The boy is away on a school trip this week. Of course I miss him – and with the horrific incidence in Manchester, the distance between us hurts: at times like this, you want to hold your nearest and dearest close. But the house is amazingly tidy and quiet; the books are in their cases, the stationery in the assigned drawer. I’ve moved the beds to vacuum underneath. Hell, I might even clean the cooker.
There’s another project I have this week. Being a freelance I suffer from cash flow problems. Add on the road tax bill due by the end of this month and the coffers are pretty empty at the moment. So I decided while he is away to live off whatever was left in the freezer/cupboard/fridge without buying anything fresh (bar milk: I can’t function without regular cups of tea or coffee).
The problem is that I’m not a naturally inventive cook. I can make amazing cakes but my cooking skills are limited to putting bits of flesh under the grill or boiling pasta, really. So how will I create edible meals from the bits and pieces? The first night I dug out some scampi from the freezer. What you forget about food that’s been sitting in the freezer since the last ice age is that while it may not kill you, it tastes of nothing. For breakfast I found some elderly croissants. They were a pointless waste of calories: I chucked them out after trying to heat life into them. I found some – fairly recently frozen – bread, so that at least worked for toast.
For lunch I made soup out of a few bendy carrots, elderly shallots and a tin of cannellini beans I found in the cupboard. Whizzed up with the blender and flavoured with herbs from the garden, it was actually quite nice. Inspired, I decided to be creative for dinner. Wholemeal giant couscous, bits of elderly vegetables and some salmon from the freezer. Looked great, tasted rubbish. Today’s lunch (and probably dinner too) is frittata made from frozen peas, eggs and a bit of goats’ cheese stuck at the back of the fridge. It looks good, but I think it probably will be like eating lino. It might be the highlight of the week’s dining however: tomorrow looks like carrots, pasta and more frozen peas. Fancy dinner? Thought not...
Share your money-saving recipes in the comments box below!