Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Project Frugal: Day Nine

Yesterday's sunshine felt as if it never existed today, as it continued to drizzle down miserably all day.  Luckily for me though, I currently work from home so felt no need to stretch my legs outdoors.  Mooching around the house, I pondered what was considered a suitable lunch for such a day as today.  Looking into my shrinking fridge, I spotted sundried tomatoes in oil, leftover tinned tomatoes and some red peppers beginning to look a bit tired along with a wrinkly carrot - inspiring stuff I know.  When in doubt, my philosophy is to throw everything together in a pan and see what happens.  The result today was quite surprising as a vibrantly warm broth came out making up for the lack of sun and blue skies outside.  I used the oil from the sundried tomatoes jar as I have always been slightly at a loss as to what one does with all that oil, be it in a jar preserving various peppers and tomatoes or in tinned sardines or tuna.  I've always heard that pouring the stuff down drains is a bad idea, and emulsification via washing up liquid is just faff I did not want to handle today.  What can I say? It's wet and not too warm, I feel justified in just curling up and doing as little as possible until the sun decides to come out again.

Some work and much procrastination later, I dashed out to Cafe Noir to catch up with a friend, which turned out to be very enjoyable albeit slightly soggy - the rain of course had decided it quite liked pouring down at a slanted sheet, all the better to drench people with!  Arriving on scene, shaking out pools of water I trudged into the room feeling slightly ruffled; luckily it was nothing a hot chocolate and good company could not fix and soon enough the rain outside got bored and went away, finally letting the sun out to play.  Some time later, we left the cafe to a beautiful evening with everything glittering to make up for a muggy day.  On my way home I spotted a elderberry alongside more ripe and luscious blackberries, so to date, my roadside now sports: blackberries, elderberries and plums.  Exciting times! I finished the evening with the broth I made this afternoon, thickened with some soup pasta and sardines and crackers.

Running costs so far is about £15 over 9 days but that did include a cheeky bottle of Martini.  I completely follow Nigella's thought train though: vermouth keeps whereas white wine doesn't so actually it is an investment...

Sunshine on a Rainy Day Broth
(Serves 1)


Ingredients:
  • 1 Carrot, sliced
  • 1 Small Red pepper, diced
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Stick Celery, sliced
  • 3-4 Sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 Tbsp oil
     -i.e. from jar of sundried tomatoes
  • 2 plum tomatoes/1/4 Tinned tomatoes
  • 400ml Water
  • Cheddar cheese to garnish
Method:
  1. Cover the base of a small pan generously with oil and heat gently.  Add the carrots, celery and garlic, stir to coat then cover and gently cook for 5-10 minutes.  
  2. Add the peppers and sundried tomatoes, fry for another 2 minutes then add the tinned tomatoes and water.  Beat the tomatoes to break up then bring the whole lot to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the carrots are tender.
  3. Spoon into a bowl/cup and sprinkle with grated cheese and serve with crackers or bread.
Variation: Add a handful of small pasta towards the last 10 minutes to thicken the broth.  I did this when I was reheating the left-overs then stirred in a tin of sardines before serving to make an evening meal.  If adding pasta, add more water to compensate.

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