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Showing posts from January, 2016

Halve your monthly shopping bills

2 weeks into our store cupboard challenge and it’s turning into quite a profitable start to the year. I’m reaping the rewards of no supermarket shopping and an imaginative cook.
While I’m no statistician, based on our fortnightly supermarket shops (average £130 per visit), we’ve been spending an extra £40 per week each on 'top up' ingredients.  What’s clear is that if you put a stop to the 'top up shop', you can cut your food bills by a half. It’s just a question of planning. *
For the cook in our house, it’s tested much more than his patience. Neil’s had to think ahead and plan every meal carefully. So that when he comes home from work tired, and sees our pleading, hungry eyes, he’s able to magic something tasty out of limited ingredients in record time.
The real test came on Saturday night. While I was out munching delicious yakitori mackerel skewers with friends, Neil had drawn the short straw and had nothing but a near empty fridge for inspiration. I’d even given him…

Less meat more veg

Our store cupboard challenge was quite the talking point down the pub this weekend. Let’s hope some of you are trying it out too.
To clarify exactly what we’re doing; when at home we’re eating solely from our cupboards, fridge and freezer. No top up shops allowed.
To ensure we’re not losing out nutritionally, once our fresh fruit and vegetables run out, we’ll buy more. We don’t see this as cheating per se, just common sense: no point in doing it if we’ll end up with scurvy right?
One week in and it feels like we’ve barely touched the sides of our supplies. However, going into week two my carnivorous husband is somewhat concerned about dwindling meat supplies.
On the upside it’s forced him to think more about portion size. Whereas before he’d have thought little of using up all the beef skirt in one dish, he’s portioned some off, to allow for an additional meat fix. Clever man.
My sole attempt at cooking was Anna Jones’ pistachio and raspberry chocolate brownies. I felt quite smug usin…

An end to the top up shop?

So far so good… I’ve managed to get out of cooking as I’m slightly daunted by the ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ aspect of this challenge. Alethea’s contribution has involved pouring hot water over instant chicken ramen noodles, overjoyed to get away with eating pot noodle for supper. Though it’s only 2 days in and @typographic is already lamenting his limited vegetarian repertoire. I keep pushing him towards Anna Jones, @wearefood, who I’m hoping to convert him to. He’s given up smoking (again, 3rd time lucky) so is craving snacks and lots of them. So he’s started baking and was nearly put off making flapjacks when he realised how much of our butter reserves we’d be using up. I pointed him towards another firm favourite Pippa Kendrick, @theintolerantgourmet, and in under half an hour he’d made dairy-free flapjacks, using up a months-old sunflower spread and some feral golden sultanas, which even he admitted tasted damn fine despite no butter. After lots of manly swearing and arm waving, dinne…

Store cupboard challenge

It’s five o clock and I’m staring into the fridge willing it to tell me what awesome supper I’m going to cook up. I’m drawing a blank. My daughter’s getting ‘hangry’ and I’m not far off. So I ring the real chef aka @typographic and plead: ‘we’ve got nothing for dinner, can you pop to the shop on your way home.’ It’s rarely the actual case, its usually my general lack of planning and inability to ‘pull a dish together’. 
So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to a challenge; how long can our family of three live off the food we already have? One glimpse in our cupboards and it was clear we could feed an army for a week. 
We all know how easy it is to ignore the store cupboard and buy ingredients, the well known ‘top up shop’, which let’s be honest is often costly and the lazy option when you can’t be bothered to work with ingredients you already have. 
Having emptied the cupboards onto our kitchen table, we took it all in: 246 items, most of which we’d forgotten we had. I got b…