Sunday, 30 December 2012

A bag full of bread and veg for £1.81!

£6.45 worth of food for £1.81!

Apologies for the lack of blogs of late but I'm back and ready for action in 2013!

Got a great bag of shopping for next to nothing tonight in our local Tesco Express. Four bags of carrots down from 68p to 14p, two packs of celery down from £1 to 45p, a pack of naan breads down from 84p to 17p, and a bag of rolls down from 89p to 18p - and the date on the rolls isn't up for another two days yet! Bargain!

So it looks like carrot soup is going to be on the menu soon - anyone got any favourite recipes to share?! By coincidence I'd already got some carrot and coriander soup out of the freezer for tomorrow's lunch at work - I may be sick of carrots by the end of the week!

Think I shall set myself a challenge this week of having a packed lunch for work that costs no more than £1 per day - other than New Year's Day of course when I shall be at the parentals having a Christmas dinner! I'll let you know how I get on!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Roast chicken with garlic, ginger, chilli, lime and coriander

Roast chicken with garlic, ginger, chilli, lime and coriander

I have a confession to make... I've only ever cooked one whole roast chicken in my life! Until today which marked roast chicken number two! And what a roast chicken it was!

Being quite an amateur in the roasting department, I was worried about over-cooking the chicken and drying out the meat. However, the Waitrose recipe* I used kept the meat deliciously moist and juicy.

And it was cheap as chips to boot! We bought a #SOS chicken last night down from £5 to £2.99 and I also had some shelf limes to use up which were reduced from 35p to 5p each. Roast chicken with garlic, ginger, chilli, lime and coriander it is then!

Here's how:

1) Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
2) Finely chop a small piece of ginger, a few cloves of garlic, and two fresh chillis.
3) Zest and juice a lime.
4) Throw all the ingredients into a food processor with a small bunch of coriander, a glug of olive oil and blitz into a paste.
5) Using your hands, push the paste underneath the skin of the chicken and spread evenly over the breast of the chicken.
6) Rub the rest of the chicken with the remaining paste.
7) Roast the chicken for the correct time according to the weight of the chicken.
8) Baste with the juices from time to time.
9) Leave to stand before serving.

We had it with roast potatoes (the potatoes were from the shelf too and cost 5p!) and mixed veg. I also popped some lime wedges into the oven just before serving - warming the wedges made the limes even juicier and easy to squeeze.

The photo doesn't do this chicken justice - the meat was so moist and the skin tasted divine (not burnt as the photo might suggest!). I think I shall be cooking roast dinners more often now having discovered this recipe!

* The original recipe I followed can be found on the Waitrose website at:

Spicy parsnip soup - 50p for four portions!

Spicy parsnip soup

Feeding four people for 50p?! It can't be done I hear you cry - oh yes it can with a bit of shelfing action!

I made this spicy parsnip soup a few weekends ago for around 50p and there was enough for four healthy portions.

I had bought a bag of #SOS parsnips for just 15p - down from £1. They had been lingering in my fridge for a while and were in need of using up so when I spotted a pint of #SOS milk for just 10p I knew their time had come!

I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe* but did add an extra chopped chilli to the proceedings for added punch. I also didn't add butter which was called for in Jamie's recipes to cut down on the calories. Here's the recipe for my version:

1) Chop an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a fresh chilli and a small piece of fresh ginger.
2) Gently fry them in a large saucepan with some olive oil until they are soft.
3) Add a tablespoon of garam masala.
4) Peel and chop some parsnips into chunks (I used four) and put them in the pan and give it all a good old mix.
5) Pour in 500ml of milk and one litre of vegetable stock, season well and bring to the boil.
6) Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.
7) Once the parsnips are soft, remove from the heat and whiz up - I used a hand blender to do this.
8) Add salt and pepper to taste.
9) Serve with a few fresh coriander leaves sprinkled on top.

This soup really packed a punch and was very filling. Mr Kate certainly enjoyed it!

With the 15p parsnips and 10p milk, when the cost of the other ingredients were added to it this cost around 50p for four portions. I bet Jamie Oliver's cost a little more than that! ;-)

*The Jamie Oliver recipe can be found at:

£22.89 worth of food for £9.33 - £1.99 for a whole pheasant!

£22.89 worth of food for £9.33 - £1.99 for a whole pheasant!

Still no cut-price pumpkins (think I'm going to have to resign myself to the fact that I've missed out this year!) but did discover a great haul of quality food from Sainsbury's #SOS shelf last night.

Two whole Taste The Difference pheasants down from £5 to £1.99 each, a whole chicken down from £5 to £2.99, two Covent Garden soups down from £2 to 69p each, fresh pot of basil down from £2 to 49p and a pot of houmous down from £1.89 to 49p. £22.89 worth of food for a grand total of £9.33 - bargainous!

Roast chicken for Sunday lunch it is today then, one pheasant in the freezer and one as a present to the parentals for helping out with the decorating this weekend!

Now to see what #SOS veg we have left over to use for this roast dinner...!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

£32.22 worth of food for £12.13!

£32.22 worth of food for £12.13!

The aim of tonight's shelfing was to find some cut-price pumpkins to create some delicious autumnal soup - alas the only pumpkins I found were still full price! I'll keep my eyes out for one in the next few days!

However, although there were no pumpkins to be found, there was plenty of other cut-price fare to fill my fridge and freezer! Four rotisserie chicken portions down from £2 to 50p, four packs of barbecue chicken wings down from £3.40 to £1.19 (I gave one pack to the parentals and the others are in the freezer), a quiche down from £1.34 to 21p, a pack of Pringles down from £2.49 to £1.29, three packs of Waitrose fresh minced beef down from £3.19 to £1.49, a meat feast pasta salad down from £1.97 to 31p and a pot of my favourite edamame beans down from £1.25 to 59p.

£32.22 worth of food for £12.13 so I mustn't grumble about no pumpkins!

I did have to stop myself from buying all manner of cut-price Halloween chocolates and cakes including packs of fresh cookies down to 10p - my waistline can do without those at the moment!

Fingers crossed for a cut-price pumpkin tomorrow!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Shelf raiding road trip - £70 worth of food for £15!

Laden with seven bags of shelf delights! 

Shelf raiding road trips are the new going out! Well, it was for me and my friend Zoyla this week!

Zoyla had told me she was spending too much on food shopping (£300 a month for her, her fella and his two little ones' visits) and needed teaching in the #SOS way of life! So I suggested a catch up over a shelf raiding road trip to show Zoyla where to get the best bargains!

We set off at 7.30pm and took in five supermarkets on a five-mile round trip to see what we could find. Tesco Express was the first stop and we got the timing just right as the final reductions were just being made as we walked in - they went straight from the shelf to our basket!

Our first bags of shopping included oranges, jacket potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rolls, pasta salad, a loaf of bread and a bunch of roses - for £1.59... Zoyla was already getting into the #SOS swing of things!

Next stop was the local Co-op with a poor show - just a pack of roast chicken but it did have a great reduction of £3.09 to 79p.

We jumped in the car, buoyed by the Tesco purchases, and hot-footed it to a deserted Morrisons which had lots of delights on offer including half price rotisseries chickens - one each please!

8.15pm and Waitrose was the next stop which had lots of fruit on offer including blueberries down from £3.99 to 59p and raspberries down from £2.87 to 59p. By this point Zoyla was already getting addicted to shelf raiding and realising just how much food you can buy for next to nothing if you put in the hard work! OK so you wouldn't normally go to five supermarkets in one night but it meant we got to catch up and save money at the same time!

ASDA was the last stop where we picked up lots of cut-price bakery goods for the freezer and had a giggle finding a deserted aisle where I posed for a photo!

Home by 9pm, laden with seven bags of shelf delights and Mr Kate greeted us at the door to see what we had hunter gathered.

And the results were quite outstanding...

The haul included:

2 x rotisserie chickens - £5.28 to £2.59 

Seeded oat rolls - 83p to 12p
Warburtons loaf - 70p to 11p
Pitta breads - 22p to 5p
Pesto potato salad - £1.50 to 23p
Cheese and onion bagels - £1 to 10p
Tiger baguette - 40p to 5p
Carrots - 68p to 10p
Lemon tarts - £2.80 to 31p
Breadcrumbs - £1.19 to 22p
Scotch pancakes - £2.57 to 22p
Blueberries - £3.99 to 59p
Halloween muffins - £2.29 to 45p
Red Thai chicken noodle soup - £3 to 49p
Milk - 37p to 29p
Fresh lemonade - £1.10 to 20p
Eggs - £1.95 to 45p
Cream - £1.04 to 16p
Melon medley - £2 to 26p
Honey and mustard chicken pasta - £2 to 30p
Raspberries - £2.87 to 59p
Roast chicken slices - £3.09 to 79p
Packets of jacket potatoes - 85p to 13p
Parsnips - £1 to 15p
Baguette - 70p to 10p
Hovis loaf - £1.30 to 19p
Celery - 90p to 29p
Radishes - 99p to 22p
Activia yoghurts - £1.84 to 25p
Sweet potato and tomato crisp melts - £3 to 75p
Munch bunch yoghurts - £1.58 to 19p
Oranges - 35p to 5p
Roses - £3 to 43p

We bought a few of several items as the deals were so good and it all came to a grand total of £14.89 for the lot!

And how much should it have cost? Drum roll please...


Wowzers! So basically £70 worth of food for £15 (80% savings!) and the cost of a five-mile round trip in petrol. Can't say fairer than that!

Zoyla and I don't see enough of each other so regular shelf raiding road trips are now on the cards and we'll take it in turns for driving duties!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Thai green vegetable rice with chicken - £1 for four portions!

I've already blogged about my vegetable egg fried rice recipe I often cook to use up leftover veg and meat - this is a twist on that recipe using curry paste instead of egg which basically employs the same principle of using up whatever you have languishing in the fridge!

I had some leftover rotisserie chicken and a big haul of free courgettes and runner beans from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald's veg patch to use so thought this was a quick and easy way to clear the fridge!

1) Boil some rice according to the instructions - I like to use Thai Jasmine rice and buy in big 5kg bags to keep the cost down.
2) 2-3 minutes before the rice is cooked add in a handful of frozen peas and/or sweetcorn. 
3) Drain the rice and peas/sweetcorn and leave to one side.
4) Chop into cubes whatever veg you need to use up - for mine tonight I used green and yellow courgettes, runner beans, spring onions, a shallot, red chilli and broccoli
5) Heat some oil in a wok or large frying pan, add a spoon or two of thai green curry paste (I used a little too much tonight - scorchio!) and stir fry the chopped veg for a few minutes.
6) Throw in the shredded leftover chicken and heat through.
7) Add the rice and peas/sweetcorn to the pan and give it all a good mix.
8) Squeeze in the juice of half a lime or lemon.
9) Serve with some chopped fresh coriander sprinkled on top.

Less than a pound for four portions - two for tonight's dinner and two for tomorrow's lunchboxes. And space cleared in the fridge for the next shelf raid!

£12.53 worth of food for £4.10!

£12.53 worth of food for £4.10!

A tidy little shelfing haul today resulted in £12.53 worth of food for £4.10!

Six mini french sticks down from 75p to 9p, Innocent smoothie down from £2.81 to 95p, fancy-pants bacon down from £2.84 to £1.99, houmous down from £1.15 to 49p and two packs of blinis down from £2.49 to 29p.

I'm going to freeze the blinis and keep them to make some tasty canapes when we have visitors!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Rotisserie chicken for £2.49!

I was a little naughty the other evening - I'd had a very long day at work and Mr Kate was out for the night. Cooking just wasn't an option so I popped along to Morrisons and got the timing just right (7.30pm fact fans!) as they were reducing the fresh rotisserie chickens just as I arrived!

I hovered as the yellow stickers were printed off (you have to be brazen to get the best deals!) and secured a whole roast chicken (£5.28 down to £2.49) and two chicken breasts (£3.84 to £1.49). Luckily the bakery goods were already reduced and I bought bagels (£1.45 to 49p), raisin and walnut flute (£1 to 25p) and a bag of half a dozen mixed rolls (75p to 35p).

Warm chicken rolls for dinner (naughty I know, but it was lovely!), lunch sorted for the next few days and we still have some leftover chicken to use up which I may well throw in to a rice dish for tomorrow's dinner!

Hover at the rotisserie section near closing time and you may well bag yourself a bargain - they can't keep them until the next day so have to reduce them is it's been a slow day!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Eating out on a shoestring - affordable treats!

Eating out on a shoestring - affordable treats!

As you all know by now, I'm a big fan of eating as cheaply as possible but that certainly doesn't mean I'm not a fan of eating out! Quite the opposite in fact - Mr Kate and I love eating out and saving the pennies eating #SOS food means we don't feel quite as guilty when we do spend in restaurants!

However, we have recently become avid Groupon deal buyers which makes eating out even more affordable! For those of you who haven't yet discovered Groupon, new offers are posted every day at with cut-price deals from businesses offering their wares to new customers.

Groupon offers discounts on all kinds of products - literally everything from teeth whitening to garden tools - but my favourite offers are the local restaurant deals. Today I bought a great deal for one of my favourite restaurants in Northampton - a tapas restaurant called Les Olives (

The deal was £15.50 for two people for a starter and five tapas to share. Most of the tapas cost around £5 to £6 each so, depending on what you end up choosing, the deal sees savings of up to 61%. And the food is absolutely great at Les Olives!

Unfortunately this deal has now sold out on Groupon's website but keep an eye out on the site as new deals are posted at midnight every day. I've now become a little addicted to checking just before I go to bed or first thing in the morning - and I'm glad I did today as the Les Olives offer sold out in just a few hours!

We had a lovely meal out recently from a Groupon deal of two courses for two people with limoncello and coffee for £24.50 at Gian Biaz - a very good quality Italian restaurant in Northampton ( Mr Kate's slow roasted shoulder of lamb with four bean casserole would normally cost £16.95 on its own and they certainly didn't scrimp on the portion sizes!

Another cracker was a deal for four people to have a two-course Indian meal at the Imperial Raj (, with wine, for £29. I treated the parentals to this one and at that price a meal out for four didn't break the bank like it normally might!

Some other deals I've bought recently and am going to be redeeming soon include:

- Afternoon tea for two with a cocktail each at Borjia (a fabulous bar in Northampton - check them out at for just £14.99.

- Gastro pub meal for two for £15 at the Olde Red Lion in Kislingbury ( These folks were winners of the Northamptonshire Food Awards last year so I'm expecting good things!

I'd thoroughly recommend trying out a Groupon deal - I've loved trying out new restaurants for next to nothing! And the restaurants gain too - we've been back to some of them as full price customers so it's win win all round! I say I've been back as a full price customer but actually we've been given money off vouchers at the end of the meal - a fiver off the total might not be as good as the initial Groupon deal but it's certainly helped to lure us back after a great night out on the cheap!

Watch this space for my reviews of the Groupon deals I'll be redeeming soon!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Waitrose cut-price glitch - 24 sausages for 16p!

24 sausages for 16p! 

I haven't been doing a huge amount of shelf raiding for the past week as we've been eating our way through the freezer and the special delivery Mr Kate received (more on that in a future post!) but I could not resist this brilliant glitch in Waitrose's pricing...

A colleague of Mr Kate had told me about an occasion where someone he knew had gone to Waitrose, bought some #SOS bargains and, quite bizarrely, Waitrose had ended up paying them to have the food! Confused? Yes, I was too until it happened to me the other day!

Here's what happened...

- I found packs of sausages reduced from £1.19 per pack to 45p.
- However they were also on a three for the price of two deal.
- So I picked up three packets which you think would have cost £1.35 (three times 45p).
- But, Waitrose have a glitch in their pricing in that even if something is reduced to clear, they still honour the special deal which in this case was three for the price of two.
- However, instead of simply charging 90p (two times 45p) they took off the original price per packet of £1.19... still with me?!

To recap...

- The original price for three packets for the price of two was £2.38.
- Three packs reduced to 45p each was £1.35.
- They took off the normal full price of one pack (£1.19) to honour the three for two deal so my £1.35 for three packs of sausages ended up costing me just 16p!

And this is how it can end up that Waitrose actually pay you to take the food off their hands if the reduced price is right! If you had three items that cost a pound each, they were on three for the price of two, but were reduced to 10p each (30p in total), Waitrose would end up paying 70p back to you!

Complicated for the mathematically challenged like myself, but the basic message is - if something is reduced to clear in Waitrose and also on a BOGOF or 3 for 2 offer, buy the full amount and it will cost you next to nothing OR even better Waitrose will pay you to take the food off their hands! RESULT!

Do let me know if you manage to get some bargains using this pricing glitch - and fingers crossed they don't change the pricing any time soon!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Beef keema curry with fresh coriander and mint

Beef keema curry with fresh coriander and mint

My take on keema curry is one of my favourite trusted recipes that I go back to again and again when in need of some warming comfort food. This recipe is very quick and easy and I would really recommend it to anyone who has never made a curry from scratch as it is so simple to make.

And, thanks to some #SOS ingredients, I made this tonight for a mere £1.50 to feed four people! I had a 54p pack of lean steak mince in the freezer (down from £3.60) and some fresh garden peas for 25p (down from £1.56). The rest of the ingredients took this up to approx £1.50 - pretty good going for a freshly made curry!

I usually make this recipe with frozen peas but as the fresh were on offer I plumped for them instead.

I use plenty of fresh coriander and mint in this recipe - I always try to have a few pots of living herbs on my window sill to add flavour to dishes and thanks to the nice folks at The Fresh Herb Company I've got this lovely new window box to keep them in!

I find having living herbs is cheaper in the long run than buying the packets of cut herbs which often ruin within a few days. I'm also growing my own too! The lovely Fresh Herb Co folks also recently sent me a messaluna for preparing fresh herbs - it made chopping the mint and coriander for this dish so much easier than faffing about with a standard knife!

Here's my recipe:

1) Brown some mince and a finely chopped onion in a large pan for a few minutes.
2) Add a clove or two of chopped garlic, a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, two teaspoons of ground cumin, one teaspoon of ground coriander, half a teaspoon of chilli powder, half a teaspoon of turmeric and some chopped fresh coriander stalk (keeping the leaves for later). Fry until soft and the meat is fully browned.
3) Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes.
4) Add some frozen peas, chopped fresh coriander and mint leaves, juice of half a lemon and heat through for a few minutes until the peas are cooked.
5) Serve with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of the fresh herbs over the top.

Delicious served with rice or naan bread!

I love this dish - proper spicy and fragrant comfort food and the lemon juice cuts through the flavours to add a citrus kick. Delish.

P.S. Lots of tips on keeping fresh herbs at:

£14.19 worth of food for £4.55!

£14.19 worth of food for £4.55

I'm back in shelfing action! Am still eating through the freezer but also in need of a few fresh bits and bobs so stopped off at the shelf on the way home from work tonight and got this little lot from Co-op and Tesco.

Activia prune yoghurts down from £2.10 to 60p (Mr Kate's breakfast sorted for next few days), two cartons of Covent Garden courgette and Camembert soup down from £2.25 to 65p (one for the freezer and one for Mr Kate's lunch tomorrow), a punnet of cherries down from £2 to 35p (part of tomorrow's five a day action), houmous down from £1.04 to 55p and cashew nuts down from £2.99 to £1.50.

Was also delighted to get a bag of fresh garden peas down from £1.56 to 25p as had a keema curry planned for tonight's dinner so needed peas! Recipe to follow!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Lamb shish meatballs with chickpeas, courgette, bantams' and quails' eggs

Lamb shish meatballs with chickpeas, courgette and eggs

Mr Kate made this cracking #SOS dinner a few nights ago when I was caught up at work - one of the best meals he's ever cooked me!

We had found some #SOS lamb tandoori shish kebabs on the shelf the night before, quite remarkably reduced from £3.79 to 25p, and had some free bantams' and quails' eggs to use from Mr Kate's nan. I'd fancied cooking a Moroccan style meatball dish with the traditional eggs cracked into the dish - this was our twist on the Moroccan dish as we swapped the standard Moroccan spices for Indian ones to blend in with the tandoori flavoured meat.

Here's Mr Kate's recipe:

1) Fry the following in a shallow pan in hot oil: two cloves of finely chopped garlic, a teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin, chilli flakes, ground chilli and shish seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
2) After two or three minutes add a finely chopped onion, a courgette diced into 1cm cubes and soften.
3) After a few minutes add a tin of chopped tomatoes, stir well and add a glug of white wine.
4) Remove the shish kebab meat from the skewers and combine with a beaten egg, chopped mint, and a dash of ground cumin and shish seasoning. Mix well and shape into meatballs.
5) Add the meatballs to the pan and space out evenly (I would have browned the meatballs before adding them to the pan but Mr Kate didn't bother and I didn't even notice!).
6) Add half a tin of chick peas and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.
7) Simmer for 20 minutes over a low to medium heat.
8) Crack some eggs into the gaps between the meatballs, scatter over some fresh coriander and cover the pan with a lid or plate for about five minutes or until the eggs are cooked.
9) Finish with more chopped fresh coriander and mint leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
10) Serve with warm bread.

We had this with some #SOS garlic naan bread (to mop up the lovely juices) reduced from £1.29 to 15p. When all the ingredients were added together this cost no more than £1.50 and was the tastiest meal I've had in a long time - the flavours packed a real zingy punch and complimented each other really well.

Cheap, healthy, tasty and creative use of cheap ingredients - the very essence of the #SOS way of life! Mr Kate can certainly make this one again!

Chicken dinner on the cheap - £2.50 for two people!

£2.50 chicken dinner for two!

It's all been quiet on the shelfing front for the past few days as have been using up the contents of the freezer. Tonight's simple Monday night tea was a chicken dinner on the (very) cheap - Morrisons half tandoori chicken down from £3.79 to £1.95, Waitrose corn on the cob reduced from £2.19 to 55p, runner beans free from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald, free coriander grown in pots on the windowsill - grand total of £2.50 for a chicken dinner for two people!

Jazzed up the corn on the cob by mixing a little butter with a splash of lemon juice and some chopped coriander leaves - added a  certain zing to the proceedings!

Back to cooking from scratch tomorrow though - I'll be using up some #SOS minced beef to make one of my trusted favourite recipes of beef keema curry. Looking forward to it already!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Addicted to shelfing - £16.14 worth of food for £2.88!

£16.14 worth of food for £2.88

Yesssss, I know... I KNOW I'm supposed to be thinning out the freezer stocks to make room for Mr Kate's surprise purchase... But how can you resist bargains like tonight's when it's over 80% savings?! What's a girl to do...?! The key to successful shelfing is buying the bargains as soon as you see them so I simply can't say no!

Luckily Mr Kate was with me and was happily putting things in the basket himself so he can't complain. He actually found one of our best ever bargains tonight - Lamb tandoori shish kebabs down from £3.79 a pack to 25p. 25p?! That's 93% off! We'll have two thanks! One for the freezer and one for tomorrow's dinner when we're going to turn them into meatballs and use them in a Moroccan meatballs with eggs style recipe!

Other highlights were a 15p baguette and corned beef down from £2 to 25p. Lunch sorted!

I'm an #SOS addict - and my bank balance LOVES it!

Lemon and garlic samphire recipe

Lemon and garlic samphire with fishcake and poached egg

Those who read last night's blog will remember I found some #SOS samphire in ASDA down from £1.32 to 21p. Mr Kate did the honours tonight and served it with a cut-price fishcake from the freezer and a poached bantam's egg.

Here's how he prepared the samphire:

1) Rinse the samphire and leave to dry.
2) Very finely chop a clove of garlic.
3) Fry the garlic in a little olive oil over a high heat just until it starts to colour.
4) Add the samphire and stir continuously.
5) Squeeze over some fresh lemon juice to taste.
6) Add some freshly cracked black pepper.
7) Serve!

We had this with some ready-made cod and chorizo fishcakes (not a huge fan of ready-made food but these were a bargain and sometimes midweek you just want to throw something in the oven!) and a poached egg to top it all off.

With the samphire at 21p, the fishcakes at 99p and the eggs free from Mr Kate's nan's friend Arthur, this cost us just £1.20 for the two of us! Would certainly have samphire again too if it appears on the shelf again!

Posh-ish nosh on the (very) cheap!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

£25.19 worth of food for £5.42!

I know I'm supposed to be using up the freezer stock to make space for Mr Kate's mystery purchase arriving soon, but I was in a different part of town tonight on the way home from the parentals so broadened my horizons with a trip to Waitrose and ASDA - conveniently next door to each other in Kingsthorpe, Northampton. And we did need some fresh veg in so Mr Kate can't grumble too much! And grumble he certainly can't when this little lot should cost £25.19 and I got it all for £5.42! 80% savings!

The boys in ASDA were making the final reductions as I arrived (just before 8pm fact fans!) and I got packs of rhubarb down from £1.80 to 27p, mint 65p to 10p, Covent Garden soup down from £1.97 to 42p, two half swedes for 7p each and samphire down from £1.32 to 21p. I've never cooked samphire before so that will be a new experience!

Waitrose also came up trumps with corn on the cob down from £2.29 to 55p, a cute little round courgette down from 79p to 22p, Muller rice 60p to 19p, romaine lettuce £1.50 to 25p, blinis down from £2.19 to 79p, and packs of crackers down from £1.09 to 19p - they'll keep for another month or two yet!

All the fruit and veg I got was perfectly fresh and some will still be fine in a good week or so's time. Blinis and soup in the freezer for another time - sorry Mr Kate but they were good bargains!

Now to plan what to do with that samphire! Anyone got any suggestions?!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Stewed peaches with custard and amaretti biscuits

Stewed peaches with custard and amaretti biscuits

It's been a quiet few days on the shelfing front as I'm trying to run down the freezer to make room for the arrival of a mystery bargain buy... more of that to come in a future blog!

In the meantime, Mr Kate did treat me to this rather lovely creation using some #SOS fresh custard (£1.69 to 45p) and some peaches that needed using up. For something so cheap it really did make a lovely dessert and, with his smart presentation, wouldn't have been out of place at a dinner party.

Here's his recipe:

1) Chop some peaches (allow approx two per person).
2) Put the peaches in a pan on a low heat and add a sprinkling of sugar, a healthy glug of orange juice and a splash of white wine (optional).
3) Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the peaches are soft but still retaining their shape.
4) Pop a few mini amaretti biscuits in the bottom of the serving dishes (Mr Kate used glasses) or if you have large biscuits break them in two.
5) Layer the fruit on top followed by warm custard.
6) Crumble some more amaretti biscuits on the top to serve.

Delish! Mr Kate can make this one again!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Vegetable egg fried rice with chorizo - four portions for less than £2!

Vegetable egg fried rice with chorizo

Vegetable egg fried rice has become a weekly staple in our household - whenever we have lots of veg to use up it all gets chopped up and thrown into this simple dish. And if we have some meat to use that goes in too - ham, bacon, chicken... whatever needs using! Tonight we had a little bit of leftover chorizo to use and it added a lovely smokey flavour to the meal.

With lots of the veg being free from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald's veg patch the meal cost less than £2 to make and provided two generous portions for tonight's dinner and a further two portions for tomorrow's lunchboxes! It tastes fine the next day warmed up in the microwave or eaten cold as a rice salad.

Here's how to make it:

1) Boil some rice according to the instructions - I like to use Thai Jasmine rice and buy in big 5kg bags to keep the cost down.
2) 2-3 minutes before the rice is cooked add in a handful of frozen peas or sweetcorn.
3) Drain the rice and peas/sweetcorn and leave to one side.
4) Chop into cubes whatever veg you need to use up - we'll regularly have this with peppers, courgettes, green beans, spring onions, red onions, leeks, asparagus, carrots, garlic, chillis... quite literally whatever you fancy and need to use! We sometimes throw in some dried chillis if we don't have fresh or five spice for extra flavour.
5) Heat some oil in a wok or large frying pan and stir fry the chopped veg for a few minutes.
6) Once the veg is ready create a well in the bottom of the pan by pushing the veg to the sides.
7) Beat 1-3 eggs (depending on how much rice and veg you're cooking) and then pour the egg into the well.
8) Stir the egg quickly until it's turned into a scrambled egg consistency and then fold into the veg.
9) Add the rice and peas/sweetcorn to the pan and give it all a good mix.
10) Serve with some chopped fresh coriander or other herbs on top if you have some and sprinkle soy sauce to taste.

This has become a firm favourite with us and is a simple, cheap and effective way of using up leftovers in a tasty way!

£6.19 worth of food for £1.53!

£6.19 worth of food for £1.53!

A small haul from the reduced shelf tonight - but a quality one!

Pancakes down from 66p to 12p will do nicely for a weekend breakfast.

The fresh custard down from £1.69 to 45p will go nicely with some #SOS peaches I need to use up - I'm thinking of stewing the peaches, serving with the custard and then crumbling over some amaretti biscuits. I'm licking my lips already at the thought of that!

And Mr Kate is a very happy fella tonight - I have a bit of a phobia of cheese and hate the stuff... whereas Mr Kate loves it! So I don't often buy it for him but when I saw this brie down from £1.92 to 48p I thought I'd indulge him! I'll just steer clear of him when he eats it!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Chicken and apricot spicy stew

Chicken and apricot spicy stew

I surprised myself with this recipe! I've never been one for mixing sweet and savoury (in fact I actively avoid it at all possible costs) but I thought I'd break from tradition for this recipe as Mr Kate loves a fruity stew! Aren't I good to him?!

The inspiration came from an old school friend on my Facebook page at - I'd asked for people's favourite chicken dishes (after my huge #SOS chicken haul last night) and Nicki suggested fruity chicken using apricots. As luck would have it, not only did I have a mountain of #SOS chicken to use, I also had a punnet of #SOS apricots! Bingo!

After a rifle through some recipe books for further inspiration, I decided on a lovely little recipe from a BBC Good Food Magazine book - 101 Low-Fat Feasts. The recipe called for dried apricots which I substituted for fresh apricots and chicken thighs which I changed for breast. Other than those changes, I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter - a rarity for me!

Here's how to make it:

1) Heat a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan and add a sliced onion to slowly soften for a few minutes.
2) Add diced chicken breast and fry over a low heat for a few minutes more.
3) Sprinkle two teaspoons of plain flour onto the chicken along with two teaspoons of ground cumin, two teaspoons of ground coriander and one teaspoon of paprika. Give it all a good stir.
4) Turn the heat up higher and slowly add one pint of chicken stock, stirring well.
5) Simmer for 15 minutes.
6) Add the apricots and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.
7) Serve!

We had the stew with some fresh coriander sprinkled on top, #SOS boiled potatoes and runner beans from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald's veg patch. However this would be great served with rice to soak up the sauce. Total cost approx £3!

And as for my aversion to sweet and savoury... I am cured by this dish! I loved it and would certainly cook it again. Mr Kate is delighted!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

£30.86 worth of food for £12.16!

£30.86 worth of food for £12.16!

The #SOS bargains keep on coming at the moment! Tonight's post-work trip saw this little lot secured - a cracking £30.86 worth of food for just £12.16. And it includes four packs of chicken breasts, which are still in date until the day after tomorrow, down from £3.75 a pack to £2. The chicken was actually supposed to be £7.50 a pack as it was already on a special half price offer - quite why anyone would pay £7.50 for them is beyond me!

Also in this haul is a bag of satsumas down from £1.70 to 45p, two packs of ham down from £2.05 to 55p, Aberdeen Angus burgers down from £2.69 to 69p, wholemeal rolls down from 83p to 39p, two packs of bagels down from £1.51 to 45p and blueberry muffins down from £1.45 to 19p. Oh and not forgetting a sausage roll treat for Mr Kate down from 62p to 25p! That's our breakfast, lunch and dinner sorted for the next few days!

Chicken fajitas for tonight's dinner - spruced up with some fresh coriander sprinkled on top and veg patch courgettes instead of an extra pepper.

Now to plan tomorrow night's chicken dinner - the rest is in the freezer for a later date!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Foodie heaven at Northamptonshire Food Show @ Holdenby House

Northamptonshire Food Show @ Holdenby House

What a lovely way to spend a bank holiday! The weather might not have been tip top, but the taste-buds were still tantalised at Northamptonshire Food Show at Holdenby House - a great end to my bank holiday weekend.

Set in the historic surroundings of Holdenby House, Northamptonshire Food Show is now in its sixth year and I'm ashamed to say today was my first visit! And having saved so much money with my recent #SOS trips (and lost five pounds in the past week!) I thought a few treats were definitely deserved.

And treats a-plenty there sure were! My first purchase was these absolutely heavenly marshmallows from Ms Marsh & Ms Mallow ( Two packs for £5 and I chose a pack of lemon and a pack of chocolate and cinnamon. 

The chocolate and cinnamon have been short-listed in the Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards for new local product (Mr Kate was on the judging panel!) and I certainly see why - they taste like little chocolately pillows from heaven! Based down the road in Wellingborough, these folks could go far and with the right branding could have an absolute winner of a product on their hands. 

Chocolatey and lemony fluffy marshmallow pillows sent from heaven!

After sampling the sweetness of the marshmallows, something a little more savoury was in order for lunch - buffalo burger a-go-go! A healthier alternative to beef, the burgers are made in nearby Napton and are very tasty indeed. Tastier than the average beef burger for sure!

Prettiest stall of the day definitely had to go to Sam's Cakes & Treats for her fabulously vintage baby pink cabin deliciously filled with cup-cakes and cookies! She's also based in Wellingborough and on Facebook at:

Second place for prettiest stall was this creative cake stand with cakes in jars! 

Mr Kate will probably want to steer clear of me when I start drinking this fruity raspberry vodka I bought from the Mrs Sippi stall. I'm not exactly a big drinker (one sip and I'm gone!) but found the Mrs Sippi fruit vodkas absolutely delicious - so much so that it was so hard to pick between the raspberry, strawberry and elderflower flavours that I had to sample them several times!

I also bought some Victoria plum jam from the nice folks at the Village Orchard - it looked so good that I thought I'd give it a shot even though there weren't any samples to try. Fingers crossed it was worth the punt but if their tangy apple juice they were sampling is anything to go by then it will be flavoursome indeed! Their apple juice is another Northamptonshire Food Awards nominee so the jam should be top notch!

And finally, I couldn't resist this cherry bakewell fudge from the lovely boys at Tom's Fudge ( These boys certainly know a thing or two about making sweet treats! A little of this will go a very long way - I think a tiny slice of this a day will about satisfy my sweet tooth and keep me on the diet straight and narrow this week! 

Cherry Bakewell Fudge

I would highly recommend the Northamptonshire Food Show to all fellow foodies. Lots of samples of local products, many tempting enough to buy and take away, and the majority are local producers from Northamptonshire and the surrounding counties.

The Holdenby House setting adds a certain je ne sais quoi and the house was open to visit and explore. The gardens were well worth exploring too - I picked up lots of tips for the veg patch and now want a plum tree like this one on our garden wall!

The fragrant gardens - filled with fresh herbs 

In short, if you haven't already been then be sure to get there next year for a bank holiday foodie treat!

Details at:

P.S. I even learnt how to milk a cow... well... kind of!