Tuesday, 11 March 2008

What happened to Delia?

Settled down last night to a pile of A level marking and thought I'd tune in to good old Delia as background noise. I nearly fell off the sofa! Delia is at it now, is she? We've had Nigella telling us how to feed our families from our walk-in pantries stocked from the local deli. Now Delia is telling us to buy frozen mash, ready grated cheese..........with smoked salmon fillets and quails eggs! Neither seems to have any concept of the price of food these days.

Someone needs to tell these people that working mums have been feeding their families fast, nutritious food on a budget for years. I have a homecooked meal on the table within 30 minutes of arriving home (and a load of washing in the washer).

For what it's worth, here's my master plan (apologies if I'm preaching to the converted - any other tips gladly received):
  1. Judicious shopping - I look out for BOGOF offers on staples such as tea, coffee, dried pasta, I go to Iceland for quality, branded products at a cheaper price and I (sometimes) go to my local greengrocer.
  2. This is crucial - PLAN AHEAD. Each week I sit down and plan the meals we are going to have based on cost, time available and a varied and balanced diet. This also eliminates waste as I plan the use of ingredients over several meals.
  3. Befriend the freezer - even if only a small fridge freezer it can make life easier. At the weekend I cook double portions (eg bolognese, chilli) or even two meals at once (I have been known to whip up a shepherd's pie whilst doing a Sunday roast) and freeze ahead for the week. Tesco (TGFT) 'value' foodsavers cost next to nothing and are a life saver.
  4. Make your own convenience foods - it's not difficult to grate a block of cheese and freeze it in freezer bags, homemade mash freezes very well and homemade soups and pasta sauces cost next to nothing and can be frozen in individual portions.
  5. Befriend the microwave - frozen ahead meals can be defrosted and cooked in minutes
  6. Befriend the oven timer - a frozen ahead casserole can defrost in the oven during the day, then be cooked on the timer so I enter the house to the smell of homecooked food!
Tah dah! Feeling quite smug and virtuous now.

(Does it help to know that about once a month I resort to a takeaway on a Friday when I'm just too exhausted?)


Amanda said...

What is bolognese? I'm all about planning ahead. Thanks for the good tips. I would like to be better at sauces. Maybe one day you'll do some easy sauce recipes that you can freeze. I often find myself resorting to the jars to save time.

GoneBackSouth said...

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Sass E-mum said...

I'm disillusioned with Delia too. Tinned mince? Bleurgh. I'm with you with planning ahead for easy, quick meals during the week.

It's v. impressive you can trust the oven timer. We've given up using the clock - Ellie keeps unsetting it.

However, I am very good at icecube-freeze Ellie's lunches. It's driving me nuts with boredom - all that mashing veg and pureeing fruit - but it satisfies my inner control freak!

Working mum said...

Thanks Amanda
You might know bolognese as 'ragu', the italian pasta sauce with minced beef and tomatoes. My husbands tells me I should do a working mum cookbook of my recipes; last night was butternut squash and chorizo stew. Yum!

Working mum said...

Thanks gonebacksouth. I had a look at SiteMeter but got lost at the words 'XHTML code' (would you believe I taught ICT in a former life?). Will get onto it in the Easter Hols!