$5 Friday: fancy pants frugal cheese board biscuits

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You know what it’s like – people are coming over for drinks, or you need to go to a happy hour, and you feel compelled to bring something.  Once upon a time jatz biscuits and some chunks of cheddar cheese would suffice (maybe some pickled onions or gerkins if you were lucky).  But these days most people run to the supermarket and buy several expensive chunks of super special cheese, smoked meat, dips and expensive cheese crackers.  The last time I went to one of these get togethers we were so full from cheese and meat and pate and everything else I could hardly fit in the rest of the meal.

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Japanese style pickled watermelon rind

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Sometimes it is the little frugal things you do that add up without you realising it. So it was that I was having a long overdue catch-up BYO lunch with my friend Evangeline from Nilbarcodfood.  And while lunch she spotted something in what I thought was a dismally frugal lunchbox that she thought was of interest.

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$5 Friday: Suitcase potatoes

I arrived back home in Canberra just after a whirlwind tour of Taiwan.  What fun!  I ate and ate and ate some more, and occasionally did a bit of hiking and Youbike cycling and relaxing in the hot springs.  Then I arrived home – to an empty fridge.

A bowl of potatoes and purslane

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$5 Friday: Candied orange peel

Hmmm, the scent of orange peel and its connection with Christmas.  Orange peel is an essential ingredient in many Christmasy things including fruit cake.  And beautiful just by itself. My Nana used to make the best candied orange peel.  I have tried to replicate, and while hers are hard to beat, I think I have done a pretty special job as well.

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$5 Friday: Lemon or Sicilian blood orange cordial

Early spring teased with its promises of warmth, only for me to reach for the heater remote. But warmer weather’s promise is definite, and Canberra is slowly but resolutely waking from its winter hibernation.  What I love about spring and summer in Canberra is how people socialise – there is always a picnic, or a barbecue or a party.  And with that comes the desire to find something to drink. It is like people feel the need to make up for being insular over winter.

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