Coeliac and frugal

Well, on Friday a letter came through the post which gave final confirmation of something which has been on the cards for a few months ever since a routine blood test for something else. We now have a Coeliac in the house.

We now have to change our shopping and eating habits fairly radically. We’ve always naturally fallen into the artisan wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, home baking category and this all has to change. The person concerned is adamant that he doesn’t see why we should all change and that it will be fine to have bread/biscuits/pasta in the house and he just won’t eat them but I am not sure this is either practical or reasonable. I can see that not being so reliant on bread could be a good thing.

So last night we went to Tesco and instead of spending my planned £40, we spent nearly £70. He will soon get gluten free bread, flour, pasta, porridge oats and cereal on prescription and since we live in Scotland, these are free for us, but I felt that it was better to have a clean start on Monday rather than using up current stocks of breakfast cereal, pearl barley, and various flours. These will be given to my Mum and have now been bagged up to clear the cupboards. Gluten free food is not cheap, no more 20p loaves of bread in the freezer for a start. We bought GF flours, pasta, muesli, rice cakes and carefully checked everything which went into the trolley.

I see this is as culinary adventure and while most meals are cooked from scratch here, I think it will stretch the recipe repertoire from now on.



500g chickpeas

How far will 500g of chickpeas (garbanzos) stretch?

Yesterday morning I put a whole bag of them – £1.09 from Tesco – in to soak and this morning I cooked them. Usually I would use a tin, or cook them as I need but it occurred to me that it makes more sense to cook a whole bag and make a range of meals for freezing, or indeed to freeze them, cooked. Frugaliste is not just about making do with less money, but also about making best use of my time as well.


A bowlful was earmarked for hummous. I don’t have tahini in the cupboard, so I made do with a slug of sesame oil for flavour, three tablespoons of natural yogurt, salt, pepper and chilli powder.


A minute with the stick blender and I had hummous, or at least an approximation of it.


And not ten minutes later, half of it was gone courtesy of my son who added a couple of wraps from the freezer and claimed it as his lunch. I’ll be making another batch very soon!


One onion, two petals of garlic, a green pepper past it’s best and a can of tomatoes is bubbling away now as the base for a chick pea casserole. I have chorizo sausages in the freezer from the reduced shelf at Tesco so they will be added and we’ll have a sort of Goulash meal ready for the freezer.

These two things will take care of about half of the 500g (guesstimating), so I am now scouting around for other ideas. I’ll probably use some of them for a chickpea curry and that can also go in the freezer.

Have you got any other ideas? I wonder if beanburgers would work?

PS – The remains of the cauliflower were chopped up (the leaves are just cabbage leaves, really) and then dry-fried before being added to a herby omelette.

Cauliflower #recipe needed


Last night we had cauliflower curry.

Don’t screw your face up like that, it was very tasty. One onion, browned, tsp cumin, tsp coriander, one green chilli, inch of creamed coconut and the remains of a jar of peanut butter swirled out with boiling water. Oh, and the cauliflower of course.

It looked like lumpy clay coloured mud, really not very appetising at all, but it tasted pretty good and I have been given the green light to make it again.

Normally when I make cauliflower cheese I just chop up the whole head, stalk, leaves and everything so there is no waste, but I didn’t think the leaves would work in the curry so I am left with the flower around the cauli, so the speak. What can I make? I haven’t got cheese in the house so the obvious suggestion won’t work.

Any ideas?


pig power


For the last year or more, coppers have been put in this pig, it’s not a fancy, exotic, valuable pig, just the sort you can get from banks for children. We have added coins but not obsessively, just whenever we think about it.

Some folk do this in grander fashion in something called a Sealed Pot which is set up in such a way that it can’t be opened without complete destruction. Pots might be used for £2 coins (which would be very tempting and might cause the Pot to be accidentally dropped), or just for pennies.

Part of my planning for this year is not personal Pocket Money Plan frugality, it’s mucky, earth under your fingernails make-a-vegetable-garden stuff. For this I will need seeds, and I have been eyeing up the pig as a possible “free” source of seed money.

I wonder how much there is in it?




pocket money plan

As a child I remember being given my pocket money each week, occasionally several weeks would be doled out at once – which with hindsight may have been due to a cash flow problem. My brother spent all of his at once, but I was saver and squirrelled the coins away in the back of my knicker drawer.

With the recession upon us like a nasty itchy rash which won’t go away, it occurred to me that although I am not a spendy sort of person, I do tend to buy things in Tesco like magazines and flowers and wine which are for me rather than anyone else. No-one else in this house drinks wine, and I doubt they would buy flowers for themselves.

I have been thinking since Christmas that I should really have a personal budget which is just for me. Pocket Money, if you will. Should I, as many parents do with teenagers, allocate myself a clothing budget as well? What about bras, most of which would gobble up several month’s worth of allowance? Should I buy my own sweets? What about books, are they household expenditure because they are educational?

The crunch question of course is how much Pocket Money should I get each week? And also, is it weekly or monthly? Do I have to wait until Friday evening to get the next top-up of funds? This would certainly concentrate the mind.

I think, after some consideration of the cost of underwear, that I am going to award myself 10p per year of age per week.

I am 54.

I will get £5.40 per week and I must wait until Friday each week to get it. There have been two Fridays since January 1st so I should have received £10.80 so far this year.

I have spent £1 on a bar of chocolate, bought two novels for 50p each, second hand, and bought a magazine which was an eye-watering £4.99, so £6.99 from my £10.80 has been spent, leaving me with £3.81 to last until Friday or be saved.

Other sources of income I’m allowing are eBay, and coins found in the street.

The ground rules for stuff like haircuts and birthday presents have yet to be decided. I can sew, so I can make most of my clothes and I have both sewing machine and fabric stash to be going on with.

Can I last until Friday? I had tentatively arranged to meet a friend for coffee and she suggested Costa so I’ll need to get out of that somehow. Maybe it will snow.

Income £10.80  Outgoings £6.99  Balance £3.81