Days 4 & 5 – Food Bank, Failed Porridge & Fadge

Fadge - Irish Potato Pancakes, sizzling in the pan.

Fadge – Irish Potato Pancakes, sizzling in the pan.

Click here for a link to Cromer & District Foodbank:-

http://cromerdistrict.foodbank.org.uk/

It’s amazing how our bank balance has remained almost untouched this week…clearly it was getting a hammering from frequent ‘pop ins’ to supermarkets, theoretically to get just milk and bread, but actually spending an awful lot more; clearly those marketing ploys work!

We contacted the Food Bank this week, an organisation that we support locally, to see about their operation in Cromer and Holt. Meeting the people who run it and talking about all the amazing work they do to support local people who are in difficulty was eye opening; we think we live in a affluent area, but there is much need in North Norfolk. We have offered our services, and hope to start training soon, joining the regular operation as well as hopefully being part of some exciting new local initiatives that are currently in the planning stages. It was an exciting meeting, and I very much look forward to getting stuck in. I hope to do some regular articles for this site regarding my experiences as a volunteer. Food Bank provides much needed support in the form of food and toiletries for many people who are currently in financial poverty; it is easy to support them, just pop a few extra tins or packets (non perishable) into your shopping basket each week, and give to one of their many collection points. If you get a few people together, you can end up with a carrier bag of food – all essential help for others less well off, and so easy to achieve.

Eating has gone from a pleasurable experience to one of mundane, repetitive functionality. There’s nothing wrong with the food…it’s just the same thing over and over. But I have actually struggled much more with the drinks; I didn’t realise quite how important tasty hot drinks were to my life! The first thing I am going to have on Monday morning is a huge cup of tea….

Anthony confessed to having raided the lemon curd and honey jars….as well as giving in to a scrumped grape from our underperforming grape vine outside, which must have been a sour experience, and not at all as satisfying as the filched honey! But he’s not the only one; our daughter Daisy has insisted on having a little of everything we eat, and even made some flat breads for herself with the flour, which she enjoyed immensely. I will most definitely be making those for the family from now on.

Sadly, not all the cooking has been successful: Thursday’s porridge was a disaster, as I thought that adding lemon curd to it instead of honey for a change would be tasty…it so wasn’t. What I should have done was tried a little, but I stirred a spoonful into the whole bowl (rather stupidly) and ruined mine completely. I thought afterwards that what I did was symptomatic of living in plenty for so many years – I am sure that someone who was used to being without would have approached things far more cautiously. Needless to say, I was livid with myself, and had a small cup of the soup for breakfast instead. Anthony, as ever with far more forgiving taste buds than mine, tucked in regardless; I am sure he would cope far better in a real food crisis than I would. Evidently I am far too picky, although this week has tempered that somewhat!

Making the second batch of soup, I thought I would ring the changes, and used the little bit of curry powder to make a smooth curried vegetable soup. I also had a small bowl of chickpeas leftover, and a tiny amount of lentils. This made a nice, thick satisfying soup, to ring the changes for the latter half of the week.

I am so glad that I saved 4 small potatoes and ½ an onion for emergencies,  as I have used them to make fadge, which is an old Irish recipe for potato pancakes. They are so easy to make, and a tasty change from porridge in the mornings (see recipe below). They really stick to the ribs, and it’s nice to have something savoury in the morning. I had to cook the potato the day before, (you could use leftovers) and just mash them with a little oil and salt, but they worked just as well. They would be amazing topped with a fried egg, with beans and mushrooms on the side…but that’s for next week! Remember, this is a restricted-ingredients recipe for this week, so if you’re trying it and want to add more flavourings or onion, feel free! I am going to try adding some oats tomorrow, to see if that makes it more filling, and holds us for longer.

 

Fadge: Makes one large pancake for 2 people

8oz cooked mashed potato

2 oz plain flour

¼ onion, finely chopped

A little oil

Salt

A couple of pinches of dried oregano

 

Gently fry the onion for a few minutes, and then turn off heat. Heat the mash up slightly in a microwave to loosen it a little (don’t make it too hot or you’ll burn your fingers). Add the flour, onion, oregano, 2 tsp oil and good pinch of salt, and mix. Add in 2 tablespoons of warm water, and bring together into dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead gently until it is smooth, and then press out into a round, about ½ inch thick. Cut in half (this makes it easier to flip over in the pan). Put a little more oil in the frying pan that you fried the onions in, heat up on a medium heat, and place the potato pancakes in. Cook gently for about 3-4 mins on each side, until the pancakes are browned and cooked through, being careful that they do not burn. Serve immediately.