Tuesday 21 January 2014

When Less really is More.

When I was in Beckenham on Saturday I had a wander round Mr S's store, just checking it out you understand. I saw these and pounced.

The magazine is called "Live well for less" and there was a display of recipe cards with it, as you can see the key ingredients are mostly ready prepared or tins and jars. The most expensive was the Moroccan Lamb with chickpea spiced rice at a massive £3.36 per person. The lamb is meant to be 300g of leftover roast, I expect that they costed it with Leg, there was a long list of ingredients including courgettes, a tub of pomegranate seeds and prepacked flat leaf parsley 1.4 of a pack. Who buys those little packs uses a 1/4 and saves the rest, not me. if it wasn't in the garden I would buy a growing pot and keep it for as long as I could. Pomegranate seeds, I would buy 1 fruit and squeeze the seeds out.
The next was Beef, vegetable & ale pie at £2.97 per person, this calls for a 700g prepared casserole veg pack, a jar of cook in sauce and ready rolled pastry.

In my life it would have been breast of lamb, and herbs from the garden, chickpeas soaked overnight and 10 minutes in the pressure cooker and there may have been Pomegranate if I found one RTC.
The beef pie would have used a selection of veg from the fridge and home made pastry prepared by my own fair hands, I use a can of cheap bitter for beef in ale and freeze what I do not use. The 300g of left over roast beef would have been slow  cooked brisket and probably RTC.

With careful shopping and a meal plan you can live well for less but not from this magazine. What you need to do is go and see Frugal Queen, MFin3, and all the other thrifty blogs out there. Most have recipes on a regular basis, I am making new meals all the time from my blog list, tomorrow I am cooking Hoppin John and corn bread from Helen the frugal knit-wit. I have cooked recipes from Foster Mummy, Mum, Sue and The Iowa Housewife to name but a few. Now I am as tight as a duck,s bum, and they are water tight, and all these bloggers know how to make a pound do the work of 3 or more, and share their knowledge freely.

I think Mr S. should hang his head in shame, perhaps he needs to read a few blogs.

I missed this from my blog post yesterday, it is a stack of 5" charms and some fussy cut squares, oh Patty you are truly a star.

I emptied my penny jar into the counting machine at Asda today, I walked away with a voucher for £8.20, not much maybe but it was all 1 and 2p coins. With this largess I purchased, 3 fillets of River Cobbler reduced to £1.40, a pack of 3 Salmon steaks reduced to £2.30, 2 pints of whole milk 79p, a head of broccoli 28p and a cauli 30p. That left me with £3.13 so I treated Ben to a box of Bonio on offer at £1 and spent the rest on tins of chopped tomatoes, puree and boxes of passata for the pantry.

Now that is how you live better for less, There are 3 fish pies in the freezer, 2 serving size. Ben has some salmon for the next 2 days, it is good for his skin, and 4 cauli and broccoli cheese dishes are waiting to be frozen. My tomato shelf is groaning and I am a happy bunny.
To put icing on the cake I popped into the Co op and picked up some mature cheddar half price, that is grated and frozen down as well. I do not miss the copper coins and regard my shopping as almost free. I had to go to the bank so even my petrol was used to save money.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Almost free food, tucked away for future meals.

2. A foggy start to the day that cleared to bright sun.

3. Laundry and ironing done.

4. New recipes to try out.

5. An evening free to wallow in blog reading, and maybe a double choc chip cookie to enjoy.

There is no maybe about it, I made a batch on Friday from  Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascal. They are super indulgent and very chocolatey, I keep the cost down by chopping up 2 bars of chocolate from the supermarket, much cheaper than buying choc Chips and make no difference to the end result. I get 10 big cookies from the mix and manage to only have 2, the rest I share.
I will have to cost the recipe out, I have been told by everyone who tries them that they are the best cookies in the world.

I haven't managed to sew a stitch so far this week, but the cottage looks quite tidy and I have donated a pile of stuff to the CS giving me lots of space. I do have a stack of blocks next to the machine ready to sew together in the morning. I need to earn my sewing time and can not enjoy it if there are jobs that need doing in the house.

Fran turfed out a stack of books, all in very good condition so I took them to the Library, some will stay there, some will go to other branches and some may be sold. I take books out regularly and like to support my local branch. Many of my friends do the same and we have an excellent range of books to choose from. I am sure that it all helps to keep it going.

Time for a brew I think.

TTFN                                           Pam.


  1. Thanks for the mention - Sainsbury's have asked me to 'do something' for them and I will be cooking and writing shortly xxxx

    1. I think that you could do a great deal for them, and poke heston in the eye as well, so to speak.

    2. Jolly good thing too, Froogs, why they haven't done this sooner I don't know. I guess as well whatever they publish has to be a money-spinner for them, so they aren't naturally going to be frugal, make do and mend, are they?

  2. People who think around three quid a portion is living on less make me wonder how much they were spending! Of course, the supermarkets are never going to reommend the relatively cheap food we cook, because it would cut into their profits. All those packet mixes and tins and jars of sauce teach people that they are not capable of cooking from scratch, although we know that, of course, they are.

    1. I want to feed at least three people for that if not four. My breast of lamb comes from the butcher and is half the price and twice the quality of any taht I have seen in the supermarket.

  3. That's more like it Frugal Queen meets Sainsburys.
    My friend was given Jamie Oliver's cheap cookery book ....Very disappointing .. doesn't know what he is talking about!

    1. I love it when he throws £5 worth of ingredients into a meal, that still needs veg and declares it "cheap as chips".

  4. I usually try and make a meal that is under £1 per person. As there are seven of us it's probably easier to do than for one sometimes. Sometimes I can make meals for 50p per person especially using pasta. They are proper nourishing cooked meals too. I think it depends if you are truly frugal or following a trend!

    1. The last trend that I followed was Hot Pants, and that was a life time ago, and even they were cut from old clothes and velvet curtains. I like to make a meal out of nothing much, it gives me a warm glow when a weeks worth of little bits of leftovers come out of the freezer and transform into a pie or a stir fry.

  5. Excellent post, Pam. Yes, I would not consider that a good price for two let alone per head! We love breast of lamb - but even from the butcher it is relatively more expensive than it should be - all the very cheap cuts have become trendy and the price hiked up to match!

  6. I think that is the "Delia Effect", as soon as these tv chefs and cooks start using an relatively cheap ingredient the price rockets. I do buy mine on the bone then I get a pot of Scotch Broth and Ben has the bones.

  7. I have been trying a lot of frugal recipes lately and we love them. I have bought very little groceries sincde Christmas as I find that I am using my storage way more. Can you post the recipe for those chocolate chip cookies you mentioned Pam. xx


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