Tag Archives: Ratatouille

Five Frugal Things I have done this week 12th August

Five frugal things

It has been a bizarre kind of week weather wise here in Essex. We have had warmth, cold, sunshine but mostly a lot of rain. I have been hoping for an improvement as we are off to a little festival tomorrow.  It’s not looking too bad at the moment but I will be taking my rain mac just in case.

So what five frugal things have we achieved this week?

We have a working wood burner

We finally had our wood burner fitted! It is ready for winter. This isn’t frugal in itself, of course, as it was expensive. Mr S saved us money by doing as much work as possible himself but we had to pay to get the chimney lined. Others who have one tell me that it has saved money on their heating bills in the long run and is great for drying laundry.

I am certainly looking forward to cozying up in front of it this winter.

I got some cash back

I signed up a while ago to Top Cashback and, even though I have barely bought anything over the last few months, I have earned £50 cash back! Imagine how much you could get back if you are a big online spender?

The idea is that you go into the site and peruse the deals they have negotiated with various retailers. If you buy something, you get the published amount of money back. I have got into the habit of checking Top Cashback to see if there is a deal on before I buy anything. I renewed my breakdown cover and bought a few presents and it has definitely come up trumps.

If you use my referral code, here, I earn a commission and you get a £5 bonus once you purchase something.

Picnicking

As I mentioned, we are off to a small festival tomorrow – Wrabfest! We have never been before but it looks fun. It is a community event, organised by villagers from Wrabness. Because we are on a grocery challenge, we shall be taking along a large picnic. I have rolls, crisps, fruit, chocolate, sausage rolls and water. Hopefully we will be allowed to take a flask in too. As we are there all day, we will probably blow the budget and buy a burger or something for dinner though. You have to loosen the purse strings once in a while, and I don’t fancy lugging around too much food. Hopefully, this will be a nice day.

Surveys

I have never bothered much with online survey sites to make extra cash. They seem generally to be a lot of effort for very little reward. However, Prolific Academic was recommended to me as one that actually pays worthwhile amounts. I signed up and did a couple in my lunch hour today. I made £3.17 in about 20 minutes. Ok, it’s not going to make me rich, but if I did that every lunchtime it would be a useful amount extra at the end of the month!

You need to answer quite a lot of pre-screening questions and they keep appearing, each time you log on. The more you complete, the more surveys you are likely to be eligible for. It also pays to add your phone number to verify your account, I am told.

Lunch for pennies

As we still have a few courgettes coming through on the veg patch, I made a bucket of ratatouille on Monday. We had it for dinner with rice and I have eaten the rest for my lunches every day. It made a change from soup or a sandwich. I don’t really use a recipe. I just chop up onions, garlic, peppers and courgettes, fry them up, then add tinned tomatoes, herbs and seasonings. If I have an aubergine I might chuck that in, but I did without this time. It is certainly cheaper than going to the shop every day for a meal deal!

I’m linking up with Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky. Hop over to their sites to see the frugal things they have achieved? Let me know about yours in the comments too.

Courgettes with everything!

  It is that time of year. The courgettes are coming thick and fast and it can be hard to know what to with them. My favourite way to store them is in the freezer as soup. I make buckets of the stuff which makes fantastic frugal lunches. 

I also enjoy them cooked very simply with onions and garlic as a side dish or I make a poor man’s version of ratatouille with no aubergine: chopped and sautéed onions, garlic, a sweet pepper and sliced courgettes with a couple of cans of chopped tomatoes, a stock cube, chopped herbs (fresh or dried), a splash of wine if I have any sitting around and plenty of seasoning.  
 I made ratatouille last week and it was a side dish with some baked chicken and then two days worth of lunches with some rice.
  Courgettes and mushrooms gently sautéed in butter is quick and easy. Looking through my blog, this time last year I tried stuffed courgettes with feta so I shall do that again – the recipe is  here. I made some glutney chutney as well which used onions, tomatoes and courgettes, all from the garden, so some form of courgette chutney is on the cards again this year.
  I have never tried them as courgette cake but I fully intend to this year. I love carrot cake so why not? My courgette recipe book also suggests pickling in the same way as you would cucumbers. Has anyone tried this?

Do you have any gluts of your home grown fruit and veg, and how do you preserve them?

Ratatouille

imageI don’t usually make ratatouille out of courgette season. In the summer I always have a glut so it regularly appears on my meal plans. However they were very reasonably priced in Aldi and they also had some delicious looking red peppers so we had this for dinner last night served with rice and topped with grated cheddar. Healthy, yummy and still good value. I vary this and never use a recipe; however this is roughly what I included last night.

Serves 6-8

4 medium courgettes, sliced
2 onions, chopped (as I had red and white I used one of each)
3 fat cloves of garlic
2 chopped peppers – I used one green and one red
2 tbsp olive oil
2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried basil
1 vegetable stock cube

Heat the oil and sweat the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until soft. Add the courgettes and peppers for a further five minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and add the crumbled stock cube. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes and serve.

Three of us ate this for dinner yesterday, myself and DD1 had it again for lunch today, and me and Mr S will have it tomorrow with some baked chicken thighs. No complaints from the family either – in the midst of the summer glut they flinch when they see courgettes on their dinner plates in various guises 🙂