Sunday, 27 April 2008

LBYM on my mind

This post is turning out to be a random collection of musings about food related techniques for Living Below Your Means ("LBYM").

One of the principles of LBYM is to prepare for your busy days, during your quiet ones. If you know year end is coming up and it'll be hell-on-earth until the management accounts are out of the way (or worse, the statutory ones), then preparing in advance and stocking the freezer can be a Godsend. You don't have to lock yourself away on a cook-a-thon, either. Double up recipes for a few meals and freezing half. Make a batch of Base prior to cooking dinner one night. Prep dinner on Sunday night for a couple of nights in advance. Make ginger "ice cubes"* next time you cook Chinese.

Another principle is just because it's the big size, it doesn't mean it's good value for money. Today DH and I made our annual trip to Wing Yip . This time, I didn't purchase everything I wanted: we'd mainly gone to buy rice, but I'd wanted to buy flour too, if I could find it at the right price. With Tama's post about bulk buying in mind, I'd gone on line before I left and double checked the price for the "value" flour from our local supermarket (my normal purchase), instead of relying on memory. Wing Yip don't really do bulk flour - they sell the usual 3lb/1.5kg packages in cases of 6 - and the unit price was still higher than the cheap stuff at Tesco. So we passed; I'll track down a good price elsewhere. The opposite was true when it came to cornflour - 3kg for the price of two from the supermarket - so a sack was added to our trolley.

Also don't waste what you already have. Most Sundays, we play RPGs at the club DH runs and, usually, I take along cherry tomatoes to nibble on (no WW points - very important). Last Sunday, I didn't really touch them, and we didn't play today. Although they look OK, they won't keep another week so instead of letting them go bad (DH doesn't eat tomatoes that looks like tomatoes), I decided to make Nigella Lawson's "Moonblush Tomatoes" with them instead. These are basically oven dried tomatoes, frequently sold in the shops as "Sunblush Tomatoes". I'll post the recipe separately, in a moment.

I do other things to minimise food waste, too. Over-ripe bananas get shoved into the freezer to be made into banana bread later on. Excess cooked rice or pasta gets portioned out into lunchboxes and frozen with a "needs stuff" label stuck on top. Ditto small portions of excess stew when I've run out of rice (only this time it gets a "needs rice" label).

- Pam

*The best way to store ginger is to turn it into ginger ice-cubes. Buy a large root, peel and grate it. Spray an ice-cube tray with oil (helps stop sticking) and then put a tablespoonful of ginger into each slot. Freeze overnight. Turn out the ginger cubes and store in a Tupperware container in the freezer. 1 cube = 1 tablespoon or roughly 0.5 inches of ginger root.

1 comment:

patchworkgrrl said...

Thanks for the tip about the ginger cubes! I use a fair amount of ginger, but sometimes get busy and it gets all dried, when I prefer fresh -- this will be really great to have around! Have you ever used those frozen ginger cubes then for ginger tea?