February 14

Being Thrifty When You Can’t Be Bothered

Getting Into The Habit Of Being Thrifty

Tartan Thrifty is all about getting into the habit of spending less without living less well. Some habits need to be carried out every day, some every week. Some only need to be carried out once a month – and, surprise, surprise, they are the hardest ones to keep up. To help with that you can find a wall-planner to help you keep on top of this week’s Thrifty Habits – the dailies, the weeklies and the ones that only come round once a month – here. Use it to plan when exactly you are going to carry out the Weekly and Monthly Habits.

Thrifty Things To Do This Week

Thrifty Habits Planner April Week 1 - New Page
This is the week to Preserve Something. Nature is not exactly bountiful in February so how about a big jar of Disgracefully Drunken Prunes? The ingredients are cheap, the effort minimal, and – if you leave them alone for months – the results are delicious. It’s also the week to dig out all your receipts and bank statements and find out how in control of your spending you are this month…

Staying Thrifty In February

How are your plans for a thrifty 2017 working out? I find January is usually an excellent month to start some new thrifty resolutions – any thriftiness at all seems like a stellar effort compared to the excesses of the previous month. Plus, sales shopping gives a certain thrifty veneer to spending more money, because it’s not really spending if it’s a bargain, is it. (Is it?) And, given the state of most people’s bank balances in January, it’s not so much a lifestyle choice as a dire necessity. So a frugal new year seems entirely do-able in January.

February though… The shine has come off your new thriftiness – it is no longer fun. Or an interesting challenge. And, with a new month’s pay in hand, it seems less urgent. You start to forget your new thrifty habits. But habits – thrifty ones included – thrive on repetition. The more often you repeat them, the more likely you are to keep on repeating them.

So, no pressure, but if you started out on a new journey to take control of your finances last month, this month is crucial. Keep your new thrifty habits up through February and by March they will be well on their way to becoming second nature. If you do fall off the wagon, just hop straight back on. And remember to give yourself little treats to keep your morale up. Good Luck!

 

September 25

Free Printable Weekly Packed Lunch Planner For Autumn 2016

The Tartan lunch boxes have been a bit of a haphazard affair so far this term. I was still waiting for summer to start – the end of the summer holidays came as a shock. I have cobbled together a freezer full of pre-made lunches but they are a bit… repetitive. There’s a limit to the number of variations on a ham sandwich we can eat in a week. Time for a new packed lunch plan…

What's For Lunch September 2015 - Tartan Thrifty

 

Ready to start batching lunches with me? Click here to download a copy of the planner or  click here to download a blank planner to fill in with your own packed lunch plans. Happy packing!

Monday

Autumn Lunch Planner - Monday - Autumn Lunch Planner - MondayA recipe for Cheese Scones is available here and you can find Leek And Lentil Soup  here. Make a potful and have it with your main meal on another day to get double value out of your cooking time. No baking is required for the Apple Crumble – chop up dessert apples, add a spoonful or two of water, and a shake of cinnamon before stewing slowly over a low heat. When the resulting puree has cooled pour it into ice-cube trays and freeze. When it is time to transform your cubes of frozen apple puree, pop a few cubes into a lidded container, top with low-sugar ready-made custard and sprinkle a handful of granola over the top – instant apple crumble! A portion of fruit and a dollop of calcium-rich custard with marginally less fat and sugar and more dietary fibre than a regular crumble. Lunchtastic!

Tuesday

Autumn Lunch Planner - Monday - autumn lunch planner TuesdayMini calzones are an excuse to provide a little bready parcel of veg and a calcium-rich portion of cheese. It’s health food through the medium of pizza – especially if you make the dough with half-and-half white and wholemeal flour for added fibre. Click here for a how-to and add the veg of your very own picky eater’s choice. (Mushrooms and olives here in Tartan Towers, but not for the same people. And yes, that is an unhealthy level of pandering.) Picnic eggs are widely available but if you want to have a go at making their big brother, the Scotch Egg, try this recipe.

Wednesday

Autumn Lunch Planner - Monday - Autumn Lunch Planner WednesaySmoked mackerel dip gives you and yours a healthy serving of omega 3 oils at an even healthier price. Use plain smoked fillets or your choice of flavoured fillet – personally I don’t think you can beat simple peppered fillets. Throw them in a food processor with some cream cheese and a little natural yoghurt. (The yoghurt is optional – it makes a slightly dippier dip, and adds a gentle tanginess. If you want tang-free pate instead of tangy dip, leave it out.) Process until smooth. That’s it – spoon it into small containers and freeze. Defrost overnight and give it a quick stir in the morning if it has separated slightly. Add some bought or home-made bread sticks and you are good to go. Home-made bread sticks freeze nicely, by the way.

Cranachan is what you do if you live in a Scottish croft, it’s summer, your cow’s milk is at it’s creamiest, the bees are a-buzzing and there are wild raspberries all around. It is a sort-of-trifle made with whipped cream, toasted oatmeal, fresh raspberries, whisky and honey. So simple, so cheap, so sweetly, creamily delicious. Great for a treat, but a bit too sweet, high fat and alcoholic for a kid’s lunch box.  So instead fold a little honey, toasted oatmeal and frozen raspberries into greek yoghurt. Sadly it doesn’t freeze but it is quick to stir together and toasted oatmeal lasts weeks in a jar. Spread oatmeal on the base of a dry frying pan over a low heat. Give it a little shake every ten seconds or so until it gives off a lovely, nutty smell. Watch it like a hawk – it will burn if you give it the chance. Frozen raspberries can be folded in straight from the freezer. Their deep red juices will ripple through the finished cranachan as they thaw.

Thursday

Autumn Lunch Planner - Monday - Autumn Lunch Planner ThursdayClick here for my cheese and ham muffin recipe. Ideally, make the chicken and cannellini bean salad with leftover bits of chicken, stashed in the freezer after roasting a bird. No handy chicken carcass to pick over? Buy chicken breasts and griddle them before cutting them into small chunks. Or you can buy ready-cooked chunks of chicken – much more expensive than home-made  but still cheaper than buying ready-made sandwiches. Simply drain a tin of cannellini beans and toss with the chicken, some leaves from a windowsill pot of herbs and some dressing. The dressing is up to you – a squirt of mayo, a bought dressing or the cheapest option – vinegar, seasoning and oil shaken up in a jar.

Friday

Autumn Lunch Planner - Monday - Autumn Lunch Planner FridayThis lunch cannot be frozen, alas, but is quick to make and, if you make double it will also fill baked potatoes for your dinner. Two birds, one stone. Or two fish, one hook? Anyway. Open a tin of pink salmon and mash it with a fork and a spoonful of mayonnaise. Fold in a drained tin of sweetcorn. Aside from a portion of protein and omega 3 oils, the tinned salmon is a rich calcium source because of all the bones that are softened to edibleness by the canning process. Dollop it into the middle of your wraps and fold or roll them up. The fizzy juice is simply an own-brand diluting juice (our personal favourite is Aldi’s Orange Squash if you are interested) diluted with fizzy water.

Here’s the thing about buying water. Sparkling water – sometimes sold as “sparkling table water” is, quite simply, tap water that has been carbonated – no spurious claims to originate in a highland spring. Just fizz, costing pennies not pounds. If all you want is a glass of water, it is a waste of your money, because you already have water on tap. But if what you want is fizzy juice, it is a very cheap way to transform squash into pop. Tartan Boy loves it and at well under 10p for 300ml of fizzy juice it is a very affordable treat. Fill bottles in the morning – the water will have gone flat by lunch time if you fill them the night before.

 

 

March 15

Preserve Something

If Life Throws You Lemons, Make Lemon Curd

three jars of mulled apple jellyWhy did I introduce Preserve Something as a monthly habit? Traditionally, preserving was about making a seasonal glut last through leaner times. Preserving is still about taking advantage of things when they are freely available – or even available free. What could be more thrifty than that? In my case it was largely to supply Tartan Towers with frugal treats – artisanal preserves at Aldi prices. Something nice for (almost) nothing. I figured that, if life throws you lemons  windfall apples, you might as well make spiced apple jelly.

strawberry glam jarsSadly, there is not much freely available at the very end of winter/start of spring (although you could get in an early batch of Disgracefully Drunken Prunes this month), which makes this the perfect time to get all your supplies ready for a year of frugal preserving. That way, when you get cheap strawberries at a pick-your-own farm you can turn them into Strawberry Glam right away. I have been known in the past to throw fruit out, mouldy and unpreserved, because I never did source enough jam jars. This year will be different. I am going to start stock-piling jars now, and buy my fresh lids, cellophane disks, etc today so I don’t have to dash out to the nearest (most expensive) supplier mid-jam-session next July. Why not join me this week in getting your preserving supplies in order, ready for this year’s bounty?

The Thrifty Preserving Rules

February 15

A Year Of DIY Deli Preserves

preserves004This time last year I was thinking about the beautiful jars of pricey preserves that caught my sunshine-starved eyes every time I walked past my local deli. And when I say “walked past” I mean “stood with my nose pressed up to the window, a wistul expression in my eyes and drool escaping from my mouth”.

strawberry glam jarsI decided the thrifty answer was to make my own for a year. I have now had twelve months of preserving and can report that it is entirely possible to fill your larder with loveliness for not much money. Not only that, it is a pleasure to do and helps you to feel a little connection to the natural world and its changing seasons. And the satisfaction of being able to sit down to a very simple treat for pennies not pounds just because you took an hour a month to make them is considerable.

I didn’t manage 12 preserves – there were months where life got in the way and months when nature failed to provide me with booty to bottle up. But I did manage some preserves, and that is a whole lot better than none preserves.

So here are some of the preserves I did make. What would you add to that list? It’s a new year and I am open to suggestions…

 

Thrifty Habits PlannerClick here for this week’s free downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner.

February 8

Invest In Stock: Make Soup; Save Money

Soup Doop Doop Soup De Doop

victorian alphabet umbrellaI live in Glasgow – I have experienced more wild, wet and windy weather than a woman ought to wot of. But this winter has maxed me out. Enough with the wind and the rain and the cold already! People are trying to cosy up here. Jeez.

I want sunshine. I want encouraging signs of spring bursting forth here and there. I want one whole week without flooding on the national news. And, in the absence of any of these, I want soup. Comfort in a bowl.
Thrifty Habits PlannerIt’s not just the weather. There is a better reason Make Soup is a year-round weekly thrifty habit for me. Soup fills you up very cheaply – which means you can reduce the size (and cost) of your main meal simply by serving soup as a starter, or reduce the size of your lunchtime sandwich by serving a flask of soup on the side. Our grannies knew this – how did we forget?
vegis-leeks-graphicsfairy009bThis week I have been warming my soul with Living Well Spending Less’s Easy Slow Cooked Split Pea Soup but if you want more inspiration, take a look at my Make Soup board on Pinterest. And if, like me, you sometimes struggle to muster up any urge to chop vegetables or make stock from scratch, take a look at Thrifty, Lazy, Tasty Soup – My Hunt For Low Wattage Pottage for some frugal fillers with zero prep.

Happy slurping and may your wellies be unworn this week. The rest of this week’s Thrifty Habits, and a free Thrifty Habits Planner to download are here.

 

August 15

What To Do When You Pick Too Many Raspberries

What to do when you pick too many raspberries

Pick-Your-Own For Frugal Fruit

picking raspberriesWe visited the fruit farm to pick our own raspberries yesterday and – surprise, surprise – picked more than we can possibly eat before it starts to go mouldy. The problem is, once you start picking, the heavy, sweet smell gets to you, each little flash of red demands to be picked, the next thing you know you have picked enough to keep the family vitamin-packed through a global fruit shortage. The solution is to make a weekly trip to the fruit farm with small numbers of small containers. Yup, that would have been more sensible…

raspberriesSince we seem to have brought home all the fruit on the farm, though, I have frozen some of the berries. I spread them out on baking trays and open-froze them before packing them into ziploc bags. This is the gold standard of preserving rasps – it retains most of the nutritional value without adding bucket-loads of sugar. It also takes up freezer space I don’t really have, to produce a frozen fruit I can buy almost as cheaply, at almost any supermarket. Self control at the fruit farm still looks like the thriftiest option.

How To Preserve Raspberries When They Are Cheap

A little sugar, now and then, as a treat, is not so very unhealthy, though. So I have made some into raspberry jam. Jam to spread greedily on toast; jam to spoon frugally over home-made pancakes (try my chocolate pancakes, replacing the orange oil with vanilla essence); jam to nibble daintily in a victoria sponge cake, or to devour messily in a DIY swiss roll… Raspberry jam is so versatile and so easy to make that it would be a definite frugal fail to let the summer go by without potting up a few jars. There are other options though – raspberry vinegar, raspberry liqueurs, or a simple raspberry syrup, for example.

Is This The Finest Raspberry Preserve Known To Man?

RaspberryChocolateJam from www.larderlove.comTHE thing to make with an excess of raspberries, though, is this Raspberry And Chocolate Jam from Karon Grieve’s Larder Love. Chocolate spread is good. Raspberry jam is good. But Raspberry and Chocolate Jam is wicked. Imagine the jam tarts you could throw together with a jar of this in your cupboard. And cheaper than you would get it for in the shops. If you could actually get it in the shops.  Don’t forget to make it up in pretty jars with a label made using the free Jam Labelizer so you have the option of giving some of it as gifts. But only to people you really, really love…

August 8

5 Lessons I Learned The Hard Way About Getting Your Money’s Worth At PYO Fruit Farms

Picking Fruit At A Formative Age

eastyondertonWhen I was four my family spent a week working as fruit pickers in East Anglia – partly for the free camping en-route to Europe, partly to give my teenage brothers a chance to make some spending money for the rest of the holiday. One morning they took me with them. (I am guessing that child labour laws were a little more lax then.) I picked strawberries alongside my mum all morning and earned a few pennies for my haul. I used them to buy a purse to keep them in. It was remarkably tasteless – orange and pink with sparkles –  and left me with about three pennies to put in it. But I was very proud of that purse. Thinking about it still makes me smile.

labelled jars of strawberry glam jamThere was an old lady on the site, who told my mother that she spent every summer on the camp. She liked to supplement her pension with her earnings from fruit picking, and she loved having company from daybreak to dusk. As a bonus, she bought a little of each day’s pickings at cost and spent her evenings sitting outside her tent boiling the fruit up over a precarious gas-burner to make a few jars of fragrant jam. By the summer’s end she had enough jars to see her through a year of teatimes and hostess gifts, for only a few pounds. I think of that old lady every time I make jam, forty-odd years later, and wish I could have told her what a lasting impression she made.

I learned several important lessons on that trip.

1.  A strawberry picked and eaten in the sunshine will taste better than any you have ever eaten straight from the fridge.

2.  Making a few jars of jam regularly can save you money and bring you pleasure – and doesn’t require lots of fancy equipment or a vast Downton Abbey kitchen.

3.  You are never too young to learn the connection between money and work.

4.  You are never too young to learn to take care of your money.

5.  Orange and pink with sparkles can literally bring on a headache. Although I suppose it might have been too many strawberries or too much sunshine.

pick your own strwberries in a punnet

Pick Your Own Fruit Farms – A Perfect, Free Family Outing?

DSCN0292No surprise then that our nearest pick-your-own fruit farm is one of my favourite free summer holiday outings. When I say free… obviously I pay for the fruit. Which I would have bought anyway. What I don’t pay for is the pleasure of spending a few hours under a wide blue sky floating on the honeyed smell of a million ripe strawberries as the kids run up and down the rows of fruit bushes in search of ladybirds. Today I lost track of them for a moment, but knew they were somewhere among the rows of fruit, perfectly safe. (I found my children – like a prudish Edwardian vicar’s wife – under a gooseberry bush, in case you are worrying .)

They love the fruit farm. I love that they are getting fresh air and learning about where their food comes from. And I love that I am getting fruit at peak ripeness for less than supermarket special offer prices.

There are some things not to love about picking your own fruit, though.

What’s Not To Love About Pick-Your-Own Fruit Farms

Getting Your Money's Worth At PYO Farms

images (1)1.  Not all PYOs are equal. Many now charge entry (why is this – I don’t have to pay to get into Asda, do I?) Some farms charge prices per kilo of fruit that are barely below the supermarket price. The idea is to make getting cheap fresh fruit double as a family outing, not to pay over the odds for either food or family fun. So avoid PYOs that charge entry and check their prices online before you go. Paying to pick fruit you could buy more cheaply is Not Thrifty.

2.  Jam does not make itself. Like the old lady in my childhood camping memories, once you have picked fruit you have to crack on with preserving it. You can get away with sticking it in a fridge for 24 hours but, after that, the layer at the bottom of your basket will start to get soft and mouldy. Been there. Now, before we head out the door to the farm, I schedule myself a specific time to get it jammed. If I don’t have time for jam-making the next day, I don’t pick more than we can eat in a couple of days. Picking your own and then throwing it in the bin a few days later is Not Thrifty.

ChristmasRetroShop-GraphicsFairy13.  Jam goes in jars. This is obvious, and yet… I have, on numerous occasions, picked mountains of fruit when I did not have mountains of jam jars. Much of my jam went to waste. This too was Not Thrifty. Now I check I have jars, cello tops and wax circles before I even think of picking fruit. Honest.
4.  It is very, VERY easy to get carried away. A strange, primitive gathering-lust descends on me at the fruit farm. There is something deeply absorbing about working your way steadily down a row of plants, focussing all your attention on finding more, more, more… Any mindfulness benefit of this is completely ruined, however, by finding that you have picked 20 kilos instead of 2 and must now sell one of your kidneys to pay for them. In supermarkets you can put food back on the shelves – fruit farms don’t work that way. Buying more fruit than you can use or afford is, again, Not Thrifty.
Berry-Picking-Picture-GraphicsFairy-thumb-150x1505. There is a limit to the amount of ripe fruit a small tummy can hold. On no account jiggle a small child who has just accompanied you to a fruit farm on your knee unless you have a very relaxed attitude to pink vomit. It turns out I do not. Food that comes straight back up is also Not Thrifty.

In spite of all this, provided you do your research and planning first, I still think an afternoon picking fruit in the sunshine is a fine free outing for the holidays. As an added bonus, the farm we go to is right beside Glasgow Airport and we can watch planes taking off and landing as we pick. How many supermarket fruit aisles offer that?

Glasgow airport runway from East Yonderton PYO Farm

July 19

Gooseberry Cheese – Elegant, Delicious And Surprisingly Thrifty

Living The Fine Life Frugally

279046Gooseberry cheese. It’s like membrillo – that pricey quince paste you see in fancy delis and supermarket special selections – but made of gooseberries. Why would you want some? Come on – if it’s good enough for Fortnum & Mason then it must be the least any frugalista deserves with her cheese and (value range) crackers. Besides, it’s tart, perfumed flavour is divine with a budget supermarket chevre dahling! I have a bit of a thing about deli food. And a strong suspicion that deli food is much cheaper to make than to buy. So today I cut out the many middle men that lie between me and my gooseberry cheese and made myself a few jars for only slightly more than the cost of one F&M jar. Tartan Mum loves a thrifty luxury.

Apron-lady-GraphicsFairy2Making a fruit cheese is much easier than making jam: there is no need to reach set point for a start. The only equipment you need is a big pot, a sieve and a wooden spoon. You also need containers but they don’t even have to be jars. How simple is that? The key ingredient is time – time to stand pushing gooseberry pulp through a sieve and time to stand stirring a bubbling pot until it reaches the right consistency. Or, as I like to think of it, time when all I can do is listen to the radio and I am not available to play with lego or catch up with housework.

Here’s how to get yourself some upmarket  deliciousness at a street market price.

Gooseberry Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

Gooseberries (surprise!), about 1.4kg. Try pick-your-own farms for these if you don’t have a free supply.

Granulated sugar – the amount will depend on how much pulp your berries produce

Equipment

You need a high-sided pan, a nylon sieve (although a regular metal one will do if it has small holes) and a wooden spoon. A preserving funnel will help you to avoid burnt fingers and messy dribbles when potting the preserve up but so will a big jug if you have one.

gooseberry cheese from Tartan ThriftyYou will need containers. You can spoon your cheese from a jar but, ideally you want to mould your cheese so you can turn it out like a tiny jelly and put it on your cheeseboard. Your ideal container is a lidded jar with straight sides and no neck – easy to seal and easy to unmould. If your jars have lost their lids you can use waxed disks and cello covers instead. You can also use any teacup, ramekin or other container without a narrow neck but you will need to brush the inside with glycerine or flavourless vegetable oil. (e.g. sunflower) and seal the top with food grade paraffin wax. For really pretty fruit cheese you can use a bunch of cheap mini-jelly moulds like these with lids at both ends (for easy out-popping). I keep cheese made in jelly moulds in the fridge rather than the cupboard because I don’t entirely trust the seal on them – although, if it is secure enough to hold dissolved jelly, it must be a pretty good seal. Perhaps this year I should experiment…

Preparation

Wash your containers in warm, soapy water and then dry them thoroughly with a clean dish towel. If you are using teacups, etc, brush them with oil now. Put jars, ramekins, etc into a low oven to dry them and keep them warm. This stops them splitting when you pour in hot gooseberry cheese.

Method

simmering gooseberries1.  Put your berries in a deep pan with 150ml water and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

gooseberry pulp2.  Put a nylon sieve over a large bowl and pour the berries into it. Use a wooden spoon to push all the berries through the sieve. You should now have a sieve full of the skin and other fiddly bits of the berries and a bowl full of pulp. Chuck the contents of the sieve out and measure the pulp in a measuring jug.

3.  Return the pulp to the pan and add 60g sugar for every 100ml of pulp. Heat gently, stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved.

4.  Raise the heat and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to let it boil gently, stirring frequently, for 33-45 minutes.

5. DSCN0311Regardless of how long it has been bubbling, when you can draw your wooden spoon through the pan and leave a clean line through the mixture – one that lets you see the bottom of the pan for a few seconds – it is ready. Pour it into your jars or moulds and cover immediately with cello covers, lids or paraffin wax.

6.  While it is cooling, visit The Jam Labelizer to create your own classy Gooseberry Cheese label. Print onto card or adhesive sheets, cut out and tie/stick on once the jars have completely cooled.

Gooseberry Cheese Label made with The JamLabellizer by Tartan Thrifty

DSCN0341Ideally, let your cheese mature for a month. Eat it within a year.

 

CHandNoticeVintage-GraphicsFairylick here to read The Thrifty Preserving Rules

Click here to read more about The Jam Labelizer in Glam Your Jam – A Thrifty And Very Nifty Tool For Making Jam Labels

 

Affiliate Links:  please note that this post contains affiliate links to products at Amazon UK.  This means that if you click on my link and buy the product, a small percentage gets paid back to me. Alternatively, you can look up the same product on Amazon independently and none of your payment comes to me.  Or you can find a similar product elsewhere.  Or win maximum Thrifty Points by not buying anything at all….  It’s your money, your choice.

July 1

Bere Meal Bread – Prehistoric Comfort Food

Speedy, Tasty, Thrifty Bread

bathinglady004Greetings from Orkney. The Tartan Family drove the three hundred or so miles to Birsay (there was a ferry involved) a few days ago. We come here for the same two weeks every year, to the same self-catering property and have the same lazy, lovely holiday each time. There are so many reasons why we come here year after year. Somewhere quite close to the top of the list is the view from our temporary home. I would drive twice that distance to finish each day watching the dancing barley fields over the wall turn gold in the late-setting sun, as swallows dip and wheel across them. My personal heaven.

Bere Meal

Barony Mills Orkney by tartanthrifty.orgJust beyond these fields lies Barony Mill which grinds the barley. Not the regular, put-it-in-your-soup type of barley. Oh no – some of these fields grow an ancient grain known as bere. That’s not a misspelled beverage: bere is the prehistoric form of barley that was eaten by the neolithic occupants of Skara Brae 5000 years ago. And here it is today, growing and milled into flour less than a mile from where I am sitting – a beautiful, delicious, and remarkably cheap piece of ancient history. Thriftorical baking, dude!

It would be a waste not to buy some, wouldn’t it?

Where – And Why – To Buy Bere Meal

Barony Mills Gate Stone by tartenthrifty.orgI buy bere meal each year from the Barony Mill to give us an excuse to visit again – Tiny Tartan particularly likes being allowed to start the whole mechanism – but it is widely available throughout Orkney. If you don’t have the good fortune to visit Orkney regularly, you can get it here.  And you should: bere meal adds a soft texture and a mild, malty, nutty flavour to your baking. It is low in gluten so no good for yeast-based recipes, but excellent for recipes that use baking powder. It is high in vitamins and fibre. It does cost more than regular plain flour from a supermarket value range – what doesn’t – but a bag of bere meal costs a whole lot less than one loaf of fancy-pants-deli-bread, and will make you several week’s worth of equally fancily-panted bere meal bread. Bere meal bread which, in most delis, money could not buy.

Bere Meal by tartanthrifty.orgAnyway – here’s the quick, simple bread we make with it. Sometimes we eat it with an omelette. Sometimes we eat it with butter and jam. Sometimes we add grated cheese to the batter and eat it straight up with the cheese oozing over our fingers alongside a bowl of smoked haddock chowder. I have no idea how well it keeps because, in all the time I have been making it, the pan is always empty within half an hour. I have successfully frozen it before but only because I made it when the rest of the Tartan Family were out.

How To Make Cheesy Bere Meal Bread

Wet Ingredients

2 eggs

15ml soft brown sugar or honey

300ml milk

25ml vegetable oil

Dry Ingredients

100g plain flour

100g beremeal

50g oats

10ml baking powder

5ml salt

2.5ml bicarbonate of soda

70g grated smoked Orkney cheddar (which you can buy in Aldi if travelling to Orkney seems a step too far)

 

retro-baking-vintageimage-Graphics-FairyThe cheese is optional – leave it out if you want a plain bread, or ramp it up by adding a teaspoon of mustard powder and some chopped chives and tarragon. I also love this with sunflower seeds stirred in, although Tartan Boy is less impressed by this. Don’t be alarmed if your sunflower seeds turn green in the oven – this doesn’t mean they are off, and adds quite a pretty colour note to the bread.

 

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 220°C.

Bere Meal Bread wet ingredientsCombine all the wet ingredients and beat until the egg is fully combined.

making bere meal bread batterPut all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the wet ingredients. Fold in gently until the wet ingredients are combined. Lumps in the batter are fine – just make sure no white flour is visible.

Pour the batter into the receptacle of your choice – I have used a loaf tin here, but cake tins work if you want a more cornbread-like shape. Pop in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting in the tin. Alternatively, allow to cool completely before turning out and slicing up.Bere Meal Bread Recipe from tartanthrifty.org