Farmersgirl Kitchen

On my ‘Renovation’ Kitchen Table

Uncategorized | April 3, 2014 | By

Some of you may know that I am somewhat challenged in the cooking department at the moment.  We found dry rot in our kitchen and it has turned into a much larger project than was first anticipated.  I’ve been cooking in my temporary kitchen since the end of January and we are now into April and #operationdryrot is still on-going although we are making good progress now.

Kitchen at it’s worst

This is the temporary kitchen I have set up in our utility room, a bit like living in a bedsitter.  I have a microwave, a single electric ring and my slow cooker.  And, before you say it, I know it is bigger than many people’s normal kitchens.  Anyway, the lack of an oven, grill and additional cooking rings has led me to use some slightly different products and I thought I would share my thoughts on them along with the products that I have been sent for review.

Aunty’s Steamed Puddings with Ginger Syrup Sauce: two little sponge puddings with a lovely jammy ginger sauce for only £1.49.  I served them with custard from the chiller cabinet and they went down very well indeed.  The puddings don’t have to be kept in the fridge or freezer so are handy to keep in the cupboard for those times when you need a little sweet something and don’t have time to make it yourself. 10/10

In a starring role…Uncle Ben’s Classic Wholegrain Rice cooks in the microwave in 2 minutes currently on 3 for £4.00 at Tesco. So easy to heat up and just the right amount for two people.  An expensive way to buy rice but perfect for a quick and healthy meal 8/10

Another quick fix are these McCain Ready baked Jackets.  Obviously it’s easy to cook potatoes in their skins in the microwave, but they never seem to taste as nice as those you cook in the oven.  These are a little nearer, although I don’t think they are really worth £2.50 for four  6/10

I also tried Bannisters’ Farm Ready Baked Potatoes, I’ve reviewed their filled jackets before and really enjoyed them.  There wasn’t much to choose between the Bannisters and the McCains but the texture was perhaps a little fluffier in the Bannisters Farm version £2.00 (on special offer) 7/10

Bannisters’ Baked Potatoes

While we are on the subject of potatoes, I think my favourite find is frozen mashed potato.  I would never in a million years have thought that I would ever buy frozen mash, but I found it so convenient with limited cooking facilities, it’s also ideal for  people living on their own as you can pour out a little bit and cook in the microwave without faffing around with potatoes and ending up with lots sprouting or going wrinkly.  

The potato comes in little extruded pellets, but its just potato.  It tastes even better if you add a little butter, but then what doesn’t?  Well worth keeping a bag in the freezer for a quick comfort food fix! Tesco Frozen Fluffy Mashed Potato 650g for £1.00 10/10

This is how the kitchen looks now, the joiner is coming tomorrow to start putting the kitchen units back and finish off the window.  There’s still a bit of plastering to be done in the dining side of the room but we are definitely getting there.  I’ve been surprised how well we have managed to eat, we have only had one takeaway and a couple of ready meals in two months which isn’t bad at all really.

I bought all of these products myself, none were provided for review.


  1. Leave a Reply

    April 3, 2014

    Aunty's puddings are nice but it's a shame they're made in New Zealand. I find it hard to believe that we can't produce something similar in the UK for a sensible price without having to buy them from the other side of the planet. The UK is surely the spiritual home of steamed puddings!
    Have you considered using a camping gas stove? For very little outlay you can get a single or double ring – and it's useful when you go camping !!

    • Leave a Reply

      April 4, 2014

      I hadn't realised Aunty's Puddings were made in NZ, how bizarre! I looked at camping gaz stoves but all the recommendations were that they shouldn't be used indoors and our camping days are long gone! It's not the hob I miss so much as my oven. Thanks for your comment

    • Leave a Reply

      April 4, 2014

      I think the puddings are deliberately branded to make the shopper think they are UK made, using the name "Aunty" and the traditional old fashioned flavours. A typical marketing con job !!
      They are tasty and, rather important for us, just the right size. We'd eat twice as much if I made one in a normal pudding basin !!

  2. Leave a Reply

    The Kitchenmaid
    April 4, 2014

    I didn't know about Aunty's puddings either! This is a great post Janice – I salute you for putting up with all this chaos and for providing such helpful reviews. I do think lots of those things would be good for people who can't/won't cook (whatever their circumstances). Our renos were bad enough and our kitchen was only partially affected. You must be far more patient than I am!

  3. Leave a Reply

    Karen Gist
    April 4, 2014

    You must be so relieved to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now Janice! Its amazing what you can rustle up with one ring and a microwave isn't it? HUGS xxx

  4. Leave a Reply

    Anne Szadorska
    April 4, 2014

    Hope you get your kitchen back soon! I remember trying frozen mash about ten years ago and disliked it but seems its come a long way since, very handy for small amounts!

  5. Leave a Reply

    Camilla Hawkins
    April 4, 2014

    You've almost reached the summit of your dry rot adventure and I salute you for battling on! When the chips were down you made frozen mash & jacket potatoes instead – you can't keep a good woman down, cheers Janice:-)

  6. Leave a Reply

    Phil in the Kitchen
    April 7, 2014

    I've lived through a few kitchen building projects in my own house as well as for ageing relatives and I feel your pain. I thought I'd tried most quick, makeshift meal products but I've got to admit that I'd never thought of frozen mash. I will next time. But let's hope that's not too soon. I hope the project continues on course.

  7. Leave a Reply

    April 10, 2014

    Oh well done for doing so well with all the mess and mayhem around you. The last picture of the kitchen is looking pretty good, so fingers crossed it won't be too much longer for you. Your choice of "ready meal" reviews did make me giggle though.

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