Belladonna Bess

An edible garden in Wellington, NZ

Chewers, crackers and cinders! September 11, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Living below the line — belladonnabess @ 4:59 pm

I’ve already posted these recipes are already elsewhere, but good to have things all in one place.


I’ve tested out a recipe for crackers, and it’s pretty good. It’s a simplified and much cheaper version of my regular cracker recipe.

1/4 cup fine cut rolled oats (these are the quick-cooking oats, but make sure they aren’t flavoured ones which are too expensive anyway!)
3/4 cup wholemeal flour (I used whole wheat atta, a finely milled Indian flour since I’m planning to use that for the challenge.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder (scant)
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup water
extra flour

Put oats in bowl. Sift in flour, salt and baking powder. Add oil and rub through dry ingredients until the mix has a texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Oil will stick to your measuring spoon – don’t waste it. Rub the spoon in the flour and get all the oil off! Mix in the water to make a dough. Tip onto the bench and knead a bit. Cover dough and leave to rest for half an hour.

Roll out dough thinly with a rolling pin, using extra flour to stop it sticking. Cut into pieces using a pizza cutter (works much better than a knife but you can use a knife). Put crackers on a baking tray and bake in a hot oven (190-210 C) for 15-20 minutes.

I’m not very exact on timing as my oven isn’t that reliable on temperature. But after 15 minutes, watch the crackers like a hawk, because the line between “chewers”, “crackers” and “cinders” is very fine indeed!

Makes enough crackers to fill one full-sized baking tray.

For costs, 3/4 cup of flour is about 120g, and probably about 25 cents at the Indian shop, while 1/4 a cup of oats is 25g and about 10 cents. Depending on the amount of oil you buy (if you have enough people to buy bulk), 30 ml of cooking oil would be about 15 cents. Again, salt is really cheap, and a teaspoon of baking powder works out to about 5 cents. So just over 50 cents for a batch of tasty crackers.

But a note – the cheapest salt is NOT iodised. Bear in mind that there isn’t enough iodine in a typical NZ diet, and if you were living on a uniodised salt long term, it wouldn’t be healthy.

Basic dal
I made a very basic dal, with onion, oil, dal/ lentils, salt and water. I cooked the onion until it was nicely caramelised before adding the dal, salt and water. So despite the minimal ingredients, it had a reasonable flavour. The only way I’d change it is that I would soak the dal beforehand rather than cooking it from dry (I used gram or chana dal which can take a while). However if you use red lentils (masoor dal) they cook pretty quickly, and it isn’t necessary to soak at all.

A half cup of dal is just a bit less than 100g, and with dal ranging from $4-5 per kilo in bulk (at one of the Indian shops in Petone), that’s about 50 cents. The cheapest supermarket rice was abou 11-12 cents per 100g, and a cup is just under 200g, so it’s about 25 cents of rice. Onions are less than $2 per kg (I’m not sure what an average onion weighs, but it isn’t that heavy…), and it was less and an 10th of a cent’s worth of salt.

I ate it with carrot and silverbeet from my garden. Not sure about the exact cost of those, but my inputs into the vege garden are not particularly high, except my time of course!

I got 3-4 meals out of this, so it was very cheap.


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