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Thrifty | A skill to save money



I went to Lidl on Sunday afternoon and was reminded that I really need to learn how to cook rice. It seems you have to ‘wash’ it to remove excess starch and then cook it with just the right amount of water so the dried rice absorbs the water and cooks. It sounds easy but my rice tend to stick together. The boil in a bag rice is easier and the packets that you can microwave are great. You don’t have to microwave that rice, you can stir fry it. It appears to be partly cooked and coated in sunflower oil. Anyway, 5 kilograms of rice was about £5.00; that would last a while! That’s a new skill that will save money!

It was Chinese New Year this week and so I cooked a stir fry. As usual I didn’t have any bean sprouts, but used red onion instead of spring onions; it was yummy! I did chicken stir fry, it’s easy. Stir fry the diced chicken until it goes white, add the microwavable rice and one thinly sliced red onion and fry for a few minutes. Add a handful of garden peas, stir for another minute.  Add a little seasoning, soya sauce and Chinese 5 spice. Cook for one minute and serve. Yummy…

Smile with tongue out

My best bargain at Lidl was a map book of Great Britain; they are totally useless if you don’t expect to travel here though! I saw a map book before Christmas in the Asda Superstore at around £12.00. This one was marked on the cover at £7.99 and is an AA map for 2012. I bought it for £1.79!


I bought a tin of mackerel in tomato sauce that was spicy and made a nice salad on Sunday for 65p. I did spend over £3 on kitchen roll and serviettes (for next Christmas), but paper products have become expensive. I spent too much on drinks too, but 6 cans of diet Pepsi for £1.39 was at least a good price. As usual I bought a stew pack and fruit and veggies. There is not such a good selection of fruit as in other supermarkets, but the prices are good. I went for the ‘fun sized’ bananas and lashed out on a punnet of grapes for £1.99. I bought enough pork and chicken to last a couple of weeks and the prices were good compared to the big supermarkets. I paid £2.25 (Kg) for chicken drumsticks and £2.65 (Kg) for the chicken legs. My other luxury was frozen prawns, but they will do gourmet salads for a month or two! I’ll go to Aldi next week, they sell a local beer for 99p a bottle and I think their fruit and veggies are now even cheaper than Lidl.

I have to make a 3 or 4 mile round trip to both those supermarkets and was going out to take photographs on Sunday so went to Lidl as I was passing. I try not to waste petrol. I’ll try to think of a good location for Sunday that involves driving past Aldi!

Smile with tongue out

There appear to be bargains on the London Stock market as well as in the shops. If you are a regular reader you will have seen the two investment blogs I have written so far. I’m still on the lookout for more bargains and I have missed at least two because I was too cautious. I considered Dixons retail at under 10p and they are 15p this morning. I did buy Premier Foods at 4p and they are over 8p at the time of writing. Cool!  My passion for smooth Branston Pickle didn’t influence my decision. I’m watching a few companies shares and if I buy, I’ll post an investment blog. I don’t give advice, tips or anything else. I put my money where my mouth is and just tell readers what I have bought.

If you have a few like minded friends, it’s worth setting up an investment club and investing together. You can meet regularly to exchange ideas and make decisions. You can also use the meetings to exchange used books and DVDs; that’s cheaper than hiring them!

Petrol where I live went up this week. It was 129.9 (litre) last year and then dropped to 128.9 and stayed there for months and now it’s suddenly 130.9 at Morrison’s and 130.7 at Asda. You have to queue and so I tend to go to an Esso station now and pay an extra penny. It’s worth it to keep my sanity.

There are more amazing blogs on my Home Page. Frugal Friday tomorrow; I think I might have egg ‘n’ chips for dinner…




17 responses

  1. Hey Mike… I just wanted to let you know about The Dark Globe’s “February Shoot Off! Photography Competition that will beginning February 1st, and Running Through February 14th… At The Moment We’re Voting on the Themes for the Photos if you’d like to Partake Here

    Also, if you’d like to Submit a Photo, or know people that might want to, be sure to Let them know it will be Starting February First



    26, January 2012 at 5:56 pm

  2. Hi Mike,

    Popped in off linkedin and love your blogs. Just wanted to leave a comment to show appreciation. BTW the trick to cooking rice is to have the right level of water. One easy method is the knuckle test. Stick your forefinger in the water (preferably before you boil it!) until it touches the rice. The water should reach the first knuckle. I know it doesn’t allow for people with digits like orangutans but hopefully you get the gist!

    1, February 2012 at 12:23 pm

    • Ah, thanks. I did cook rice at the weekend and it was better; not quite so sticky. I think I need better quality rice and to wash off the excess starch first before I cook it. It was slightly undercooked but I was using it for stir fry and so that didn’t matter. I did use about 1 cm of water and that seems about right. I keep experimenting with cooking until I get it right. My birthday today and so I’m planning a gourmet prawn salad; with chips!

      I’m also planning a new blog; self hosted, but technical support aren’t being supportive yet!

      1, February 2012 at 1:43 pm

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  4. Mike.
    Wash a cup of rice in five changes of water and tip off last change.
    Add (using same cup) one cup of water plus about one eigth of that cup.
    Add a little oil/salt if you like.
    Bring to rapid boil and let it roll (stirring with fork) for ONE minute.
    Remove and place on hob at LOWEST setting you possibly can with a very tight fitting lid.
    Leave for EIGHT minutes. DO NOT REMOVE LID.
    Turn off heat and leave at least another EIGHT minutes without removing lid.
    Fluff up with fork.

    Works every time.

    For greater volumes follow same procedure ie. one bucket of rice and one bucket of water plus an eigth of water – times are the same.

    Make in bulk and freeze.

    2, February 2012 at 9:48 am

    • Hi Fiju,

      I get different advice from different people! This sounds good because the rice sticks together and so I think I do need to wash off the excess starch. This is a lot more water, but the water I added was quickly absorbed and so maybe I need more! I think adding oil may be a good idea too. I never thought of freezing rice.

      Thanks I will try this! I’ll get this stir fry perfect one day! It does taste good though.

      2, February 2012 at 9:59 am

  5. Hiya Mike.

    Thanks for the reply. Defrosted rice is great for egg fried rice.

    Love the blog.


    2, February 2012 at 10:15 pm

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