Saturday, May 5, 2007

Pottering in the Kitchen

I've done quite a bit of pottering in the kitchen this week. Trying out a few new recipes and generally having fun. :-)

I made custard from scratch for the first time and that was a great hit with the family. I'm gradually trying to decrease the number of colours and additives in our diet so this is one more step along the road. For anyone wanting a recipe, here it is:


heat 300ml milk (around 2 min on high in the microwave)

1 beaten egg
1 Tbsp cornflour
2 Tbsp sugar
few drops vanilla

Use a small amount of milk to mix it together.

Pour hot milk into this mixture and stir well.

Heat on high for 2-4 minutes, stirring every minute.

Next time I need to remember to double the recipe as this wasn't quite enough for our family of 5.

I also made a chocolate custard recipe this week. We found it a little bit strong and a little bit firm in comparison to the yogo's that the whole family loves. So I'm going to play around with the recips a bit more and I'll keep you posted on how that turns out.


I love finding new ways to create the same things for less money. Of course, that has to be balanced up against time and hassle factor as well so I've never been real keen to make my own yoghurt from scratch (even though it is definitely the cheapest way to make yoghurt).

A few years ago I bought myself an Easiyo yoghurt making kit. It's almost foolproof as you just add water to the Easiyo sachet, shake and then pop the whole thing into the provided thermos with boiling water added. It works out cheaper than store bought yoghurt. I usually have to pay anywhere from $3.50-$5.50 for yoghurt here (depending on sales). With the Easiyo I can make yoghurt whenever we want it for just under $3.00 a kg.

I have tried a few suggestions for ways to make the Easiyo yoghurt a little cheaper but so far haven't had much success and had returned to making it with the full sachet and putting up with the cost.

This week I came across a new recipe for the Easiyo and decided to try again. This time it seems to have worked much better and has gone down really well with the family.

If you have an Easiyo maker here's the recipe:

1 1/3 cups powdered milk
1/3 cup sugar
tsp vanilla (make sure it's imitation with no alcohol in it as the alcohol will kill your bacteria)
2 Tbsp Easiyo sachet as a starter (shake pkt first to make sure the yoghurt culture is evenly mixed through the pack before you start or you could get it all in the one batch and none left for the next one)


Made a variation on plain biscuits by adding plum jam to the mix. They certainly smelt good while they were baking! I love how versatile basic biscuits are when it comes to using up bits and pieces you have in the fridge/cupboard. It's amazing how much cheaper this basic biscuit mix is even compared to plain generic brand biscuits. Of course, it does then depend on what you add to the mix as to the final cost. I think I might use up the last of my custard powder mix in my next batch.


I bought my first ever turkey drumsticks this week while they were on special. They were just under $3 each and weighed about 1kg. That's some drumstick! I'm trying to add some turkey to our diet as it's supposed to contain tryptophan. Not necessarily a real frugal meat so it's a bit of a new challenge. I cooked the 2 legs in the crockpot then chopped all the meat up fine and made up 3 meals worth of turkey patties (similar to chicken patties). We haven't eaten any yet so the proof will be in the tasting. I also made a container of stock. So that will give us 4 meals for $6. Can't complain about the frugality of that figure.


The kids really love these but at $1+ each they're a bit on the expensive side for us to have very often. This week I bought some chicken thighs on special so I've made up a meal (which is 13 kebabs for our family). Cost to me was around $5 which is quite a bit cheaper than $13+ and we're less likely to come across any horrible bits that haven't been cut out of the chicken like we do with the bought ones. I was working out an hourly savings rate for this. It took me around 15 minutes to cut up the chicken, thread it onto skewers and marinate. At a saving of $8 for the meal that's around $32 an hour post tax money. Well worth the effort for me.


I tried using the leftover Cannellini Beans in my lunch time salads the other week and really liked that. I think so far the Cannellini Beans are my favourite for adding to my salad. :-)

Tonight we're having Vegetable Lentil Loaf for tea. This is my first experience with green lentils (they're cooking in the crockpot right now) so I'll let you know what we think of it. Fingers crossed it'll be a new dish we can add to our reportoire.


My final grocery spending figure for April was $419.83 so I was really happy with that. I did some calculations and so far my average for the year is $100.17 per week. This is down slightly on an earlier average calculation of $102.80. My challenge now is to see if I can bring that average weekly spend figure down to under the $100 mark.

May has 5 shopping weeks (I usually shop Wednesdays) so my goal is to see if I can spend under $450 with 5 shops. I'm not expecting that to be real easy so we'll see how we go. First shop for May I spent $57.75 - so far so good. I will have an opportunity to do a pantry stock up later in the month so there's where my biggest challenge is going to lie.

1 comment:

Kez said...

I'll have to give your Easiyo recipe a go! I've already tried your custard and it went down well with the family..