FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

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Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Worlds Longest Pier - Southend-on-Sea

After living in Southend all these years we have finally gotten around to walking the pier!

Southend Pier is a major landmark in Southend-on-Sea. Extending 1.34 miles (2.16 km) into the Thames Estuary, it is the longest pleasure pier in the world.


We went on Good Friday and the weather was unusually pleasant for a bank holiday!



The start of the pier runs straight over the top of Adventure Island, our local mini theme park whose attractions include Jungle Safari, Raging River Log Flume and Barracuda.





I especially liked rule no. 5: PLEASE KEEP CHILDREN UNDER CONTROL if anyone figures out a winning formula for doing this then please let us know!





So after paying for our admission it was time to hit the weathered old boards and start our journey








This is a photo that sums up Jamie Olivers "Cafe" at the end of the Pier. It is a shame that Jamie and Jimmy use the place as a glorified film set and leave it abandoned and desolate for the majority of time when they aren't cashing in on filming there. It would be nice to see a local celebrity like Jamie Oliver actually bringing people in by opening the cafe to the public, I wouldn't expect him to actually be there but I just find it selfish that he uses the location on the pier for filming and doesn't actually give anything back to the community in return. That's the end of my little rant anyway!




We paid for the walk and ride option, so we got to come back from the end of the pier on the mini train. The worlds longest pier can take its toll on tiny legs, and Logan LOVES trains





And of Course what family outing to the seafront would be complete without ICE CREAM!




Hope you all had fun over the bank holiday

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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Storm Katie



Hope everyone in blogland is keeping well and hasn't been hit to hard by the storm. Apart from losing some fence panels and the (supposedly wind proof) lid to the composter all is well at FAST-HQ

Storm Katie making a right mess of the place

Sorry we haven't posted anything for a while, we've been busy having a great easter with family and will post the photos etc of what we've been up to ASAP
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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

£3 a Week Lunch Challenge - Aldi Breakfast Burritos

We try pretty hard to keep the cost of our shopping down to a minimum, whilst also trying to eat fairly healthily and also have quick and easy meals. Sometimes I feel like that's not all possible at the same time! An essential key to success in this area is definitely preparation!

It's not so much of a problem for me and the kids when we're at home as it's easy to whip something up, but it is a problem area for Rich taking lunches to work. He often doesn't have time in the morning to make something, so either goes without (and who wants to do that?!), or he pops to Sainsbury's up the road and grabs a lunch meal deal. You know the ones - £3 for a Sandwich/wrap/pasta salad, a drink and crisps/chocolate/fruit.

£3 seems like a good deal off the bat, but when you add it up, it would cost £15 a week or £60ish a month - that's more than a weeks worth of shopping! All those £3 really do add up. So I thought i'd set myself a challenge to not only be more organised, but also try and only spend £3 for the week on hubby's lunches.

I'm a massive fan of Pinterest and have seen lots of meal prep and lunch recipes on there - mostly American, so a lot of the ingredients are not available here. I decided to try my hand at something similar, and also make it something easy and accessible to most people. My local supermarket is Aldi, and it's where I do the majority of our shopping, so I thought I'd try it with things from there as most people have an Aldi nearby. I wanted to go down the Breakfast Burrito route (from what I'd seen on Pinterest), but use ingredients that were easy to use. I didn't want to have to cook sausages, eggs, bacon and everything else before hand. In place of sausages and bacon, I went for Frikadellen. These are little german meatballs and are already cooked and ready to eat.

 So here's my twist on it!


Aldi Breakfast Burritos

Yield: 16 burritos
Cost Per Burrito: £0.54
Cost per working week: £2.70

What You Will Need:
  • Tomato and herb pasta sauce - £0.39
  • Sweet Potatoes - £0.79
  • baby potatoes - £0.59
  • Frikadellen meat balls - £1.69
  • Large pack Mushrooms - £1.59
  • 15 eggs - £1
  • 2 x packs 8 tortilla wraps - £0.69 each
  • Mature Cheddar Cheese - £1.19 (used 1/3 the block which cost £3.57)
Total cost of ingredients : £8.62

Plus, a few store cupboard items, such as olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and some herbs. 

So, here's the ingredients...









Now the first thing to do is turn the oven on to around 180 degrees. Chop the whole bag of  baby potatoes into small chunks and half the bag of sweet potatoes too. I didn't peel the baby potatoes but i did peel the sweet potatoes. Place the chunks on a couple of baking trays, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over your herbs of choice. I used some cajun seasoning and some herbs de provence, but anything will do. Some paprika and some thyme would also be good here. Pop the trays in the oven and cook for around 20-30 minutes until cooked through and golden.





While the potatoes are roasting, slice the entire pack of mushrooms. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the 'shrooms. Let them cook for a little while until they release their water. Then add in some chopped garlic, seasoning and herbs,and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Place the mushrooms into a bowl to the side and wash the pan ready to cook the eggs.



Whilst the mushrooms are cooking, hack off a third of your cheese block and grate it into a bowl. 


Now you have a nice clean frying pan, crack your 15 eggs into a large bowl, add a glug or two of milk and season well. Put your pan onto a medium heat, and melt a knob of butter. Add your eggs and let them sit until they set underneath, pull the edges of the egg into the middle and let set again. This is more of a 'folded' egg than a 'scrambled' egg,and I much prefer it this way. But if you want to just have good old scrambled, then do that instead. When cooked, take the pan off the heat.






Whilst you eggs are cooking, you want to chop up your Frikadellen. I chopped each meat ball into about 8 pieces. Place to one side.




Now it's time to set up your work station. Firstly, grab some tin foil and rip off 16 pieces that are big enough to wrap your burritos in. Get a plate and place your 16 tortilla wraps onto it. Open your pasta sauce and grab a spoon. Make sure all of the ingredients are close to hand and you're ready to go!


This is the order I made the burritos in:

  • spread a big spoon of sauce in the middle
  • add some of your garlicky mushrooms
  • add some eggs
  • add a spoon or two of potato and sweet potato chunks
  • add 6-8 pieces or Frickdellen chunks
  • big mound of grated cheese








YUMMY!

Now to wrap them, I fold the bottom in, fold the top in,then fold in one side and then roll over onto the open side so it's all encased inside. 

Transfer to a piece of foil and wrap it up!





After using my 16 wraps, I was only left over with a few scraps really - a tiny bit of egg, a few chunks of potato, a few gratings of cheese and a bit of sauce. I saw these as the chef's treat, obviously :D





And there you have it!



A nice full freezer drawer, ready to just pull one out when needed!

These might not be the healthiest thing on the planet, and not all of the ingredients are made from scratch, but they're realistic. For a busy family who are on a budget, these fit the bill. They're tasty, filling, easy to make and store, full of energy, and most importantly, CHEAP! 54p a day certainly beats £3 a day in my book! And there's something pretty satisfying about making food in bulk and filling out your freezer too!

So the challenge set was £3, and this came in at £2.70 per working week. I'd call that a success!

Let us know if you try something similar and how you get on. We want to try similar things again in future and would love to hear your ideas!















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Etsy

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