So those of you who’ve been with me from the start and read my shopping for pauper’s blog, will know that I am now, as a penniless writer, living very much on a budget. Having next to no money means you have to shop smart, but also means you have to come up with ways to stretch what you have even further.
Now, of course, I could achieve this by trying to cut down on my electricity consumption. They’ve ads on the TV now showing how you can do so. The ads come from the electricity company themselves, probably because they want their customers to think it’s their over-use of electricity that has caused such a spike in their bills rather than their insane over-charging. However, I refuse, at this present time, at least, to sit in a darkened room, either freezing my arse off or being bathed in sweat and reading by candle light to try and save money on my electricity. Though that time may come quite soon.
I’ve found the one area where I can try and stretch my dollar further is with the nightly meal.
I’ve certainly had a good teacher over the years. Mr Thomas approaches meal times like a house wife on war rations. Everything is saved in our house. Open the freezer and they’ll be chicken carcuses and brocolli ends, stored away until there’s no more room and then used for Mr Thomas’ famous chicken stock. Pork fat is saved for potatoes, and cheap cuts of meat are bought and stored, ready to make a warming stew which will feed us for days.
So last night I took a leaf from Mr Thomas’ book and made a meal entirely out of leftovers.
Luckily for me and my tightened purse-strings, I didn’t even have to pay for the original meal. On Sunday we headed down to my parents house for Father’s Day lunch, and left with what was left of the leg of lamb and roast vegetables.
LAMB ROAST PASTIES
I started with the leg of lamb, cutting the meat off and slicing it into thin strips.
I then fried the meat with some onions, mint from my own garden, and a cup of chicken stock. This softened the meat and added some moisture. I then cheated and added half a sachet of gravy to the mix. We always have microwavable gravy sachets in the pantry, as they’re useful for a variety of dishes, and it means you don’t have to faff about making gravy when you’re looking for a cheap meal.
Now for the pastry bit. I used puff pastry sheets; another thing we always have a store of. I’m no Nigella, so am not about to spent my entire day trying to make pastry. Why would I when the bought stuff is just as good and at three dollars a bag, quite cheap.
Luckily for us, we also have these nifty pasty makers. They certainly make the process a lot easier. You can use the base to cut the pastry, place it in the top bit, add your filling, pop some egg around the edges, and then close like a book. Hey, presto, you have yourself a pasty. I then egg-washed them so they were lovely and brown. If you don’t have a pastry brush in your kitchen, don’t worry; I certainly don’t. I prefer to use a paper towel instead. If you use the good quality ones (something I’ll never scrimp on – paper towels) they won’t fall apart, rip or anything like that.
Now for the veges. I didn’t want these to go to waste either, so I sliced them and fried in some oil and mint (carrying on the mint theme). They came back to life and tasted just as good.
I’m quite proud of the end product, and Mr Thomas said they were quite delicious. I’m going to believe him as it does wonders for my ego.
There you have it: left over lamb roast pasties.