Friday, 24 March 2023

Revising Plans and Day 18

I had to have a rethink on meals because of that disgusting minced pork. I'm using some of the bread flour to make pizza so bought another loaf of the Essentials range from Aldi to use instead of buying another bag of flour and making another loaf. Because I'd been hoping and planning for sausage rolls I popped into the butchers and bought just a couple of sausages. I bought 4 potatoes (bigger than the mini ones I bought last week so they can be used differently) and eggs again for sandwiches or whatever.

AL Loaf sliced wholemeal 39p
AL 4 Medium Baking Potatoes 67p.
Eggs from a different roadside stall £1.20
And 2 sausages from the butchers for £1.41 (the opposite and 100% better than Value Range- and the only way to buy a small amount)

Total £3.67. Running total brought forward £60.58+ £3.67 =  £ £64.25

I used the bread machine to make a Pizza dough, which I'd not done before. It made quite a lot so I divided into two before stretching on two baking trays

 and then topped half with bacon bits that I'd fried, onion ditto and then turned it into a topping by using another tomato and a bit of juice from the third tin. Finished off with cheeses - half the Value range mozzarella ball, little of both the Value Range grated cheeses.

After cooking it looked huge so I cut in half and had half for one meal and the rest later. 
A mixed salad with it would have been good but I only had a few mini plum tomatoes. Of course if I was a perfect gardener I'd be harvesting my own leaves from the greenhouse! someone is sure to tell me!
It was very delicious and didn't really need the bacon, which I don't normally use on a pizza but I'd got some out of the freezer for the next meal and found there were 4 thin slices rather than 3. 
I'll definitely use the bread-maker to make pizza bases again but will divide into 4. The other pizza base was baked for just 5 minutes and then frozen. 

So what's left out of the 64 pounds  worth of food to make meals with for 10 days.......if I do 28 days or 13 if I do 31 days?

1 Tuna, broccoli and Pasta bake in freezer
1 curry still in freezer
Pieces of white fish in freezer
Mashed potato in freezer
1 Pizza base " "
3 chicken joints " "
2 sausages " "
2 or 3 slices of bacon" "
Few small Yorkshire puddings " "
Frozen mixed vegetables
3  Fresh Carrots
1  Parsnip
Tin carrots
1 can of pineapple
1 can of peaches
1 can tomatoes
Self raising flour
Baking fat
Grated cheese (both)
Half a mozzarella ball
1 can tomatoes
Rice Crispies cereal
Sliced bought Bread 
Half loaf home made.
Tin Sardines
Few Small potatoes
4 medium baking potatoes
Half cabbage
Few apples and grapes
6 eggs
Few crumpets
I'll need more apples that's for sure.
Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Charity Shopping for Easter Holidays + V.R.E. Day 17

 Eldest Granddaughter is coming to stay for 2 days before Easter and like most 6 year olds she likes crafting and colouring so when I spotted this in a charity shop I bought it to add to the things I already have in the Easter Drawer - I knew when I got a whole bundle of Easter stuff from ebay during that first lockdown (Good Grief it was 3 years ago) they would come in handy........... eventually.

The second of the Tuna, Broccoli and Pasta Bakes, made for Day 9, from the freezer was the main meal for Day 17, served with some more of the Value Range mixed frozen veg.....which seems to be lasting forever - they are pretty tasteless and I'm still wishing I'd bought peas alone. Although none of the supermarkets do a Basic/Value range of frozen peas I noticed that Morrisons do  a pack of 'Wonky' frozen peas cheaper than their usual own brand and much cheaper than Bird's Eye. (Puzzled about how peas can be wonky?)

Forgot to say I used self-raising flour and baking fat to make a batch of  8 plain scones a couple of days ago when the sultana sponge was finished.

 Running total still at £60.58p

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Charity Shop Books + Day 16

 While I was in town for shopping last week I nipped into two charity shops and found the Sudoku book in one for £2 and the other book, which I'd not come across before, in the other for 99p. It is something written in 1968 by a Suffolk Farmer telling the story of his family through the 20th Century. It's been edited more recently by Pip Wright who has written several books about bits of Suffolk local history often tracked down through newspapers, he also speaks at WIs and the like.

Day 16 of the Experiment

I took the meat from another chicken thigh joint and stir fried with onion and peppers, (both home grown) added some Fajita seasoning from the cupboard and a plum tomato and a little juice from the tin of plum tomatoes. Served over pasta. Fajita seasoning is something I always have in the cupboard and it was around 50p a packet until recent price rises have pushed the price up to around 75p on average. I use about a third of a packet, fold down and peg closed.
I completely forgot a photo but hope you can imagine a chicken, onion, pepper and tomato sauce over pasta!

I've added 25p to the running total £60.33 + 25p = £60.58p

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Day 15 of the V.R.E. Shopping and Something Really, Really Bad!

 Last week's shopping trip for the Value Range Experiment, lots of fruit needed.

Everything was from Asda this time - 6 items were from their Just Essential cheapest range.

9 Crumpets 80p
Can of peaches 34p
Willow "butter" £1.50
2 Pints Milk £1.30
Coffee 83p
Can of Pineapple Pieces 49p
2 Tins plum tomatoes @ 28p = 56p
Grapes    }
6 Apples } On Offer at 2 items for £2
7 Small Pears £1.29
Total £9.11

Brought Forward from last week £51.22  + £9.11p = £60.33 (With most items for the rest of the month now in the freezer.)

   (Average quoted at £130 -140 for one persons groceries)

Day 15 main meal. Using the first quarter of the minced pork - a Value Range brand from Asda. 
Oh dear!
It looks OK - BUT the pork mince, (which I mixed with a sautéd chopped onion and some dried herbs and then formed into small 4 sausage shapes and cooked along side roasting some small potatoes) was just So. Very. Bad.
Left with a really nasty taste in the mouth, there is no way I going to eat the other 3 portions. Please don't suggest 99 ways to make it better! it's just too vile.

Thank goodness the potatoes, cabbage and carrots and the small Yorkshire puddings were edible.

I shall have to rethink plans for 3 meals now - bother!

Back Tomorrow

Monday, 20 March 2023

20th March St Cuthbert's Day + Day 14 V.R.E

I've not used the Saints book for a blog post lately but when I found today was St Cuthbert's Day then he had to get a mention.

Wiki has lots about him HERE - too much to copy but below is a brief history from my book.

Known as one of the greatest English saints and missionaries he became a monk of Melrose Abbey. At the time ruled by Abbot Eata who Venerable Bede called "the gentlest and simplest of men". The prior of Melrose, named Boisil taught Cuthbert the Bible and the pattern of a devout life and when Boisil died Cuthbert took over as prior.
Cuthbert rode miles on horseback around the countryside preaching but really preferred the life of a hermit and got permission to live on the Island of Farne for 8 years but in the year 684 he was appointed Bishop of Hexham but later swapped with Eata to become Bishop of Lindisfarne and then moved to the island of Inner Farne. He died in AD687

Cuthbert discovers piece of timber - Life of St. Cuthbert (late 12th C), f.45v - BL Yates Thompson MS 26.jpg
From a 12th Century manuscript 

The Value Range Meal for day 14 was one of the Fish Curries from the freezer that I made right at the beginning of the month. I didn't bother with a photo as it was the same as the first portion HERE  although actually not the same because curry is always better reheated and it had tons more flavour this time. Still one left for next week.

Running total £49.22 + £2 for box of frothy coffees as  it's the end of second week = £51.22

Back Tomorrow

Sunday, 19 March 2023

A Book Treat for Mothering Sunday + Day 13

 Every now and again I look at the  Little Toller Books website and recently discovered they were reprinting this book first published in 1958. 

It's a book I've been wanting to read for years but it's always been too expensive. At various times her other books..... Herbal Handbook for Cats and Dogs; Herbal Handbook for Horses and Herbal Handbook for Everyone, have been reprinted and I'd seen them and sold them when we were selling second-hand smallholding and country books but this much earlier book about her time living with two small children in the New Forest in the 1950s has never been reprinted.

I decided to treat myself to a copy for Mothers Day for myself (that's my excuse anyway!)We've never been a family that celebrate anniversaries, birthdays etc in a big way and now I'd rather my lot spent their money on their own families - and their homes. The way prices are going up for mortgages, child care and food is  frightening for them. I was pleased to hear that Youngest's Daughter's contract as a Project Officer for part of the early work going on at the Sizewell  C Power Station has been extended for another 6 months. It was a big worry when she was made redundant from the Opticians in the spring of last year. 

This little coaster gift that came through the post from Eldest Daughter in Surrey.

There were 2 eggs that needed using so Day 13 of the Value Range Experiment was a 2 egg omelette with some parsley chopped in, some fried mini plum tomatoes and a slice of bread half toasted and half fried. ( I've found that a whole round of fried bread - which I could happily eat, is a bit too much fat!)

Sadly I've never succeeded in making a good looking omelette, doubt I ever will now.

Running total so far £49.22

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Initially - V.R.E + B.L.C.C

 Day 12 of the Value Range Experiment and month 3 of the British Library Crime Classic subscription. An example of saving in one place to spend in another?

What I didn't know when I started the subscription was that the British Library enclose some mystery gifts in addition to the book each month. This month there's a card magnifying bookmark, another a book mark and a page of questions to answer while reading the book to work out who-done-it.

The next main meal - Day 12- from the experiment. Stir fried chicken and veg with rice. I took the meat from a chicken thigh +1 carrot +1 small onion + some home grown peppers from the freezer +1 chopped cabbage leaf. I added a spoonful of Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce from a bottle already opened in the fridge (checked price and it's 65p per 100g, so 1 tablespoon full is approx 10p.

It looks a lot but mainly vegetables

Running total £49.12 + 10p = £49.22p

Sue in Lancs (the Queen of Challenges) said be careful not to end the experiment with too many things left in the freezer so I had a count up and my main meals for the rest of the month should be........... 

4 Using the Minced Pork already in freezer
2 Tuna and Pasta Bake - already in freezer
2 Fish Curry - already in freezer
1 Fish Pie using mashed potato already in freezer
1 Omelette
2 or 3 Meals using Bacon already in freezer
There are 4 Chicken Thighs left in freezer
There are a few pieces of the white fish left in freezer
+ I could do a pizza

So I should be about right for the main meal ingredients and they are all included in that £49.22. Although I'll need some other things but hopefully will still be well below that quoted average spend on food for a single person of £130 for a month.

I don't know what the weather was like where you were yesterday but here it was dismal. It actually got darker between 8 and 9am rather than lighter and then it drizzled all day and very chilly too even though the weather lady said it was milder. I just stayed at home and got the next library book finished and hoped for better today to get out and about.

Back Tomorrow

Friday, 17 March 2023

The Daft Things You Do on Day 11 V.R.E

Here is the daft thing..........Tipped the pack of Essentials brand fruit and nuts 59p from Aldi  onto a plate so I could fish out all the sultanas and raisons to make a small sultana sponge - I do like baking. (Forgot to take a photo before I took out the sultanas and I'm not quite daft enough to put them back to take a photo and then take them out again!)

Using 3oz Willow fat, sugar and SR Flour and 1 large egg and a handful of the fruit. Forgot to add baking powder - duh!

I checked their websites and don't think Aldi do any Just Essentials Range cakes. Morrisons and Asda both do packs of 6 very small sponge rolls for 55p - but they don't look very good and because I like baking, I had to work a little into the V.R.E. So I made Scones in week one and sponge for week 2. I discovered that Morrisons also do Savers Range Scones at 10 for 65p - which is cheaper than making but I've no idea what they are like. 

Next main meal, the first one with something not made in my kitchen.
This was the ready made Value Range Beef and Onion pasty, there were a few of the canned potatoes left in the fridge plus fresh cabbage and the frozen mixed vegetables and I made a little gravy using the Value Range gravy granules.

The pasty isn't something I would usually buy and at just 45p, I wasn't expecting much meat inside - and there wasn't and what was inside was tasteless but with all the vegetables it made a meal that fitted well into the experiment.

Running Total so far £49.12

Happy St. Patricks Day to everyone who celebrates it.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 16 March 2023

A Small Book + Day 10 of the Value Range Experiment

  This small book (115 pages including index and bibliography) about pebbles came from the charity book sale at Westleton last year.

 Words by Christopher Stocks and Illustrations by Angie Lewin.

Christopher Stocks lives by Chesil Beach, the strange 18 mile long shingle spit that stretches along the Dorset coast. Somehow the sea manages to grade the stones and pebbles from pea size to the eastern end where they are the size of a fist.

When asked about why he wanted to write a book about pebbles he always replied "how could I live on Chesil Beach and not want to write about pebbles?"

Angie Lewin lived in Norfolk and walked on the beach everyday picking up any interesting stones she found and using them in her art. Later she moved to Scotland and discovered the range of different stones on the Scottish beaches.

Dice Cup and Feather

Sea Pinks, Island Shore

The Beach, Aldeburgh

Chapter headings include 

Sir Mortimer at War
Picasso's Pebbles
Eminent Victorians
At the Natural History Museum 

and pages about the types of pebbles found on various beaches around our island.
This is what he writes about Shingle Street in Suffolk.........

The Clue is in the name. This isolated little scatter of houses on the south Suffolk coast overlooks a steep shingle beach which is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with a thriving population wild sea kale, horned poppies and tree mallows growing beyond the reach of the waves. The beach - mainly composed of flint pebbles - can be thought of as an extension of Orford Ness, the great bank of shingle that blocks the route of the River Alde at Aldeburgh and diverts it ten miles south until it finally escapes into the sea just north of Shingle Street. Accessible only by a single track road, overlooked by Martello towers and haunted by Avocets and Little Owls, it's a place of beautiful desolation.

I've been there a few times and it really is a strange place. There are ghosts .........

(info from Wiki)

Several buildings were destroyed during World War II, including the Lifeboat Inn.

After World War II many strange happenings were reported to have taken place at Shingle Street, including a failed German Invasion. Since the civilian population had been evacuated in May 1940, there were no eyewitness reports, although official documents remained classified until questions in the House of Commons led to their early release in 1993. These papers disclosed no German landing. Rumours of a failed invasion on the South and East Coasts were commonplace in September 1940 and helped to boost morale. Author James Hayward has proposed that these rumours, which were widely reported in the American press, were a successful example of black propaganda with an aim of ensuring American co-operation and securing lend lease resources by showing that the United Kingdom was capable of successfully resisting the German Army.

Burned bodies were reported to have washed up on the beach after the sea was covered in oil and set alight. I had a book about the story for a while 'The Bodies on the Beach' by James Hayward who, as mentioned above, decided it had never happened.

Day 10 of the experiment and the main meal was a roast dinner using a chicken thigh. I added roast potatoes and parsnip, the remains of the broccoli, gravy and a couple of the hilariously small Value Range Yorkshire puds that came from Asda (15 for 50p so I wasn't expecting much!)

I cooked a second chicken thigh at the same time to use in sandwiches for a few days.

Cost of things bought so far = £49.12p

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Next Shopping Trip + V.R.E. Day 9

 Last weeks shopping for the Value Range Experiment.

From Aldi(AL) and Asda(AS)

AS Lean Minced Pork 500g £2.35
AL 6 Small Apples 59p
AL 200g Fruit and Nut Mix 59p
AL Sardines in Sunflower oil 46p
AL Savoy Cabbage 65p
Al Mini Plum Tomatoes 69p
AL Miniature Potatoes 69p (I wanted a bigger bag of ordinary but their 'wonky' cheapest were in HUGE bags - too many to last without shooting) 

Total = £6.02. + £43.10 Brought Forward. Running total £49.12

In the photo I've include the Decaf frothy coffee that I like for my evening drink. It's Nescafe, 8 sachets in the box are now £2  and it is unsweetened and doesn't need any added milk. I haven't included this in the running total today as I'm just adding £2 at the end of each 7 days.

Asda had the Essentials Value range pork mince that they didn't have before, so I bought that even though I didn't need to use it yet. I divided it into 4 portions and popped in freezer. 

I used the two crusts from the Value Range Wholemeal sliced loaf to make breadcrumbs after drying in the oven and crumbling with a potato masher

Some of the crumbs were used to top a Tuna, Pasta and Broccoli bake. Using the essential range tin of tuna 55p, pasta, ⅔ of the head of broccoli and a white sauce, made with a bit of butter, flour and milk and water mix. Topped with the breadcrumbs, grated cheese and some of the grated parmesan.

This is a cheaper variation of something I make regularly. Usually I use salmon. The trick to using tuna which is so much cheaper is to use plenty of black pepper both over the broccoli, tuna, pasta mix as well as in the white sauce.

This made 3 portions. One to eat and two for the freezer for later in the month.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Another Garden Visitor + V.R.E. Day 8

Diving into that book again for another blog post about a garden visitor.
Here's the illustration by Artist and Printmaker Carry Ackroyd from my book 'A Sparrow's Life's as Sweet as Ours'


The page opposite the picture tells me.......... 
Nest boxes, so popular with blue tits, were a C19 German introduction taken over by the British. Our related obsession to feed songbirds dates from the cruel winter of 1890/91, when British newspapers urged readers to save the starving avian population. The UK spends £200 million per annum on bird food, more than the rest of Europe put together. Of this, the Blue Tit, most numerous of the titmice tribe at 3 million, is the prime beneficiary.
And here are my photos of  Blue Tits in the garden.

Day 8 and the Value Range Experiment main meal looked rather messy and definitely not for the food connoisseur!. It was one small onion, part can of corned beef, more of the tinned potatoes and the final tomatoes from the can started the other day. The first three fried to make a tasty hash. Everything apart from my own onion were from the Value Supermarket Ranges costing pence.

As it was the day we had snow and really cold winds it felt like what's often called comfort food.

Rest of corned beef used in sandwiches for several days. 

Anyone watch the last ever Endeavor on Sunday night - very clever I thought. I read all the Morse books as they appeared back in the day and we watched the many series, wondering about re-reading the books - although I've got plenty of books to read for the first time, so maybe not.

Back Tomorrow

Monday, 13 March 2023

The March Library Book Photo + V.R.E.Day 7

The March Library Book Photo. Books, mostly ones I'd reserved, picked up from the library van last week.

6 crime fiction, two are authors I've not read before.

4 Non Fiction including Once upon a Tome which is the 'Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller' - sounds interesting. I like what it says about the author "He lives with a house full of books he actively tried not to collect".
No idea why  I borrowed Posh Toast!

The little book on the top is the companion to one I read last year about Mabel the Owl who lived in Christchurch Park in Ipswich also written by Reg Snook. His collaborator is Phillip Murphy who used to work with Colin in the Suffolk County Council Bridge Office many years ago.

Last Month it was that huge haul of 16 books, mainly crime. I read all these except for Snow.

There were two fiction classics and I read both - I liked O Pioneers more than Enbury Heath but neither really grabbed me.

There were 4 Non Fiction last month. The Bookman's Tale was something I'd read before and thought it was all about Ronald Blythe's books and reading but I'd remembered wrong so didn't bother to re-read. I sent Save the World Back with the world un-saved! and Wild was a bit strange. I'm still browsing the Backyard Forest Garden.

I've written a little about the books finished on the separate Books Read 2023 page.

Next Value Range Experiment main meal ............

To use the rest of the Feta I did what I usually do because I'm lazy, and made another Warm Pasta Salad. Didn't bother with a photo as it looked the same as last weeks. (Pasta, feta, olives, tomatoes, mixed frozen veg and Mayo). This  used the last of the mini tomatoes and the olives. Total spent for the month so far adding £2 for my frothy coffees as it's the end of the first week is £43.10.

While looking for ideas for using the rest of the feta (apart from being lazy and doing the same thing again)  I found a recipe that I'd try another time, when the V.R.E has finished and I have chicken breasts in the freezer.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast

There have been some fun comments about my little experiment - especially funny was one that told me that I had plenty of money from selling the house so why was I eating rubbish! 

Oooops seem to have deleted it!

Back Tomorrow

Sunday, 12 March 2023

V.R.E. Day 6

 A brief Sunday post with a plate of food! (I never wanted to be a food blogger - what's the matter with me for goodness sake!)

Day 6 main meal. The 4th and final piece of quiche with tinned potatoes (as I've got to the end of the fresh because of using them in the fish curry, twice roast with the quiche and mashed which are in the freezer) and tinned tomatoes.

These Morrisons Basic Value Range tinned spuds were actually OK, better than I remember when we used to use them on family camping holidays.

Have had Rainbow Tulips from Aldi as my 'Flowers on the Table' this week

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Saturday, A Good Book and V.R.E Day 5

I got to the end of my library books just in time, whizzing through loads in February. One of the best was read over last weekend. It was The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz. 

 This is the 4th book in which Horowitz  writes himself into the book as one of the main characters. He is again helping Daniel Hawthorne who is a private investigator but this time it's Horowitz himself who is accused of the crime of murder. The woman killed is a theatre critic who has written a very savage  piece about his latest play. A excellent story where it becomes difficult to decide between fact and fiction.
The play in question is called Mindgame and he really did write it and it toured around the country before going into London to the Vaudeville Theatre. It also had mixed reviews. 
That's where the fact is seamlessly replaced by the fiction. On the opening night much hated critic Harriet Thorsby turns up at the First Night Party and makes several pointed remarks to the actors, producer and to the writer. Later some of the cast go onto another party where they get to hear about the review she is writing for the next days newspaper. They all drink far too much and some are heard to wish her dead.
The next morning Thorsby is found murdered by one of the ornamental daggers which everyone was given as a first night gift by the producer. Unfortunately the only finger prints on the dagger are those  of Anthony Horowitz.
Finding himself in a police cell (there is much antagonism between Horowitz, Hawthorne and this particular police woman from previous encounters) he calls Hawthorne, even though he'd already decided not to work with him anymore and not to write anymore books about their shared cases after finishing working on the third.
Thank goodness Hawthorne answers the phone and manages to get Horowitz released and together they set about finding the real murderer. Does this crime come from something that happened many years ago?

I really enjoyed this book and avoided cheating so had no idea of who the murderer was until Hawthorne did a Poirot type reveal at the end, gathering everyone together in the theatre. It's so real that I found myself googling to see if the actress he mentions actually exists ?.........Of course she doesn't!

Next meal from the Experiment.
The 3rd piece of quiche with the rest of the potatoes made into a potato salad using mayo and my own parsley - The chives I have in pots are just showing but not big enough to cut to add yet. Eaten with more of the frozen mixed vegetables. (I don't get fed up with eating quiche 4 days running - always have different things with it)

 It would have been Col's 66th birthday today - only now qualifying for his State Pension. Thank goodness he retired from the County Council at 55 and we had a few years doing what we always wanted to do - that is to live off the smallholding, campsite and odd jobs. It was the best time and went well until his heart problems and then the lymphoma just a few years later.

Back Briefly Tomorrow even though it's Sunday.

Friday, 10 March 2023

Curry But Not For the Experiment +V.R.E. Day 4

 There have been 3 of my small squashes grown last summer sitting in a basket on the kitchen window sill since they were harvested, it was about time they were used before they went mouldy or dried up completely. 

 I started as usual with a large home grown onion, then to make a change from my usual vegetable curry, bought a tub of Thai red curry paste, a can of coconut milk, and a pack of mange-tout peas + 3 balls of frozen spinach and cooked up a big pan of curry. This divided into 6 portions for the freezer. 
They won't be part of the Value Ranges Experiment - it cost £1.25 + £1 + £1 + plus the odd bits, nothing from the cheap ranges but will be right ready for later.

Meanwhile yesterdays main meal -Day 4-was another piece of quiche with more of the roast vegetables. With a small portion of broccoli 

Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Car Boot Last Weekend + V.R.E Day 3

 Last Saturday it was very grey, and although no rain forecast there was a bit of drizzle in the air when I set out for the first boot sale of the year......and it was blinkin' cold.

I got there just before 8am and it was quite busy already. To see the best bargains people arrive at 6am, the dealers wear head torches! I'm not that keen.

I didn't find any great treasures, just a few things from the house clearance people that will come in handy at a price less than buying new. A Lock and Lock storage box, pack of Christmas cards, some Christmas tissue paper, a pack of greaseproof paper and some seeds. I paid the grand total of £2 for these.
The seeds are 6 small packets of bee and butterfly friendly plants and at 50p I though cheap enough for me to sow thickly in a seed tray and see what comes up for transplanting later. 
I found several boxes of greaseproof or baking parchment last year but it's handy finding it cheap as I can then use it to line all sorts of baking trays in the oven - saving washing up! Don't need to buy anymore now.

I also spent £2 on a small tray of wallflower plants and £1.20 on 3 little primrose plants which I potted into this little planter and put on the front door step. I'll put them out in the garden in the autumn.

I stood the wallflower plants in a sheltered spot while snow was forecast and will plant out later.

The next Value Range Experiment main meal 

I made a Quiche using the pastry case made a few days earlier and added.......................
Grated cheese. Both the cheddar and the parmesan. I've never used parmesan in a quiche before but it really added a cheese flavour considering how mild the Value Range grated cheese is.
2 eggs
Milk ......just under half pint (not watered down)
3 rashers bacon softened
2 small onions    "   "
A little Chard from garden

And 4 more mini plum tomatoes.

Quiche is divided into four so will do 4 days. I also roasted a tray full of chunky carrots and parsnips and a couple of potatoes at the same time.
Then added some of the Value range Asda frozen mixed vegetables.

I think the camera steamed up with the hot roast vegetables!

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

And More. Part 3 (Day 2)

 The total to carry forward from previous shopping trip and kitchen cupboards is £29.17. (+£2 for the frothy coffees for each week that I carry on)

The rest of the V.R.E. shopping done last week -  AL=Aldi, AS = Asda

AL Bread 39p (20 slices and 2 crusts) I divided these into 5 x 4 slices and the two crusts and popped all but one in the freezer
AL British Chicken Thighs 1kg = 7 = £2.85 Wrapped individually and frozen
AL Pears 97p
AS Back Bacon 300g =£1.40 ( I wanted to buy their cheaper 'Cooking Bacon Pieces' at 90p but not in stock)
AS Pineapple pieces 49p (They didn't have these when I shopped at end of February which is why I bought a tin from Aldi)
AL 2 Pints milk £1.30 (Makes up to 4 pints when mixed half and half with water)
AS Grated Cheese 500g = £2.60 I have NEVER EVER bought grated cheese before - lazy - except the crazy thing is that this is cheaper than a block of cheese at the moment so for this experiment it works. 
AS Head of Broccoli 34p
AL 1kg Carrots 50p
AL 500g Parsnips 50p
AL 6 Mini Apples 59p


Total £29.17 + £11.93 = £41.10 ( A spend of £6 more than the average single person for one week,  but I know this will last a lot longer than 1 week!)

2nd Main meal from the value brands

Warm Pasta Salad
75g Pasta
Feta ( The Value Range is called Salad Cheese)
Few tomatoes
Few Olives
Handful of frozen mixed veg

Still smiling at all the people who don't eat processed food and therefore never eat pasta!

This was a surprise on opening the curtains yesterday morning. A very thin covering of snow. Nothing on the roads and it soon went. Was it a taste of things to come or winters last Hurrah!

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

The Value Ranges Experiment Part 2 (Day 1)

Thanks to everyone for the comments yesterday. I knew lots of points would be raised so will try to answer. 

  • I live alone, cooking and eating is not as much "fun" as it was when I had a husband to appreciate food! 
  • Therefore for me this is fun. Doing something completely different just for a while is good for the brain.
  • A lot of people have to manage on less and a lot spend more that's why there's a thing called "the average"
  • I don't drink fruit juice at all 
  • I agree that the ready made sauces are mainly water and thickening and that's why there are none bought.
  • I have no concerns about eating 3 portions of fruit a day - not all are acidic.

So back to the Value Ranges Experiment  - (The V.R.E) Part 2.  Yesterdays post explains  what I'm doing.....still not sure why!.

 I'm not planning to write about breakfasts, the small meal and any snacks each day but below is the way things will be used.

I'll be doing more cooking, which is probably a good thing to stop me getting lazy .  Apologies that measurements will be a random mix of kilograms and pounds/ounces, because items are sold in kilos but my mind works in ounces.

The 1.5kg bag of bread flour makes 3 medium loaves in the bread-maker (400g used in each) leaving a little to use as plain flour. Each home made loaf makes around 10 good slices and 2 crusts.

I did another shop including fresh stuff which will be on tomorrows post, then got started.

375g Rice Crispies makes 13 portions or
2 tins grapefruit makes 6 portions or
Home made bread as toast with marmalade .

Main Meals
Using the main Value range items

Other meal
Sandwich using  bought sliced bread, 1 per day, with various fillings (cheese,egg,chicken)

Also available so far
Fresh fruit 
2 Tins Pineapple
Tin peaches
Toast if not eaten for breakfast
Any cakes I make from the bought ingredients.

2 Cups coffee
+ Although I realised I'd totally forgotten  to add my definitely Not value range decaff frothy coffees in the evening. Which will add £2 a week for each week. I'll add that at the end of each 7 days.

I started off by making 8 scones, 1 pastry case, Fish curry which included some potatoes and making mashed potatoes to put in freezer for later, using..................

1 egg (glazing scones and then used the rest to make scrambled egg sandwich).
2 + 2½ ounces of the baking fat/Willow spread
8 + 5 oz S.R. flour
2oz sugar

2 small onions
3 pieces fish
1 tin tomatoes
Curry powder
Stock cube to make stock
Tomato Puree
Tablespoon of flour
Couple of Tablespoons from the bag of mixed frozen veg, ( I tried to take out most of the bits of carrot - carrots are all wrong in Curry - a bit of a fiddly job!)
600g Potatoes - some left chunkier for curry and some mashed and frozen.
50g Rice

The curry made 3 portions, 1 to eat and two for the freezer.

I ate my curry and rice with a mini naan from the freezer..
It was good but because curry always seems better reheated the two from the freezer will probably be even better.

I've already realised that it would have been better to have bought a bag of just frozen peas even if they are not value brand because the bag of Value Brand mixed frozen vegetables is mainly carrots and I've bought them fresh (on tomorrows post).

Back Tomorrow