I know I relate to lots of people when I say there are times in life when we must be creative and austerity has been embraced and made to stand up and take its rightful place by amazing people like Jack Monroe who simply had to eat more cheaply due to poverty. This amazing girl stuck out the hardest times by cooking with the cheapest ingredients she could get because she wanted to feed her son real food, and because, being unemployed she had time on her hands. Uplifting to see stereotypes shifted and, on a more basic note, seeing just how little we sometimes have to spend on food to eat well. Of course the ethical rearing of meat and organics are always going to be strong issues, but it's not always more expensive to buy great quality meat, cheaper cuts are tastier anyway.
Because I kneaded the dough!
Sometimes I can't be bothered going to a supermarket and I like to empty out the cupboards and make what I can from what's there, today was one of those days, and what a haul of food we have now. But I was out of onions and needed to et some for the bread, so I went the cheapest place I know to get them Bobby Byrne's Foodstore on O'Connell Avenue. €1 for a large net, sorted.
First I put together a carrot cake oatmeal 'bake' , mine looked like this that as I replced much of the topping ingredients with cheaper stuff I had, coconut and almonds, mixed nuts and chia seeds. It tasted good but I'm a bit baffled as to whether its a breakfast or what?? Then I threw a kilo of flour into the mixer and made a loaf of Cheese and Onion bread and a batch of mini bread rolls, easy peasy, using muffin tins as moulds.
Tiny, yummy bread rolls
I'd decided to give vegetarianism a go for a day, so a recipe for a lentil and tamarind dhansak looked yum, from the doyenne of fabulousness Nigella. Nigella isn't one you'd peg with austerity but many of her recipes use very cheap ingredients and are very easy and accessible. Of course my kids didn't get to be seven feet tall by feeding them lentils, and I needed some middle-eastern bits n bobs so I set off to my favourite city centre food shop; Limerick Foodstore on Baker Place. This place is an Alladins cave for foodies and cooks. It is rammed with every type of rice, spice, pickle, tins of beans and veg, fresh veg and herbs, coconuts (I buy a lot of these as the water is simply the fastest cure for a hangover and the flesh is yum and you can use the shells to plant things) there are lotions and potions, dates and figs, and hard to get things like Zaatar and pomegranates.
With €10 we bought a whole chicken, cut up for me by the fastest butcher, a box of fresh dates for the dhansak, a pomegranate for tabblouleh, a large tub of natural yogurt, 500g brown basmati rice, a huge bunch of fresh, flat leaf parsley and a lolipop! At home we made tandoori chicken and the yummy lentils, the parsley salad and cooked some rice. The table was laden with the best of food and we didn't have to go to a supermarket to buy any of it. I love the guys in that shop, they are friendly, chatty and helpful. City centre, easy, go there. They sell Halal meat and lots of organ meat too.
Next up for a splash on My Favourite Shop is Limerick Community Grocery , a godsend for anyone who loves to eat the best of locally grown organic veg and get their hands on some top notch ethically produced food. It's all about balance