Payday Millionaire- Cheesy Potato Pie.

img_0903A few weeks ago  PaymentSense  approached me,  along with several other food bloggers to see if we could help.  The idea was for us to come up with a recipe to serve four people that would cost £5 to make. It could also be a meal which was able to be divided up and either serve 2 people over 2 days or be ideal for eating as four individual portions. asked some food bloggers if they would like to share their favourite go-to recipes. These had to be created with a budget of no more than £5 for 4 people in mind, Payment Sense  provide card payment services benefitting small businesses with their special rates and better customer services. We were not paid for our contributions.

 On their website PaymentSense also have some interesting and thought provoking articles. One article which is very relevant to my post is this one:

10 Truths About The Rise And Fall Of A Payday Millionaire

A few weeks ago  PaymentSense conducted some research into looking at how fast people are spending their disposible income once they have been paid and what their own situations can be like as they get closer to the end of the month.  The term “payday millionaire” means that once you are paid, people tend to act like money is no object, going around splashing the cash on unnecessary purchases and buying rounds of drinks.  I’m guilty of this, how many times have I gone out and bought a new pair of shoes or treated myself to a new Nordicware Bundt tin when I’ve just been paid. What was interesting was that the research showed that about one third of the people changed their eating habits in order to help budget their money until payday. So they would scrimp and scrape cooking on a budget or some may even attempt a diet!

I was approached, along with several other food bloggers to see if we could help.  The idea was for us to come up with a recipe to serve four people that would cost £5 to make. It could also be a meal which was able to be divided up and either serve 2 people over 2 days or be ideal for eating as four individual portions.

It didn’t take me long to choose which meal I would submit to the campaign. My Cheesy Potato Pie has been a firm favourite for many years.  I first started making it as a student about 25 years ago.  I also cooked it frequently for my own family as my two children were growing up. Now it has turned full circle and my daughter is now making the pie at uni.  Money was tight at home when my children were very young and I often behaved like a payday millionaire.  I still do but nowadays I have to be more careful.  I work as a supply teacher in my day job and the money comes in dribs and drabs according to when there is a demand for a supply teacher.  When it is the school holidays when I don’t have money coming in or when it is close to payday I rely heavily on meals like this.

My Cheesy Potato Pie is simple and quick to make.  It is served with a layer of baked beans on the bottom of the dish. The baked beans don’t have to be an expensive brand like Heinz. I only had Heinz in the picture as I’d bought a pack of 4 cans which were on special offer in the supermarket a couple of weeks before.  The same goes for the cheese topping. I  sometimes use the budget cheese or whatever’s on special offer at the time. To add a bit of  extra something to the pie, you can serve it with a side of bacon or sausages or even veggie burgers which my daughter prefers.  I even like eating the pie on its own and it’s a perfect choice of comfort food.  I know I’ll be making this lots once all the Christmas food has been eaten up, until our bank balances have had a chance to recover!

CHEESY POTATO PIE

Ingredients:

5-6 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

1 x400g can of baked beans

100g grated cheddar cheese

butter and/ or milk to mash the potatoes with

8 sausages/ rashers of bacon or other accompaniment.

  • Put a large pan of water onto boil.
  • Peel and chop the potatoes and put into the pan of boiling water. Boil until soft.

  • Mash the potatoes with a knob of butter or with milk if you prefer. Or even use both!
  • Put the baked beans into a large ovenproof dish and spread them around, covering the bottom of the dish.
  • Preheat the oven to 180oC or Gas 4.

 

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Put the baked beans into an ovenproof dish.
  • Spread the mash evenly on top of the baked beans.
  • Grate the cheese and sprinkle it on top of the pie.
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Here’s the pie ready to be popped into the oven.
  •  Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the topping is crispy and golden brown.
  • While the pie is in the oven, cook the bacon or sausages in your preferred way.
  • Serve immediately.

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I chose to cook some sausages with my cheesy potato pie. The ones featured in the picture are frozen Slimming World ones which I found in Iceland a few weeks back.  I tend to get the best quality sausages I can find for the cheapest price but these were bought while I was following Slimming World leading up to Christmas.  Back to it in the New Year!

This pie could be made in four individual dishes or in two smaller ones which serve two people. It keeps well in the fridge overnight and can be frozen.

The cost of this dish is roughly about £4.00 including the sausages which makes this a very economical meal.

Gordon Rhodes’ Spice Rubs, Crumbs, Stuffings and Sauces.

Last year I discovered the company Gordon Rhodes and their delicious range of spice rubs, crumbs, cooking sauces and stuffings when at the BBC Good Food Show in Harrogate.  I remember buying three of their cooking sauces: a chilli con carne one, another one for pulled pork and a curry one.  All turned into mouthwatering one-pot meals which my family loved.  I enjoyed them so much that I had to buy more and was so pleased to find a couple of my local farm shops stock their products.

Last Christmas I tried out Gordon Rhodes’ bread sauce mix and some stuffing. It was a quiet Christmas with just the four of us and I didn’t want to be making everything from scratch. I felt as if these products helped me to cut corners without compromising on quality and taste.

 I follow Gordon Rhodes on Twitter and often tweet about how I enjoy using their products in my cooking.  They had asked their followers to post photos of a dish they had created using one of their products as an ingredient in a Christmas leftover dish.  They would choose which dish they liked best and the winner would get a hamper of their complete range of products. What a fantastic prize that would be. Two days after Christmas and we had my sister in law to visit.  I didn’t want to just serve her  slices of leftover turkey and ham so I thought of a way I could turn my leftovers into something a bit more special.  I love baking pies and had some leftover shortcrust pastry in the freezer, some turkey and ham, some veg, the Gordon Rhodes stuffing and bread sauce that was leftover.  I had the idea that the bread sauce would act as a thickener for a sauce in the pie along with a bit of stock.

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Here is a picture of my Leftover Turkey and Ham Pie.
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Here is the remains of the Turkey and Ham Pie, showing the Gordon Rhodes’ bread sauce which had turned into a delicious, creamy sauce for the pie.

I was over the moon when Gordon Rhodes said that they liked my idea of using the bread sauce as a thickener in the pie and that I had won the hamper!  I couldn’t believe it as I knew how much fun I would have creating dishes I had not made before with the products I had not seen before in their range.

A few days later my wonderful parcel arrived.  It came beautifully packaged in a cardboard hamper which I’ve kept in my cupboard to use again.

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My fantastic hamper containing the entire range of Gordon Rhodes products: 5 cooking sauces, a bread sauce, five different stuffings, two of which are gluten free and their entire range of herb and spice rubs and crumb coats.
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The handwritten note inside my hamper. Thankyou and yes we most definitely did enjoy our prize!
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My hamper also contained some very useful recipe leaflets and a brochure showing the entire range. There are also some more recipe suggestion on Gordon Rhodes’ website.
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I love Southern Fried Chicken and was really excited to try and create my own, healthier version baked in the oven instead of deep fried with this Cajun spice mix.
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The other two spice mixes I’d not tried before was the Easy Crumb Easy Go Garlic and Herb mix and the Hazy Lazy Summer Citrus and Herb Sprinkle. They would both go down well coating on chicken for my family.
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I have really enjoyed using Gordon Rhodes’ sauces. They help me out no end, especially during the winter months if I am out teaching all day. I put one of the sauces on with the meat and vegetables in my slow cooker in the morning and when I come home I am greeted with a mouthwatering dish like this. My family love it when I make chicken curry.
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I made “Inside Out Chicken Kiev” which was one of the recipe suggestions on one of the leaflets in the hamper. I coated chicken breasts with olive oil and then dipped the breasts in some of the garlic and herb coating.
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The “Inside Out Chicken Kiev” was a massive hit with my family. Even my fussy eater son cleaned his plate!
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My prize hamper has helped me out over several Sunday roasts recently. For two weeks running we had a beautiful roast chicken served with one half of the bread sauce mix and one of the stuffing mixes. The following week we had the remainder of the bread sauce and another packet of stuffing. The stuffing worked well either stuffed in the bird’s cavity or served separately in another dish.
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Hugely popular in our house at the moment- pulled pork. I love cooking it in my slow cooker and serving it with either bread rolls, coleslaw and pickles or with jacket potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Either way there are clean plates in our house.
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Pulled Pork, one of my favourite foods at the moment. It can have honey added to the mix. I don’t bother, I just leave it as it is.
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We love chilli con carne in our house. It gets served with boiled rice but recently I have started serving it in baked tortilla baskets sprinkled with grated cheese, salsa and a dollop of creme fraiche on top. The Gordon Rhodes sauce is another perfect mix to pop in the slow cooker on a busy morning.
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Here is the eagerly awaited Southern Fried Chicken which tasted fabulous with wedges and veg.
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The Southern/ Cajun spice mix also turned out to make gorgeous spicy potato wedges one night.

About a month later after getting my prize I still have one packet of stuffing and three of the spice mixes yet to try out.  It will be interesting to see what I can come up with.

Happy Cooking.

Love Sam xx

Sticky Toffee Loaf Cake With Fudge Icing- from Delia’s Cakes

Gosh, is it really nearly three weeks since my last post?  Well over half term I was away on holiday up on the Isle of Mull, a beautiful part of the world and since I’ve been back I haven’t managed to get anywhere near my laptop.  So better late than never I suppose!

Last month I spent a very busy afternoon baking four different cakes to take down to the Village Hall at my local Open Gardens event.  Usually I have a stall at the Open Gardens where I sell all my handmade cookies, cupcakes and other treats but this year I had been far too busy as well as it being the day before I was due to go into hospital.  I also ended up being the judge at our village baking competition so a stall would have been a bit tricky to fit in.  Anyway, I found four different cakes I fancied trying out on visitors to our village and hoped that they would be fine.

First of all I chose to bake Delia Smith’s Sticky Toffee Fudge Loaf Cake which comes with a fudge icing.  Another recipe also to tick off my Cooking The Books Challenge for May.  I love Sticky Toffee Pudding and have made different variations of it in cake form.  But this version as a loaf cake looked absolutely delicious.  I didn’t have any dates in my baking cupboard, though so I ended up adding an equal amount of raisins to the mix instead.

Here’s how it was made:

No dates in this sticky toffee loaf cake but there were plenty of chopped pecan nuts!
No dates in this sticky toffee loaf cake but there were plenty of chopped pecan nuts! I chopped these first before getting on with the rest of the cake.
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Butter, black treacle and golden syrup went into a saucepan to be melted together on the hob.
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The treacle mixture melted down to look like this.

Once the mixture in the pan had been taken off the heat and cooled slightly I added two beaten eggs.  After this I weighed out the dry ingredients needed for the cake: plain flour, mixed spice, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda.  These were sifted together then folded into the melted mixture.  Delia recommends Silverwood bakeware in her latest book.  I love Silverware cake tins and love my traybake tins but my loaf tin is equally fantastic, a Lakeland one.  As you might have gathered I swear by Lakeland’s loaf tin liners and can’t do without them whatever loaf cake I bake.  They worked perfectly with this one too!

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The spicy aroma filling my kitchen once the Sticky Toffee Loaf cake came out of the oven was just heavenly. It rose perfectly in the oven. Here it is just cooling down.
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As the cake cooled down on the work top I got on with making the fudge icing.

I used my brand new pan which my auntie bought me from John Lewis on my birthday.  My mum had bought me some new pans but my auntie treated me to the small one in the set.  So the pan was “christened” by having the fudge icing made in it.  It was a very rich icing: evaporated milk, butter and brown sugar which was melted and then simmered until it thickened up.

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The fudge icing as it melted.

My icing turned out a little bit runnier than the one shown on the picture in the book.  But it still looked presentable to take down to the Village Hall.  I hoped it would go down well as it was a very warm day and I usually associate sticky toffee pudding as a Winter comfort food!

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The finished cake! Ta-dah!
My mum tried a piece down at the Village Hall when we went there for tea and cake.  I didn't eat any as I'd already sampled lots of cake when I was judging the competitions earlier.
My mum tried a piece down at the Village Hall when we went there for tea and cake. I didn’t eat any as I’d already sampled lots of cake when I was judging the competitions earlier.

My mum enjoyed her piece of cake and I was glad by the time I saw the cake about half of it had gone.  That was a relief.  I would definitely bake it again.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding- The Great British Bake Off Everyday

Last weekend I was delighted when our neighbour popped round to see us with a couple of carrier bags full of apples picked from their tree.  I was pleased as my own apple tree hadn’t produced anything this year. This was disappointing as although it is a small tree, I did manage to get a few good apples off it last year.  One bag from my neighbour’s stash was full of small apples ideal for my daughter’s horse to chomp on, the other was full of crisp apples perfect for cooking and baking with.

As we had my Mum staying with us last weekend I chose to cook a Sunday roast- a large chicken followed by a naughty but nice pudding involving apples.  I didn’t want to make something I had already made before, though.  I also didn’t want to make a steamed pudding as I have never made one before and wouldn’t know where to start!

Once again I turned to my copy of The Great British Bake Off Everyday as I remembered there being a Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding recipe in there.  It seems like I am doing a lot of baking from this book at the moment but I suppose I go through fads and phases.  Upon reading the recipe, the introduction said it was a “very simple all-in-one sponge mix.. a good way to use slightly tart windfall apples”.  This was good news to me, I didn’t want to spend ages faffing about.

To be honest I wasn’t really in a baking mood as I had been up half the night worrying about my daughter the night before. She had been to a concert and was staying overnight at her friends’ house. I wanted to know that she was back safely at her friends’ house but my stomach was churning so much, it took me until 3am to get some sleep.  I also woke up with a sore throat which wasn’t good news as it has not been long since I had a cold! I had to produce something for Sunday lunch though.

I chose these four beautiful apples for the pudding.
I chose these four beautiful apples for the pudding.
The apples were peeled, cored, chopped into quarters and then into large chunks.
The apples were peeled, cored, chopped into quarters and then into large chunks.
I weighed out some walnut halves and broke some of them up to make them a little smaller.
I weighed out some walnut halves and broke some of them up to make them a little smaller.
Butter, sugar, flour and eggs were creamed together in a large mixing bowl.
Butter, sugar, flour and eggs were creamed together in a large mixing bowl.
The walnuts and apples were then folded into the mixture.
The walnuts and apples were then folded into the mixture.
The mixture was then spooned into a greased baking dish.
The mixture was then spooned into a greased baking dish.
While the pudding was baking I made some toffee sauce. Sugar, butter and double cream were heated together.
While the pudding was baking I made some toffee sauce. Sugar, butter and double cream were heated together.
This is what the sticky toffee apple pudding looked like when it came out of the oven.
This is what the sticky toffee apple pudding looked like when it came out of the oven.
The toffee sauce is put into a separate jug. It is a pale colour as I had run out of brown sugar, only had caster sugar left!
The toffee sauce is put into a separate jug. It is a pale colour as I had run out of brown sugar, only had caster sugar left!
A serving of the Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding with the toffee sauce poured over. We also had it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Leftovers for another day!
Leftovers for another day!

We all really enjoyed the pudding and the apples were a great addition to the mix.  My son said “Why do you have to ruin it with apples?” and “I don’t like it when apples are cooked” but he did eat all the sponge and sauce part.  Everyone else enjoyed it and it made a huge portion. The recipe stated that it served 6 but I thought it was nearer 10-12!  I thought the portions were generous too.  I will definitely bake this again and might try it with pears instead.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Dorset Apple Cake

I’m still catching up on all my blog posts and realised I had made this cake over three weeks ago for the Clandestine Cake Club VCake Event which was called “Regional Cakes”.  As I am originally from Nottinghamshire I wanted to find something that reflected my home county’s heritage.  This was easier said than done.  When I searched on the internet for some Nottinghamshire baking recipes I was very unlucky.  I only found one recipe, which was for Nottingham Goose Fair Gingerbread (which are rather like brandy snaps and certainly would not be allowed at the whole cake only Clandestine Cake Club!

After a good hour searching an idea came to me.  I knew that the Bramley Apple tree originated from Southwell in Nottinghamshire (pronounced Suthall, not South-well). Southwell is slap bang in the middle of the county and is a pretty town with a Minster and a racecourse.  It wasn’t far from where I grew up and I remember as an 8 year old going on a school trip to the Minster as part of a History topic on The Normans. I don’t remember much about the trip all except I bought a pen with my spending money in the Minster and I left it on the coach.  I didn’t get any sympathy from Mr Clarke, our teacher!

Anyway, I thought well I could adapt a recipe I already had using Bramley Apples from Nottinghamshire. It had been my wedding anniversary a couple of days previously and my mum (who lives in Nottingham) was up staying with us for the weekend.  I thought we could have some Apple Cake for our pudding at lunchtime served with some ice cream.  There was a gorgeous sounding recipe that I could use from The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook called Dorset Apple Cake.  The original recipe was by Karen Burns Booth.  Karen said in the recipe introduction that the cake could be baked in a springform round tin or in a rectangular traybake tin.  I chose to bake my version in my Alan Silverwood traybake tin as I just couldn’t find the base of my springform one!

So, here;s how it was made:

I used three large Bramley Apples given to me!
I used three large Bramley Apples given to me!

 

They were chopped up and sliced.
They were chopped up and sliced.
Butter and sugar was then creamed together with my hand mixer.
Butter and sugar was then creamed together with my hand mixer.
The eggs were added in gradually to try and prevent curdling.
The eggs were added in gradually to try and prevent curdling.
Self raising flour was folded in to the mixture.
Self raising flour was folded in to the mixture.
A thin layer of mixture was put into the bottom of my greased  traybake tin.
A thin layer of mixture was put into the bottom of my greased traybake tin.
A layer of sliced apples dusted with cinnamon was added to the traybake.
A layer of sliced apples dusted with cinnamon was added to the traybake.
After repeating the two previous steps the cake mixture was now used up.
After repeating the two previous steps the cake mixture was now used up.
The cake was baked in the oven for just about an hour.  The apples burnt a bit on top but they had a lovely, caramelised taste to them.
The cake was baked in the oven for just about an hour. The apples burnt a bit on top but they had a lovely, caramelised taste to them.
The Dorset Apple cake was turned out onto a wire rack to cool down.
The Dorset Apple cake was turned out onto a wire rack to cool down.
One slice cut up.
One slice cut up.

The rest of the cake!

The rest of the cake!

The cake was a big success with the adults in our house although my son said he didn’t like it because it had cooked apple in it.  All the more for us then!  I cut the cake up into 16 pieces which were large ones and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  There was plenty left over for me to take into work in a box the next day to share with my work colleagues.  It went down well as there was none left by the Tuesday!

If any of you reading this do know of any Nottinghamshire baking recipes then please do tell me. I would love to bake more.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Happy Baking