Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


3 Comments

Pieday Friday – Homemade + healthy sweet ‘n’ sour coleslaw recipe

I’m getting ready for BBQ season with this week’s Pieday Friday recipe. Yes, I’m making homemade coleslaw, which we all know is the best type of coleslaw in the world. Sure, you can spend ££s on luxury coleslaw if you really want to, but nothing beats the fresh, zesty crunch of a homemade ‘slaw. Use it to funk up salads, to dollop on top of your burger, to serve as a BBQ side dish, or to mix with cheese as a crunchy sandwich filling. However you use it up, the freshness of a homemade coleslaw will have you going back to the fridge again and again to help yourself to another spoonful with your lunch. Here’s how I made an ultra-fresh and zingy coleslaw: homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-19 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-3homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-15 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-13Ingredients (serves 4 plus a small tub of leftovers to keep in the fridge!): 1/4 of a white cabbage, 4 peeled carrots, 1 white onion, 1 red onion, 1 zingy green apple and 1 sweet red apple, cored and quartered, a dash of lemon juice, 250ml non-fat natural yoghurt, 2 tablespoon course mustard, 100ml picked gherkin juice (or white vinegar), salt and pepper.

Use a food processor with a thin slicing blade to finely slice up the cabbage and both onions.

Change to the grater blade and add the carrots, and both apples.

Toss the ingredients together with a splash of lemon juice to stop the apples from going brown.

Dollop in the yoghurt and mustard and give the coleslaw a stir.

Drizzle in the picked gherkin juice (which is both sweet and vinegary), mix again and season to taste.

Store in a sealed tub in the fridge and serve up alongside your BBQ burger this summer! This was the first time I’d tried using a food processor (this one is a Panasonic MK-F800) and it made the process of making the coleslaw fantastically fast. Plus, the fine slicing blade got the onions and cabbage so wafter-thin – something I’ve never been able to achieve with a knife. homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-18 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-15 While I had the food processor on the go, I also whizzed some potatoes through the julienne blade (with skins still on) to rustle up the quickest batch of chips I’ve ever made. Just a spritz of fry-light before oven baking was all the potatoes needed to turn them into crisp homemade (and healthy!) chips.homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-13 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-20Considering I’d never used a food processor before, I got to grips with the Panasonic processor really quickly. It wasn’t long before I was looking for more vegetables to chop up or slice. While I was at it, I finely sliced up all the rest of the white cabbage so that I could freeze it in portions. I find that cabbage is one of those vegetables that I really like but that I hardly ever eat because you never use a whole one at once (not between the two of us anyway!) so I always end up with a limp half-cabbage that I forget about and find a month later slowing wilting at the back of the salad drawer. At least this way there was no wastage and I’ve got the right size portions in my freezer, ready to eat with bangers and mash.homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-19 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-3Let me know if you have a go at making this recipe and tell me how you would funk up your coleslaw in other ways – would you add cheese, zesty orange segments or sliced gherkins?? What’s your signature homemade coleslaw recipe that your BBQ guests cant get enough of? Also, it would be great to hear your ideas about what other things I can use my food processor for, so please do get in touch to tell me how you use your applicances. Leave me a comment below or tweet me @cassiefairy.


Leave a comment

3 cheap party ideas (for this bank holiday & beyond!)

If you love entertaining and organising parties, but haven’t currently got the budget to spend on a fancy dinner party or big blow out with drinks, decorations and entertainment, then that’s no reason to put your hosting skills on ice. Bank holiday weekends tend to have a party atmosphere (woo an extra night out!) and bring out a fun, cheeky side in everyone so it’s a great time to get your pals together for an impromptu party. There are lots of ways you can put together a fun gathering for your friends without spending much at all, and can be just as much fun as elaborate parties if you have some lively guests and keep everybody mingling. Here are three thrifty ideas for parties you could hold this bank weekend and beyond…

‘Pot Luck’ BBQ

Summer is coming, and this can only mean barbecues. Honestly, it wouldn’t be a bank holiday without someone dragging a BBQ out of the shed and getting all smoky with the sausages. Of course, buying all the food and other provisions for a good barbecue can quickly become expensive, so why not take the American concept of a ‘pot luck’ party? This is where everyone invited has to prepare and bring along a dish, and as it is a barbecue you can also give them the option to simply bring along some meat to cook. This can be a really nice idea if you have some friends who love to show off their cooking skills as they’ll bring something really delicious, but those who are less interested in the kitchen can just turn up with a pack of burgers or chicken for everyone to enjoy.pieday friday bbq flavoured olive burgers recipe

Check out my homemade BBQ burger recipe

Continue reading “3 cheap party ideas (for this bank holiday & beyond!)” »


2 Comments

How does your garden grow? A DIY barbecue makeover

Yay for summer and whoop for BBQ season! It’s finally time to drag out the barbecue, scrub down the grill and fire up the coals. Or so I thought… It turns out that my barbecue required a makeover, and quick!BBQ paint DIY makeover_-9Last year we invested in a kettle barbecue. Ok, it wasn’t pricey because we picked it up in the end-of-summer sales but even so I was rather disappointed when, after only a couple of weeks outside, the red paint faded to a dusty pink shade. It took us longer to get it out of the box and assemble it than it did for the colour to fade. I was rather miffed to say the least but put it away at the end of last summer and forgot about it.

When we pulled it out from the back of the shed during the balmy weather, I realised that it really was as bad as I remembered and after we removed all the fixings you can see from the photos just how red it once was and how faded the rest of the barbecue had become. There was only one solution – spray paint!diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-2 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-4 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-6Okay, you may have already gathered that I use spray paint to fix up almost anything in my home, but this was a slightly different project. Even though a spray paint that was suitable for metal would have adhered to the metal dome, it probably wouldn’t be able to withstand the heat. So this lead me on a hunt for a heat-resistant makeover option and I found it at Rustoleum.diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-5 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-7 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-8 diy spray paint summer bbq barbeque makeover_-9The solution was this Stove & BBQ Paint which can be used to freshen up barbecues as well as woodburners, heaters and stoves. The paint can withstand temperatures up to 650 degrees and prevents rust so I picked out a deep green colour (black and silver are also available) and I set to work. Continue reading “How does your garden grow? A DIY barbecue makeover” »


Leave a comment

Sunny weekend cocktails and my favourite recipe

There’s nothing better when the sun is shining and you’re sat outside enjoying an alfresco dinner than sipping on a cocktail with your friends as the sun goes down. That is exactly what I got up to last weekend and I wanted to share my new favourite cocktail recipe with you so that you too can enjoy a cheeky drink this evening! As it’s my absolute favourite drink, I went on the Southern Comfort website looking for inspiration and was met with a massive collection of cocktails. Actually, it took me a couple of attempts because the website asks for your date of birth to check you’re over 18 before letting you onto the site. Very responsible of them, but they didn’t count on my dodgy typing that ended up with me telling them that my birthday was on the 51st of the month and in 1998 – ha, I wish! So I was blocked out oops!

I was glad that I persevered because the range and ideas for Southern Comfort-based cocktails was great. Having only ever really enjoyed it with lemonade in the past I was very excited to try out some new recipes. I plumped for the yummy-sounding Scarlett O’Hara, mainly because I had all the ingredients to hand! While looking at the history pages on the website I found out that this cocktail was created in 1939 when “Gone With the Wind” was released and not long afterwards in 1945 Southern Comfort arrived in the UK. The spirit was actually developed by founder M.W. Heron in 1885 so it took quite a long time to reach us in the UK but I’m so pleased that it eventually did! I mixed it up in a jug so I increased the quantities, mixed it with handfuls of ice and added some slices of orange to look pretty and add a little extra zest to the mixture.

Here’s the cocktail ingredients:

1 part southern comfort

1.5 parts cranberry juice

a dash of lime juice

1.5 parts club soda (or as much as you prefer to dilute it to your taste)

I’m going to try out a second recipe this weekend that I spotted on the website called “Dixie Punch” – I just need to pop out for some pineapple juice to make this one. There are user-submitted cocktail recipes too so maybe I’ll experiment a bit with my favourite flavours and add my own “Cassiefairy” cocktail?? Plus, I’ve just discovered that there is such as thing as Bold Black Cherry Southern Comfort – wow, I can’t wait to try that! Let me know if you have a go at making a tasty cocktail this evening and you can enter your favourite concoction into the “Go Drink Yourself” cocktail creation competition – here’s the link www.southerncomfort.com/drink-yourself-uk and use the hashtag #whateverscomfortable to share your cocktail photos on twitter or instagram – but please please drink responsibly, like me 😉


Leave a comment

Pieday Friday recipes for bank holiday fun ~ it’s all about the barbecue!

Okay, I can’t fight it anymore. After almost a week of unbroken sunshine and with the bank holiday weekend and half-term fast approaching I can’t deny that barbecue season has well and truly arrived. We all knew it was only a matter of time before we started tidying up the patio and the shops knew it too: everywhere you look there are offers on charcoal at the garden centre, deals on melamine plates in department stores and 3 for 2 on sausages and burgers in the supermarkets. We will all be having a BBQ this weekend and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Actually, I don’t have a barbecue. So I’ve got two options: cook my meat in the oven and eat it outside or invest in a BBQ (hubby’s preferred plan). I’m thinking that any purchase of a BBQ at this time of year would be a sensible idea, because it would have a whole season’s use ahead of it, but the thrift-meister in me is telling me to wait until the end of the summer and buy a barbecue in the seasonal sales ready for next year. In fact, I think that’s exactly what happened last year – I just forgot to do the buying bit by the time the end of summer sales arrived. So I guess that means I’m going BBQ hunting this weekend then?? We have friends coming to stay over the bank holiday so it would be lovely to sit in the garden, enjoy a nice meal and soak up the sun (wearing high SPF, of course – read my blog post all about it here!).

great BBQ recipes for homemade burgers plus sticky barbecue ribs and chicken

Here are a few of my favourite BBQ recipes from the blog so please check them out if you’re having a barbecue this bank holiday weekend:

Never one to be underprepared, did my research yesterday into the type of barbecue I should buy and found an excellent buying guide on the John Lewis website which I’m going to share with you all. It basically helped me get a good idea of what I want to buy versus what I actually need to buy and therefore I think that using the guide has saved me money and stopped me (and hubby) from buying the biggest BBQ we’ve seen – which was practically an outdoor kitchen – because in reality, we won’t need it! So here are the top tips for buying a barbecue this summer:john lewis bbq ideas for summer 2014

If you’re cooking for up to 4 people you’ll need a smaller cooking area, and can comfortably cook on a grill of around 1800cm². Also, if you’re going for gas, you might only need one or two burners on the barbecue, which will save on the amount of gas used per meal, compared to some of the 6-burner models. Cooking for larger crowds of more than 8 people is when you’ll need one of the largest gas barbecues (the sort that hubby loves) but for our family we’ll probably only need a BBQ grill of between 2000cm² to 2500cm² which is plenty big enough to cook for 6 people at once. Of course, you can cater for more people during larger parties if you have features such as griddles and warming racks on the barbecue because you can store and keep warm the first batch of food, while cooking up more meaty meals.

In terms of gas v coal, gas barbecues can be cooked with after about 10 minutes, but a charcoal barbecue will take up to 30-45 minutes to become white-hot and reach a good temperature for cooking. It’s easy to regulate the temperate on a gas barbecue in the same way that you can turn gas hob burners up or down, but on a charcoal BBQ it will be a case of raising or lowering the grilling surface to control the temperature. Charcoal or briquettes might be a cheaper fuel option than gas but will require more cleaning after cooking as you not only have to clean the cooking surfaces, but also clear out the ash. And finally, charcoal barbecues tend to be cheaper than gas, so it depends on your budget and what kind of fuel you’d prefer to spend your money on throughout the season.

john lewis top tips for bbq food summer 2014

I’m really pleased that I came across this buying guide and I hope it has helped you too. The good news is that there are plenty more advice guides on the John Lewis website for summer, including tips for the barbecue chef, a video on cooking with gas barbecues, recipes and a good grilling guide. My final favourite piece of advice is that when your barbecue arrives, it’s a good idea to position it on a level surface away from combustibles such as plants and fencing, and in a sheltered position if windy. This will mean that accidents and the possibility of setting fire to the hedge will be less likely and, as with everything, it’s all about safety first! Have a lovely bank holiday 🙂


1 Comment

Pieday Friday ~ Get out the solar cooker, it’s bbq weather!

Welcome to another Pieday Friday and this week I’m chatting about the concept of solar cooking. It’s possibly not something you’ve considered before and prior to this month I’d never even heard of solar cooking myself but I’ve been researching energy-saving ways to do everyday tasks around my home and stumbled upon this unbelievable idea and wanted to shared it with you all.

So, we all know about solar lights for the garden and I’m already using some solar-powered fairy lights in my little vintage caravan. My pals use a big black sack solar-shower on camping trips. My husband received a solar-powered windmill for Christmas from my brother which has been turning away on my windowsill ever since. You can charge phones and laptops with solar-charging packs and I even have a lucky cat with a solar-powered wave! You can also use a solar lighter to make a fireBut solar cooking? How does that work?

I’d heard about the idea of solar cooking and couldn’t really fathom how it would work but then found my way onto a website which had examples of solar cookers and it all snapped into focus. From what I can make out, solar cookers are like a space-age version of barbeques, which heat up by reflecting the sun’s rays and can cook complete meals in the garden – pretty amazing huh?

solar-barbecue-cookup200

Images courtesy of IDcook.us (or IDcook.com)

Although it’s a fairly new innovation, the research that has gone into the concept has been going on for the best part of a decade and aimed to find ways of harness the sun’s heat and light in order to develop products which sustainably preserve our planet’s resources. No longer will we need to use charcoal or gas for our summer barbecue cooking nor will we need to fire up a power station when we turn on our electric ovens in order to bake a casserole. And surely that can only be a good thing?

I have looked into the concept and there are two methods of cooking using solar power: concentration – which uses reflectors to direct the sun’s rays into a central cooking point and can achieve temperatures of up to 230°C – and greenhouse – which like a ‘normal’ greenhouse gathers the sun’s warmth and keeps it within a small frame and food is cooked in the centre.

solar-barbecue-cooking

But what about the weather, eh? Apparently this technology can be used in European climates and it doesn’t even need to be the sunniest of days for solar cookers to get up to temperature – if you think about solar lights in the garden, it can be overcast all day and still the lights will gather the sun’s rays and power the lights. The cooking time can be 2-3 times longer than a conventional oven, but does that matter when you’re not paying a penny to power it? Plus we all know that slow-cooking locks in the flavours and steaming is better our food.

Personally, I’d love to have a meal of pulled-pork that has been roasted for a few hours without spending any money on the cooking process!  From full-on BBQ girls and sturdy ovens to low-priced pop-up reflector ovens (which would be perfect for camping…) there’s lots of ways that we can harness the sun’s resources to cook our meals and I’m going to do some more research on the subject right now! Let me know if you’ve already come across anything like this – and what do you really think about solar cooking?

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close