Monday 13 December 2010

Leek and Potato Soup

A real old favourite of mine. What I love about this soup is the simplicity in the flavours in the soup itself can be completely jazzed up with your choice of toppings that you want to add to the soup.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine. It is essentially a vegetable broth with whatever vegetables are in season at that moment. So if you do not like one of the vegetables below you can easily remove it. Also if you want it vegetarian just remove the bacon.

The process of getting it together is actually fairly simple. The one comment I would make with my own recipe is that I was unable to locate an Italian bean such as cannellini or borlotti so I used red kidney beans. If your beans are fresh or dried you would need to obviously cook them first.

The €5 euro meal

As someone who loves to cook I have found that the vast majority of my disposable income will go into food and in general cooking my evening meal. So much money in fact that in recent times, I have really researched and invested a lot of time into the following concept.

‘The €5 euro meal’ 
What I have always thought and do strongly believe is that if you have the will to do it, it is possible for you to eat your evening meal for 2 people for just €5 a day. So in 30 days or a month you can spend only €150 on your evening meals and you can eat very well during that time.

A few tips however before we start:
- Bulk Buying: Plan out in advance what you want to cook and buy in bulk. This way you can only buy what you need and you will avoid waste. Purchase your meat in bulk and freeze in dinner servings until needed.

- Ignore Brand Loyalty: this is not the time for spending your cash on those expensive brands you might always turn too. Now is the time to buy the generic brands that are considerably cheaper.

Make a list: Before you shop make a list of what you want & stick to it. (no impulse buying)....Never shop when you are hungry!

- Shop Local: get to know your neighborhood & shop local for cheaper options.

- Weekly Specials: get to know the specials in your supermarkets & plan meals around them.

- Buy Seasonal
: buy seasonal vegetables instead of their out of season more expensive cousins.

- Store your vegetables properly to keep them freshest the longest.

The Meals:
What I do here to keep the meals interesting is to break them down into separate price categories. That way you can play around yourself and decide when and what you want to cook. As you can see with the recipes you have a vast selection of options open to you at any time so it will never get boring.

Remember however that if you have a €7 meal you then in turn must cook a €3 meal to compensate.

Always plan your recipes in such a way that you will use up all your ingredients whenever you buy them, do not ever throw anything away.  

€3 or lower meals   
                                                Cost per Meal     
Hamburgers                                                                       €2.20
Broccoli & Cherry Tomato Pasta                                            €2.50
Tomato Sauce with Pasta                                                    €2.80
Fusilli with Bacon & Cream                                                    €3.00

€4+ meals
Roast Veggie Pasta                                                             €4.00
Sausage Pie                                                                       €4.00
Chicken Stroganoff                                                              €4.00

Potato & Roast Vegetable Quiche                                           €4.50

€5 meals
Spaghetti Bolognese                                                          €5.00
Tomato Sauce with Meatballs                                              €5.00
Pepper Pesto Pasta                                                           €5.00

€6+ meals
Musilitos de Pollo                                                              €6.00
Pink & Green Pasta                                                           €6.50

€7 meals                    
Quiche (3-4 people portion)                                               €7.00
Salmon Dinner (with roast veggies & potatoes/rice)                €7.00
Beef Steak Dinner (with roast veggies & potatoes/rice)           €7.00

Side dishes
Egg Fried Rice                                                                   €1.20
Potato Gratin (3-4 servings)                                                €2.50   

Mozzarella Garlic Bread                                                       €1.00
To obtain my prices I used as my reference point. Albert Heijn is not the cheapest place to shop so if you know your local stores and plan you’re shopping better the above prices are definitely possible at a lower price.

Note: With the above prices I will assume that your kitchen will already have the stable goods such as Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Spices, Flour, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Sambal, Sweet Chilli sauce etc. 
As these products have a shelf life of longer than a month it is always useful to have these as they are the cornerstone to any meals you may have now or in the future

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Broccoli & Cherry Tomato Pasta

The simplicity in this dish is what really makes it so special. As part of my €5 meal concept this meal is less than €2 to get together once you have the ingredients in-house.

To prepare the dish it is just so simple and it all can be done in the time it takes to cook your pasta. You will flash fry small florets of broccoli in garlic & chilli. Then this will be added with chopped cherry tomato to cooked pasta and chopped fresh herbs (if you have some available). All served on a warm plate with grated parmesan on top.

Super Quick, Tasty & Cheap……really the perfect combination to any meal

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