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Happy Birthday, Mr T! And Happy Takeaway Day!

Well, we did it. 35 days of No Takeaways. Tonight, we got our celebratory meal of fish and chips, and it was pretty darn good, I won’t lie.

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Followed by a lovely dessert of dairy-free chocolate cake, iced by Princess herself

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And, we didn’t even mind that, in her enthusiasm, she dropped the cake clean on the floor. Messy on the floor? Either way, we had a lovely dessert of floor-cake and it was good.

As we ate our dinner, we reflected on 35 days of No Takeaways. I am really, really proud of the effort we have made, and it is something that I am definitely determined to continue in the future. Have we saved money? I’m sure we have, though I have no idea how much.

Best of all, I walk away today having learned so much about myself, cooking and food in general.

I have learned

  • How to make a chicken stock
  • How to make risotto
  • How to cook sauces without using packets
  • How important potatoes and onions are in our diet
  • How to adapt a recipe to fit based on ingredients
  • How to convince my husband that real food really is better than takeaways
  • How to cook a complete meal on 3 hours sleep, and then blog about it
  • How to engage a 4 year old in cooking meals, and
  • How to get a 4 year old eating things she normally wouldn’t touch

I’m sure there is much more that I can’t think of right now (still on 3 hours sleep but YAY, BabyGirl’s tooth came through!), but at the end of the day, I did it, and that is something I am very, very proud of.

Tomorrow, I start afresh. Because, I have a freezer full of potential meals, a cupboard full of ingredients and components, a family who need food and an enthusiasm for cooking like I’ve never had before. I challenge each of you to try something like this. See how far YOU can go without buying takeaways, and let me know!

And, of course, because I wouldn’t feel right leaving you without a recipe, here is the recipe for the Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake that we made for Mr T’s birthday tonight.

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

2 C Sugar

1 C Cocoa

2 C Flour

2 t Baking Soda

1/3 C Oil

2 eggs

2 t Vanilla Essence

2 C Water

Add all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and combine. Mix in a separate bowl all of the wet ingredients, whisk then add to the dry ingredients. Combine and bake for about 45-60 minutes on 150C. We iced with basic buttercream (margarine beaten until nearly white, then mixed with icing sugar) and lots and lots of sprinkles.

A delicious, heavy, rich chocolate cake. Yummo!

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Day #27 – Lemon Pepper Steak and Hedgehog Potatoes

Today, I nearly crumbled and got takeaways. Twice. First, about mid afternoon, when I had no idea what to cook and no energy to cook anyway. Second, while popping to the shop to get eggs for dinner and walking past the fish and chip shop. Those chips smelled so good! So. Good.

But, I didn’t. I marched myself back home with my eggs, and cooked Lemon Pepper Steak and Hedgehog Potatoes. Hedgehog potatoes are another thing I grew up on, I loved them as a kid. They are essentially roasted potatoes, but you cut them lengthways and then slice into them (without actually cutting them!). Eating them is cool because you can eat them square by square. Trust me, it’s a kid’s dream. I served this tonight with frozen mixed veges and frozen edamame beans. I love them, so nutty! Oh, and an egg each, because steak and eggs are a perfect pair.

Lemon Pepper Steak

Steak

Lemon Pepper

Simply cover the steak in the lemon pepper and then sear on a hot pan with oil. Cook each side until steak is to your liking, then rest it for ten minutes before serving.

Hedgehog Potatoes

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Potatoes

Oil

Cut the potato in half lengthways, then cut into the potato in lines, first vertically and then horizontally so you end up with lots of squares, but all still attached to the base of the potato. Wow, what a hard thing to describe! Determined not to confuse you, I’ve drawn up this handy diagram. If I confuse you more, I apologise!

Hedgehog Potatoes

Drizzle with oil and roast until cooked and crispy.

Verdict

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Amazing. I have never seen Princess finish a meal as well as she did tonight. She very diligently stayed at the table and completely cleaned her plate. The hedgehog potatoes were awesome, although I think I might try putting something in the cracks next time, like a little bit of garlic butter. Oh, my. That would be amazing. The steak was, hands down, the best steak I’ve ever cooked. It was so tender and juicy and the thing I like about the lemon pepper is, it gives a “kick” to the tender steak. What a great meal.

Take that, fish and chips.