With plaice and beef, this is a week that does not feel budget at all. Dishes include a Thai beef salad, steamed plaice and leek-mozzarella phyllo rolls.
I barely had enough room to fit all the groceries on the table where I take the picture.
This week there are 4 expensive items, starting with the rice. I used Jasmin rice, which is relatively expensive. You can substitute regular rice or but it at an Asian shop instead. As the fish course I chose plaice, which was on sale and in season. Depending on where you get it, it is not always very cheap. You can however use a cheaper fish such as tilapia or pangasius, or fish from the freezer.
This week also has beef, which is not cheap. I did use a cheaper cut, which is delicious baked medium-rare as well in the Thai beef salad, I explain more on this below. I needed 350gr but the supermarket I went to stocked 500gr portions. I will freeze the leftovers to make a stew with, but it did add up to my grocery total.
Finally, the coriander (cilantro) can be gotten cheaper when going to a Turkish or Asian shop or certain market stalls, where you get much more for a lower price.
You can find the budget challenge recipes of all weeks under BC Recipes. They are linked below as well; click on the dish names at each day to get forwarded to the corresponding recipe.
My shopping list of this week (if I bought more, the quantity bought is between brackets):
- 350gr stewing beef (500gr)
- 380gr plaice
- Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage)
- 700gr carrots (1kg bag)
- 1 leek
- 5 red onions (bag of 750gr)
- 1/2 cucumber
- 500gr Swiss brown mushrooms
- small bush coriander
- 2 chili peppers (pack of 3)
- 400gr baby potatoes (1kg bag)
- 220gr Jasmin rice (1kg bag)
- 200gr phyllo pastry
- 125gr mozzarella
- 2 eggs (box of 10)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 banana
- 60gr flour (1kg bag)
I spent €23.90. The remaining beef went into the freezer. The baby potatoes, remaining onion, carrots and cucumber I have used in salads to take to work for lunch. The rice, flour and eggs joined my pantry.
I used the following items from my pantry this week: Ginger (BC5), mirin, soy sauce, fish sauce, pickles, capers (BC3), baking powder.
Plus these standard pantry items: Sunflower oil, salt/pepper, stock cube, sugar, garlic (BC5), onion, mustard, vinegar, fresh herbs from garden (parsley), dried herbs (terragon), spices (cinnamon, cloves).
Day 1 – Saturday
Lunch: Red Onion and Mushroom Phyllo Pies
These pies are a great vegetarian treat. It is comfort food at its best, with only a few ingredients in the filling, encased in a crisp crust. I made two, but it is a bit much. You are better off making one and serving it with a simple salad made of the leftover Chinese (Napa) cabbage and some dressing. I have provided the recipe for two pies and budgeted this accordingly.
Pantry items: Garlic (BC5) and sunflower oil.
Dinner: Ginger Chili Steamed Plaice
Plaice is a great fish, very delicate, and therefore perfect to steam. Combine it with some Asian flavours and serve with Chinese (Napa) cabbage and rice, with a coriander chili dressing (only half of the recipe is needed, which is the amount shown on the picture, for convenience I doubled the amounts for the dressing recipe).
Pantry items: Garlic (BC5), ginger (BC5), soy sauce, mirin, sunflower oil.
Day 2 – Sunday
Lunch: Banana Coconut Pancakes
What better way to start your Sunday off with some pancakes. These pancakes have banana and coconut milk in the batter, so they’re a bit different from plain. I like them as they are, but you can serve them with powdered sugar or syrup, or even toasted coconut.
Pantry items: Sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, sunflower oil.
Dinner: Plaice with Gurkin-Caper Sauce
The gurkin-caper sauce is based on a remoulade, but without the anchovy (next week will have a real remoulade because I am such a fan of it). This is served with parsley carrots and steamed baby potatoes. The recipe uses half of the mayo recipe, excluding the garlic, of tomorrow. You can also use store-bought mayo, but it isn’t difficult to make if you have an immersion (stick) blender. You simply add everything to a tall container that the blender just fits into. Place the blender in it without shaking, stirring or anything, you don’t want the contents to mix. Turn on the blender and when the mayo has thickened, move the blender up and down to add the rest of the oil (which floats on top). The sauce includes the dried herb terragon. If you don’t have it, you could use dill or omit it. Terragon is however delicious with chicken and pasta, so it isn’t bad to have it in your pantry.
Serve the plaice with 200gr baby potatoes and 250gr parsley carrots (half the recipe in sides-vegetables). These items have been included in the budget.
Pantry items: Dijon mustard, vinegar, sunflower oil, gurkins (pickles), capers (BC3), fresh parsley, dried herbs (terragon (optional) ).
Day 3 – Monday
Dinner: Roasted Vegetables with Garlic Mayo
I usually make garlic mayo with garlic baked in aluminium foil in the oven for 45 minutes, which creates a great smooth and sweet garlic paste. This recipe can be found under sauces.
For this recipe, I simply baked a little garlic in some oil. This creates flecks in the mayo, but it is still delicious. Served simply with some leftover vegetables from the other recipes of this week, it’s a wonderful addition to your week menu plan.
The garlic mayo recipe specifies twice as much as is used for this dish (I don’t even finish all of that), the other half was for the gurkin-caper sauce of yesterday.
Pantry items: Dijon mustard, vinegar, sunflower oil, garlic (BC5).
Day 4 – Tuesday
Dinner: Leek Mozzarella Phyllo Rolls
These rolls are very simple to make. You sweat the leek, roll it into phyllo with some mozzarella, brush with oil and bake in a hot oven. They are also delicious.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil
Day 5 – Wednesday
Dinner: Thai Beef Salad
Just under the maximum budget for a meat dish, but not the most expensive dish on the menu this week, that is reserved for tomorrow. The stewing beef is cut against the grain, marinated and flash fried, then served on some Chinese (Napa) cabbage, carrot and cucumber, topped with some coriander and served with rice.
If you have time, make the stew tonight, it only requires some stirring occasionally once it’s simmering away, but it will save you time tomorrow, especially if you work fulltime like myself (you can eat straight after re-heating it), plus stews are better the second day.
Pantry items: Soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, ginger (BC5), garlic (BC5), sunflower oil.
Day 6 – Thursday
Dinner: Creamy Beef Stew
Exactly the maximum amount allowed for a meat dish in this budget challenge and therefore the most expensive one. Today was supposed to be a little cheaper, but I would have coconut milk left from tomorrow’s dish and I had a bit more mushrooms left than expected. To not have leftovers, I used all. I don’t think I will use beef (except minced) again for this challenge, or to use 150gr tops for a dish (I used 175gr for both beef dishes), to make it easier to stay within budget. I got lucky this time but don’t want to go over the budget per meal that I set myself, even if I stay within the weekly budget. Although I am very happy I could do beef dishes in this challenge.
That said, this is a great dish. It is rich and creamy due to the coconut milk (which you don’t taste as coconut milk in the final dish) and has plenty of vegetables. Served with 200gr of steamed potatoes, it is the perfect cold weather dish.
Pantry items: Stock cube, sunflower oil.
Day 7 – Friday
Dinner: Coconut Rice
Kind of like a different style risotto, it allows you to use cheaper Jasmin rice instead of Arborio to make a creamy rice dish. I used up the leftover vegetables, which means it is filled with carrot, Chinese (Napa) cabbage and leek.
Pantry items: Cloves (the spice), cinnamon, onion, sunflower oil.
Grocery costs: €23.90
Recipes total: €17.23