Budget cooking

It seems weird having access to a full size kitchen and cooker, not to mention loads of goodies in the cupboards with which to cook.
With our friend in hospital, we did a little stocktake and went shopping.
Yesterday I made a cauliflower cheese with stripped ham.
It was totally delicious, but our friend was kept in overnight so his portion was put in a dish and has been frozen down for a later date.

Today it was a budget spaghetti bolognese.
To serve 3, my ingredients were:

250g dry spaghetti pasta (25p)
200g lean minced beef (about £1.50)
1 large chopped onion (10p)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (35p)
2 carrots (15p)
2 gloves garlic (pence as a whole bulb is only 25p)
2 beef stock cubes (10p)
50g grated mature cheddar cheese (30p)

Cooking the pasta is a doddle, and takes only 5-10 minutes as per the packet so that was left until I was almost ready to serve.

For my sauce, I chopped the carrot and got it cooking in a little water to soften it up first.
I added the minced beef and when it was almost cooked, drained off the fatty liquid, then added the chopped onion, stock cubes, chopped garlic and tin of tomatoes.
I also added about 20g of grated cheese to the mix and stirred well, bringing it all to the boil, then put a lid on the pan and turned it down to low for about five minutes before switching the heat off completely.

I have discovered that my mix is always better on a second heating which is why I will normally make this do Hubby and I two meals (the other being a chilli by adding a tin of drained red kidney beans and chilli powder, or lasagne making up a cheese sauce for layering between the pasta sheets).
Our friend has a good appetite, so these quantities were ideal for the three of us.

When Hubby got back after collecting our friend from the hospital early this afternoon, I heated up the sauce and cooked the spaghetti.
Once served, I sprinkled the remainder of the grated cheese on top.

spag bolNote:
Our friend didn’t have any italian herbs in his cupboard so these were absent. At home, I would add about a teaspoon (again only a few pence).

The men were hungry but I didn’t have a dessert, so I made my old faithful standby, stodge in the microwave.
This is quick, easy and fat free.

Ingredients today (total cost around 70p) :
4 heaped tablespoons of SR flour.
4 dessert spoons of soft brown sugar
2 eggs
milk to make batterlike consistency (not too thin and runny, but not too thick either, I’d say the next step beyond pancake batter)
golden syrup.

I mixed the flour, sugar and eggs in a bowl, gradually adding enough milk until it was a smooth batter.
(Our friend doesn’t have a large bowl for the microwave so I had to improvise and made 3 individual ones in the glass serving bowls I found.)
I put one dessert spoon of golden syrup in each dish, then covered it with the mix.
Each was cooked in the microwave for three minutes/ until the sponge started to shrink away from the sides and it was springy to the touch.
I then turned them out into a bowl.

pud 3 pud 2
It looks a bit like an anemic rumbaba doesn’t it with that hole in the middle:
well, you could put extra syrup or fresh fruit in it if you wished.
pudBut Hubby likes his custard, so that’s what we had with ours (15p for the instant stuff, I can’t make it for toffee).

I have varied this recipe by adding chocolate powder or sultanas.
Mum used to make steam puddings like spotted dick or treacle sponge which would take hours in a basin wrapped in muslin over a pan of boiling water. This is almost as good (nothing beats Mum’s cooking) in a fraction of the time and energy costs.

Confessional note:
These do NOT keep and should be eaten immediately whilst hot.
(Unless of course you want to build a rock garden, in which case, they make very good bricks after being left for a few hours).




About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
This entry was posted in budgets, food, recipes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Budget cooking

  1. howtostuffyourpig says:

    This sounds delicious! I will have to make this! 🙂

  2. I actually like your confessional note. Have you ever tried letting the stodge sit out until hard and then giving it to the dog as a chew toy? Sounds to me like it would work pretty good for my Cody – completely edible but long-lasting.

    PS: What is golden syrup? If we have that here, it probably goes by a different name.

    • Golden syrup is sometimes referred to as treacle, but in the UK treacle is the sticky black syrup (molasses) we use when making gingerbreads or for Christmas puddings and cakes.
      That’s a good idea for chew stodges. Thing is, it may break their teeth and dentist bills from the vet are not cheap!

  3. Capt Jill says:

    I’ve never heard of ‘stodge’ before (or golden syrup, or treacle), what does it taste like?
    I know exactly what you mean about having a real kitchen again! That is one of the biggest things I think about when I decide NOT to get another boat!

    • ‘Stodge’ is Hubby’s affectionate name for a sponge pudding. Stodge sometimes implies that it’s heavy in texture rather than light and fluffy.
      Golden syrup is similar to maple syrup, but thicker and sweeter. Treacle is black, sticky and made from molasses (used in making toffee)
      Our boat has a fitted kitchen, but only with the basics of a cooker, sink and fridge plus a couple of cupboards. The microwave is one of the few things we kept from the house.

      • Capt Jill says:

        Thanks for the explanation. It sounds ‘interesting’. 🙂
        Nice that you have that much room on your boat. Our old sailboat had an icebox so we had to go get ice every day or 2. It had a sink, but we didn’t have much room for storage, so no problem washing up, we only had a couple of dishes. We had a hot plate (1 burner) for cooking. Hard to come up with things to make in just 1 pot! I had to keep it real simple!
        I am SO grateful now to have a real kitchen with a fridge and freezer and oven, etc! I don’t cook all that much anymore, since I live by myself now and most of my friends have moved away, but I still love having the option. I do love to cook, but I can’t often justify cooking a big, elaborate meal just for myself. I do still sometimes make a nice dessert, hate to waste half of it but sometimes it’s still worth it. 🙂

      • Our boat is a 41 footer, but only 6’10 wide, so storage is a problem. We have very little now, having disposed of practically everything except clothes, 2 saucepans, a frying pan, the microwave and a few personal bits and pieces. I have 2 plates, 2 large bowls (for curries or other ‘saucy’ dishes), 2 cereal bowls, 1 small mixing bowl, cutlery and 6 cups (always a cuppa on offer to visitors).

      • Capt Jill says:

        Wow! living lite. I’ll have to take lessons on that from you. When I moved into this house, I only had a few boxes of books, clothes, dishes, etc. My bicycle, my bed and a fold out couch/bed. Now I have a house FULL of stuff! Too much stuff!! My friends have donated furniture they were getting rid of and now I have enough to fill 3 bedrooms, 2 living rooms (1 with a nice piano I hardly get to play anymore), 2 kitchens (one with a washer and dryer), and a workshop plus a shed!
        I have expanded my library to fill every spot in my bar-room (3 walls floor to ceiling bookshelves) plus filled up the living room and more. I’ve been downsizing and have managed to clear a few shelves but still have a LONG way to go! That’s my big weakness, I can’t stand to get rid of a good book!
        You see what I mean when I say I’m spoiled now for living on a boat. The ones I work on now have most of this stuff too. 🙂

      • We all tend to expand into the living space available. At the end of the day though, most of what’s been accumulated is just ‘stuff’. All we own is either in the boat, on our backs, or in the car, as we got rid of the lot. I’d already sold my piano the previous November. We still have contact with our cooker, (new) mattress and some bed linens when visiting our friend. His needed replacing, so it made sense.

      • Capt Jill says:

        Yeah, you’re right. Just stuff. I’m not too concerned with that. My biggest concern is trying to figure out how in the world I could support myself. I’d LOVE to just get a boat, take off and sail around the world, but that would mean quitting my job. I worry way too much to be working offshore and have my entire life tied up to a dock somewhere and I can’t do anything about it when a storm comes. Been there, done that, boat sank. DON’T want that to happen again!!

  4. janeybgood says:

    I’m kinda wishing I didn’t have dinner already so I could eat this instead! Especially the stodge! Looks yum.

Comments are closed.