04 November 2008

Happy Melbourne Cup Day

Are you as amazed as I am that a horse race can be considered so important that it warrants a public holiday? I'm not complaining, I love Cup Day. It's traditionally our family picnic day, has been since I was a little girl. We are breaking with tradition this year and barbecuing at home so Allan can keep reviewing for his exams without missing all the fun (and it's raining YAY!). It's also Wayne's birthday today so I'll be busy making a cake for afternoon tea.

We used to go to the beach and it was made extra special because we would stop off at Kentucky Fried Chicken and Mum would go in and get a box of chicken for us to have with our picnic. Oh my goodness we loved Cup Day. It was the only day we ever had anything as special as bought chicken! My Mum was good at stretching her dollars and I am pretty sure she stretched a few meals to be able to buy that KFC for us once a year. And I'm pretty sure if she could have figured out how to make it herself she would have to save that money.

Thank goodness this website and Cheapskates Club members are here to help with hints, tips and ideas because there is a recipe for homemade KFC in the Recipe File and it's pretty darn good. And very, very cheap, about 34 cents per drumstick as opposed to the $2 per piece KFC charges!

A birthday tradition in our family is that the birthday boy/girl/mum/dad gets to choose dinner and tonight we are having homemade hamburgers - Wayne's favourite mock takeaway. Making burgers at home is so much easier than buying them from the fish and chip shop and only a fraction of the price. Instead of costing $7.50 each they cost under $2, depending on how generous I am with the salad. To get the burgers just like bought ones I use my Tupperware burger press. It's one of those gadgets that can be pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten but is actually quite handy. If you have one lurking in your kitchen dig it out, it will save you money and everyone will think you are a burger maker extraordinaire.

We like wedges with our burgers and they are so easy to make I don't know why anyone would bother buying them. I use one potato per person and scrub it clean. Then I cut them into quarters and then cut each quarter in to three or four pieces, depending on how big the potato is. Toss the pieces in a bowl with a little olive oil and some paprika (1/2 - 1 teaspoon depending on your taste). Bake them on a flat oven tray in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, turning after 10. They may need a few minutes longer, test with a fork to see if they are cooked through. Again, the savings are big: 1 kilo of potatoes cost around $1.00, add approximately 50 cents for the oil and paprika and the saving is at least $2 on the bought product.

I also make a secret 'burger sauce' that everyone loves. It's a secret because it's so easy to make I'm almost embarrassed to tell you how I make it. Well not really. It's super simple, very cheap and makes burgers extra special. I add two tablespoons Kraft Coleslaw dressing to 1/2 cup tomato sauce, stir to combine and spread it on the buns. It's that easy.

Well if I am going to make a birthday cake and burgers and wedges as well as send the newsletter and help Allan with some revision I need to get moving.

I hope you all enjoy Melbourne Cup Day, wherever you are.

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