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eating on the Dole... a rough guide

There's no reason why eating on a dole budget should be any less edifying than eating on, say, the budget of the Sultan Of Brunei. It's just a matter of shop-sense and improvisation.

Shop-sense: either shoplift your main ingredients or buy them somewhere extremely cheap... such as Lidl.

Improvisation: Exactly what it says... improvise. Fancy some oysters for instance? Yes, of course you can't afford them: and maybe you're too scared to nick them. Don't worry. There's a free alternative if you live by the sea. They're called Limpets, an abuntant supply of which you'll find clinging to any pier or sea defence wall worth its name. Turmeric and cumin a bit pricey? What's wrong with crumbled up earth? You get the idea.

The following set-piece menu is from the Delia Smith Cordon Bleu Cookbook. It'd impress your guests but would set you back two giros. Impress those same guests with the equivalent menu prepared from dole ingredients, however, and you'd have enough money left out of your giro to buy fifteen bottles of cider and a scratchcard.

OYSTER ROCKEFELLER
12 oysters, opened and on the half shell
a handful of rock salt
3 shallots
1 stick celery
225g spinach
115g butter, softened
tablespoon chopped parsley
tablespoon chopped chervil
2 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
tablespoon Pernod
dash of tabasco
dash of wocestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper


COQ AU VIN
2 kg free range chicken cut into 8 joints
25g butter
tablespoon pine-nut oil
225g unsmoked streaky bacon in one piece
16 button onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
725ml red wine
225g dark gilled mushrooms
chopped parsley to garnish
salt and freshly milled black pepper



SUMMER PUDDING

450g raspberries
225g redcurrants
110g blackcurrants
150g caster sugar
8 slices white bread
2 tablespoons brandy
275ml clotted cream
LIMPETS ROCKEFELLER
64 limpets, opened and on the half shell
a few shakes of Saxo salt
a small onion
a bit more onion
225g cabbage
115g Better'n'Butter (Lidl)
tablespoon chopped grass
tablespoon chopped ferns
2 tablespoons Lidl Yummywhite breadcrumbs
5 melted Fisherman's Friends
dash of Vitakrone Tomato Ketchup
dash of Vikatrone Brown Sauce
salt and powdered white pepper


TURQ AU CIDE
8 Lidl turkey burgers, de-breadcrumbed
25g Better'n'Butter (Lidl)
tablespoon melted Better'n'Butter
225g Lidl Bacon Bitz, squashed together
onion cut into 16 pieces
dash of powdered white pepper
2 sprigs fresh fern
2 leaves
2 cans Mega White Cider
tin mushroom slices in brine
chopped grass to garnish
salt and some more powdered white pepper



GIREAU PUDDING

tin of mixed fruit cocktail
another half tin mixed fruit cocktail
20 sugar cubes (nicked from cafe table)
8 slices Lidl Yummywhite
2 tablespoons cider
Lidl longlife milk mixed with breadcrumbs


more tomorrow
Duncan

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