Tag Archives: economy

using less fuel

Fuel prices here, both gas and electricity, are larcenous. We already try not to use the central heating; we are lucky enough to have a woodburner, and that heats downstairs, and our bedroom above, and we put up with a cold bathroom. Having the fuel paid for in advance is nice, and I get a warm glow (pun intended) when I look at the mountains of wood in the yard; I think we have two years’ worth out there, with luck.

I recently bought a stovetop kettle, which we keep on the fire for hot drinks in the evening, and I now have three slow cookers (bit like Goldilocks – small, medium and huge), and my trusty Remoska. I already try to fill the oven when it on, but I’m now thinking ahead for other types of cooking too.

So, tonight we are having sausages. There are some cooked spuds in the fridge, so sausages and potatoes will go in the Remoska to cook  (and will probably add a quartered onion too), and we shall accompany it with homemade baked beans (I made a batch a few weeks ago, and froze them in portion sized boxes). I’m going to try the baked beans on the stove in a cast iron casserole.

Every little helps.

a full oven, and a plum crumble

a full oven

Further to the last post on energy saving cooking, here is the oven full of cauli cheese, roast potatoes, and plum and apple crumble.

I poached the plums in water with a teaspoon of five spice for about 8 minutes, then put them in an oven proof dish, bubbled the liquor down a bit, then added two cooking apples (peeled, cored and chunked) and cooked them off until they softened a bit. Into the dish they went, and a crumble topping went, er, on top –  6 oz brown flour, 2 oz porridge oats, 3 oz marg, 3 oz sugar. 40 minutes or so at 180. Lovely.

energy saving cooking

Apologies for the hiatus in posts – I find cooking in the summer a bit meh and uninteresting, and had nothing new to write. Thus I welcomed the autumn weather with glee, exhumed a chicken carcass from the freezer, and made stock, then soup, in the slow cooker. Of course, immediately the weather turned into an Indian summer, so the soup went into the freezer, but hey …

Autumn has returned now – we have cut and stacked all the wood in the yard into its nice new log store, the cats are sleeping on the bed again, and winterous cooking can commence. However British Gas, from whom we also buy our electrickery, sent us a nice little meter to monitor our electric usage and it has given me palpitations. When we refitted the kitchens we went for electric ovens and my dears – the power usage! It makes me feel quite faint, and of course they require much longer running to heat up than the gas one we had previously.

I’m trying to be parsimonious with all our power usage these days – we have pretty much abandoned central heating, and just heat the living room with the wood burner and I’m also going to try and use the multi-tiered steamer for veg cooking more – just requires a bit more organising.

This has paid dividends in that our gas monthly payment has gone from £65 last winter, to £21 last month, but it’s hard to do much about the electric given we work at home and have Lots of computer equipment. But we do have as much as possible on those little remote control sockets, so one blip on the remote and everything is off, not on standby.

We have a baby Remoska (I don’t think they sell this model any more, which is a shame). It is ideal for two servings of cauliflower cheese, or pasta bake, for cooking off onions, bor baking two (small!) spuds, for thawing frozen casseroles. And for a long time, I’ve been considering a bigger one. I love my slow cooker, but a big Remoska can bake a cake or loaf of bread, can do roast veg, or a small chicken, and all sorts of things.

So we went to the Lakeland shop in Beverley to have a look at the relative sizes of the medium and the large, or Grand, as they call it. And bought a Grand, because I could get a dish of lasagne in it, or sausages, or a vegetable gratin, or roast potatoes, or all sorts of other things, and I’m quite looking forward to trying it out once I have found room in the kitchen!

Grand Remoska

 

Of course, today’s dinner is planned: cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes, plum and apple crumble. So I’ll be putting the big oven on to  cook that lot, but it’s a grand idea in theory, no?