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!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bank holiday bargain bonanza - £6.88 worth of food for 67p!

£6.88 worth of food for 67p!

The best savings yet - a whopping 90% savings on all of this little lot!

New potatoes down from £1.50 to 15p - perfect timing as I'd just finished the last remaining #SOS pack in the veg rack. Also got celery down from £1.04 to 10p (Mr Kate hates it so all for me!) and black bean stir fry sauce also down from £1.04 to 10p. Hot dog rolls down from 62p to 6p and the lowest yet for a loaf of bread - 60p also down to just 6p!

Bank holiday bargain bonanza!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Chorizo hash - leftover heaven!

Chorizo hash

Lots of #SOS leftovers lingering in our household at the moment so Mr Kate took control of the kitchen and cooked up this leftover storm of chorizo hash - a posh corned beef hash if you like!

Here's Mr Kate's recipe:

1) Peel and dice some potatoes, boil until tender and drain.
2) Once the potatoes are nice and dry, brown them in a frying pan with a glug of oil and then set aside.
3) Chop a chilli and slice some spring onions.
4) Soften the chilli and spring onions in the pan with a teaspoon of paprika and a few dried chilli flakes.
5) Add some chopped chorizo and cook for a few mins.
6) Add a splash of white wine and reduce.
7) Combine the chorizo mixture with the potatoes.
8) Serve with scrambled or fried eggs on top with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves and some black pepper.

With the last of the #SOS potatoes and chillis used, this meal came to approx £1.50 in total for the two of us. Bargainous.

I had mine served with scrambled eggs as not a fan of fried (I despise a runny yolk, much to Mr Kate's dismay) and have to say it was most satisfying after a long week at work - a good start to the Bank Holiday weekend!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Meatball, chorizo, potato and pea stew - 4-6 portions for £3!

Meatball, chorizo, potato and pea stew

Now this was a tasty dinner, even if I do say so myself - and a recipe I dreamt up this afternoon no less! Cut-price too as I had hunter gathered some #SOS meatballs yesterday.

I served it with asparagus as I had an #SOS bargain bunch to use (down from £2 to 50p) and am on a bit of a health kick, but this would be really quite lovely served with hot crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Here's how I made it:

1) Peel 2-3 potatoes and chop into bite-sized chunks.
2) Put the potatoes on to boil for 10 minutes or until tender.
3) Brown the meatballs in a frying pan with a little oil.
4) Drain away the fat and pop the meatballs to one side in a big saucepan.
5) Soften a chopped onion and a few chopped cloves of garlic in a little oil.
6) Add some chopped chorizo, two teaspoons of paprika, a teaspoon of mixed herbs and a dollop of tomato puree.
7) Once soft, transfer the onion and chorizo mix to the saucepan with the meatballs.
8) Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, give it a good stir and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
9) Add some frozen peas and the cooked potatoes and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
10) Serve with some fresh chopped herbs sprinkled on top if you have some to hand.

The chorizo gave this a really lovely smokey flavour and is definitely one I'll be creating again. Quietly chuffed with this creation and it came in at around £3 for 4-6 portions. Lunch sorted for tomorrow!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Livening up my lunchbox - spicy noodle salad!

Spicy noodle salad

I have lots of #SOS veg to use up at the moment and seeing as I seem to have piled on the pounds in the past few weeks (no swimming post-operation!) I thought I would get tomorrow's lunchbox sorted in advance. Something colourful, crunchy and tasty will hopefully help me avoid the mid-afternoon choc o'clock cravings!

Here's how to make it:

1) Boil some noodles and drain, rinsing in cold water to cool them down.
2) Chop up some red pepper and carrots into thin strips.
3) Finely slice a spring onion.
4) Slice and boil a few mange tout and baby sweetcorn for 2-3 minutes so they're still crunchy - rinse with cold water to cool.
5) Drizzle a little sesame oil into the noodles so they don't stick together and to also add an extra flavour kick.
6) Throw everything into a bowl and give it a good old mix.
7) Add a dash of soy sauce, a squeeze of fresh lime and a dollop of sweet chilli sauce (I always have some sweet chilli sauce in the fridge - it makes a great dressing!).
8) Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the top.
9) Chop up some fresh coriander leaves and sprinkle over to serve.

Really looking forward to my lunch tomorrow now! Fingers crossed my first post-work swim for a month and avoiding the choc o'clock cravings will start to see the pounds drifting away!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

#SOS Addict! £16.54 worth of food for £5.76!

£16.54 worth of food for £5.76!

OK, I know I said yesterday that I was going to hold back from any shelfing until the end of the week due to my biggest ever haul on Friday, however... if there are bargains to be had then I simply can't resist!

Today's haul just goes to show that it's not only at the end of the day that you can get good bargains - my local mini Co-op came up trumps at 1.45pm today! Spinach and ricotta pizza down from £4.19 to £1.45, cod and chorizo fishcakes down from £3 to 99p, sugar snaps and baby sweetcorn down from £1.85 to 59p and my favourite Pink Lady apples down from £2.50 to 75p a bag.

A great haul that I just couldn't say no to - gotta get the bargains whilst you can... and I certainly did!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Meatfest! £62.69 worth of food for £30.95!

£35.08 worth of meat for £19.20!

My biggest haul to date! I may have gone slightly #SOS crazy yesterday but when there's savings like this to be made... what's a girl to do?!

£35.08 of various chicken, pork, burgers and venison down to £19.20. Mr Kate does like a barbecue and with the sunshine arriving today it's the perfect weather for it. Unfortunately the weather didn't hold for our barbecue with friends last night but we managed to just about get the food down us before the rain came down.

There was also various #SOS side dish bargains to be had including a perfectly fresh salad pack down from £2 to 29p and fresh fruit for my chocolate fondue down from £1.25 to 19p.

Mr Kate also got in on the #SOS action and brought a good haul home - in total £62.69 worth of food for a brilliant £30.95!

The freezer is now well and truly packed to bursting - no shelfing until the end of the week as I've nowhere left to keep it all!

P.S. Used one of the recipes from my earlier blogs again today and made this lovely spicy veg cous cous with chicken for a photo for the Chronicle & Echo who are writing a feature on my cut-price blogging! Hopefully will be in next week's paper!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Free home-grown veg!

Free fresh veg from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald!

Not much going on the shelf tonight so was delighted to receive this delivery from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald - two lettuces, a cabbage, red onions, green and yellow courgette, plus loads of fresh carrots.

Free, fresh food - what more could a girl ask for?! Can't wait to get going on our own veg patch and start planting!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Spicy Shepherd's Pie - four portions for £2!

Spicy Shepherd's Pie

Tonight's dinner plans swiftly changed when I spotted some cut-price mince on my post-work shelfing - at £3.60 down to £1.26 it had to be bought! I used some of my current bag of #SOS spuds (down from £1.95 to 50p) and whipped up a spicy shepherd's pie as a bit of an experiment - here's how I made it:

1) Boil and mash some potatoes, add a knob of butter and a little milk.
2) Soften a chopped onion in a frying pan for a few minutes with a glug of oil.
3) Add a chopped fresh chilli, a knob of finely chopped fresh ginger, a couple of cloves of chopped garlic, a few diced fresh tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato puree.
4) Add a teaspoon of ground coriander, teaspoon of ground cumin, half a teaspoon of turmeric and crumble up a beef stock cube.
5) Add the mince and brown for a few minutes.
6) Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish, add a glug of water and some frozen peas.
7) Top with the mashed potato and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes.

Total cost approx £2 and enough to serve four. I also served it with some #SOS tenderstem broccoli from last night's shelf raid.

A spicy alternative to traditional shepherd's pie!

Tonight's shelf raid: £10.54 worth of food for £3.02!

£10.54 worth of food for £3.02!

Oooh, Mr Kate will be pleased with me tonight! Mini pork pies down from £2.44 to 61p and Aberdeen Angus silverside sliced beef down from £3.25 to 80p. With his penchant for pies and cold meats he should be a happy bunny with tomorrow's luncheon treats!

Also on the raid tonight was a big four pinter of milk down from £1.25 to 35p - my work colleagues will hopefully embrace the #SOS way of life when I take that in for tomorrow's teas and coffees.

And finally tonight's dinner is in the oven using cut-price mince down from £3.60 to £1.26. I'm getting a bit experimental and creating a spicy shepherd's pie - it's baking in the oven as I type. Recipe to follow!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Chilli, mint and lemon spicy broad bean salad

Chilli, mint and lemon broad bean salad

We keep getting regular deliveries of broad beans from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald - having never cooked broad beans before I'm now experimenting with different broad bean salads.

This recipe I threw together over the weekend was simple to make, very tasty and as cheap as chips as I used the first of our home-grown tomatoes!

To fellow broad bean virgins, the worst thing about them is the faff of first boiling them and then peeling them to remove the tough outer skin. However if it's a sunny day then sitting in the garden with a big bowl to skin whiles away half an hour quite happily!

1) Prepare the broad beans by boiling them for five minutes. Once they've cooled down, remove the skins.
2) Put the beans in a bowl and squeeze over the juice of a fresh lemon.
3) Add a glug of olive oil and a few grinds of sea salt and black pepper.
4) Add a finely chopped fresh chilli (de-seeded if you don't want it too hot).
5) Add a handful of chopped fresh mint and a spring onion.
6) Add a few roughly chopped ripe tomatoes.
7) Sprinkle half a teaspoon of cumin over the mixture and give it all a good mix.

Tasty, fresh and cost only approx 25p with so many free ingredients used!

£10.36 worth of food for £4.49!

£10.36 worth of food for £4.49!

A reasonable haul in today's shelf raid:

Banana bread down from £1.24 to 45p
Cream down from £1.04 to 69p
Tenderstem broccoli down from £1.50 to 65p
Yoghurts down from £2.10 to £1.05
Cherries down from £2 to 75p

Banana bread will be straight into the freezer, yoghurts used up quickly over the next few days (they will be fine for at least a few days past the use by date), cream used to make some more strawberry ice cream, and the cherries and broccoli part of our five a day intake for tomorrow! Bargainous!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Kiwi, mint and lime sorbet - a taste sensation!

Kiwi, mint and lime sorbet

A taste-bud tingling triumph! For me, this kiwi, mint and lime sorbet is one of the tastiest things I've ever made - it tastes like a mojito in sorbet form!

I had two punnets of #SOS kiwis - one knocked down from £1 to 45p and the other from £1 to 35p (bought on different days!). Perfect to try out this recipe I spotted in the September issue of Olive magazine.

160g of golden caster sugar
10-12 kiwi fruits
Juice of one lime
Handful of fresh mint leaves
260ml water

1) Put the caster sugar in a saucepan with the water. Stir until dissolved over a low heat, then turn the heat to high and boil for three minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
2) Top, tail and peel the kiwis. Cut the flesh away from the white core - discard the core. Puree the flesh in a blender with the sugar syrup, lime juice, mint and a pinch of sea salt.
3) Pour into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen or pour into a container and freeze for 2-3 hours until beginning to firm up, then whisk thoroughly to break up any crystals. Repeat this whisking twice more at hourly intervals. Freeze until solid.
4) Leave to soften in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.

Absolutely delicious! And the good news is that I've bought three more punnets of #SOS kiwis down to 35p so can make this again this week as this lot went pretty sharpish!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

#SOS flowers £3 a bunch down to 75p and £8 worth of food for £2.49!

#SOS gladioli - £9 worth of flowers for £2.25!
Here's a twist to the usual #SOS haul - flowers instead of food! Mr Kate has no need to fork out on pretties for me when there are these gladioli shelf bargains to be had! Three bunches of beautiful gladioli - all in different stages of bloom so should last a while - down from £3 each to just 75p. I'll have three, thank you!

Also a good quality haul on the food front tonight - Mr Kate's lunch for tomorrow is sorted with a Thai style prawn noodle salad down from £3 to £1 and a fruit salad pot down from £1 to 35p. And for the freezer one of Mr Kate's favourites - Covent Garden soup down from £2.25 to 65p and a Co-op carrot and coriander soup down from £1.75 to 49p.

It might not be soup weather at the moment but don't forget these fresh soups can easily be frozen and used at a later date which is what we shall be doing for those rare days when the shelf isn't fully loaded with cut-price delights! You can eat cheaply all year round if your freezer is big enough and ours certainly is! Hurrah for the ginormous American-style fridge freezer!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Spanish-style tortilla recipe

Spanish-style tortilla
Another good dinner tonight using up the glut of #SOS potatoes lingering in the veg rack at the mo.

I've been working through a big bag reduced from £1.95 to just 25p and am coming to the end of them now - cut away the bad bits and they're still perfectly edible!

So tonight's dinner was a Spanish-style tortilla - here's how I made it:

1) Par-boil some sliced potatoes.
2) Beat up half a dozen eggs in a large mixing bowl.
3) Chop an onion, fresh green chilli and red chilli. Soften them in a large frying pan over a low heat in some olive oil.
4) Once the potatoes are tender, drain and add to the eggs in the mixing bowl.
5) Add the onion and chilli and mix until everything is well coated.
6) Poor the mixture back in the hot frying pan. After a minute or so turn the heat down to low and leave to cook for 5-10 minutes.
7) Using a plate or frying pan lid, place over the tortilla and turn the pan over. Slide the tortilla back in to the pan to cook the other side.
8) Leave for another 5-10 minutes and then cut into thick slices and serve with some chopped coriander of fresh herb of your choice scattered over the top.

I'd usually serve this with lemon wedges and salad but as we had some #SOS tenderstem broccoli on the go we decided to use it instead and it actually went quite nicely with the tortilla. I'd also usually add a red pepper into the tortilla mix but forgot tonight!

Grand total for tonight's dinner = £1.60! #SOS potatoes, chilli and broccoli made for a very cheap dinner! We were rather hungry so ate the whole lot between us but you could easily serve this for four people for lunch which would be 40p per portion.

With all this money we're saving I reckon it's time for a treat so off out to dinner tomorrow night - although you will be pleased to know it will still actually be cut-price using a Groupon deal!