shopping

Five tinned foods that punch above their weight

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I’ve been nosying around my winter survival cupboard today to see what needs topping up, and I am about to make a big trip to the cash and carry to stock up on tins. Interestingly enough, a lot of tinned foods have more vitamins in them than fresh food that things that have been lying around your kitchen for a week or so.  Here are some great additions to a store cupboard that I will be bringing home later.

Tinned tomatoes – these come in different forms but particularly useful are the ones with garlic and herbs already in the mix. Passata in large jars can go onto home made pizza bases with a big of grated cheese and some salami for a Saturday treat.

Pulses – try different kinds such as lentils, chickpeas, borlotti beans, butter beans, mixed spicy beans and canneloni beans. Great with mince, in salads, to bulk out a bolognaise or shepherd’s pie, or to make an instant vegetarian chili.

Stone fruits – cherries, plums and mirabelles make great crumbles and pies, can be served with cream or yoghurt for a quick dessert, and can even be added to smoothies or put on top of muesli.

Exotic fruits – pineapple, lychees, mangos are all wonderful to have around, and give you the makings of a very sophisticated winter fruit salad, but look for tins which state they are in their own juices rather than in syrup.

Fish – Sardines, mackerel, salmon, tuna and even shrimps are all great for sandwiches, pasta dishes, fish pie, salads and little toasts to have as a nibble with a glass of wine.

Image: xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Shopping list – Week 3

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MEAT AND FISH

  • 4 salmon steaks
  • 8-12 lamb chops or 4 lamb steaks
  • Ready-made lasagne or see recipe
  • Pork joint
  • 1 lb/500g cubed beef or braising steak
  • 4 oz/100g cooked ham
  • 4oz/100g cooked turkey

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • 8 oz/200g vine tomatoes
  • 2 lbs/1kg new potatoes
  • 5lbs/2.5kg roasting potatoes
  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 2 lbs/1 kg carrots
  • 6 apples
  • 4 pears
  • 6 bananas
  • 8oz/200g fresh berries (if not too expensive) or frozen
  • Kiwi fruit
  • ½ lb/250g broccoli

STORE CUPBOARD

  • 2 bars dark chocolate
  • 2 loaves sliced bread
  • 3 litre cartons of apple juice
  • 3 litre cartons of orange juice
  • Chocolate chip biscuits
  • Honey
  • Apple sauce
  • Jam
  • 2 lbs/1 kg porridge oats
  • Small bottle white wine (picnic size)
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • Tin pineapple slices

DAIRY

  • Cheese slices for sandwiches
  • 6 oz cheddar cheese
  • 1 pint/500ml low fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 pint/500ml Greek yoghurt
  • ½ lb/500g vegetable spread
  • ½ lb/500g unsalted butter
  • Small tub marscapone
  • 12 eggs

FROZEN

  • 2 lbs/1kg frozen green beans
  • 2 lbs/1kg frozen peas

HOUSEHOLD

  • Washing powder for whites
  • Washing powder for coloureds
  • Fabric conditioner
  • Cream cleanser
  • Toilet cleaner or bleach
  • Spray polish
  • Lavender furniture polish (if you have dark wood furniture)
  • Cleaning dusters and sponges
  • Rubber gloves

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ten things that should always be in your kitchen

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Here are the top ten items you should make sure you always have in your kitchen, to produce easy lunches or suppers in super-quick time.

1. Eggs

2. Bacon or ham

3. Onions

4. Parmesan

5. Potatoes

6. Cream

7. Butter

8. Pasta or noodles

9.  Bread

10. Milk

Here are some dishes you can concoct in emergencies from these ingredients:

1+2+6+7 – Scrambled eggs and ham

2+3+5+7 – Fried potatoes with bacon

1+2+7+8 – Pasta with ham

1+2+6+8 – Spaghetti carbonara

1+2+9 – Fried egg and bacon sandwich

1+2+6 – Omelette

1+7+9+10+cinammon/sugar/Nutella/honey – French toast

4+5+6 – Potato gratin

1+10+flour+sugar – Pancakes

 

For more inspiration, check out this blog as well, which has wonderful quiches and a great one-pot carbonara recipe: http://saltandcaramel.com/?p=1258

Clothes shopping masterclass

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Too many of us are encouraged to see shopping  as a leisure activity in its right, which when you think about it, is a very strange state of affairs indeed, and could even be seen as  somewhat spiritually improverished. While nobody wants to go back to the days of post-war queuing and jostling in order to buy the smallest items, if your only experience each week apart from the workplace and the home is trailing around a overheated, packed shopping centre with umpteen plastic bags in pursuit of the elusive, then it might be worth asking yourself if you really find this truly satisfying. That having been said, all of us need to acquire various things at regular intervals, and if you plan it carefully, as a military campaign, you will be able to carry out your errands a great deal more efficiently and cheaply than if you just wandered around with your credit card burning  a hole in your pocket.

So when out and about, given that money is tight and time a luxury, what should you be buying on the clothes and fashion front? First of all, before you even think about buying clothes, you should have done two things. You should always clear out your wardrobe of any redundant or unused  garments, on the ‘one in, one out’ principle. Secondly, while doing this, you need to carry out an audit of what remains, so you can judge any gaps in your wardrobe that might bring other outfits to life. The next rule is to make sure you have a few stylish items that you have spent a bit more money on. In this respect, less is more. This will probably include:

  • a good coat or jacket
  • a best dress that can work for day and evening
  • a couple of skirts
  • a couple of pairs of trousers
  • a couple of really stylish, fashionable tops that do you real justice.
  • If you can afford a good quality merino wool or even cheaper supermarket cashmere sweater or two, you will appreciate this as well.

These can be supplemented with well cut, long and short sleeved t-shirts (look for good quality jersey if you can, and double stitching), jeans (classic dark indigo ones tend to look flattering on most women, and try to pick a well fitting waist and boot leg if you are pear shaped), cheaper day-to-day blouses and tops in brighter colours, and accessories such as large beads, scarves and big rings that bring together the look. Do it right, and you will wear your clothes rather than them wearing you. That’s all you need.

Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shopping list – Week 2

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This list should work out a bit cheaper than last week’s as there’s not quite so much stocking up of basics to be done.

MEAT AND FISH

3 lbs/1.5kg lean minced beef

12 best quality sausages

1 lb/500g turkey stir fry strips

4 frozen rainbow trout, sardines or mackerel

1lb/500g cubed lamb

A whole chicken

4 oz/100g cooked ham

4 oz/100g cooked beef

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

8 oz/200g fresh berries (if not too expensive) or frozen

Mango

3 courgettes or a marrow

6oz/150g broccoli

6 onions

2lbs/1kg Bramley cooking apples or rhubarb

6 eating apples

6 bananas

4 oz/100g grapes

Kiwi fruit

Red pepper

Green pepper

4 oz/100g sugar snap peas or mangetouts

4 oz/100g baby sweetcorn

Romaine lettuce

Cucumber

8 oz/200g vine tomatoes

1lb/500g carrots

STORE CUPBOARD

2 loaves sliced bread

Spaghetti

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 tin kidney beans

Tomato puree

Chocolate chip biscuits

2 lbs/1 kg porridge oats

Stir fry sauce

3 litre cartons value apple juice

3 litre cartons value orange juice

Salad dressing

Chocolate sauce or Mars bar (to be melted to make sauce)

DAIRY

Milk (daily consumption plus 2-3 pints for custard and rice pudding)

Cheese slices for sandwiches

1 lb/500g vegetable spread

12 eggs

5 fl oz/125 ml single cream

5 fl oz/125ml whipping cream

1 pint/500g low fat natural yoghurt

Garlic bread

HOUSEHOLD

White toilet rolls

White kitchen rolls

Shampoo

Toothpaste

Soap

Deoderant

Image: Catherine Hadler / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dinners for the home – Week 2

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The second week of my economy menu plans, linked to the Week 2 shopping list and dessert recipes.

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY

Spaghetti bolognaise

Banana split yoghurts

TUESDAY

Cottage pie

Courgettes

Mango fool

WEDNESDAY

Sausages

Mashed potatoes

Carrots

Onion gravy

Fruit salad and single cream or yoghurt

THURSDAY

Turkey stir fry and rice

Yoghurt with blueberry jam and elderflower cordial

FRIDAY

Baked trout, herring or mackerel with boiled new potatoes and green beans

Rice pudding

SATURDAY

Lamb curry and rice

Ice cream and chocolate sauce

SUNDAY

Roast chicken with roast potatoes, green beans and broccoli

Fruit crumble and custard

Fruit salad and single cream

Image: Catherine Hadler / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shopping list – Week 1 (stock up shop)

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MEAT AND FISH

  • 4 chicken portions
  • 4 pork chops or pork steaks
  • 1 lb/500g lean minced beef
  • 4 lean cut steaks or frying steaks
  • Lamb joint
  • 4 oz/ 100g cooked ham
  • 4 oz/100g cooked beef
  • 2 packets stuffed fresh pasta

 

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

  • 2 lbs/1kg new potatoes
  • 5 lbs/2.5kg potatoes
  • 2 lbs/1kg carrots
  • 8 oz/250g fresh berries (if price is OK) or frozen
  • 8 oz/250g fresh strawberries (if in season)
  • Romaine lettuce or similar lettuce
  • 1 lb/500g apples
  • 6 bananas
  • 1 melon (if price is OK)
  • 4 oz/100g grapes
  • 1 lb/500g pears (at least 4)
  • 8 oz/250g broccoli
  • 1 head garlic
  • Small stem fresh ginger
  • Bunch spring onions

STORE CUPBOARD

  • 2 loaves sliced bread
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Tinned kidney beans
  • Flan glaze (see recipe for Fruit Torte)
  • Empty sponge flan base
  • Green’s Quick Jel jelly
  • Blueberry jam
  • Elderflower cordial
  • Salad dressing
  • Mint sauce
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • Rice
  • 2 lbs/1 kg porridge oats
  • Cream crackers or oatcakes
  • 1lb/500g short-grain pudding rice
  • 3 lbs/1.5kg plain flour
  • 3 lbs/1.5kg self-raising flour
  • 1 tin cocoa
  • 3 litre cartons value orange juice
  • 3 litre cartons value apple juice
  • Teabags
  • Instant coffee
  • Cafetiere or filter coffee
  • Chocolate chip biscuits
  • Bottle soy sauce

 

DAIRY

  • Milk (daily consumption plus 1-2 pints for rice pudding)
  • 1 lb/500g vegetable spread
  • ½ lb/500g unsalted butter
  • 1 packet fresh grated parmesan
  • 1 pint/500ml low fat natural yoghurt
  • ½ pt/250ml whipping cream
  • 4 oz/100g Brie
  • 4 oz/100g Red Leicester cheese
  • Cheese slices for sandwiches
  • 12 eggs
  • Garlic bread or baguette

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net