Sunday, 11 December 2011

Cobbled together lunch

It's amazing how the weather changes from day to day. Yesterday it was cold and windy, dry and at times sunny. Today it's dull, warmer, and now it's raining. I've had an invitation to go away at Christmas, but I can't make the final decision untill nearer the time. If it snows over the next week or so, and then freezes, I aint goin nowhere. It would be madness to try and drive 200 miles in bad weather. So at this moment in time I don't know where I will be on the 25th.

I see that Jayne has asked for a 'making a bag' tutorial, I am onto the job, though I think I may have already done one of this particular design. I tend to make them in the simplest design I can think of, a back and a front and two handles. I don't like putting zips in, and dont usually have the right zip for the job anyway. I don't buy materials to make them, except maybe very cheap fabric from a Scrapstore, charity shop, or car boot sale. I am thinking of a velcro fastening for this one.

I thought I might go food shopping at Tesco this afternoon, but I have looked at my £4 off voucher and it doesn't start untill tomorrow. I am sure I can think of a few more meals to dish up from my dwindling stocks. I have no bread left, no cheese, and after my meal tonight I will have no veg left except for tins and frozen peas, and a few onions. Tonights meal will be the last of the cauliflower and a piece of grilled salmon from a bag of frozen portions, six for £5.50.

I have reached the eight week mark of food spending in under £80, now I am ready to start again. The next shop will be a big one to use the voucher, and I aim to get the best and the most for my money. I listened to The Food Programme today on Radio 4, it was about the rising cost of food. It really is quite frightening, as it is a global problem and completely out of our hands. We all blame the big supermarkets for putting prices up, but they too are at the mercy of the global economy. The ingredients we buy from the rest of the world have all increased.

People's spending habits are changing as more and more are shopping like me to get the offers and reductions, so the supermarkets are having to discount to get shoppers in the door. Yes we moan about how they put prices up first then reduce them on offer, we get fed up with that and call them greedy and grabbing. I'm not sticking up for them but if you think about it, any business is ruled by the global market, they have to pay the price. Yes they have clout because they are massive institutions, but they are not immune from going bust. At the end of the day, if your money in is not enough to cover your outgoings, you go belly up, or get bailed out by someone who is bigger.

Anyway, here is my lunch which I have cobbled together from some bits and bobs. The last bit of the frozen pasta shells which I got ages ago reduced from Morrisons, with a handfull of frozen peas. Chunks of lettuce, last bit of potato salad, spoonfull of cottage cheese, and I scraped the jar of Value mayo untill it was clean. Very nice thankyou.

Toodle pip.


  1. If you think of food as fuel then it really doesn't matter what you put together on your plate. I often wonder what people like top chefs eat when they are alone at home.

    Just wondering Ilona, is that plate a dinner one or a side plate? If the former, you eat a lot more at one sitting than I do but I guess you are a busy bee and use up the calories quickly.

  2. That looks really nice. You talk a lot of good sense - as usual :)

  3. Your lunch lloks very tasty indeed. We had scrambled egg on toast - cheap ish meal have you seen the price of eggs. For dinner we are having slimming world chips (cooked on fry light) and eggs - we need to use them quick ha ha in beef tomatoes with Worcestershire Sauce yum yum. Tasty and cheap x

  4. Looks v tasty Ilona - it amazes me how many folks don't know what to do with food (they were reducing fresh rhubarb in Tescos once, and folks were grabbing it and then looking at each other and asking 'what do I do with this?').

    My freezer earns it's keep in electricity by allowing me to buy good bread cheap (or store my own) 2 slices at a time. Also bagging up grated cheese in jacket potato/handfuls, and odd handfuls of strawberries and other fruit in season when they are really cheap. LOVELY for a treat and usually found right at the back when supplies are low!

    I reserve one drawer for leftovers or things I don't think I can use in time as they make great pot-luck meals. I had some reduced spuds that I boiled and mashed and portioned up - lovely to have in reserve and great for all kinds of things.

    To the lady who found eggs expensive - I found this by Googling 'freeze eggs'

    It`s quite simple to freeze an egg. All you do is find a small airtight container and break the egg into it, before putting it in the freezer. You can beat the egg, if you want it for scrambled, or baking or leave it whole if you want it for fried eggs. Another way is to use ice cube trays. Just beat the eggs and place them in, then when they are frozen solid, place them in a freezer bag. The trick here is to do one egg at a time, so you`ll know how many cubes you`ll need for whatever it is you use them for.

    Fancy that! I knew you could freeze whites - but not whole eggs! So next time I find them marked down I shall stash a few away and see how they store.

    Love reading your blog Ilona, you are such a great hard-core thrifter! I've learned such a lot from frugal blogs and am so grateful that people are so willing to share :)

  5. I've had an invitation to go away at Christmas,

    Be sure to take a doggie bag Ilona :-D

  6. Another of your habhazzard but lovely lunches! Well done!

  7. Hi Toffeeapple, Yes, it's a full size dinner plate. It may look full, but that's ok because it's full of the right kind of food. You can eat as much veg as you can fill your stomach with as it's good for you. Half the plate is lettuce.

    Yes, eggs have gone up a bit Justine, I suppose that's because hens don't lay as many in the winter. I'm going to have to do a bit more searching to get the cost down a bit.

    Hi tralala, thanks for sharing your frugal tips with us.

  8. One of the surest ways to get kicked off frugal blogs is if you leave a comment pointing out the issues discussed on the Food Programme this week. While we grumble that it costs more to go abroad and buy our toys some of us feel very entitled to low food prices and dont even consider them to be low. We really dont want to hear this stuff.

    I think governments have let us down in not educating us about the realities of the modern world and what is coming on us fast.
    Still, we dont have to eat our cats and dogs yet like they had in Leningrad.
    My heart went out to the ladies on the housing estate who were trying to promote healthy eating and losing the battle.
    One of the most worrying things in the U.s. is how many of the poor are eating from dollar stores and fast food chains and the devastating effect it is having on their health. Society is going to have to pick up the pieces eventually.
    Maybe we should rethink our attitudes towards the value we put on the food we buy.

  9. Looking forward to the bag tutorial! :) Also, your lunch looks yummmm! :)

  10. I have NO sympathy for the supermarkets having to 'pay the price'....they don't!!

    All the offers you get 'buy 1 get one free' or '3 for the price of 2' etc etc are at the expense of the supplier/grower/farmer, they even have to pay extra for the point of sale advertising and the 'best shelf space'.

    Supermarkets are ripping us ALL off in one way or another and that is why I have decided to boycott them completely in the new year to see if we can actually survive without the Big Guns.

    Your meal looks lovely and very healthy, I admire your current challenge to eat for around £10 a week and I think you are giving lots of folk some brilliant idea for meals in these hard times. Keep up the good work, and I hope you manage to get away for Christmas, although as you say we are all at the mercy of the weather.

    Sue xx

  11. I would probably eat something like that Ilona as I often concoct meals for myself as I often eat before husband comes home from work. Yours looks very tasty - doesn't a nice plate make it look good too?

    I have heard that some of the supermarkets kid people into buying certain sizes/articles when another would actually would be cheaper, like flagging them. Their marketing people must be laughing their socks off seeing all these gullible people. As you say in the North "you don't get owt for nowt".

    I must say though each time fuel prices go up people, remember how little mpg a supermarket truck gets to the gallon/litre. That immediately puts up your food prices. Of course Ilona is very well versed with that first hand but I know it from a small haulier's point of view. The supermarkets will pay less for their fuel as they buy so much of it but costs still go up.

    They are still making lots of money though. Our local shopping centre is actually EXTENDING just now over this winter. It has been put off a couple of years - but I would have thought that would be the last thing needed at the moment, far better to reduce rates/improve other facilities for the area.

    I shudder when I see the cost of some peoples' supermarket trolleys laden up. The other week one woman' was over £120. They obviously have more money than I.

  12. The problem with supermarkets is that they try and mislead us as to what is reduced and what is pretend reduced so we just think we are getting a bargain. For example Tesco's half price turkey is the same price as the other supermarkets non marked down turkey. Prices go up before they reduced with a big fanfare. This is deliberately misleading the consumer and creating an atmosphere of distrust. As a consequence a proportion of people have no problem taking advantage of misprices etc and why wouldn't they - the supermarket takes advantage of them with fake RRPs, pretend sale prices and increases in prices if you bulk buy. I'm sticking to Aldi as much as I can from now on, although next year I might cycle up to Tesco of an evening just to buy their super reduced items. See, I feel no loyalty to them whatsoever and don't care if they go under - that in itself makes me feel a bit sad.

  13. Sou I also love aldi right now. The veg is of good standard and 49p, for a pointed cabbage I cant go wrong when in Sainsburys it was 79p.

    I am quite lucky that I live in an area with lots of ethnic shops. and a friends that has shown me how to make dhals and veg curries. lunches are now pence and people have even asked me if I made extra could they buy some from me if I brought it in. I also think my tiffin lunch boxes seem to draw a crowd they all think they were bought from Jamie oliver. Nope they were haggled for in Mumbai with half the street following my OH! like a parade.

    Chippatis are also cheap and super easy to make. I would have had one of those if I needed to bulk your dinner out Ilona. Peas and lettuce is a favourite of mine. I adore it when we are in france. Especially good with round lettuce or little gem. yum!

  14. Lol, how do you make up this stuff! I am always amazed and very impressed by your resourcefulness.


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