cheap, Cooking with a toddler

Cooking With Toddler “Blip” – Pancakes (3p per pancake)

Toddler “Blip” and I have been cooking together since he was very small, initially I did all the cooking, he would just sit in his Ikea High chair and look at me. Then it progressed to him sitting in his highchair and playing with some vegetables whilst I cooked. Now, he happily will stand next to me or the husband on a small kids stool.. In fact, neither I or the husband can be in the kitchen without him saying, “I want to help mummy/daddy”.

His favourite thing to help with though is cakes and especially pancakes and by now he has finally managed to crack an egg without squashing it or putting eggshell in the mixture.


Now, my advice for baking and cooking with a toddler is to prepare everything. Before, we start I find the flour, egg, milk and sugar. I also put ready the frying pan, bowl to make the mixture in, the spoons and the wooden spoons. That way, I don’t get distracted and we have fun.

On top of this, pancakes are one of the cheapest easiest things to make with a toddler. It is fun and takes no time. Don’t buy the pancake mixtures you find in supermarkets, they are so expensive compared to making it yourself.

Toddler “Blip” loves the flipping of the pancakes, as he is too small to do it at the warm stow he got a small frying pan and he pretends to flip pancakes in his Ikea kitchen 😊

Serving suggestions, well if it is for breakfast, I would say syrup, Nutella and bananas, or brown sugar with lemon. If for desert or later in the day, I would say ice-cream. But lots of different options.

I have added the same recipe, underneath, but without toddler instructions

Pancakes

Makes 6

Ingredients

50g plain flour
1 egg
150 ml milk
1 tsp sugar (you could leave this out)
Butter or veg oil for frying the pancakes in.

Method:

Explain to your toddler that he/she is going to break the egg into the bowl you have provided (if it is the first time, you may want to have a spare egg!). Hold your toddlers hand with the egg and gently tap the side of the bowl, when broken, sepearte the egg and put it in the bowl. The adult should check for egg shells at this point!

Now use a scale and a measuring cup and get the toddler to put 50g of plain flour in the cup. The adult again, stops the toddler, a bit more/less is ok. Get the toddler to pour the flour into the bowl with the egg.

Now in the same measuring cup you used for the flour, get the toddler to measure out 150ml of milk (you can use skimmed, full fat or semi skimmed). Again, get the toddler to pour it into the bowl with the egg and flour. Add the teaspoon of sugar if using.

With a big wooden spoon, get the toddler to mix it all together, make sure it is not lumpy. Then either transfer the mixture to a jug or use the bowl to pour the mixture from.

Now, depending on the age of your toddler, this may be better done by the adult, I definitely know that my son is not quite ready to use the stow yet.

Heat up a none stick frying pan, with a knob of butter, and pour out any excess butter, add a portion of the batter and swirl it around the pan (it needs to be a thin layer) then flip the pancakes make them bake on the other side. Transfer to a big plate.

Repeat until you have baked all 6

Basic recipe  

Makes 6

Ingredients

50g plain flour
1 egg
150 ml milk
1 tsp sugar (you could leave this out)
Butter or veg oil for frying the pancakes in. 

Method

In a bowl combine all the ingredients, give it a proper stir, make sure there is not too many lumps.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat it up and add some butter then add a knob of butter, and pour off the excess butter.

Add the batter and swirl it around in the pan to nice and thin, when cooked on one side, then flip over the pancake.

 

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017).

Milk 6p
Flour 2p
Egg 8p
Sugar 1p

Total price: 17p for 6 pancakes – 3p  per pancake

 

 

 

Condiments, New Recipes

Using up Leftover Cream – To Make Homemade Garlic Butter (£1.79 for 250g of Garlic butter)

Lately, because the husband is doing this low carb diet, we seem to always be buying double cream. Apparently, on Atkins and Keto diets, cream is good for you? Help you lose weight… problem is that we quite often end up with some we can’t use before it runs out of date.

The other week, I needed 200 ml of double cream for a quiche, when I went to the local Co-op shop 600ml was reduced to £1.19 but 300ml was £1.39. Now, I know that we may just about have got through the 300 ml, but I wasn’t sure. Therefore, I purchased the 600ml cream to the lower price. But what to do with the remaining 400ml, I really didn’t want to waste it.

Looking in our fridge I had parsley that needed to be used up and I also had garlic in my cupboard, so I thought why not try and make homemade garlic butter? You could just make normal butter, but that wasn’t what I fancied. So therefore I decided to try this new adventure. homemade butter… And it turned out lovely, even though, it was a bit messy as I used a tiny bowl and my hand mixer started to throw butter everywhere in the end… so word of advice… use a bigger bowl!!


When the garlic butter was made I froze it and before totally set I cut it into slices, so whenever we need it we can take a slice out.


I’m always looking for ways of cutting out food waste as I think it’s a bit of a crime, there are people out there who can’t afford food for themselves or their kids.

I also think making butter would be a good project for kids when they are around 4-5 so they understand where food comes from and how it’s made. It’s such an interesting process to watch!

I must admit though that I can’t see myself making butter if it wasn’t because I had leftover double cream or found some really reduced in the super market. But to buy a full 600ml just for this, I probably wouldn’t, then I would just buy a basic butter and mix it with garlic and herbs and make that into the garlic butter.

If you purchased all the ingredients, just with the goal of making the butter then it would cost you £1.79 for 250gram.. However, because I grow my own parsley and the cream I was using was reduced, I only paid £1.03 for the garlic butter. But this would be an unfair price to put up.. as someone else may not find the reduced cream or grow their own parsley etc..

Homemade garlic butter

Now you absolutely do not need to stick to these measurements as if you have more/less cream use that.. just remember that the volume of cream becomes much less as you lose a lot of liquid making it into butter.

Ingredients:

400ml double cream
Pinch of Sea Salt
4 large garlic cloves
A bunch of parsley

Method:

  1. Place the cream in a large bowl, use a hand mixer and mix on high and keep mixing until the cream starts splitting. You will now see a lot of liquid coming out of the cream. Poor the excess liquid out of the bowl. Now you continue mixing for a bit longer, then when you don’t think more liquid is coming out of the mixture, put the butter into a colander and squeeze it, either with your CLEAN washed hands or put it in a muslin cloth and squeeze excess liquid out.
  2. Finely chop the garlic and the parsley, then add it to the butter together with a good pinch of Sea salt. Make sure it is very well mixed together.
  3. Taste the mixture, does it need more salt, parsley or garlic. If not put the mixture in baking paper or cling film and form to a sausage/square and freeze.
  4. Before the mixture is fully set take it out of the freezer and slice it. That way you can take out slices of garlic butter as you need it. It is delicious.


For this recipe, you could choose and change it as you like, really, it could be plain unsalted butter, salted butter, or you could have garlic and chilli butter. Whatever your imagination says would be nice.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017).

Double cream £1.07
Sea Salt 10p
Garlic 12p
A bunch of parsley 50p

Total price: £1.79 for 250g.

In Tesco if you bought ready made garlic butter you would pay £2.50 for 250g so still a saving 

 

 

 

Fish, Tinned fish

Store cupboard fish cakes, super easy and cheap (15p per fish cake)

One thing I always stock up on is tinned potatoes and tinned fish, I also know these are some of the stables that you often find in the foodbank donations. It doesn’t need to be plain tinned fish and you can combine different types. If you got a spicy Mackerel, it will just change the taste slightly.

I like to have tinned fish like Mackerel, sardines, tuna etc. in my store cupboard mainly  because we always had that when I was a child on rye bread. Now a day its rarer I would eat it like that, because there is so many options for toppings you can put on your bread instead. Also, rye bread is a bit rarer to have here in the UK. Saying that tinned fish is a very good way of getting your weekly amount of recommended Omega-3.

The tinned potatoes, is perhaps a bit more of a strange thing to have as a back up. The reason I like to have them in my cupboard is because back home in Denmark we use them to make caramelised potatoes for our roast pork at Christmas time. But I will write about that another time.

The good thing about both tinned potatoes and tinned fish is that they are already cooked, so in theory you could just open the tins and eat it straight out of the tin. But to be honest that’s not the most exciting thing to do in life. So instead, I like to Jazz it up a bit and make fish cakes.

You could also use fresh potatoes for this which is also cheap, takes slightly longer if boiling them from scratch or alternative use the leftovers from the day before. I hate waste and always try and use any leftovers we got, that is better for the environment and also for my wallet.

With fish cakes there is so many different ways you can make them, but this recipe is for the simplest way really. Then you can jazz it up however way you want. I have used a ratio of 50/50 so the equivalent amount of fish to potatoes, however, if you need to bulk them out a bit, you could easily do more potatoes than fish.

Fishcakes – the simple recipe

Makes 12

Ingredients:

2 x 125g Tinned Mackerel (boneless preferred)
250g tinned Potatoes
Handful fresh Parsley (or a tablespoon of dried parsley)
2 teaspoons lemon juice from bottle (or the zest and juice from ½ a lemon)
pinch of Salt and Pepper
100g plain flour or 100g breadcrumbs to coat the fish cakes in
2 tbsp veg oil for cooking the cakes in

Method:

  1. Firstly add the tinned tomatoes into a bowl and mash them up with a potato masher, then add the mackerel (without any liquid) to the bowl. And mix it together, but don’t over mix, you still want some nice pieces of fish in it.
  2. Then add the Parsley, Lemon juice (and zest if using) together with salt and pepper. Have a taste and adjust the flavours.
  3. Now form them into fish cakes and if you got time place them on a plate and let them rest in the fridge for at least 30 min. Take out the fish cakes and coat them either in the bread crumbs or the flour.
  4. Pour the oil into a pan and on a medium heat cook the fishcakes on both sides. Remember, the inside is already cooked so you don’t need to be over cautious with cooking them through. They should have a nice colour on the outside though.

I like to serve it with salad, homemade Tartare sauce and a wedge of lemon. But even just with some mayo and lemon juice from a can it is delicious.

Cooks tip: I tend to only cook, however, many we need. When I cooked it on Friday it was just for the toddler and me and I made 3 small cakes for me and 1 for the toddler and froze the rest. You can either cook them from frozen or defrost them and cook. It’s a really nice standby meal to have in the fridge.

Surprisingly, the tinned potatoes fries quite nicely in a bit of oil and is nice to have on the side with the fish cakes. Alternatively, decant them, put them in a bowl in the fridge and use it for another meal. If using fresh potatoes, just make sure to only cook the amount you need!

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017). I grow my own parsley and I always make bread crumbs from the odd end of bread we don’t finish. This brings down the price a lot. However, to make it fair for everyone all the prices are based on Tesco prices.

Tinned Mackerel £1.32
Tinned Potatoes 16p
Handful fresh Parsley 25p
Bottled lemon juice 2p
Salt and Pepper 2p
Plain flour 4p
Veg oil 3p

Total cost: £1.84 for 12 or 15p per fish cake

Chicken, Thai

Easy Satay Chicken skewers (21p per skewer)

As promised, I have added some more uses for the Satay paste/sauce I made. One of the things I love to use the paste for is my homemade Satay skewers. They are about 21p per skewer. You could stretch this and make them even cheaper if you added things like peppers and onions to the skewers.

I like to buy chicken thighs, but with bone and skin still in this is a much cheaper and tastier compared to chicken breasts. It’s certainly also cheaper than buying it all deboned already. It literally takes minutes to debone and skin the chicken. On top of that if you keep the bones and the skin, you can use this for making a delicious stock at a later point. I keep a freezer bag in the freezer and bang in all chicken bones etc. Then when full I cook a stock in my slow cooker.

As the Satay sauce, I make is rather thick, I like to let it down with coconut milk so it’s better as a marinade. This can either be done with normal coconut milk, or if you got it creamed coconut, which I prefer as you don’t need a huge portion and its cheaper than the coconut milk you buy tinned. Also, it’s a good standby in the kitchen.

I had two for dinner, Toddler Blip tried the chicken but wasn’t keen on the mushrooms though. There was two for the husband’s lunch, he didn’t take them though, therefore he will have them for dinner tonight. The rest I froze the rest for another day.

chicken skewers

Easy Satay Chicken and Mushrooms Skewers
Makes 8 skewers

Ingredients:
4 Chicken thighs
5 Mushrooms
3 tbsp Satay sauce (see previous recipe)
50g creamed coconut
250 ml water

Wooden skewers

Method:

In a saucepan, add the water and bring to boil, then add the creamed coconut and simmer it down to the consistency of coconut milk. Now add the Satay Sauce to the mixture, and slowly let it simmer down to a nice consistency. It mustn’t be too solid and not too runny.

Heat up the griddle pan it needs to be very hot (don’t add any oil to the griddle pan as this will make it smoke). Whilst the griddle pan is heating up, cut the mushrooms into chunks, then slightly drizzle them with oil and add them to the warm griddle pan, don’t move them around before they got proper marks on them.

While grilling the mushrooms, debone and remove the skin from the chicken thighs, then cut into bite size pieces. When the mushrooms are finished take them off and add to a bowl.

Now add the chicken to the warm griddle pan, make sure they also get the griddle marks and cook through. When cooked through place it in the same bowl as the mushrooms and add half of the Satay marinate to the bowl and make sure mushrooms and chicken get evenly coated.

Then alternate the mushrooms with the chicken on wooden skewers. Now you can either finish off the skewers under a hot grill for a few moments, or if your griddle pan is big enough on the griddle pan or obviously on a bbq*.

This is nicely served either with a salad or/and rice and obviously the reserved Satay sauce for pouring over the skewers.

*If making the skewers on the bbq, start by soaking the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017).

Chicken thighs 85p
Mushrooms 23p
Satay sauce 34p
Creamed coconut 25p

Total: £1.67 for 8 skewers, that’s 21p each

 

 

 

Fakeaway, Thai, vegetarien

Easy lunch – Satay Vegetarian Noodles (£1.29)

Following op on my post from yesterday, I have been craving anything with peanuts. One of my standby dishes which I love to make is Satay Noodles.

It’s a super easy and cheap standby dish, easily adapted and doubled, you could easily make it with either prawns, chicken or just with plain noodles and a few vegetables. The one I did today was with fried tofu, because we had it at home, and I adore Tofu..

Toddler Blip is still in nursery and Daddy is at work… as for baby Flipper he is still in my tummy and he seemed to enjoy the noodles!

Also you could use a store bought Satay sauce (the consistency is very different so you may need to use more). I normally calculate 50g of noodles per person. Whatever, noodles you fancy or have laying around will do, I do find that thick noodles are really good for this, like Udon noodles. I didn’t have them, but some random noodles I picked up in the Asian store ages ago,  still worked brilliantly.

This makes an excellent packed lunch as well.


Satay Noodles with Tofu

Serves 1

Ingredients:
50g noodles, cooked as per package and rinsed in cold water
4 tbsp Satay sauce (see recipe from yesterday)
4 pieces fried tofu (optional)
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
¼ hot red fresh chilli, finely chopped
Corriander, small bunch coriander finely chopped
2 radishes, finely sliced
2 spring onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped peanuts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
50 ml water

1 lime wedge (optional)

Method:

  1. Firstly, cook the noodles according to instructions on packet, then wash and rinse under cold water and set aside.
  2. Now, make sure you prepare all the vegetables. Make sure to keep them separately, as they different things go in at different times. Keeping a bit of chilli, coriander and radishes aside for garnish.
  3. Add the oil to a pan and add the garlic and chilli, when lightly fried to crisp (not burned) take out the garlic and chilli.
  4. Turn the pan to low and add the Satay sauce and the water to the remaining oil. When simmering add the tofu and warm through, then add the noodles. Make sure the noodles get proper coated in the sauce. When all warmed through add the remaining ingredients, and toss together.
  5. Serve in a bowl with the lime wedge and reserved chilli, coriander and radishes as garnish and some extra Satay Sauce if you fancy.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017).

Noodles 23p Satay sauce 25p Fried tofu 21p Garlic 6p Red chilli 7p Coriander 25p Radishes 10p Spring onion 10p Peanuts 6p 1 tbsp vegetable oil 2p 50 ml water

1 lime wedge (optional) 4p

Total: £1.29 for the portion – based on Tesco prices.

 

 

Condiments

Really hot chilli oil – homemade and cheap (83p for a bottle)

As a kid I was an extremely fussy eater, I really disliked food. I rarely ate a lot and lots of my teachers thought I had an eating disorder. I was seriously underweight throughout my childhood. But as I became Oder and especially as I started on “boarding school” it turned out that I wasn’t picky and didn’t dislike food, I just hated tasteless food.

Me as a teenager.

We had cooking lessons at the school and one of my teachers Ida loved spices. She introduced me to garlic and chilli but also really tasty Danish food and how I loved it.

I later realised that one of the reasons I probably didn’t like food was that my mum really can not cook (sorry mum), or at least only a few tasty dishes. Most of her dishes even today are some kind of stew, that consist of a horrible glue like sauce..

My family over here though are not always as enthusiastic about spicy food as me. Especially toddler Blip, who doesn’t appreciate it. So, I have compromised and now got my super cheap very spicy homemade chilli oil and also chilli sauce. Strangely enough toddler Blip always insist on trying my chilli oil every time we got pizza, and everytime spits it out.. lol

I never ad garlic to the oil due to the risk of boutalism when storing garlic in oil. The chilli oil is also brilliant to spice things up like tomato soup and last forever in the cupboard.


Chilli oil – super cheap and easy recipe

Ingredients:

250 ml vegetable oil (or a bit less than what fits into the storage jar you have chosen)

2tbsp very hot chilli flakes

Method: 

  1. Heat up the oil to approximately 130C. Turn off the heat and add the chilli flakes. They shouldn’t be frying so the start colouring, but oilmshoukd be warm enough so the chilli release the spiciness from them.
  2. Leave to cool until you can decant it into the jar.
  3. It’s now ready to be used.

Bon appetite – as my grandad would have said.

Costings:

These has been based on Tescos prices (June 2017), the chilli flakes are much cheaper though if bought at your Asian corner stores! 

Vegetable Oil (I buy 5 litres for £4.50 in Tesco every few years). 250 ml =23p

Chilli flakes = 60p

Total cost 83p