Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Adventures in the Kitchen

Today I had pain au chocolat for breakfast. Breakfast of Champions. It was my first of the trip. I also enjoy Tesco Blueberry muffins.

My biggest annoyance with British food is their fascination with mayonnaise. There are mayonnaise ads all over the place. And every sandwich is a "mayonnaise and free range egg" sandwich or a "mayonnaise and tuna" sandwich. Even better, just a "mayonnaise and lettuce" sandwich. (In case you didn't know, free-range egg is very in fashion right now.) During our week in Ireland, we ate sandwiches for lunch and dinner, and most of the sandwiches available were mayonnaise-and-something sandwiches. I think I will throw up if I have to look at another mayonnaise sandwich. Literally. The nausea is coming on as I write about it.

I was getting fed up with pre-prepared food. Britains just don't do frozen and ready-made food like Americans do. And unfortunately, my budget does not include restaurants who serve decent food. Furthermore, if you want vegetables or a salad and protein in a meal, you have to pay for each thing separately. So I decided to make a few things from scratch, even though I thought it would cost more since I don't have a stocked kitchen. For making an Alfredo sauce, here was my grocery list:

Flour: (I am sharing this small bag with Kelsey) 1 pound
Butter: (500 grams) 1.50 pounds
Cream: (10 ounces) 27 p
Grated Parmesan cheese: (about 3/4 cup) 1.50 pounds
Mozzarella: 1.30 pounds
Oregano: 57 p
Milk: (I already had this) 1.75 pounds
I already had a pound of tricolour rotini (it cost about 2.00 pounds)
I also already had diced chicken breast. It cost about 2.00 pounds (sterling) for 2 pounds of meat.

Ingredients for about 4 meals turned out to be cheaper than I had anticipated (27 p for cream and 57 p for oregano?!). It was still more than the nasty bottle of sauce I had purchased earlier, but it was worth it. It was so nice to have freshly prepared food. It is a good thing I know how to whip up a white sauce. This weekend I am going to whip my extra cream to use on french toast. My next adventure will be trying to make a salad without some crap dressing based on free-range-egg mayonnaise.

One more thing: It is very hard to live without ranch dressing in a world of particularly bland food.

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