Sunday, 4 September 2011


Eggs are wondrous.  One of nature's most spectacularly efficient food sources.  Loaded with protein, versatile, so delicious.  At Tescos you can get 30 eggs for £3 so most egg based meals allow me to feed my family for well under a fiver.
There is a famous legend that to make 100 different dishes with eggs alone is the ultimate test for the chef.  This interesting blog sets out to see if it is possible:
I'm definitely making No. 99 soon:
Again with the free toast from Brennan's this gourmet meal costs next to nothing.

And for those with concerns about using raw eggs (mayo, cesar salad, carbonara...)  I've found this info:

I have friends that have chickens in their backyard.  When I get some space I am going to do the same then all of these delights will be free.  Here in Belfast they have what are called allotments which are small plots of arable land provided by the city so urban dwellers can grow their own stuff.  I remember the great co-op farm organization in the SF bay area where we used to live which would deliver fresh picked seasonal produce each week.  It seems to me there are loads of under-explored opportunities for small, local cooperative growing and sharing of food.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Food for naught

School's back in session which means mountains of sandwiches.   Ran out of mayo today a key ingredient to any sandwich but even more important for the cheapest fillings (egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad...).  Why not make it from scratch?

Homemade mayo is way better than store-bought.  Any recipe will do, for example:
Granted I have these ingredients lying about the house already so today it's free for me.

For those concerned about using raw eggs, I've found this info:

For dinner tonight - soup, soup, soup!  Cheap, healthy, filling.  Great way to stretch expensive ingredients like meat.

BEEF BARLEY SOUP - £0.50 per person
Tesco value stewing steak - £4
Carrots/onions/celery/barley/spices - £2
Stock pots - £2.50
Toast - free.  Leftover bread from a promotion for a recent show, my freezer is full of bread!  This combined with the toast rack I got from a charity shop for 50p and we are golden.

There are 6 of us but we eat like 10.  £8.50 will feed us for 2 meals or 20 servings.  Most soup freezes well so you can make a heap and spread it out to break up the monotony. 

Dealing with addictions on a budget

Coffee has taken on inappropriate importance in my life, and I'm pretty precious about it.  Need decent beans, fresh ground and ideally espresso machine brewed.  I take my coffee with cream several times a day.  Back in the salad days when I had some more disposable income, I bought one of these Nespresso machines, you know the one George Clooney promotes (I got it on a promotion for half-price and it has more than paid for itself).  The problem is you need to mail-order the coffee pods direct from Nespresso and while cheaper then going to Starbucks every day they aren't cheap when you add shipping.  So I started refilling the pods and they work great:
If you get one of these Starbucks cards and register it online, every time you get a bag of beans (about £3.50) you get a free tall drink.  (When I have to pay for the coffee, I  stretch the savings by getting a short latte with whole milk and an extra shot, the extra shots are free with the starbucks card, which is the same thing as a flat white but cheaper).  The Nespresso pods are small so a bag of coffee lasts near forever.  Its a bit labor intensive refilling the pods.  It feels like I'm cutting and packaging cocaine, at least from what I see in the movies.  I don't do it in my underwear though, at least not yet.  If you don't have a Nespresso machine, I would consider getting housemates or coworkers to pitch in and spread out the cost and labor.  I'll probably bring it to the production I'm starting and get the community chorus to pack the pods with coffee (in their underwear!)

T-minus 13 and counting

With 13 days to finish my 50,000+ word PhD thesis which I've barely begun, several overdue projects that I need to finish up, and a huge production getting ready to commence I find this the perfect time to start a blog.

I've completely run out of money until Friday, but this is not new.  With 4 growing boys, a dismal job market, and a career in the arts, I've have had to get by on little and probably always will, at least until I find a way to exploit one of my children for tons of cash.  On reflection, with the exception of a greater-than-normal level of anxiety about making ends meet, I've been fortunate to be able to maintain a standard middle-class lifestyle on little and find great satisfaction in simplifying and making every cent count.