Pie! (£100 challenge – day 25)

The pie was pretty tasty! I used the same almond crust as the cherry-almond pie I made for MoFo, but just used whole almonds – if they’re going to get blended anyway there’s no real advantage to using slivered almonds unless those happen to be cheaper. The filling was also from the Post Punk Kitchen/Vegan Pie in the  Sky book, from the pumpkin cheesecake recipe, only I was out of a few ingredients. I had no bananas so left them out. I used about 1 2/3 cups of roasted pumpkin instead of canned, had no coconut oil so I just left that out and put an extra spoon of cornstarch in. I also had no lemons so I put a quarter teaspoon of citric acid and two tablespoons of water in. Oh, and I didn’t have any pecans, so I just left the nut topping off – the filling seemed pretty sweet already, plus it meant we got to see the marbling a bit better ( night-time photo doesn’t quite pick it up).

There was spare piecrust mix, so I popped that in a small oblong dish and topped it with my chestnut truffle recipe, only of course I used the last of my rum the previous time, but fortunately there was just over a tablespoon of brandy left.

Both desserts were really nice, although they didn’t have the several hours of fridge cooling they deserved, so weren’t as firm as they could have been.

For the main course, Rich made delicious panfuls of food. We had cabbage sabzi (not sure of the spelling!), braised kale and chestnuts, roasted butternut squash with whole roasted cloves of garlic, runner beans in tomato sauce, and onion gravy flavoured with juniper. A great meal with lovely people! 🙂

By today, I could be up to a spend of £80.64, but haven’t had to buy anything since Monday so I’m still on a total month’s spend of £67.79. Dare I go into town to buy tissues? Will I be able to just spend that pound or will I suddenly spot loads of things that seem like too good a bargain to pass up?…

Wholefood Wednesday (I know, I know, terrible title. Sorry!)

Sorry to say that I was slightly at a loss for a Wednesday theme, so this is just what I had for lunch. It also doesn’t really fit into my overall frugal, locally gathered theme as one of the ingredients is red quinoa, however I did buy the quinoa at my local independent wholefoods co-op, so that’s… erm… B+ for effort?

Earlier this week I promised to post later about the kindness of someone I work with. On Monday morning I arrived into the office (where my main job is based) and found these on my desk Image

– runner beans from the garden of one of the managers in my team. Free produce is always a good start to a day.

Some I ate last night, sliced and added to leftover cauliflower curry, and I’ve added some more to today’s lunch, which is a warm variation of a salad I make regularly.

Warm Courgette and Quinoa Salad


Red quinoa, cooked – approx 2/3 cup

A small-medium onion, chopped

Runner beans, sliced (a small handful, say 6-7).

1 tsp cooking oil (olive was the closest to hand so I used that)

A medium sized courgette, grated

A yellow pepper, chopped 

(grated carrot and/or beetroot are really nice additions to these kinds of salads as well. A bit of lettuce doesn’t go amiss either)

Lemon juice

Garlic, 2 cloves, or to taste

Root ginger, grated, about a heaped teaspoon.


Cayenne pepper (couple of shakes)

Marinaded tofu (optional)

Some nice fresh tomatoes

Hot sauce, a few shakes

(Some mustard would have been nice in the dressing too. And some sesame oil if you’re not going to add the tofu).



Cook quinoa in double the volume of water in a saucepan (I cooked a cupful of dry quinoa so I would have leftovers for something else). Bring to the boil then simmer with saucepan lid on for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave in the pan while finishing preparing the veg.

While quinoa is cooking, in a smaller pan, fry up the onion for a couple of minutes, add the chopped beans and a sliced clove of garlic and a pinch of salt and fry for a couple more minutes. Add about a tablespoon of water and cook for about 5 more minutes, just to soften up the beans. Turn off heat and leave in pan.

Make dressing from juice of half a lemon, a crushed/grated clove of garlic, finely grated ginger, pinch of salt, a little cayenne (about 1/8 tsp, maybe?). Pour over the bean/onion mix in the pan and stir it up.

Grate the courgette and put it in a medium mixing-sized bowl. Add in the chopped pepper, then add the bean mix and some quinoa – I added about 2/3 cup, cooked.

I had some firm tofu in the fridge I’d previously marinaded in more lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, a dash of maple syrup, fresh grated garlic and root ginger and a pinch of dried 5-spice mix, so I thought I may as well have some of that as well, and it was finished off with a few ripe cherry tomatoes.



I tasted this, thought it could do with some hot sauce, which I added. Then I scoffed the lot!

Sorry if this isn’t very useful because the recipe is a bit vague. I really wanted to get a courgette salad into my MoFo though, as I’ve been enjoying variations enormously during the season, while they’ve been arriving regularly in my (now sadly defunct) weekly veg-bag delivery. Grated courgette makes such a nice, light base for a salad and because it doesn’t really taste of much is the perfect foil for loads of other ingredients. It’s also surprisingly full of vitamins. This is the first time I’ve added in quinoa, and obviously that and the tofu ramp up the protein, but without either of those, the courgette salad still makes a lovely accompaniment to a meal.

Oh, and I suppose there was an element of frugality because I saved heat cooking more quinoa than I needed. If you have any suggestions for cold quinoa please comment and let me know!