I read about a Lord this week who tried to live on a pound a day for food. He tried to do it for five days. That isn’t too difficult if you’re healthy and can eat anything. It’s only five days.
Food prices keep going up and so we not only have to shop around and look for bargains, we have to do some frugal cooking. Egg and chips is one of my favourite meals. You can get eggs with the little lion on from most supermarkets for about 1.35 for 15. In Aldi, I buy those crinkle cut oven chips for 99p a bag. So I cook a meal for less than 50p.
You don’t really need more food when it’s cold, but you need different foods to help you to keep warm. If money is short, what can you give your family to eat that’s frugal and will help keep out the cold? I have a few ideas…
At Aldi this week the super-six are spring onions (125g), salad potatoes (750g), celery (350g), cucumber, cherry tomatoes (250g) and little gem lettuce (2). They are all 49p each. That offer ends on Saturday. Today’s Thursday offers include work wear for men and some interesting tools.
There is a lot of advice around now for students, from people who have been there, done that and are still trying to pay their student loan. My memories of being a student are a little vague now, but I did go shopping with two students this week. One problem with the big supermarkets is they have offers that are suitable for families with a commercial size freezer. 2 packs of chicken for £6 is good, unless you are short of money or freezer space, then Tesco expect you to buy one for £4.00. That is £10.62 a kilogram compared to £7.96 with the offer.
Potatoes are an important food and a staple food in many people’s diets. In the 1840’s crops around Europe were affected by potato blight leading to around a million people dying from starvation in Ireland and a similar number trying to escape the problems of poverty and hunger by emigrating. Potatoes contain starches, sugars, fibre and vitamins. They are low fat and contain vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.
It’s summer in England but we have had almost constant rain so far. It’s not over though is it? We still have half of August left and if previous years is anything to go by we could have quite a mild Autumn right up to December. We can’t take chances though and so get out and enjoy it while you can especially if you have children on holiday from school. Think about the future though, retailers are and they have stock to get rid of, before summer comes to an end.
I’ve read a lot about garden parties and barbecues just lately. We haven’t exactly had the weather for them in England, but there are breaks in the rain sometimes. I’m told that delicate little cucumber sandwiches are served at Royal garden parties and so it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I would prefer a bit more salad on the sandwiches and maybe a bit of pink salmon. I had a iceberg lettuce for 39p and a tin of pink salmon is only about 99p, so if you get some cheap bread, it doesn’t have to be too expensive to do salad sandwiches. Those are ideal for a picnic or a garden party. A barbecue might be a little more expensive.
It’s the 15th of July on Sunday and St Swithin’s Day. Folklore says that if it rains on St Swithin’s Day, it will rain for 40 days after. I think in England we have had the 40 days rain already. The forecast here for Sunday is quite good, but a little cooler. It looks good today, blue skies and sunshine. The rain has caused problems and caused some vegetables to be in short supply. Broccoli has been flying off the shelves in some supermarkets apparently. Fortunately it freezes quite well and so you can choose frozen broccoli. If you use frozen try not to cook it too much or it goes quite soggy. I have had frozen peas from Aldi for 99p and even cheaper in Asda at 95p. (more…)
I read an article some time ago about feeding a family of four on 60 pounds a week. I thought, I can do better than that! The eggs, chips and peas in the picture cost about 50p to cook. If every meal was as frugal as that, it would be easy! The big problem is that kids can be so fussy and so you do have to present the food in an attractive way for the children. My eggs and chips are multi-coloured; white, yellow, green and red makes it look quite attractive! (more…)
Many families go for a takeaway meal on a Friday in the UK and a favourite is fish and chips. Many fish and chips shops dip the chips in batter so they will look more appetising and are cheaper to cook. They then encourage you to buy a medium sized portion that contains enough chips for 2 people. You end up with a meal that is over 600 calories and loaded with fat. This is the Friday treat for many families and can work out quite expensive. I tend to be frugal on a Friday and try to save on meals, so I can enjoy something a little more special for Sunday lunch. Egg and chips is a favourite for dinner on a Friday. (more…)
I made a shepherd’s pie this week (pictured) and that was nice. We have to try to cook frugal meals now. It looks a little burnt around the edge just it wasn’t. That was the reason for the foil tray to stop the edges burning. It is a good idea to pop in under the grill to brown the top a little. They are easy to make, a meal in themselves and can be frozen. (more…)
I think it was Mrs Beeton who said the cheapest meal was a piece of toast between two pieces of bread that were spread with butter. I don’t see the point, just have a couple of rounds of toast, spread with whatever.
If you’re really desperate crumble a Bovril cube into a soup bowl and fill up with boiling water then dip your toast into that. You can also grow herbs on a windowsill, then chop herbs like basil into your saucepan, add a Bovril cube and simmer for 5 minutes to make a soup to dip your toast in. If you have a onion lurking in the fridge, chop it as small as possible, fry it in a little oil, add herbs, salt, your Bovril cube and water, then after the onion is soft, simmer for 30 minutes for a nourishing soup.
Herbs and spices
I made a chicken stew over the weekend and put in extra herbs for flavour. This can reduce the cost, because you don’t need so much chicken and is particularly good if you’re using a more expensive meat. I used 2 chicken legs and cooked those in water until I was able to remove the bones easily. I added lots of veggies that included swede, carrots and onion that were in a stew pack, then added seasoning. The herbs gave it a great flavour and I used 1/2 a teaspoon of oregano, sage, thyme, basic and herb d’ Provence. I got all the dried herbs for about 50p a jar from Aldi and Lidl. The basil was in fact fresh and made a difference this week. I made 1.5 litres for less than 2 pounds and it was not only frugal but yummy! You can cut the meat down even more if you add vegetable protein in the form of pulses. Try a cup full dried split peas but soak them overnight first. If you are adding split peas the amount of chicken can be halved. You can also add a chicken stock cube for extra flavour. You can also add an extra onion for even more flavour. (more…)
Grow your own
It seems a little early for thinking about growing your own in the garden, but you can at least prepare and plan. I have seen seeds for growing salad and root vegetables on offer for just 39p a packet at Aldi and Poundland have offers too. Getting our 5 portions of fruit and veg a day is getting more expensive. We can look for the bargains, the carrots are just 39p a kilo at Aldi this weekend and ideal for winter soups, stews and casseroles. They are still worth growing though! (more…)
Chinese leaves or white cabbage
Chinese 5 Spice
Chopped spring onions (more…)
Chicken legs (1 for each 600ml of stew)
onions (1 for each chicken leg)
I read an article about toast the other day. Apparently Mrs Beeton devised a toast sandwich that consisted of a piece of toasted bread between two pieces of bread that had been spread with butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper (not paper as the article said). I am not inspired by this… (more…)
I like egg ‘n’ chips and so being thrifty and frugal isn’t a problem for me, but some people are struggling in the current economic climate. (more…)
Chicken and vegetable soup
Chicken drumsticks (2 per person)
Onions ( 2 or 1 per person)
Carrots and swede
Chicken or vegetable stock
A little sunflower oil (more…)
I took this photograph yesterday after I had gone thrifty shopping! My intention was to photograph the canal which I did but those photos are a little dark after the rain. I noticed some trees and bushes and set a wide aperture and got some interesting shots. I think this bush is a yew, it has strange flowers that are very sticky! (more…)
Egg ‘n’ Chips
You can’t get much more frugal than egg ‘n’ chips with veggies of course. Potatoes are a staple food, there is protein in the eggs (we need about 50g a day) and there is lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre in the veggies. It’s a well balanced meal and it looks good and so the kids probably won’t turn there noses up. I used oven chips which isn’t quite as frugal as frying chips from potatoes; but less messy. (more…)
The carcass of a roast chicken can be used to make stock, just put it in a saucepan with the skin, bones, etc. and add some washed onions skins, seasoning and mixed herbs. Cover with water, then simmer for an hour then strain. Keep it in the fridge until you want to make soup and then you can pour it over vegetables and simmer for an hour to make veggie soup! I used mixed veggies for my soup and they were carrots, swede, broccoli, cauliflower and some white cabbage. (more…)