23 Mar

The Brexit Kitchen Stores

Did I get your attention there? Or maybe, like me, you rolled your eyes a little bit at the thoughts of stockpiling certain food items in advance of Brexit (in whatever form it eventually takes). Bear with me here though, because a fully stocked store cupboard is a thing of beauty and regardless of the UK imminently leaving the EU it’s a good idea.

What’s in my pre-Brexit store cupboards? It’s probably easier to list it out according to category:

Dry Stores

  • Beans – Black eyed, pinto, chickpeas (garbanzo), and butterbeans
  • Lentils
  • Seeds – Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower, Poppy, Nigella (onion seed)
  • Sugar – Caster, Granulated, Soft Brown, Dark Brown, Demerara (did you know it’s not produced in Ireland anymore?)
  • Flour – Plain, Self Raising, Strong, Type 00 (for pasta making), Wholemeal, Brown
  • Oats
  • Tinned Beans (blackbeans, pinto, chickpeas, butterbeans, and baked beans)
  • Passata
  • Tomato Puree
  • Oils – olive, sunflower, rapeseed, peanut
  • Dried Fruit – Raisins, currants, apricots, prunes, figs
  • Pasta – spaghetti, lasagne sheets, and several different pasta shapes
  • Rice – White, brown, basmati, pudding
  • Bulghar Wheat
  • Couscous
  • Stock Cubes
  • Tea
  • Coffee

Freezer

  • Loaves of bread
  • Meat – chicken, beef, pork, lamb
  • Fish
  • Pizzas (emergency use only)
  • Yoghurt
  • Vegetables – peas, sweetcorn, butternut squash
  • Fruit – gooseberries, raspberries, bananas (skin off), strawberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, blueberries, apple purée (perfect for baking)

How do I build up my stores? I simply buy a little bit extra every week and factor it into my shopping budget, the maximum I spend each week is €5 on the extra items but store items like beans are extremely good value and I can get plenty for that amount of money.

The idea is, Brexit aside, that I should be able to feed the family from the freezer and cupboards for up to a month or more in the event of me running out of cash. I’d really only need to buy milk (which I know I can also freeze but I don’t have space) and eggs.

I have to emphasise here, I’m not a hoarder! I rotate my stocks and we will eat absolutely everything in the presses in rotation. Once I reach a set limit on my store levels I restock. I also keep an eye out for special offers and deals to stock back up.

Do you only buy what you need? Do you keep large stores like I do or do you just top up 1 item as and when it runs out? Might you change your shopping habits in the coming weeks and months?

PS

It’s likely that there are some foodstuffs that are going to be more expensive in the next few months. However, buying locally produced seasonal food is always going to be more affordable. Think fruits and vegetables for example. The first of the Irish tomatoes left a farm local to me over the St Patrick’s Day weekend, and strawberries won’t be far behind, so keep an eye out in the supermarkets this week as choosing to buy Irish has a long-term impact on our local communities and economy.

14 Jun

How To Visit Taste Of Dublin On A Budget

Updated for 2017! For ten years I managed to avoid Taste of Dublin, I knew it was on, I knew where, and convinced myself that it wasn’t worth visiting and not to bother. However, in year 10 I was invited along as a guest of the organisers to check it out. This gave me the opportunity to head on in and see if it was worth the admission price, what’s on offer, and to figure out if it’s worth your while to head along this year (year 12).

The Ticket Price

The cheapest tickets you can buy directly online are €17.50 per person and these are available for the Thursday and Friday afternoon sessions. I have to say I found these afternoon sessions to be the most enjoyable, especially when the weather is good. Regardless of which day or time you elect to visit the Iveagh Gardens, make sure you buy your tickets online. It’s far more expensive at the gate on the day. Read More

16 Jul

Simple Chicken Traybake

The beauty of this simple chicken traybake is that once it’s assembled you just bake it in the oven and wait while the delicious smells fill the house. Read More

09 Jul

Wholesome Frittata

This frittata tastes delicious while still warm at dinner, but is also the perfect next day lunchbox fare because it’s just as nice cold. There’s no reason why eating healthily should be hard to do! Read More

25 Jun

Gently Spiced Pork Meatballs

Gently Spiced Pork MeatballsThe trick to perfect meatballs is to roast them in the oven before adding the meatballs to the sauce. This is not only a way to render off the fat you sometimes find in the cheaper cuts of meat, but the browning process in the oven adds extra flavour. It’s easy to see why this meal is a hit with my family. Read More

18 Jun

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Tart

Vegetarian TartThis vegetarian tart is so easy to make thanks to the pre-rolled puff pastry. There really isn’t much to do apart from bake the pastry, then fill it a quarter of an hour before serving, then cooking for the final few minutes. It’s the ultimate make-ahead party food, and you’ll look like an absolute genius to produce something so pretty from your kitchen at the last minute. What makes it more incredible is that you only need 5 ingredients to make it! Read More

11 May

My Tips For Managing The Family Budget

My Tips For Managing The Household BudgetIt’s a delicate balancing act but you don’t need me to tell you that I’m sure. How do you allow for all the costs during the year, make sure that the bills are paid, that there are enough savings for special occasions, and not end up pulling your hair out in frustration?

I’d love to tell you that it’s easy to manage the family budget, but it’s not. Setting up a management system will take time. I’m not going to pull any wool over your eyes. My best advice to you is to put the time in today, and you’ll find it much easier in the future.

This is not an exhaustive list. I’ll bet you have some tips that are far better than mine. If you do please let me know! Read More

24 Apr

Potato Pizza

When I peel potatoes I always peel at least twice as many as I need for a meal. If I’m going to invest my time at the kitchen sink peeling spuds, then I might as well make it worth my while. Once mashed, I divide the potatoes into 2 sections – 1 to cool for freezing, and 1 for the main meal. Frozen mash is one of my kitchen secrets because I keep it on standby for busy days or quick suppers.

How do I cook the mash once defrosted though? Mash and gravy are one of life’s luxuries and there is nothing like a spoon of mash made with plenty of black pepper, topped with a runny poached egg. Excuse me while I drool on my keyboard at the thought.

Sometimes I do fancy something different, and this is where the idea of the potato pizza was born. The trick is to cook the base until it’s crispy on a low heat before adding the other ingredients. This adds to the cooking time, but really it’s not long when it comes to active-cooking time as it takes only 10 minutes to assemble. Read More

31 Mar

How We Saved Money While Renovating Our Kitchen

How We Saved Money While Renovating Our KitchenHere’s how we saved money while renovating our kitchen. It goes without saying that we had a very tight budget to renovate the kitchen. I’m a big fan of lists and so had itemised all the expected expenses. We knew that we could save money but I didn’t want to cut corners on the final finish.

If you’re interested in how it looked before the renovation, then click here.

Read More

04 Nov

Tuna Fish Cakes

Tuna Fishcakes

While I love Fresh Fish Friday, I don’t always have the budget or time to get to the fishmongers to get some decent fresh fish.  This recipe for tuna fish cakes uses a medium tin of tuna which is handy to have in the store cupboard for frugal weeks. If you have fresh vegetables to put with this meal, do as they will brighten up your plate. Alternatively a tin of sweetcorn and some frozen peas will go just as well.  There’s nothing wrong with eating from the store cupboard every now and again, especially if it saves you money in the long run. Read More

09 Jan

Why I’m Planning Christmas In January 2015

Did I make you feel a bit stressed? If so I apologise, that’s the last thing on my mind. In fact I’m hoping that you might even take a little bit of inspiration from my premature Christmas madness in January 2015.

I realise that many people only put their decorations away in the past week. My tree finally went back to the attic on Tuesday and the outdoors lights have been switched off. They will get put away as soon as my hubby gets a chance to get out on the ladder and remove them. It’s probably not such a good idea if I go climbing about the place after hurting my back before Christmas.

As soon as the 1st of January passed though I started planning for Christmas 2015. That was the point at which decorations went below half price in the supermarket and I used a small amount of money I’d set aside to pick up some new decorations for next December. They didn’t even make it to the tree. I promise. I also picked up rolls of wrapping paper on discount. Again, they stay in the cellophane and go straight to the attic.

From a spending point of view, that’s pretty much me done until October so don’t worry I won’t be harping on about Christmas for the rest of the year! Read More

14 Aug

Egg Tarts

I’ll keep it short today! These egg tarts are great for lunchboxes. You can make them ahead and they will keep in a lined box in the fridge for up to 2 days. They also reheat very well too. I just lash whatever squishy veg/leftover meat I have in the fridge into the tarts. Don’t complicate things, make life easy on yourself.Egg Tart Wholesome Ireland

Note you’ll also need about 200g of rice or baking beans for this recipe but they aren’t eaten and can be used again on another occasion.

Egg Tarts (serves 6 hungry adults – more kids)

Ingredients

  • 1 roll of chilled puff pastry
  • 1 small onion
  • Handful of squishy cherry tomatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 50ml full fat milk (or 75ml natural yoghurt)
  • Leftover meat (if you have it)
  • 50g of parmesan, grated (or any other hard cheese you may have)

Read More

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