Wednesday 7 September 2011

New Season

Autumn has well and truly arrived this week. Blown into our our neck of the woods on gusty, blustery winds, full of lashing showers. I love it.
With the boys back at school (quite happily, couldn't wait to go back!) I had my first day off alone for weeks and got myself straight back into the shopping routine I like. The holidays tend to cause havoc with my attempts to organise what we have in the cupboards. In the past few years we've cut back our weekly shop drastically by sticking to a menu list, buying fresh and local as much as we can and the market in town is where we shop most.

This week's menu looks like this:
  • Monday - Spaghetti & vegetable bolognese
  • Tuesday - Chicken (left over from Sunday's roast) & chorizo paella
  • Wednesday - Smoked coley, oven chips & peas
  • Thursday - Courgette cakes with feta, roast tomatoes stuffed with cous cous
  • Friday - Homemade chicken curry (every week, without fail - it's a ritual!)
  • Saturday - Stir fried prawns & veg with rice
  • Sunday - Roast beef, roast potatoes, greens etc and plum crumble
Nothing very exotic and not huge amounts. Our two can be a bit fussy at times so there are a few fishfingers and tins of spaghetti hoops in there too. Some weeks we eat more fish, more veg and less meat. Next week I'm planning a spicy sausauge and lentil hotpot and baked white fish with a herby top I think.

I rarely do pudding during the week but make sure we have stocked up fruit bowls, plus the odd biscuit and maybe ice cream in the summer. All the meat (mince, ham for sandwiches etc, plus delicious cheese) comes from the butcher, including the small topside roasting joint I buy for less than £5 and should stretch to sandwiches too.
The greengrocers' stall looked particularly delicious today; new season apples (English Cox's and Egremont Russets) and three varieties of plums - I came home with Majorie Seedling today, hope she doesn't mind.
I love this way of shopping, everything in paper bags, minimal waste and time for chat too. On sunny days the cobbled market square is bustling but the showers kept most away today. After the market I head to the bargain supermarket in the town centre to stock up on tins, cereals, pasta/rice, olive oil, cleaning things and the like. In and out of there in 15 mins, no fuss or frills and value too.

We eat very well I think and for not much money at all. With Autumn on the doorstep it gets even easier and better value too. Root vegetables are in their prime, perfect for roasting and mashing. Casseroles fill the house with rich, warming flavours transforming cheaper cuts into succulent dishes to savour. Colder evenings call for earthy, spicy dishes that warm you through. Hurrah for Autumn, the finest season for the frugal cook to conjur with.


Country Rabbit said...

Wow! steph that really is such an historic looking market square- must be a wonderful place to browse and look through the food markets ;0).
I was making home made bread today,(im only a beginner!- quite an impatient baker-cook)But i feel the need to make my own foods rather than buy a loaf made by the supermarket, so i'm kissing good bye the the supermarket breads!...
I too love Autumn it comes with such beauty i think- The park already has that golden glow near me. I love the way you have planned your meals for the week.

kaazy ;0)x
p.s I've changed my blog name, i still have 'A mermaids purse'blog up and running, but i started it in 2006 and felt i named it after my love of fairytale illustrations, but now my blog has become more than that M yNew blog reflects me, my love of the country, coastlines, family home making tales, thrifting and my artwork.Very much the same as 'A mermaids purse'.

Hazel said...

Yay it's Autumn!! I love it too. Love the rumbling, rolling thunder we had today and the torrential rain streaking down the panes. Love it!!!

Ali said...

Great post love your menu planning dont suppose you fancy posting your paella recipe ;-) x

Kimberley said...

I'd love to have a market whee I could shop locally. Please, please can you give me the recipe for Thursday's dish, I'm a veggie and I struggle to cook different meals with the three meat eaters in the family, but I think I could tempt them with that!, it sounds delicious! x

Pretty at Heart said...

I was only saying at work today, how hard it is to think of things to cook at home without having the usual boring meals. So it was quite refreshing to read your weeks menu - and to pick up a few ideas!
Might be a good blog, to ask others for menu ideas............Mmmmmmmm...

Christals Creations said...

I often intend to write a menu. I have yet to do it. But I do plan meals around what we have rather than letting hubby just pop out every time he thinks there is no food left in the house.
I was quite proud of myself tonight when I proved to him that two chicken breasts is actually enough to feed our little family with some rice and veg and sauce.
Frugal is often fun as well. I am thinking caserole next week after reading your post and more homemade soup I love soup now i've realised how easy it is to do with a few homemade bread rolls.
Take care.

Pippin Lane said...

I am thinking if I had a lovely market like that nearby I would love to have chats with the stall holders, with my basket on one arm over flowing with produce. Lucky lady.
We are big veggie eaters in this house, and love all the root veg available at this time of year....yummy roasted carrots, snippers, beetroots with garlic and onions....perfect when the wind is blustering outside!
Lovely post!!!!!
Nattie x

Alijane said...

Your post has made me want to close all the curtains and light an open fire and eat homemade comfort food!

I am rubbish at meal planning but do cook from scratch most evenings. I need to be more organised, I'm sure it would save a fortune.

We have a fab fruit and veg shop in the village down the hill from us, it is really good value too.

Thanks for a lovely post.


Unknown said...

I found this really timely and inspiring, Steph. We have a very similar market which I must use more, because I really need to knock some pounds of our food bills. Your menu sounds delish! Bx

periwinkle said...

We have very similar menu's this week , tonight we had prawn egg fried rice and tomorrow fish with oven chips .... wish I had your market nearby though.

staci said...

I so enjoy your posts, even though I don't leave a comment very often. Thank you for sharing your slice of life!

I adore autumn, I wish it lasted longer. After having one of our hottest summers on record, we've been enjoying some true fall weather and the last two have been wet!!! It certainly makes one want to cook and bake more!!!

Frances said...

Although you and I live in very different places, I think that we do our grocery/food shopping in a similar way, and plan meals along those same lines.

Thank you for reminding me that it's about time to begin that switch over from summer menus to the delicious meals offered by autumn harvests.


Hen said...

I do love a good down-to-earth market, Steph, and yours looks just the ticket. The one thing I am loving about this descending Autumn is the chance to cook up big casseroles and pies and creamy mash. Bang goes the diet (what diet?!)
Hen x

Ruth said...

I was at the local market yesterday too stocking up on fruit and veg. It is sooo much nicer than trawling around the supermarket. I love this time of year for stews and crumbles too but my favourite autumn thing is the smell of woodsmoke!

Jenni C's said...

i do so enjoy seeing your photographs...i miss a farmers market..few and far between in the Cape..

Anonymous said...

I love your blog Steph and it inspires me all the time. I try to live a lavish luxurious lifestyle but I do it on a very very tight budget. I love the market in your town and your not too far from me. I live near Burton on Trent. Thanks for the inspirational photographs of fresh local produce, I intend to do more of my food shopping this way. love Bunny x

Shari Sunday said...

I love your pictures. What a charming market. I liked your menu. But I confess, I don't know what smoked coley is.

Sue said...

Hello Steph
As ever, smashing post.Have you ever thought about doing a book?,your posts are always thoughtful,great photo's,and make for my kind of every day reading.Like other comments,any chance you could post your spaghetti and lentil bolognese recipe or point us in the right direction please
Thank You for sharing
Best Wishes
Sue xxx

Happy Homebird said...

Hi, I love your photos! The first one capturing the lady looking in her bag with basket at her feet made me chuckle. I love pictures of people.

I also do a weekly meal plan and on a budget too. I've now got it down to £130 a month for me, OH, toddler and two 7-11 year old visiting every week. Mostly helped I think my the benefits of an allotment. OH regularly takes leftovers for his lunch the next day, cutting down on him spending at work.

Interesting to see other meal plans such as yours and gain ideas.
Sam x

Miss Holly said...

You are and will always be one of my favorite places to visit!!! I always leave happy!! Thank you!!

LandGirl1980 said...

I too adore market shopping. I have to remember to do it more often. I adore the paper bags, the lack of things being hermatically sealed in non recyclable rubbish and the general shouts and banter of the market place. It is a sound that has never changed. 1811 or 2011 - the "come and get yer apples" would still be there.

Attic24 said...

Your blog is endlessly inspiring and heart warming Steph, I look forward to your updates enormously.

I've sadly slipped into very lazy shopping habits of late (convenient large supermarket right opposite the school) and I was just thinking this week that I'd love to make some changes to the way I shop for food.

I no longer have a car so my shopping has altered anyhow, from a weekly trip in the motor to a daily one on foot. I also menu plan which I find helps a lot, but damn it I need to stop being lazy and get myself up into town to shop!

I do use the local butcher and fruit/veg stall, and use a milkman too, but other things I could buy from local independent shops and the market instead of tesco!! We have an excellent local bakery, wholefood shop, fishmonger stall and cheese stall in town, I need to re-think my strategy, you've inspired me.

Lots of love to you
ps I am SO NOT with you on the autumn thing though, I am a summer gal thru and through. I've just been and bought a vintage directors chair cos it looked so un-autumny!

Justine said...

What a lovely post! Your weekly menu sounds yummy; wish I could be organised and think ahead like that.
You'll be able to add omlettes to the list soon, once your lovely chooks start popping those eggs out!

Anonymous said...

What a delightful post! I wish we had a proper market here instead of the one that turns up on a Saturday, mostly.

Thanks for showing us your menu for the week, I have three courgettes languishing in my fridge and you've inspired me to make Nigel Slater's courgette cakes.

Please may I? said...

Great photos. Enjoy your peace and quite.

X x

deZeal said...

I love your menu for the week! You made me crave for chorizo paella in fact, haha:)
Have a great day...

Barri-Jayne said...

I always find planning the weeks menu before doing the shopping more affordable, especially as I'm currently on a very tight budget. I do love winter cooking - casseroles, soups, stews...
There's only me and my daughter, but when cooking it's usually enough for four, so I'll freeze the left overs or take a portion to work for lunch. Unfortunately we don't have a decent market nearby.

By the way, great photos!

Barri xx

Linden said...

Hi just wanted to say I enjoy dropping by your Blog with all the lovely photos & handy Tips.
I love that Market when I manage to get up to stay with my brother and sister in law who live in Stoke on Trent they always take me over to Leek, I just love all the little shops.Thanks for this post it made me feel all happy and warm looking forward to getting up to your part of the country in October

Thanks from Somerset :0)

Emma Herian said...

Ah yes, tis the best time for frugal but hearty meals and the best time of year! I really should take a leaf out of your book and do a menu for the week, having said that we do eat really well on a hardly any money and of course the allotment helps enormously! beautiful town, wish we had a decent market!

Julie said...

Thank you for a lovely blog. I always particularly love your cosy autumn winter and Christmas posts. Hope you can keep going as I would miss you.
Kisses Julie

Catherine said...

Yummy! Hooray for Autumn and all its loveliness! Cx

**Anne** said...

I love your posts Steph and this one is no exception. How I envy your market shopping.
Menu planning is such a great idea and I really need to implement this into my weekly planning. Thanks for the inspiration. :)
Have a fab weekend,
Anne xx

Kate said...

The menu looks great , i do love to nosy at what other people eat! We're also on a frugal phase at the moment as we need to gather funds for work doing on the house before winter sets in. Autumn and winter are my favourite seasons for cooking, just as you described root veg, casseroles etc. Oooh and proper puddings & custard!

Do you have a slow cooker? I wouldn't be without mine, i find it fab for making even the cheaper cuts of meat lovely and tender. I love chucking any old veg in with some stock and lentils and making soup for lunch. L takes some in a flask to school with a bread roll. The only thing with the slow cooker is that if hubby is working at home the smell drives him insane all day and he keeps going into the kitchen to sample the goods! Quality control he says :)

Kate xx

Niki Jackson said...

I love shopping locally. I too do a menu each week, I need to try to buy more locally without it getting too pricey. Blessings Niki x

harmony and rosie said...

Your autumn menus sound so tasty Steph, please may I be invited for tea?

I completely agree with you on your shopping ethos. I much prefer to keep my money local and to independent merchants too where you not only get the freshest, seasonal and (more importantly) British produce but quickly get to know them and be known by them. So important in my book.

It's a beautiful autumnal day here in London, we're getting ready to set off searching for conkers and take advantage of the good weather before the rain sets in once again!

Kate x