Use what you have

The food we grow in our local community garden goes a great way to relieving the pressure on our grocery budget, however its sometimes requires a bit of creativity and eating out of our comfort zone. At present the garden is producing some lovely daikon. I was so excited when I pulled out this beauty the other day (isn’t harvesting root veggies like uncovering buried treasure- you never know what you’re going to get but you know it will be good)!


What a thing of beauty! The only problem, of course, was what to do with it?! I knew daikon was often used fresh grated as a condiment but I wanted something that would last some time if my husband didn’t enjoy it (there’s only so much a gal can eat on her own!). Kimchi was the answer. I first discovered kimchi when I was living in China and would frequent a local Korean restaurant for a change of cuisine. I love the stuff. Fermented foods do wonders for my body and kimchi just tastes bloody good. So I got to researching recipes, picked up some Chinese cabbage at the markets, dug out some carrots, chilli and ginger from the crisper, and started fermenting. It worked a treat. I used the entire daikon and rediscovered my love of kimchi.



Being frugal can force you to use what you have, push your skills and limits, and often results in serendipitous moments. What wonderful discoveries have you made using the things available to you?



Yoghurt and Cooking From Scratch

Yesterday I ate some of my first ever homemade yoghurt!


I’m a big yoghurt fan. I use it in everything, sweet and savoury, sometimes as a side and sometimes as the main event. It does wonders for my gut and I love that my body can handle yoghurt even when I’ve overindulged in other forms of dairy. The thing is the whole milk natural yoghurt I prefer is kind of expensive (around $6 a tub) and I go through a lot of it. Cue my new book purchase¬†Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.

It actually hadn’t occurred to me that yoghurt was simply fermented milk and I certainly didn’t know this was something I could make at home. What a pleasant surprise! It is so easy and cheap- all you need is a litre of milk and a tablespoon of starter culture (i.e. live yoghurt). Warm the milk, add your yoghurt, leave overnight somewhere warm and bam- homemade yoghurt!

Until now I thought I was doing pretty well cooking from scratch, I certainly never buy things like bottled pasta sauce for example, but now I realise I can step things up a notch. Cooking from scratch isn’t just about avoiding packaged foods but getting back to raw ingredients. I had viewed yoghurt as an ingredient but really it is a food product made from milk, just like butter and cheese. Cheese will be my next adventure. I plan on making labneh this week with some of my yoghurt.

I love that cooking from scratch allows me to tailor our food to our family’s needs. I love knowing exactly what we’re eating. I love the simplicity of my shopping list and that a smaller list of ingredients to purchase means less companies to research and compare to ensure they meet our family values and budget. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I master a new skill, recipe, or technique. Do you cook from scratch? What do you believe ‘from scratch’ to be and what do you love about it?