This week’s spend: 150.55 euros

First of all apologies to everyone, life has become busy, which is exactly what I wanted but allows little time for updating my blog.  I hope that you bear with me while I try to find a routine within this hectic period.

When I write my menus every week I have a number of things to consider, first and foremost is cost, followed by variety and ease of finding ingredients.  I try to ensure that fish in some form is on the menu at least once a week and meat approximately 2 – 3 times.  I always compare my choice of evening dishes with the children’s calender of after school activities.  Since I am number one taxi driver any meal that is planned has to be prepared before any activities taking place between 5 and 6pm and, on the night that number 2 daughter has running, I have to make a dish that can be easily re-heated.  Since a majority of what we eat is vegetarian I am able to juggle my weekly menu around a little, which may not be so easily done when there is meat in the fridge that has a sell-by date.

Smoked haddock fishcakes

I tried flapjacks again tonight.  A slight improvement.  My mother gave me a lovely, heavy baking tin which I thought might help with the cooking process.  It did, however the flapjacks are stuck to the greaseproof paper.  It makes for interesting eating.


Saturday:  Steak and home-made chips.

Sunday: Beef stir fry and prawn stir fry with egg fried rice and noodles.

Monday: Bucatini, salad and garlic bread

Tuesday: Leek and potato soup.

Wednesday: Fish cakes, mashed swede and carrots, mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

Thursday: Falafel, lamb meatballs, pitta bread, humous, tatziki and vegetables. Flapjack.(Mary Berry)

Friday: Baked potatoes with whatever is in the freezer.



Jamie's crispy salmon

This week’s spend: 178.58

I have been vindicated.  Sometimes I feel that it is only me that notices the whacky pricing in supermarkets, particularly Tesco, but The Guardian ran on supermarket deals as their front-page on this weekend’s Money section.  Check out their gallery of reader photos:  daftest deals in-store .  The old adage “buyer beware” certainly rings true here.

I have been trying to find tamarind paste for Dan Lepard‘s delicious tamarind date cake, but I have only found it with stones in.  In the past I got it from a local health food shop, but they no longer stock it as there was no demand for it.  I have tried a couple of ethnic food shops, but I haven’t been successful.  I bought some today that seemed to have fewer stones in than the last pack.  I was explaining to the shop assistant what I wanted it for.  I think he thought I was mad, he said he had only ever used it in currys and seemed quite shocked that I would put it in a cake.  Maybe I’ll take him a piece when I make it.  If anyone has any suggestions let me know, as picking out the stones is incredibly tedious.

Date and tamarind cake


Saturday: Pasta for kids, we tried out the new Lebanase restaurant in Limerick

Sunday: Chicken and bean enchiladas.

Monday: Jamie’s crispy salmon (Jamie’s 3o minute meals). I didn’t make this last week.

Tuesday: Sausage and bean casserole.  Chocolate muffins

Wednesday: Tamarind and date cake.

Thursday: Tomato and chilli pasta, salad and garlic bread.

Friday: Hoping that visiting grandparents will cook while I am at work!

This week’s spend 203.68 euros.

Sour cream chocolate cupcake.

It’s been another busy week in our house, and is yet to get busier with the holiday weekend coming up, middle daughter’s birthday, visitors and mid-term break.

Youngest daughter decided that she wanted to have a go at red velvet cake.  It seemed a good idea and she made the whole thing without any help as well as raiding my decorating cupboard for ready-roll blue icing to decorate it with.  It looked splendid, but unfortunately had the texture of playdoh!  We all bravely attempted to eat a slice without upsetting her, but after leaving it for a day or 2 it has been sent to cake heaven, in other words the garden for the birds to eat.

Red velvet cake.

For some reason there have been a lot of leftovers this week and I have tried to make the best use of them.  I made bolognase pasties for lunchboxes with the leftover sauce. The girls were not impressed with the idea, but did say that the result was unexpectedly nice.  Also youngest daughter took a wrap to school filled with the leftover chilli beans.

Not much of interest to report this week as I didn’t come across any exciting offers in Tesco and I haven’t put in my next order to Amazon.


Saturday: Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals: Crispy salmon, jazzed up rice and gorgeous guacamole.

Sunday: Chicken casserole with mashed potatoes. Sour cream chocolate cup cakes.

Monday: Tacos with chilli beans, tortilla, salsa, guacamole and cheese melt and salad. Red velvet cake.

Tuesday:Spaghetti bolognase.

Wednesday:Chilli red pepper and sweet potato soup.  Mary Berry’s boiled fruit cake.

Thursday:Oven-baked red pepper risotto.

Friday:Chicken curry and dahl with rice.

This week’s spend: 206.57 euros.

Focaccia with sundried tomatoes.

Apologies to all my readers for missing a week, it was just mad last week, but all good things, apart from the puppy, who is very hard work.  So my exciting news for this week is that I tried out subscribing to Amazon groceries to buy my washing powder.  What a great service and a great price.  I ordered 4 x 2.25l of Fairy non-bio washing liquid and it arrived at my door within 4 days, which included the weekend at a cost of: £20.89 (23.85 euro), compare this to Tesco.ie which is 11.68 euro per bottle of 2.25l.  Next on my agenda is toilet roll, fabric conditioner and flour, all considerably cheaper than driving up the road to the local supermarket.

If you are interested in buying your groceries be very careful to ensure that the supplier is Amazon and you can benefit from a reduced price if you subscribe, which commits you to ordering on a regular basis.  I set mine up for 4 months.

Fairy non-bio washing liquid

The Great British Bake Off has come to an end with Jo as the deserving winner and to fill its place has been a couple of masterclasses with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.  I was inspired to try out Paul Hollywood’s recipe for foccaccia.  It was delicious, although I have to admit that I only searched for the recipe, my husband put in the hard work.


One other thing.  I love the tinned variety of treacle pudding and have been wanting to do a home-made microwave version for ages.  Last week Dunnes were selling plastic pudding dishes for the microwave and I have added one to my collection of plastic containers which is threatening to take over the house.  I made the pudding on Sunday, which turned out to be the easiest pudding I have ever made and was an absolute hit, despite looking a bit anaemic.  Even the Spanish student, who had to be coaxed into eating it loved it.



Saturday: sushi, stir fry, crab cakes.

Sunday: Roast chicken with batter puddings, roast potatoes, mashed swede and carrot.  Microwave treacle pudding. Home-made  crumpets.  Chocolate banana bread.

Monday: Smoked haddock fish cakes, vegetables and roasted potatoes. Chocolate crinkle biscuits

Tuesday: Pork casserole (not sure what this will be, but it will include mushrooms and cream)

Wednesday: Chilli pasta.

Thursday: Iranian minestrone soup

Friday: Leek, potato and carrot bake.

This week’s spend is €217.85.

Home-made beefburgers

I hate silicone muffin trays!  There, I feel better now.  I made apple and cinnamon muffins and thought that I would use my silicone muffin tray from Dunnes.  Every so often I decide that I will give it another try as I have a square, silicone baking dish from Lidl that works a dream, however it disappointed again and everything stuck. Aaaarrgh!  I have a friend who uses a mini silicone muffin tray for her butternut squash muffins and she claims that she just “pops them out”. Hah!

Failed again.

I hate to tell you, but I have started buying for Christmas.  All the supermarkets are getting their stock in now and I have learnt my lessons, it is better to buy now and hide it than wait, also the deals are quite good.  So from now on I will be buying something every week. I bought chocolate mainly this week, but I also bought a couple of bottles of sparkling apple juice and one of old fashioned lemonade from Lidl. They are great for the children on Christmas Day, while my husband and I guzzle wine they can have their own speciality drinks  My biggest problem is hiding the stuff from the rest of the family and then remembering where I put it all.

Chickpea burgers

Our Spanish student has complained about the lack of beef on the menu so I bought steak this week, fortunately they were reduced in Tesco, so both she and my meat-eating daughters will be happy this week.


Saturday:Chicken wraps.

Sunday: Home-made beef burgers and chickpea burgers with home-made rolls and salad. Chocolate fudge cake.

Monday: Chilli pasta and salad.

Tuesday: Beef shepherd’s pie and lentil shepherd’s pie. Apple and cinnamon muffins.

Wednesday:Stuffed baked potatoes and baked potatoes with leek, bacon and cream cheese topping and salad.

 Thursday: Chorizo and chickpea soup with home-made rolls.

Friday: Steak and chips.

This week’s spend 186.39 euros.

Sunday brunch brioche

Ok so the green gloop did transform into jam, with a very interesting, caramel-flavour, but I am not sure who is going to eat it.  I may  have to sneak it into a cake or some biscuits.


This week I discovered Woman’s Hour “Cook the perfect…” with Annie Bell.  I have been listening to podcasts whilst out walking and this one inspired me to make a quiche lorraine this weekend.  Unfortunately pastry has never been my forte and I don’t have a lovely, deep quiche tin so I won’t post a photograph of my results as they are less than inspiring.  Still everyone seemed to enjoy the quiches and there was enough left for lunchboxes the next day, result.

Chocolate eclairs by youngest daughter and friend.

Autumn is upon us, although we are suddenly experiencing the “Indian Summer” that we had been promised, so soups are back on the menu.  I made a good choice of making roasted pepper soup as peppers were on offer in Lidl for 39 cent.  I love this soup because it is the most gorgeous orange colour and on a cold, dark evening it makes you feel warm before you even take a spoonful.


Saturday: Sushi, crab cakes, noodles with prawns and spicy Thai crackers. Chocolate eclairs.

Sunday: Quiche Lorraine, leek and cheese quiche with salad and baked potatoes.  Apple crumble. Brioche.

Monday: Roast pepper soup and home-made white rolls.  Chocolate fudge cake.

Tuesday: Lentil shepards pie.

Wednesday: Chicken and leek pie and mashed potatoes. Iced fingers

Thursday: Toad in the hole with cauliflower cheese for my veggie daughter.

Friday: Steak with roast potatoes and vegetables.  Veggie daughter and I will have frozen leftovers.

Saturday dinner

This week’s spend is 180.69 euros.

Green gloop or green tomato marmalade in the making.

Green tomatoes, if I never see another one it will be too soon.  Like lots of other optimistic people all over Ireland I invested in a grow bag and tomato plants and was delighted with a wonderful crop of tomatoes,however they never ripened due to our unusually cool summer.  So, in an effort not to  the tomatoes I am making green tomato marmalade, not chutney.  I found a recipe in the Guardian by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and have spent the last 2 days coring 1 kilo of tomatoes, I have nearly finished.  Obviously, I am not doing it continuously, just in short bursts as the monotony of it is mind-numbing.  I will let you know next week whether it was worth the effort.

Wholemeal rolls, not shop-bought

Despite the distraction of a new puppy in the house we have managed to fit some baking in.  My husband made beautiful wholemeal rolls, which the children were convinced were shop-bought.  He is much more of a perfectionist than I am.  I made some banana muffins and Glasgow banana bread, neither of which our Spanish student liked.  I also attempted flapjacks for the hundredth time, and failed again.  I used a silicone baking dish and the whole lot stuck to the bottom.  It still tasted good, but was not very good for lunchboxes.  Anyone got any fail-safe recipes?

Tomato tart


Saturday: Carrot, leek and Potato pie. Rice pudding (made in the slow-cooker, the best ever way of making it)

Sunday: Tomato tart, Spanish tortilla (as made by my daughter and Spanish student), salad and garlic bread.

Monday: Sausage and lentils with mashed potato and mashed swede

Tuesday: Leek and potato soup with wholemeal rolls.

Wednesday: Pink fishcakes, carrots and cabbage. Smartie ice-cream cones as they were on offer in Tescos.

Thursday: Smoked haddock, leek and saffron bake, banana fudge cookies

Friday: Chicken masala curry and vegetable curry and rice.

The girls' Spanish tortilla