Alas, it would seem that the organic fruit and veg boxes, delivered fresh from the field to our doorstep every week, have literally changed our lives. An overstatement, you might think? To which I rhetorically reply with a categorical no.
Having found so many new and exciting crops within the confines of our cardboard box, combined with the fun and excitement that comes with raiding the cookery books (and the larder) to find innovative and tasty ways to use the entire contents (as per the challenge, lest not forget), it has come to pass, by some harmonious means, that Hubby and I have taken rather fondly to becoming a pair of ‘not the whole hog’ vegetarians.
By this we mean we’re eating predominantly vegetarian, but won’t turn our noses up at eating or cooking meat (indeed, hog, come to mention it) or fish whilst in company or out and about, should a carnivorous need arise. But none the less, we’ve stuck pretty strongly to our new-found fancy for the last couple of weeks and not only do we feel pretty darn satisfied with our veg-based diet but we have dished up some delicious dinners in the process.
What is more, another major benefit that much pleases the purse and elicits entirely The Pinny Project ethos is the fact that the cost of our weekly food bill has considerably reduced.
With a two-person veg box and fruit bag coming in at just pennies over £17 combined (and they most certainly do feed two, plentifully, for an entire seven-day stretch across lunches and suppers), we’ve found that all the supplementary raw, natural (and unprocessed, I hasten to add) additions we need from the shops, such as oats, pasta, cheese, yoghurt, nuts and herbs, are really only all we need to create menu for a week, with the total totting up to £20 at most. That’s got to be a frugally fabulous tally in anyone’s books.
On top of this, we have free-range eggs and organic milk delivered by our friendly local milkman every week (which costs barely £3) and I’ve been busy whipping up staples from scratch that I would at one time, (pre The Pinny Project) have bought, such as breads, pestos, muesli, ketchups, veg stock, jams and mayonnaise, which is further helping to drive down the cost of eating whilst upping the flavour and adding to the satisfaction that everything is made by my very own hands and is as natural as it should be.
And so for around £40 per week, I’m able to don my pinny and spend much-loved time in the kitchen with my head buried in cook books, flicking through both the familiar and barely explored. Later I emerge with a raft of new recipes, inspiring ideas and renewed vigour as I create and cook healthy, inexpensive breakfasts, lunches and suppers that bring about a happy tummy, positive mind and a smile to the face. You could say that we’re embracing veggie living the whole hog after all then, really…
A great way to cook cauliflower:
If you’ve got a cauli in the fridge and inspiration for how to cook it is lacking, try this little trick for turning it into a cheap, nutritious and delicious dinner for two, as suggested by the King of River Cottage, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, in his Veg Everyday book (with a little adaptation or two from me):
Cut up the cauliflower into florets and soak them in water for 10 minutes. Chop up all of the outer leaves and set to one side.
Gently fry an onion in a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan or wok until soft and golden. Add two chopped garlic cloves and a teaspoon of ground ginger. Fry for a minute, then add the drained cauliflower plus around a quarter of a cup of the water. Place the cauliflower leaves on top of the florets, pop a lid on and allow it all to steam for around 4-5 minutes.
Remove the lid and add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Stir it all together, divide into two bowls and enjoy.