Monday, 8 October 2012

Feed Four for A Fiver a Day- or less?

I've just been listening to the news-  and they tell me food prices have gone up by 30% apparently over the last 3 years. Reasons for this are given variously as rise in energy costs, harvest problems due to extreme hot/cold/wet/dry weather and general inflation.

This has hit families hard- especially as, according to the journalists, fewer and fewer people know how to cook from scratch, and more and more people throw food away because they don't know what to do with it.

Stop all that right now!

Now I know that my blog followers are all pretty good cooks- but the word needs to spread.

So, I'm throwing down the gauntlet- to you and your friends/colleagues etc.

This week I made all the meals- breakfasts, packed lunches and a two-course evening meal each day - for under £40. This wasn't special- as you will see from the week's menus, most of the recipes are old favourites that I trot out week- in -week -out. (Sometimes I can go a bit off-piste, like the week I wanted to re-visit children's cooking and my poor family had to eat jelly, volcano shaped mash and smiley face pizzas for a week!) But not this week.

Here's the shopping list:
1 medium chicken, 2 salmon fillets and a pack of streaky bacon
6 eggs
300g cheese
4 litres milk
2 litres orange juice
1 pot cream
250g butter
6 yoghurts
1 loaf bread
2 part-bake loaves

Fruit and veg: new potatoes, parsnips, bananas, lettuce, watercress, tomatoes, spring onions, ncctarines, fennel, red pepper, onions, leeks

Frozen or canned: 1 can fruit, roast potatoes, peas, pastry

Dried or storecupboard:  1 box breakfast cereal, 2 cake mixes, 1 pack Quick Jel, rice, pasta shells, peanut butter, tomato sauce

(I didn't buy any tea, coffee, mayonnaise, jam or gravy granules- although I do use them this week so a bit of a cheat there- but I'm owning up to it.)

So, breakfasts are all pretty much the same this week and lunches are various filled sandwiches (peanut butter, chicken, cheese etc) with fruit or yoghurt.

Evening meals begin with roast chicken, potatoes, parsnips, peas, gravy.( Always cook more veg than you need so as to have it ready for other recipes during the week.)
Making the most of roast

I bought a bigger chicken than the one in the picture so the yield of leftover chicken should be greater -even allowing for some chicken sandwiches.

Next chicken meal is Chow Phan (what else?) with peas, spring onions, bacon, and egg.

Chow Phan

Third chicken meal is a chicken, bacon and leek pie.

Chicken, leek and bacon pie

Ploughmans Supper
Cream of Chicken Soup
Meal number four is chicken and vegetable soup made from the stock and leftover vegetables. (This needs more to make it a proper evening meal so we had it with a ploughmans supper (bread, cheese and salad.)

Salmon and Watercress tart with Fennel Ragout
The salmon fillets gave us the remaining three meals- a salmon and watercress tart which gave us two meals (one with salad and the other with fennel ragout and new potatoes) and salmon with pasta in a cream sauce.
Salmon in cream sauce with pasta shells
I added peas to the salmon and cream sauce  (to improve on this one.)

Puddings were : banana cake, trifle, nectarine tart and fresh fruit - spread variously over the week with either cream or custard to serve.
Banana cakes
Strawberry Trifle
Nectarine tart

Now- I wasn't really trying here. Some of the ingredients- salmon, fennel, nectarines, cream- are luxuries.

So -here's the challenge- if you can beat that ( and I'll allow you 50 euros, 60 Australian dollars or 65 US dollars) then the game is on!

I'll go lower next week. Just watch me!


  1. Bring on the challenge!

    Could we have your recipe for the chicken, bacon and leek pie? Sounds delicious, and I have leeks almost ready for picking in the garden :)

    1. Of course!

      Line an 8 inch (20 cm) pie dish with shortcrust pastry and bake blind (as in blogpost'Who Ate All the Pies?')

      Meanwhile gently fry 4-5 rashers of bacon cut into lardons and 2 leeks in a little oil until the leeks are soft and the bacon coloured. Mix in a tablespoon of flour and gradually add approx 400 ml milk until a white sauce is made and the mixture is quite thick. Season well. (Or you could cheat and mix in half a jar of ready sauce eg white wine and cream/ honey and mustard etc) Finally, add however much cooked chicken you have to spare (hopefully about 150-200g), cut into chunks.

      Pour into the pie until nearly level with the top, lay a circle of pastry over the top and pinch the edges together to form a seal. Trim the pastry and glaze with beaten egg or milk and a sprinkle of paprika. Bake at 190 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

  2. Just made this! Except I didn't have any bacon, so I substituted it for mushrooms, and used a lot more chicken. Really delicious, and the cooking times were just right!