Poached Egg in Garlic Broth! January 4th

Whilst the super 6 offers at Aldi certainly have their benefits, I'm left a little gutted that the albeit reasonably priced herbs and spices are a little out of my price range. A frustration was today finding chilli-con-carne sauce mix for a very reasonable 25p - cheap for the mix, but expensive when all I need is a pinch of chilli powder...

I recognise that loose chillis and ginger don't suit Aldis price market, but it does leave the temptation to pop to one of the Grocers near Cape Hill to try to buy a tiny quantity of ginger and chillis in order to add a bit more interest to meals.

I guess this is one of the reasons I made this a "bare-cupboard" challenge - having a selection of chefs ingredients would have resulted in a lot less of a challenge.

How todays 0.95 was spent:

Porridge 0.19

Rice, Egg, Garlic Broth 0.28

Cheese Omlette 0.48

I awake and rise with doubt. The scales I purchased appear to be producing inconsistant readings. It's somewhat disturbing as they are my guarentee against ezcesssive weight loss.

I've also got some concerns on the balance of my purchases to date - the garlic is a cracking ingredient, but the portion size of a clove leaves me needing to eat almost a clove a day in order to exhaust the supply.

Having opened the tomato puree on thursday, it needs to be used up this weekend. It's a usefull ingredient, but one that requires other products to function.

I've also been contemplating my butter and cheese purchases. I've come to the conclusion that I'd have been far better buying oil as a cooking agent, and possibly ditching the cheese all together - at this level of spending, it lacks versatility as a cooking ingredient.

Lunch

After popping out for some porridge powered log cutting, I return hungry and looking forward to lunch.

I've found an interesting page of garlic recipes on the Guardian. Reading down, I stumble across a recipe for "Sopa de Ajo" - an intriguing spanish dish based on garlic, eggs, bread and praprika.

I don't have many of the ingredients, but it leads me to an idea for lunch: Poached egg in Garlic broth With Rice. I start by frying half a bulb of garlic in butter, to which I add microwaved potato peel and carrot peel - more on this later. The Carrot soaks up the butter, which leaves me with a dryish pan and some butter roast garlic bulbs.

I place the garlic on one side, pour water into the pan and add half a stock cube, squeezing in the garlic pupl from the cloves - meanwhile cooking some rice in the microwave, managing to poach the egg in the garlic water with sufficient timing to serve a runny yolk poached egg on a hot plate of rice with a bowl of Garlic Broth. I probably now stink of Garlic, but it was a damn tasty meal.

Ingredients Rice & Garlic Poached Egg with Broth.

ItemCost
1/2 Portion Butter5p
1 Egg12p
1 Serving Rice4p
1/2 Bulb Garlic5p
1/2 Stock Cube2p
Total0.28

Crisps

I noticed that the garlic seemed to sparsely populate the pan, leaving a lot of hot melted butter that could potentially fry something else. By lucky coincidence, I had just washed, peeled and chopped a potato and some carrots.

My first attempt was with potato - I placed the potato peel of one potato in the microwave and cooked it for one minute, placing them in the pan when cooked, and flipping when the underside was golden brown.

After flipping and cooking, I placed them on a rack before patting them down with some kitchen towel.

The end result - Garlic butter Potato skin crisps. They tasted amazing. I gave one to my wife to ensure it wasn't hunger talking. She agreed.

At this point I should apologise for the lack of a picture - I placed the finished potato varient in the fridge with the aim of photographing them later. They went soggy. I ate them anyway, but they were no where near as nice as the fresh product.

I haven't costed them as the ingredients are all costed else where. Incidentally, the carrot effort was a fail. I ate the soggy garlic butter soaked carrot peelings regardless.

Emergency Shop

I prepared some of the ingredients for soup whilst I was making lunch, and got it under way. As I was out of tinned tomatos, I substituted in the carton of Passata. I used the last of the spaghetti, finishing the packet. I had the nagging doubt that something was missing, until the penny dropped that it was the beans for the soup. I left my wife to supervise the soup, and dashed to aldi to get some beans.

Given that I have half a tube of tomato puree left, I thought it wise to buy some passata so I could make some tomato pasta sauce - I'm pretty confident I can make it for a price point not too far off the 20p a serving the aldi essentials costs.

ItemCost
1 Carton passata32p
1 Tin kidney beans23p
Total0.55

Dinner

I prepared some of the ingredients for soup whilst I was making lunch, and got it under way. As I was out of tinned tomatos, I substituted in the carton of Passata. I used the last of the spaghetti, finishing the packet.

Ingredients Two Egg Cheese Omlette.

ItemCost
1/2 Portion Butter5p
2 Eggs24p
1 portion Cheese19p
Total0.48

I cook a reasonable omlette, and this was no exception. Unfortunately I noticed "produced by caged hens" on the packet which wasn't the greatest appetiser. I haven't bought anything other than free range for some time...

Conclusion

As I hinted, I also cooked another batch of minestrone today, yielding 8 portions - two more than last time. I'm not sure if this is due to better portion control, or the use of passata rather than tinned tomato.

This diet is time consuming - not just the cooking time, but also the effort spent researching recipes and combinations. I'm hoping now that I have 13 meals prepared, and a month of porridge planned that the plan will start to get a little less of a handfull.

Totals to date

Cash Spent16.03
Cost of Food Eaten3.90
Cash Remaining:14.97
Cash Reserved:3.71
Cash to spend:11.26
Days Remaining:27