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It is possible to be frugal whilst eating fillet steak…?

September 10, 2011

Today marks the end of the first week of The Frugality Challenge and I have to confess that I am thoroughly enjoying it!

I’ve started to explore the stock of meat I have crammed into my freezer and came across a 600g piece of Dexter beef fillet.  A couple of months ago I bought about £100 worth of beef from a colleague at work, whose friend has a small-holding.  Marvellous, if somewhat accidental forward planning for this challenge… So, in order that Frugal Friday could provide offerings to rival the temptation of a cheeky takeaway, I defrosted the fillet.

Having pilfered (with permission, I may add) a few large potatoes from my neighbour’s veg box, I thought there could be no better solution than a classic steak and chips.  From the fillet I cut two healthy-sized steaks, rubbed them with olive oil and seasoned them generously with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, before leaving them to come to room temperature.

The man about the house had kindly taken my not-so-subtle hints and there was a bowl of hand-cut chips ready for cooking.  As I think anything less than a triple-cooked chip is unacceptable, I set about boiling them in a pan of salted water for just under 10 minutes.  Then I rinsed them in cold water to stop them cooking, lay them out on kitchen paper on a tray and popped them in the fridge for a while – this helps them get nice and crisp when you fry them.

There was about 250g of the fillet left, so I popped that back into the fridge until I had formulated a plan for how to use that the next day.  I’ll come back to that later.

To go with the steak and chips, I picked a few lovely ripe tomatoes from the garden, which I popped into a baking tin, doused with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and roasted until bursting from their skins.  I then glugged a bit of Balsamic over the top of them.

The other side dish consisted of Buttered Swiss Chard, which I also picked from the garden (minus the butter, of course).

To cook the chips, I heated a pan of vegetable oil, added the chips and then turned it down to low.  I wanted them to cook on the inside but not brown – this took about 7-8 minutes.  As I was only using a small pan, I did this in batches and drained them on kitchen paper once done.  Then I turned the oil back up to high and cooked them for the third time, until they became lightly golden brown and crispy on the outside.  Again, I drained them on kitchen paper, liberally sprinkling them with sea salt.

To cook the steaks (medium rare), I heated a griddle pan until smoking and then cooked them for 2 minutes on each side, before resting under foil for another four minutes.  And there you have it…a frugal supper of steak and chips, because I didn’t have to buy a thing!

The remaining steak I chopped up and marinated overnight, in order to make stir-fried beef and sticky rice for lunch today.  I’ll cover that recipe in my next post – trust me, it’s worth waiting for.

For breakfast this morning, I rustled up some delicious potato scones (perfect because they only have four ingredients – potatoes, salt, butter and flour) with poached eggs.  I made enough that we have spares for breakfast tomorrow too.  I took the recipe from a little booklet I got from McDougall’s Flour for about three quid, but I’ve found pretty much the same recipe online here, if you want to make these yourself.

Seven days in and today was the first day I’ve had to go shopping.  With only £10 to spend on up to five items, I had to think long and hard as to what I was going to spend my money on.  In the end, I did opt for tinned tomatoes, onions, pancetta, milk and pasta; mainly because I think I can eek the most number of meals by combining these with some of the ingredients I already have.

Bring on the next week of The Frugality Challenge!!!

 Related posts:

The Frugality Challenge: Day One (Sunday 4 September)

The Frugality Challenge: Day Four (Wednesday 7 September)

Day Five of The Frugality Challenge and a recipe for Baked Salmon and Noodles (Thursday 8 September)

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