower quality the better

You’re looking to get a good variety of layers in there to balance the nitrogen from green things and the carbon from brown things.

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Doing It Wrong Can Be Right!

When we first started composting we did it all wrong in this container:

making compost in a plastic container

We used exclusively kitchen scraps which went a bit smelly and gooey. However, after about a year the goo did return to being basically soil and proved to be an exceedingly rich food for the plants. The ones that had a layer of this fertiliser in their pots or beds grew significantly larger than the ones that didn’t. So it can be done like that, even if you don’t want to use it for growing; it still reduces waste and returns veg scraps to the soil. The ground around compost bins always becomes beautifully rich, as you can see with the nettles above. And we don’t mean to knock the plastic bins – they can be very handy for smaller spaces.

making compost and growing squash

We intend using the wee boxes at the base of our pallet bins above to grow squash in next year.

No Dig Potatoes

Another use for cardboard in the garden is to lay it down on the ground to prepare the soil to be used in a “no dig” manner. The grass will rot away and you’ll be left with bare soil. We’re doing it over winter for next spring’s growing. We’ll then lay the seed potatoes on the ground without digging and cover them in a thick layer of grass cuttings which we will replenish throughout the summer. Potatoes should grow well in that – we will report back!

no dig poatatoes
Weighed down with old roof tiles.

Related posts

sunflower
A sunflower growing by the upcycled polytunnel (more to come on that later).

The Secret Gardening Club always have great offers of overstock from nurseries:

Food Glorious Food: cheapest, fastest, free

food glorious food, starry beans

Food glorious food. We want it. Nay, we need it. And obtaining our food has all gone a little bit strange in the last couple of years, from only being allowed out to buy essentials during lockdown to facing empty shelves in the supermarkets in 2021.

It’s good to keep abreast of changing ideas and new concepts as they pop up in these strange times.

This is our wee rundown of alternative food purchasing/obtaining methods from a buy now pay later supermarket to groceries on bikes, short dated shops and a free food app.

Buy Now Pay Later

Flava is the UK’s first and only Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket. Everyone gets £100 credit and there are no fees, no credit checks and 0% interest is charged. This is not a discount store but there are always some special offers available for pennies. Well worth a check!

£10 off your shop with code FREE10!

Flava Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket

Cheapest: Short Dated Food

Old favourites of ours, Low Price Foods and Approved Foods sell clearance and short dated food and household products. Many items do actually have quite a long date on them. This is a great way to stock up the cupboards.

food glorious food, low priced food

Fastest: Gorillas on Bikes!

If you live in one of the areas Gorillas cover (at the time of writing: London, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading, Southampton and Cambridge), you can get a grocery delivery bicycled to you in 10 minutes! Standard retail prices.

Bulk Ordering

SAS sell direct to the public in packs of 6. Prices offered are at discounts of up to 50% off either price marked products or RRP. SAS stands for Share and Save, encouraging customers to work with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to save money together.

bulk food ordering

Food Glorious Food for Free: Olio

Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. It does have a desktop version too. People share things that they can’t use up in time from their fridge, or cupboard items that they no longer want. Food Waste Heroes (which you can volunteer to be) collect yellow stickered or surplus food from businesses and then share it on the app.

food glorious food, wee potato star

If you liked this article on Food Glorious Food, go see the list of our other food related pages and posts here.