Mar 1: The Country Deli; Braised Pork Chops with Egg Noodles and Sugar Snap Peas


A trip to buy a new wheelbarrow bought us right past The Country Deli on our way home, so we stopped in for lunch. Even after perusing the menu, Philip had the ‘usual’: marinated skirt steak, eggs and home fries. Greg had an excellent pastrami rueben, the second half of which we finished later in the afternoon as a snack.

Lunch at The Country Deli costs $22.00 with tax and tip.


Looking for a different way to prepare thin cut pork chops Greg found Pioneer Woman’s Pork Chops with Wine and Garlic, which was pretty good.

  • The pork chops were $9.82 or $4.91 per serve
  • A whole head of garlic is 50c and we used half, or 13c per serve
  • Snow peas were $2.99 but we used only half a container, or 75c per serve
  • Red wine adds 25c per serve
  • The carton of beef broth was $2.49 or 16c per serve
  • Add another 25c per serve for seasonings
  • Egg noodles are $3.69 for the pack and we used half, or 93c per serve.

Dinner tonight was tasty and cost just $7.38.

Feb 24: Chicken Wrap; Shrimp (Salmon) and Corn Chowder


Back to our routine chicken wrap.

  • The flatbread is 50c per serve
  • The roast chicken is $9.99 for the bird, but we used half of one breast, or 63c per serve
  • We served 1/4 of the tabouli salad or 67c per serve.
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • We added half a kumato each or 29c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.42 per serve.


We’re still eating our way through the Shrimp and Corn Chowder. The estimate that it would make six generous serves, and six serves later, there are still at least four more serves in the pot!

Tonight we added a can of salmon to the mix and served with a par baked sourdough roll.

  • Frozen corn cost $4.98 for two 16oz packs or 49c per serve
  • Russet potatoes cost $1.43 or 14c per serve
  • Carrots cost 24c or 3c per serve
  • Six onions cost $2.49, we used two or 9c per serve
  • Coconut milk cost $1.69 for a can, or 17c per serve
  • Chicken broth cost $1.99 for a quart, or 20c per serve
  • Thick cut bacon is $7.99 for 12 strips, or 26c per serve
  • The can of salmon was $5.99 but it will contribute to at least six serves, or $1.00 per serve
  • Par-baked roll is 63c.

Dinner tonight cost $3.01 per serve.

January 2017 Summary and Observations

After December’s traveling we were very happy to spend the month mostly at home. We went out to dinner three times during the month, including LACPUG pizza.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.93 ($2.48 in December)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $8.81 ($8.55)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $6.36 ($6.41)
  • Dinner eaten out: $12.63 ($21.03)

Our most expensive meal was lunch sat The Country Deli at $21.00 per serve.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $273.11 per person in January. We actually spent $52.77 for lunches at home plus $105.66 for lunches purchased or eaten out: $158.43.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $391.53. We actually spent $167.57 for dinners at home and $42.21 for dinners out: $209.78.

We saved $296.43 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Jan 17: Smoked Salmon on Par-baked roll; Pea and Ham Soup


Today we finished two par-baked rolls and created open sandwiches with cream cheese, capers and smoked salmon. Delicious.

  • Par-baked roll is 63c
  • Salmon was $5.99 or $3.00 a serve
  • Cream cheese and capers add 40c.

Lunch today was generous and delicious for $4.03 per serve.


Another batch of pea and ham soup, both for tonight’s meal and to give to our friend to take home. As we’ve run out of the ham bounty Greg topped with pancetta.

  • The $1.00 of home made stock is split six ways, or 17c per serve
  • The pack of split peas was $1.59 or 27c per serve
  • The frozen peas is 99c a pack, or 16c per serve
  • The pancetta is $3.29 for the pack, but we used only 1/3 and spread it among three, or 37c per serve.

For dinner tonight the soup cost 97c per serve with the ham.

Jan 14: Chicken Wraps; Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions with Bratwurst


Today we used the second half of the second breast of a large supermarket chicken split across two wraps.

  • Wholemeal wrap is 50c
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • Deli edamame salad was $3.44 or 86c per serve
  • The chicken is $9.99. Divided into four portions or $2.50 each, one breast is split into two serves, or $1.25 per serve.

Lunch today was $2.94 per serve.


Since there were still two serves of last night’s soup Foodie Greg worked on making it better. The addition of some chopped Trader Joe’s Bratwurst and smoky seasoning definitely elevated the dish. I guess there’s nothing like adding a bit of meat to improve a meal! The potatoes got a little more mashed as well.

We also added a dollop of sour cream when serving for a little creaminess, but also for a little hit of acid to freshen the soup. The sour cream was definitely a worthy addition and could have been stirred through to make it more like a traditional chowder.

Once again we served with the roasted garlic bread.

  • Last night’s soup cost $2.96 per serve
  • The bratwurst are $3.49 for the pack, or $1.75 per serve
  • Sour cream cost $3.99 but we a tiny amount on tonight’s meal, or 25c per serve.

Tonight’s version of the soup was very much improved and cost $4.96 per serve.

Dec 23: Kebab; Egg and Bacon Quiche with Salad


Heading out for singing practice and an explore of some local bush and beach locations, Foodie Philip turned back to the kebab shop in Warner’s Bay, which was eaten by the lack.

Australia’s “burrito” was Au$8.00 or US$5.85


Philip’s sister-in-law prepared a personal favorite: egg and bacon quiche, served with a lettuce, tomato and avocado salad, which was pretty good. What made it interesting is that the crust was made of thin cut, pre-fried potato draped into position as Philip’s brother is gluten intolerant.

It’s a great variation and probably better than the traditional crust. Dinner was compliments of the family.

Dec 8: Steak Sandwich; Thai


Intentionally or not, the Foodies are reliving the food of their youth. Yesterday meat pies and sausage rolls; today a good old steak sandwich. Except this was a really good, kicked up version at at Travino’s in Warner’s Bay (Newcastle-ish).

Great bread, a really good aioli, steak with good beef flavor and moderately tender, and lightly grilled onions. Not quite the TipTop white bread (think Wonderbread) with hot plate grilled onions and BBQ sauce of our youth, and all the better for it.

Lunch today was Au$18.00 or about US$13.15, which was pretty reasonable for the quality of food served.


For Foodie Philip’s birthday celebration his brother took the family to his favorite Thai restaurant – Benjamas. I’m pretty sure it’s the only restaurant he frequents!

We had a variety of food, all of which was tasty, including a Prawn (shrimp) and cashew stir fry (Foodie Philip) and Pad Thai (Foodie Greg).

As brother paid for it, dinner was (again) free.


Nov 27: Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs on an Onion Bagel; Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup


An indulgent Sunday lunch: wild caught smoked salmon in soft scrambled eggs on an onion bagel. The technique that leads to great scrambled eggs is to stop before you think they’re ready. If you finish cooking in the pan, the eggs will overcook during service because the heat keeps carrying on cooking the eggs.

  • Smoked salmon is $5.99 or $3.00 a serve
  • The onion bagel is 50c a serve
  • Our organic eggs are 50c each, and we had two for $1 per serve.

Lunch today cost $4.50 per serve and was really good and is today’s featured image.


The Lemon Chicken Orzo soup had sufficient leftovers that we got another two serves for tonight’s meal, and enough left over for Foodie Greg’s Monday lunch.aop

  • Carrots cost 25c or 7c per serve
  • Celery, thyme, oil and garlic adds 15c per serve
  • Chicken broth cost 40c per serve
  • The store-bought rotisserie chicken breast is $2.25 each leg and thigh and we used the other 2/3 of a breast, or $1.50 per serve
  • The orzo is $1.42 for a 1 lb box, but only half was used for our four serves, or 18c per serve
  • Add in 12 c for the other seasonings, etc.
  • Six par baked rustic rolls were $3.29 or 55c per serve

Dinner tonight cost $4.07 per serve!

Nov 16: Chicken Wrap; Chicken Coconut Curry Soup


Chicken wrap time today so Foodie Greg picked up a supermarket roast chicken. There was a cold chicken from the day before for just $4.00 instead of the usual $9.99.

  • The flatbread is 50c per serve
  • The roast chicken is $4.00 for the bird, but we used .75 of a breast, or 34c per serve
  • Deli rice salad salad is $2.22 or 56c per serve
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve

Lunch today cost $1.73 per serve.


The non-breast remainder of the chicken went into a pot to simmer for a couple of hours to form the foundation of a chicken coconut curry soup. The chicken is removed from the liquid, shredded and added back to the final soup.

This is, literally, chicken noodle soup, although with an Asian influence.

This recipe as we made it with less chicken makes four serves, but we felt it was a little bland. Chicken broth was not necessary as the water from the simmer created its own stock.

  • The chicken cost $2.00 or 50c per serve
  • The coconut milk is $1.49 or 38c per serve
  • Baby kale cost $2.99 or 75c per serve
  • The vermicelli works out at about 30c per serve
  • The spices, ginger and garlic was 38c or 10c per serve.

The soup was nice, but a little bland for out tastes, but only $2.03 per serve.

Nov 3: Ham and Cheese Quiche; Tapas


After a breakfast offering on the plane that was the absolute worst airline food I’d experienced and completely inedible, I was set for lunch in Paris – well, at Charles DeGaul Airport! Because the flights had been delayed by the airline they offered an 8 Euro voucher, which was used to purchase a ham and cheese quiche, which was quite good.

No cost to us!


At the recommendation of a friend, Foodie Philip walked the two miles to Bar La Plata where the entire ordering conversations was:

“You want tomato?” “Yes.”

“You want fish?”  “Yes”

“You want beer?”  “Yes”

I wasn’t exactly sure what type of tomato or fish dish I was going to get, but from what was around me, I was pretty sure the fish component was deep fried sardine (or similar small fish) eaten whole.

But first came the tomato, onion, dried olive salad drizzled with olive oil. High quality ingredients simply prepared and utterly delicious. The onion was quite sweet and not at all sulfurous.

A simple tomato 'salad'
A simple tomato ‘salad’

The fish was as expected: deep fried sardine lightly salted. And utterly delicious. It’s today’s featured image.

With a beer the dinner cost 7 Euro or $7.70 approximately

And then the two mile walk back to my accommodations!