Category Archives: Desserts

Pumpkin cake

I finally got round to making a huge batch of pumpkin soup at the weekend. I added curry powder and it was delicious. So lots of frugal lunches packed away in the freezer  for Autumn.

imageI also used some of the pumpkin flesh to make pumpkin cake. If you like carrot cake you will certainly like this. I left out the orange peel because I didn’t have any and used standard icing rather than the cream cheese variety. It has made a lovely moist cake. If I make it again I will freeze it in slices for our lunch boxes, probably without the icing though.

Here is the recipe:

I have thought of some more things that you can reuse rather than throw away or recycle:

Egg boxes – save for seed trays or kids crafts. If you know someone who keeps hens they may also find them useful
Carrier bags – try not to collect them in the first place, but if you do, they are good bin liners
Envelopes – stick a label over the address and reuse. Collect together and use for writing notes and shopping lists
Banana skins – I have heard that you can use these to polish leather shoes but have yet to try it!

This is an ongoing list so feel free to add your ideas.

Posh Nosh – Apricot Fool

Isn’t technology amazing? Mr Shoestring has an new phone that can take panoramic pix. Don’t worry, he hasn’t gone into a spending frenzy – he got it second-hand from eBay! It makes our living room look huge…

lounge panarama

I thought I would post my recipe for Boozy Apricot Fool, as it went down so well with everybody at the weekend. It’s not that cheap to make I suppose, and very calorific, but you have to push the boat out a bit when you are entertaining. You can substitute the wine for fruit juice if you prefer.

Serves 4
110g dried apricots
150ml white wine or fruit juice
About 3 tbsp lemon juice (I used half a lemon)
25g caster sugar
2 egg whites
150ml double cream, whipped until it forms soft peaks
Flaked almonds to decorate

apricot foolSoak your dried apricots overnight in the wine or juice, then simmer them gently in a covered pan for about 15-20 minutes (less time if they are pre-soaked). Let it cool, then zap to a puree in the blender. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff, then add the sugar and whisk a bit more. Then combine your ingredients, folding in the cream and lemon juice. Spoon the mixture into 4 nice glass dishes (mine are in 1970s freebies from the petrol stations – if you are a certain age you will recognise them!). Sprinkle with flaked almonds and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

This is one of my favourite naughty puddings!

Pavlova Fruit Trifle

I thought I was being so organised this week. As I was going for dinner at a friend’s house last night and taking the pudding, I made the meringue for my pavlova on Wednesday. I did as Delia Smith told me and baked it in a low oven for an hour then left it to cool in the oven overnight. However, when I came to slide it off the greaseproof paper it fell to bits! I decided that even if I smothered it in cream and fruit it wouldn’t pass muster, so I had a little panic thinking what I could do instead.

imageBeing the frugal sort, I didn’t want to spend any more money, so before work – at 6.30am! – I was raking through the cupboards looking for the jelly and trifle sponges left over from Christmas. I threw these together with the fruit I had purchased for the pavlova, then rushed off to work leaving it to set in the fridge. When I got home I whipped the cream and folded in some of the broken meringue pieces, then spread it over the jelly. So voila! Pavlova fruit trifle, a new Shoestring Cottage creation 🙂 it seemed to go down pretty well with my friends but they get less fussy after a few glasses of wine!

It may have been an accident, but I would make this again. It’s true what they say about necessity being the mother of invention. 🙂

Just checked my bank balance and it is still slightly hung over from Christmas, so even more extreme frugality coming up for the rest of the month…