Question... How many times do you end up panicked or worse - disappointed with the gift that you end up giving at Christmas...?
September is the best time to "start"... a well thought hamper at Christmas is appreciated, (not the mass produced one in the local supermarket). Then, each week spend a little on each purchase. By the time Christmas comes around, not only do you have a well thought out hamper... but you don't begrudgingly how to fork out big chunks of cash or worse "credit".
Last year, I visited the local op shops (secondhand shops) and bought some cane baskets for a bargain of $1 each and then filled it with lots of condiments and preserves that people will use over time. I avoided the typical shortbread, flavoured teas and cheap chocolates.
I am based in New Zealand, I tend to visit farmers markets that promote and support small business.
So below is the list of products you should easily be able to find, to create your own hamper (well lets face it - its not for kids!) Supporting local business in the process is great Christmas tiding!
Ever feel that you're hungry, but just don't know what you feel like to eat? Well Thai food is always an affordable and quick option, change things up in the kitchen.
I'm not promoting that this is the healthiest, low carb, great diet and new fandangle way to go... I'm just saying it tastes good!
Below are some links to some real quick and easy Thai dishes that will use one of two pots/pans and will take less than 10 minutes to prepare, even if you're not a budding chef, with ninja knife skills.
Hey....if you have found yourself in a situation where you're on a low income? or not budgeted the best! don't worry, it's okay... most of us have been there and we know it sucks! just learn from it....
If you've been living at mums or relying on takeaways then cooking for yourself can be a bit daunting but will help get those bills down.
So instead of spending vast amounts of money setting yourself up in the kitchen. Focus on using just one pot and one hob (to save on energy bills!) you don't need to be Jamie Oliver or a Masterchef to eat great hearty meals that last for a couple of days.
Think of the other benefits, like.... one pot to wash up! One-pot meals can be steamed, sauteed, stewed or baked. Start with choosing the sacred "one pot" will it be a saucepan, skillet, crock pot, pressure cooker or baking dish. All these can be bought from a secondhand shop (Salvos is what we call them in NZ) for very cheap, some people even give them away! I've just been on Ebay, you can buy a pressure cooker for under $20!
I'm not a chef... but here are some links to some great recipes that won't cost the earth and last in your fridge for a couple of days! The key is to look at a few recipes before hitting the shops.. that way when you see items at a reduced price (I find shopping later in the evening promotes the best deals) you know what you can use them for - DON'T BUY FOOD JUST BECAUSE ITS ON SALE!!!
There are hundreds of recipes, just google the words one pot cooking and I am sure you'll keep yourself entertained and maintain a budget for the week. Save the pennies here and there and you'll be surprised. Plus, if you are a student who doesn't know anyone, its a great way to start friendships by getting all involved. If you are a parent that's finding it tough... guess what.. its great family time, preparing and planning your dinners and of course less dishes to clean!!!
Porcini is the Italian name for Boletus edulis, a wild mushroom that is fast gaining popularity in New Zealand particularly in the South Island where it grows well and rapidly. These mushrooms are known as Boletus mushrooms (which to be fair is not exclusive to that of Porcini)
Dried porcini mushrooms or powder is readily available at boutique food stores and online, and they are among the most commercialized wild mushrooms in the world. Porcini possess a nutty, earthy character that creates a complex and enchanting flavor profile.The Japanese describe this as unami, due to the English not comprising on a word to describe the taste effectively.
Porcini mushroom is one of the finest wild culinary mushrooms on the market, and is by far the most coveted found in the wild. They are high maintenance in the kitchen and require special preparation; due to their high moisture content, they need to be treated with dignity rather than impunity, otherwise you run the risk of eating porcini that are soggy, slimy, or even leathery. Needless to say will turn you off forever!
Instead of blade-like gills on the bottom of the cap/hood, Porcinimushrooms have a spongy layer of tissue that’s made up of a multitude of little tubes. In the case of porcini, they start out white and turn yellowish as the mushroom matures.
Most people choose to use dried or powdered Porcini due to the challenges with preparing, cooking or storing this expensive mushrooms.
• 500g of venison stew meat rubbed with Rhayne Horopito Wild Herb Seasoning. • 4 brown onions, sliced thinly
• 2-3 cloves of garlic, (crushed from a jar is fine) • 2 beef stockcubes (or teaspoons of Bovril, Marmite or Vegemite) • 2 carrots & 2 potatoes • 50g of butter • 400ml of warm water
Cut away the silver skin and fat from meat. Cut into pieces mix with Horopito Herb. Heat butter in a crockpot (or pressure cooker), over medium-high heat. Cook meat until lightly browned on all sides. Do not cook through. Remove meat and set aside in a bowl.
Cook onions, carrots, potatoes, beef stock, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt into the same pot. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until onions are brown. Stirring frequently. Place venison back into the pot with the onions.
Time to add in 1 1/2 cups of water. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Venison should become very succulent and tender. Check occasionally, add water if necessary. Cook uncovered for an additional half hour to thicken up the sauce. Then you are ready to eat!
Leftovers can be frozen (use snaplock bags - and don't forget to label and date!)