Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Frugal Foods tips and recipe May 27

As Mistress B and I were discussing on the phone the other night - if you can make gravy and white sauce from scratch you're laughing.
It's these little things that loosen dependency on packets full of preservatives, additives, blah-dy-blah muck and enough salt to dry up a Qld flood.
Gravy - 
  • In a saucepan melt a little butter, then add a couple of teaspoons of cornflour and a beef/chicken stockcube (home made would be best but Massel is next best).
  • Stir till all the butter has been absorbed into the flour (breadcrumb consistency) then place the pan back on a medium flame and slowly start to add water, stirring the whole time.
  • Stop adding water when desired thickness is reached.
  • Onion, garlic, herbs of choice can be added as well.
  • If more brown colour is required drop in a little Vegemite.

White/Cheese Sauce -
  • This will do virtually all vegies and fish dishes.
  • Same as above; melt butter in a saucepan, add some cornflour till all butter is absorbed (breadcrumb consistency again) then slowly start adding milk while stirring the mixture over a medium flame until sauce thickness is reached.
  • Have cheese of choice already grated/chopped before beginning this recipe and begin to slowly add it to the saucepan at this point.
  • Chopped chives and other herbs may also be tossed in but remember - less is more, a little flavouring can go a long way so don't be tempted to be heavy handed.

Cheap, tasty and healthy Baked Banana Pudd.
  • Light your oven!
  • Into a mixing bowl sift 1 cup of S/R flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, chuck in an egg, 3 tablespoons of melted butter (olive oil will substitute for vegetarians and those dairy intolerant) and 3 tablespoons of milk (soy/rice or dairy).
  • Belt the buggery out of the batter until smooth then pour into a greased oven casserole dish.
  • Slice 2-3 medium sized bananas and lay slices on top of pudding mixture, baste with a little butter/oil.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar (or less to taste) and cinnamon over the top, bake in moderate oven for 30-40 mins until golden brown.
  • Serve hot/warm with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream.


  1. Cornflour's the thing, eh? I'll try to remember that next time I brave the supermarket. Cheers.

  2. Gravy: Reserve pan drippings and yummy bits from base of pan including the fat (no butter) drizzle plain flour over and stir with the back of a slotted spoon until all flour is absorbed and mix is crumbly. Slowly add boining water from the kettle whilst stirring al the time. Season and eat.
    Real gravy.
    (runs away giggling)

  3. @Timespanner- be sure and read the labels when buying Cornflour. There's true Cornflour (100% corn), and there's wheaten cornflour, (made from wheat). Most important if you have gluten allergy.
    Gravy-"if more brown colour is required, drop in a little vegemite". I use a little worcestershire sauce to brown up the colour, sometimes adding a little tomato sauce as well. The tomato sauce addition goes well over meatloaf.

    White/Cheese sauce- When sauce is cooked, take it OFF the heat, then stir in the cheese to melt. Cheese stirred in while sauce is still on the heat cooking can go a little rubbery.

  4. Oh, rhubarbwhine!, yes pan juices have the best flavour when it comes to making gravy, but I use just the juices, draining off the fat. Most often I'll pour all the roating fat and flavoursome juices into a bowl and let it set in the fridge. This will then separate into jellied juices on the bottom and a top layer of fat. Separate these with a knife or however you'd prefer, re-use the fat for the next roast, use the jellied juices to make the gravy. There won't be enough and you'll have to add water, but the flavour is yummy. The jellied part can also be used to start a soup, red meat juices for a beefy type soup, jellied chicken juices for a chicken/veg soup or even in a potato & leek soup.

  5. Cornflour (real cornflour as River reminded me further down) is veru versitle, Lisa :)

    Oh, yes, Rhubarb, that's the yummiest gravy out :)
    This was more a generalised recipe for those meat dishes other than roasts :)

    Yep, River, that is sooo true; white/cheese sauce can turn very quickly if you're not careful, and anything to give a brown colour usually works :)

    EXACTLY, River !
    It's all about reusing food that becomes something different when cooked and can be used in other dishes.
    Too many people toss out left-overs and turn their nose up at this type of cooking when, let's be honest, no one can afford to in this financial crisis.
    Plus that's where the real natural flavour is!

  6. "...if you can make gravy and white sauce from scratch you're laughing."

    That's because it helps if you're drunk.

  7. Okay, so best to look out for 100% cornflour (I don't think I have allergies along the gluten line, but it's best to play safe, right?) but the days when I could rely on using roasting pan juices to help out are long gone, sadly. I'll try the saucepan route next time I need a bit of extra taste on the gruel.

  8. 2 glasses of wine for you, 1 for the pot, Brian ? :P

    Yep, plus 100% cornflour tastes a little nicer in white/cheese sauces, Lisa :)

  9. Sometimes I can't help but noticing what is happening in the highrise kitchen and I note the frequent use of something called gravy flour. I am guessing it is like cornflour only with extra chemicals added for nutritional reasons.

  10. lol Something like that, Andrew :)