Well, lots has happened here in Frugal Towers since we last wrote. There’s been hospitalisations, there’s been strange symptoms… now there’s bandages and medicine. But the frugal life goes on, as does this peculiar year!
See our Frugal Christmas section on how to minimise the cost and stress that can occur at this time. Some festive recipes too.
If you want to stock those cupboards up, Approved Food is the place to do it, selling soap and cleaning products too. Their stock changes daily.
Everything5pounds is the place to get cheap winter woolies for the approaching season. Also good for festive gifts.
Our founder’s debut novel is still available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited (they do a free trial which is a good way to stock up on some autumn reading). THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story. Libraries can get it too.
What strange times we are living through. We very much hope that you are all well and safe and have plenty to eat and plenty of, the now most popular item in Britain, toilet roll!
Our recipe selection this time focuses on two things: immune support and meals from store cupboard ingredients.
First the immune system: Wild Garlic Pesto – can be made with standard garlic too, both being anti-infective and immune boosting. Nettle Soup – eat up those nutrients! And enjoy the anti-inflammatory properties of nettle (just poking through the ground now). Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage – a brand new recipe on the site, this one, super cheap and also rich in nutrients.
And if you want to stock those cupboards up, it’s better to do it somewhere that is set up for the purpose, rather than depleting the stocks that everyone needs. Approved Food is one such bargain place, selling soap and cleaning products too. And sometimes even toilet roll! Their stock changes daily.
Still a bargain for a traditionally published book at £2.99 for the
ebook, our founder’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, blends an
often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations,
in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.
This is a sweet and flavoursome root vegetable soup, perfectly fortifying for those colder days.
Ingredients, for a large pot to serve four people:
half a cup of red split lentils
5 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
5 medium carrots, scraped and chopped
2 small potatoes, diced but with skins left on
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 large sticks of celery, chopped
several sprigs of fresh rosemary (dried can be substituted), finely chopped or scissored into the pan
water to cover
salt and pepper to taste
Place the lentils in a large pan and cover well with water. Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer while you prepare the other vegetables. Add the chopped veg and rosemary and cover well with more water (cooking time is reduced if you boil the water in a kettle first). Once the vegetables are tender, mash thoroughly and add salt and pepper. Nice garnished with fresh parsley or finely chopped spring onions as in the picture above.
Wild garlic grows on the edges of woodlands from March onwards and can be used for wonderful garlic flavour in many dishes. Also see wild garlic pesto
Ingredients to serve four people:
six large carrots, scraped and chopped
four sticks of celery, chopped
a good bunch of wild garlic leaves
a handful or two of cashew nuts depending how creamy you want it
salt to taste
Place carrots and celery in a pan and cover with water. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer for a few minutes. Add the wild garlic and cook for a few minutes more, until everything is tender. Pour into blender jug with nuts and salt. Blend and enjoy.
Tips: If your blender is not very strong, try soaking the cashews in water overnight to soften them. You can use 3 or 4 cloves of normal garlic in place of the wild garlic. Add a bunch of coriander for a popular classic!
Radishes are one of the easiest things to grow in your garden, a pack of seeds are full grown in a few weeks making lovely crimson additions to salads. We were delighted when Julia Barr sent us this lovely recipe using their tops (leaves), the part which is usually thrown away. No exact quantities are given so adjust to how many tops you have!
vegetable oil or soya margarine
chopped radish tops
vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onion in oil or margarine until soft, add the potato and radish tops, stir until coated in oil/margarine. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer until the potato is soft, whiz in a blender until creamy, add soya milk to loosen, add salt and pepper to taste.
A real treat, creamy and yummy and an extra revelation: fresh tarragon is an excellent inclusion!
Lentil Soup – a nice broth with bread or a filling chunky variety. This soup is simple to make, nutritious and cheap, cheap, cheap 🙂 Quantities below makes a pan to feed four people.
red lentils – half a cup to one cup depending how thick you want it
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, diced
water to cover well
stock of choice (we like a spoon of Vecon Stock with extra vits for winter!)
salt if needed, depending on stock used
Place lentils and water in pan and bring to the boil while preparing the other vegetables. Add them and stock, cook until tender. Mash or partially blend if you wish. Ta-da!
Add other veg such as diced potatoes and celery or chopped greens near the end of cooking.
Add a tin of tomatoes and/or tomato puree with a handful of pasta to cook along with the lentils for a much thicker hearty soup.
Although a hot dish it is nice for summer days as the mint is refreshing. This does make a large pot – it worked out well for a family of four to have over two lunches, storing it in the fridge overnight.
250g/6oz (half a standard pack) of spaghetti (value spag – 19p approx)
approx 9 or 10 cups of water/about 4 pints
4 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 sticks of celery, diced quite small
a good handful of fresh mint (or 3 teaspoons of dried – most frugal if from your own garden obviously – seeds here)
seasalt to taste
Break the spaghetti up into small pieces (about 6 cm./2 inches long) into a large saucepan. Cover with the water and turn up the heat to full. Bring to the boil while you prepare and add the other ingredients with the exception of the mint. Once boiling turn down to simmer for about 15 minutes until everything is cooked. Add the mint and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes and serve sprinkled with generous amounts of chopped fresh parsley (optional but it was really good!)
A tasty way to use up leftover rice. Particularly cheap if you have your own herbs on hand in the garden or a pot. We used rosemary which is very easy to grow – most cuttings grow just from being stuck in the ground without any additives, so ask your green fingered friends or snip some bits in parks/public gardens 🙂 Of course you could just buy some. It’s a very hardy perrenial too, so good for the British winters staying green and edible throughout (see snow in pic).
a little olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin of tomatoes
water (fill tin and rinse out tomato juice with it)
cooked rice (we used about 2 cups of brown rice here but the quantity is variable – add more/less water if needed)
a good handful of fresh herbs (or a teaspoon of dried)
a squirt of tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes then add tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. Add your rice and herbs (fresh herbs are easiest cut in with a scissors) then the tomato puree. Cook for 10 minutes or so longer, stirring occasionally taste to check that the veg and herbs are cooked, season and enjoy!