introducing the george’s marvellous medicine method of cooking
The thing is I don’t really like following recipes, I find that working out what works well for you via personal experimentation ends up (barring the odd mishap) with an end result far more interesting and unique compared to normal cooking. This could also apply to many other areas of life as well of course but it is perhaps easiest (and less dangerous) to apply in the kitchen! 🙂
You’ll be glad to hear I’m not talking about genetically modified food here! No, I’m talking about the brilliant children’s book, George’s Marvellous Medicine* 1, written by Roald Dhal and quirkily illustrated by Quentin Blake
If you haven’t read it as a child or to you child then let me explain the key part of the storyline is the main protagonist George decides to replace his mean old Granny’s medicine with a concoction he makes himself. This concoction contains an esoteric mix of ingredients he finds laying around the house, deodorant, cleaning products, old engine oil, you name it, it goes in there. The rest of the story is then dedicated to describing the hilarity that ensues once Grandma drinks the medicine.
I remember my Mum reading this to me as wee laddie and it was one of my favourite stories, and it has obviously stuck with me to this day.
Clearly I’m not advocating everyone go out and try their own chemistry experiments with what they have laying around, but the general gist of chucking everything into a pot and seeing what comes out the other side is, in my opinion, an excellent method for cooking up exciting “new” dishes for yourself.
So I often find myself cooking using this method rather than following a recipe.
If you haven’t tried it yet you should give it a go, it’s really fun and you do end up feeling a bit like a mad scientist throwing all sorts of herbs, spices and other ingredients into the pot and watching it bubble away! And don’t forget to follow the Badass Cookery Class general tips in the kitchen at all times 😉
the method to the madness
To give everyone an idea of what goes into one of these hodge podge pots here are some pictures with ingredients and prices just so I can compare my GMM creation to the Frugalwoods’ $0.39 per serving:
Step 1: Fried off some onions and stuck some Thai Red Curry paste that would have otherwise gone in the bin, along with the (formerly) dreaded mushrooms
Step 2: Chucked in a can of beans
Step 3: Courgettes (zucchini for US readers) and red pepper
Step 4: I bought a huge chunk of “Ham pieces” from the Tesco reduced (i.e. about to go past the sell by date but still perfectly edible) section, for about £1. However this actually was a mixture of different meats including Corned Beef, which is another of my irrational dislikes. So it was no good for sandwiches. In the spirit of not wasting things, and trying out new things I thought I didn’t like, I decided to chuck the lot in as well.
Step 5: A decent chunk of brown rice
Step 6: Mixing it all up, trying not to spill any was quite hard at this stage! 🙂
Step 7: The best part… eating it!
Step 8: Splitting the rest up into containers and leaving it near the window to cool
Please remember that this isn’t a recipe and if you follow this exactly you will probably regret it, mainly because I can’t remember what else I added to it and it what quantities! To give you a rough idea on other things I sometimes use which are good for flavour, here is a non extensive list:
- Lemon Juice
- Garlic (Fresh/Powder/paste, whatever)
- Salt and pepper
- Mixed herbs
- Chilli Powder
- Any half open sauces I have laying about
- Tomato paste
george’s marvellous money saving
Another obvious benefit of cooking like this is that you save money:
- You use up ingredients that you might otherwise chuck away
- Cheaper ingredients always taste better when combined with herbs, spices and cooked in a big pot
- Cooking in bulk saves on overall energy usage
So how did my creation compare with The Frugalwoods’ then? I am certain I cannot beat $0.39 as I had way more ingredients, but I’m sure it still worked out pretty cheap. Let’s see (prices are rough guesses and from Lidl):
Onions (10p) + Courgette (50p) + Pepper (40p) + Garlic (10p) + Rice (20p) + Mushrooms (£1.20) + Can Beans (80p) + Meat (£1) + Other herbs/spices/flavourings (50p)
Total = £4.80 / 6 large portions = 80p per portion
By George, not bad eh? 😉
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