Friday, 25 October 2013

Trying Something New

First a big HI to SFT whose amazing blog I’ve been following for some time and who was the inspiration behind me starting my very own sealed pot for savings. I’ll try sorting out a ‘followers’ button but I’m very new to all this and slowly finding my way around Blogger.

Today’s been a day for trying something new. Three new things actually.

Firstly, I got a bargain in our local Hospice charity shop, a ball of that weird yarn with the bobbles on it for £3.50 - half the normal retail price. I’ve never used it before because I’m very much a plain knitter and when I have tried fancy yarns in the past I generally have trouble keeping count of the rows and totally mess up any shaping. However, I’d seen a scarf I’d thought of buying for DD2 for Xmas, and this yarn was in just the right colours and actually came with a scarf pattern printed on the inside of the ball band. And it was half the price of the scarf. It was obviously meant for me so I snapped it up and have been knitting away this afternoon on needles several sizes larger than the pattern recommends as I wanted it to be a fairly loose-weave. 

Its already about half done, and I’m going to join the ends and make it into a sort of cowl/snood just like Frugal mum of three has made for her kids at I just have to stop my DD from looking at this blog or it will spoil the surprise. 

The other two new things both concern my slow cookers. I got some lovely big cauliflowers yesterday at 2 for £1 in a greengrocer in Deal when I was over there for my volunteering. Today’s dinner was Cauliflower Cheese served with Baked Potatoes. I usually do my potatoes in the microwave but even then 4 large ones can take forever to cook and I hate wasting gas by putting the regular oven on just for a few potatoes. Anyway, I’d read on various sites that you can cook them in a slow cooker. You just scrub them clean as normal, rub with olive oil and wrap individually in foil. 


As I have a huge 6.5 litre cooker and a smaller 3.5 litre one I wondered about doing the cauliflower cheese in a slow cooker too. I looked online and found a few recommendations that I’ve adapted. So, I did 7 potatoes in their silver jackets in the large cooker and one of the caulis broken into florets and covered in cheese sauce in the smaller one. In the spirit of using up food stuffs I already have I cheated and mixed a dried cheese sauce and a white sauce mix together and poured them on. 

I also chopped up and added half a chorizo sausage I had in the fridge for a bit of extra flavour. As the sauce was a bit runny I stirred in a couple of dessertspoons of cornflour and I sprinkled over some grated cheddar to melt about an hour before serving time.Cooking time for the potatoes was 4 hours on high and the cauli was 2 hrs on high and 2 on low.

This is the result.

Overall a success although I'd use less liquid in the sauce next time because of what came out of the cauliflower during cooking. 
Total cost for 4 servings was about £2.65 but it could probably be stretched for 6 if your family isn’t as piggy as mine.

20p for 2 sauce mixes (10 for £1, Approved Foods)

10p (approx) for the Cornflour

20p (approx) for 2 tablespoons of dried skimmed milk (also from AF and mixed with the dried sauce mixes and water instead of using regular milk)

50p (approx) for 100g grated cheddar (bought in bulk and then frozen in 250g bags from - their value mix is 10kg for £28.50)

40p for 4 potatoes, approx 10p each (bought by the 25kg sack from a local farm shop for £7.80)

50p for one of the 2 for £1 cauliflowers

75p half a chorizo ring (1.49 from Aldi)

So about 88p per serving but would be less if not using chorizo, and I also cooked the 3  extra potatoes at the same time for lunch tomorrow and to use up spare space in the slow cooker.

I think that's all I have for tonight. Maybe I'll have the scarf/cowl/snood finished to show you tomorrow. 


  1. Hi Helen

    Wasn't that wool a great find! And I'm sure that scarf/snood will be lovelier because it's hand made. I admire the way you can make such a delicious dinner and use up at the same time. What a great price for such a feast.

    Hope you find the members button soon.

    Sft x

    1. The dinner didn't look much but it tasted great. I think I worked out the members button. It should be on the right hand side of the blog. Hope it works.

  2. Hi Helen, I would love to know how long you cooked the spuds and on what setting, please.

    1. Hi there, Attila. I did the spuds for about 4 1/2 hours on high. They were quite big potatoes and were cooked perfectly. I'd certainly do they this way again.

  3. Found you and following, love the idea of potatoes in the slow cooker, did you put any liquid in at all. The infinity scarf looks lovely, i bet it is warm. A great bargain.

  4. Hi there, Pam. Thanks for following me. No liquid needed at all for the potatoes. I must admit I was a bit sceptical but thought I'd give it a try and they came out great. Hope my daughter likes the scarf...if not I'll have it.