Another long walk followed by excited squeaks
On our way back, I came across one of those gorgeous ethnic shops that sell all those bits and pieces that are so difficult to find in supermarkets. I was in hog heaven and squeaking with excitement as I came across bottles, jars and packets. Needless to say, I wanted to haul the entire shop home, but settled for what you see in the picture.
DP is mad on peanut butter at the moment. The huge, 1kg jar in the picture cost £2.85 the equivalent of 96p for the size of an own brand jar, and contains just 2 ingredients. Peanuts, and salt. No flipping palm oil, hoo-blimmin-ray. I was just about to get to grips with making some too. It’s a shame it’s smooth and not crunchy, other than that, it’s perfect. We’ve both had a little taste, and it is deeply savoury, with a very strong peanut flavour. Just as sweet as the over sweetened versions too, without any sugar added.
The Hoisin sauce is just a useful store cupboard item, and will add flavour to many things.
The Thai green curry paste is something I have been looking to replace for a very long time. DP doesn’t like fish, so no fish sauce allowed. Most green curry pastes contain it, and even tho you can’t really taste it as fish, he won’t eat it. I have this brand in the same type of tub, in my freezer, and I’m down to the last tblsp or two. Finding that on the shelf elicited quite a few very excited squeaks
The orangey tub is Tom Yum paste. I will be making Tom Kha with it, which I think is Tom Yum, with added coconut. I have some fancy mushrooms in jars from Approved Foods, so that’s a good opportunity to make the most of one of them. I have a recipe for Tom Kha saved on my reading list that I was going to use, but this will save me having to buy lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal. At £2.49, the tub says it makes 25 servings, so even with the other ingredients I will be adding, it should still work out economical. I think I’ll make some for our lunch tomorrow. We had an Aldi roasted chicken yesterday, so there’s plenty of that left in the fridge to add a few shreds to the soup, some of those jarred mushrooms, some coconut powder and a bit of chilli, and we should be there. I’ll let you know what it’s like.
The paste is in a sachet inside the tub, so I’ve just snipped open the top of the sachet and squeezed it into the tub. It smells really good, and I licked a finger where a tiny smear had landed. It damn near blew my head off and my lips are still tingling! Maybe no chilli then
I got another jar of tahini for hoummous. It doesn’t need to be added, but it does taste extra lovely when I have some.
Then there is a pack of tamarind seeds. More faff than a tub of paste, but a much nicer flavour. A big pack of mixed spice, vanished from my local shops, ditto cinnamon, some coarse ground pepper and a huge tub of hot curry powder (bagged by DP). And lastly, a jar each of what has become our favourite Pataks curry pastes, Jalfrezi and Balti.
It still feels like cheating to use jarred pastes. It is so ingrained in me that buying things ready made is too expensive, that I expect to be told off when I use any. It feels extravagant and wasteful. Goodness knows who I expect to administer said telling off, and of course, things like the Pataks pastes last for absolutely ages, don’t cost much per tablespoonful and mean that I don’t have to get the individual ingredients, so probably work out cheaper. Doesn’t stop me metaphorically looking over my shoulder tho.
I have a very low tolerance threshold for shopping, half an hour and I start hopping from foot to foot like a bored 5 year old. But put me in a food market, an ethnic store or local food shops with enthusiastic owners, and I could look and linger all day.
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one