Mega thrifty home made vegetable stock

home made vegetable stock

Home made vegetable stock

A good stock is the basis of so many great recipes. But did you know you can make the best and thriftiest home made vegetable stock from the bits of your veg you would usually throw away?

Home made vegetable stock is so easy and means that you can use all the trimmings and peelings from your veg that might go in the compost, food waste bin or even in your trash. It is a way to take every last bit of goodness from your food, as many of the vitamins are directly under the skin.

I don’t always peel my veg but when I do, rather than put the peelings and trimmings in the compost bin as I used to do I put them in an old ice cream container in the freezer. Once I have a couple of containers full, it is time to make the stock. Really anything will do, but I don’t use the peel from onions as they are bitter.

home made vegetable stock

Method

All you need to do is place your vegetable peelings into a large saucepan with a large onion chopped in half. a stick of celery sliced in two, 10 or so black peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves. Just cover with water and bring to the boil. Add a teaspoon or two of salt.  Cover and simmer for two hours.

When your home made vegetable stock is cool, strain it and discard the vegetable matter in your food waste bin or wormery, if you are lucky enough to have one.

I use it to make soup usually and have a batch ready for some pumpkin soup once now that we have finished with our Halloween lantern. It has a great flavour already so will add to the soup. Do you make home made vegetable stock from your trimmings?

For more of my frugal food ideas, see my Favourite Frugal Recipes page.

Home made croutons: stop wasting bread

Stop wasting bread – make croutons!

stop wasting bread

I recently read that 32% of bread is thrown away in the UK. This is a staggering waste of this food staple. It is so cheap that we don’t value it, so it is easy to eat half a loaf and then chuck the rest if it is a bit stale or mouldy. I am always looking for ways reduce food waste – and save money – and there are endless recipes to stop wasting bread. Be it bread pudding, breadcrumbs, bread and butter pudding, apple Charlotte or gazpacho, there is much you can do rather than chuck those unused loaves in your bin.

stop wasting bread

My latest favourite way to stop wasting bread is to make croutons, especially now that soup season is upon us. They are so easy and quick. If you have never made croutons, give this a try and I swear you will never buy them again.

The quantities below are a bit loose, as it depends how much bread you have to use up.

Garlic and oregano croutons

Ingredients

stop wasting bread

About a third of a loaf of stale bread. If it is mouldy at the crusts, be sure to remove these.

Garlic oil

Dried oregano

Salt

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or equivalent. Chop your bread into cubes. How big or small is up to you, but I like them around 1 to 1.5 inches square  so that they are crispy throughout. Place them in a bowl and drizzle on your oil, until they are fairly evenly coated but not soaked. Add a teaspoon or two of oregano plus a teaspoon or so of salt and toss to mix. Grease a baking tray and spread them over in a single layer.

Place the tray in the oven for 5 minutes. After this take them out and toss them, then give them a further 5 minutes to crisp up. Et voila! Crispy and delicious croutons in about 15 minutes. They are delicious with soup, on salads or even just as a snack.

Once cool they can be stored in an airtight jar and will last a week or so. You can vary the seasonings depending on what you have. If you have no garlic oil, crush a clove finely and mix with the oil before pouring over.

What do you do to stop wasting bread?

For more food ideas, see my frugal recipes page here.

Love your Leftovers: spinach cheese frittata 

Love your Leftovers

This is the second in my occasional Love your Leftovers series.

You know how it is when you cook fresh spinach? You think you have enough in the pan to feed the five thousand then you cook it and it disappears to a small bowlful!

I tend to over compensate for this and cook even more than I think I need. I love spinach and I know there are plenty of ways to use it up. You’ve got to love your leftovers!

love your leftoversUsing up leftover food is also helping me to stick to my £35 a week grocery challenge for August. The spinach, as well as some leftover canned sweet corn, went into this cheesy spinach frittata for a quick and easy dinner. Obviously, you can vary the ingredients for this type of dish, depending on what you have available or what needs using.

These quantities serve 2.

4 medium eggs

A splash of milk

About a cupful of chopped, cooked spinach

A couple of rashers of bacon, chopped

2 tablespoons canned corn

About 2-3 ounces grated cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

Oil

I tend to use my wok for this as it is a good size and is non stick. It needs to go under the grill but obviously not a plastic handled one!

Fry the bacon in a little oil until cooked, then spoon it out and set aside, leaving some oil in the pan to cook your frittata. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together then add the bacon. Pour back into your pan and cook gently until it starts to set. You can push the egg mixture around a bit to speed this up. Don’t allow it to catch on the bottom of the pan. When it has mostly set sprinkle the corn, spinach and finally the cheese on top. Place under a medium grill for around five minutes to cook the top.

This frittata is quick, cheap and easy, and a good way to help you love your leftovers. Have you any good recipes for cooked spinach?