a bag of flour

some lentils, spuds, onions and carrots. Useful stuff if you need to limit your food spending severely. We already had the latter items and indeed quite a lot of flour, but I went to the supermarket for just one thing this afternoon - a bag of plain white flour. Once I had that, I could carry on with the cooking fest. Yes, a public holiday in New Zealand, with a window for a bit of serious saving through making yummy food. I can attest that feijoa and ginger muffins taste good, though I can't post a recipe as I had to adapt to a terrible online one as I went. After next time. The last half I hid in the freezer for school lunches before they disappeared.

I made two different kinds of bread. The Cromarty Cob, which I cooked up an hour ago, was a success. I put it in a tin this time and I can see that will be a lot more practical for making school/work lunches than the sprawled-out shape I have previously made with this recipe. The other kind was Caraway Rye Bread and that is still proving - I'll cook it up first thing in the morning. Both kinds start with a sourdough and use both rye and wheat flours. This seems to be my favourite.

Remember the mutton soup? Well there was still mutton stock to be used and I didn't feel like soup two nights' running. So I made a kind of spaghetti bolognaise and replaced most of the tomato/red wine liquid in my usual recipe with the mutton stock. I still squirted tomato sauce in there and added some dun dried tomatoes for tomato-ness without added liquid. It came out pretty good. Made with kale of course. I noticed some coughing and sneezing and poorliness this afternoon amongst my tribe, so into the bolognaise sauce went garlic, onion, celery, ginger and chillies. I was pleased to be using the stock as well - it is the mineral boost in stocks which I am so keen on.

Any quibbles on all of this? Yes. Time. You need to be home based pretty much full time to keep this up if you are upgrading to home made bread as well as home made most other foods. I won't touch a breadmaker machine now that I am so much more aware of the ways in which intense yeast and rapid rise breads disagree with me. I'm pleased that when I do make bread, even two loaves per week, that that is a saving compared to those two loaves being shop bought. They are better quality as well.

If usually you buy your lunch from a cafe or takeaway lunch shop (as indeed we do sometimes, just not right now and not if we can at least half easily avoid it) and you start making it at home with bought fillings (e.g. sliced meats, cheese, marmite), then I agree with you - you need a medal. Don't worry too much about the days you miss. Treat it like exercise, build slowly up to making home made lunches a routine part of your day.

Do I need a medal? You betcha. And I got it. Three empty plates of dinner and a request for seconds. A husband and two kids who love me and show it. I'm not saying it to be twee, I'm saying it because I cannot imagine finding the drive to make our own food so often if my family did not appreciate me or my efforts. I hope someone gives you a medal for your next meal.

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