Friday, 7 February 2014

Frugal Friday...

Well, week 1 of the food challenge went quite well, I think. I did remember on the way to the shop, that we needed baking fat, and that wasn't on the list, and as I use half "Stork" and half butter in our Breakfast flapjacky things, that's a bit of an essential, so I added that on "on the hoof" as it were. It's one of the few branded items I buy, largely because it's usually the cheapest option on the shelf if you buy the large (1kg) pack, as I do. Other than that we resisted all temptations, however. Once I'd accounted for vouchers - a "Price Promise" one for 32p, and some of the luncheon vouchers, there was just 24p left to pay in actual money. That wasn't quite the end of it though as, about to leave the checkout, I was handed a further "Price Promise" voucher - this time for 62p off next shop!

In spite of LOTS of temptations in the market at Leeds I resisted spending on meat, fish or game, and instead just bought some bready-bits ("Oven cakes", fruited teacakes and the best Eccles cake I've had in a long while) but they were treats from my spending money so aren't counting as groceries. I did come back with a serious case of market envy though - especially over the Butchers shops...

"Butchers Row" - Leeds Kirkgate market
A couple of changes had to be made to the meal plan - MrEH's rugby match got cancelled on Saturday, meaning that the half-carton of soup which was just intended to feed me had to feed two of us instead. I "stretched" it using some finely sliced and sauteed onions, and a carton of chopped tomato, and it was delicious! I also decided that the sauce for the sausage pasta which we were due to eat on Wednesday night would benefit from sitting overnight to allow the flavours to develop. As neither of us fancied regular omlettes on wednesday instead, I made a variation on a "Buddha Bowl" (with thanks to an online chum for inspiration here) with bulgar wheat, lentils, mixed veg and a single-egg thin omlette on the top. I added a piece of lightly cooked salmon to each as an entirely veggie dish of that type might be stretching MrEH's tolerances a little too far - as it was his response was his usual "it was a bit heavy on the lentils!" but then he thinks any lentils at all are too many! The sauce for this was made from smoked rapeseed oil, crushed garlic, honey, balsamic vinegar and a splash of mirin, and I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds over the top. There was even enough left over of the bulgar & veggies to make my lunch today. This online "sharing of ideas" and the seeking of inspiration is one of the absolute best things about the internet age, I think.

When MrEH's car was fuelled up in the middle of the week, as expected that took us over the threshold for another Morrisons £5 voucher so we have £15 in those now. Current thinking is that I will use those in week 3 - we may well  need bread flour by then, too.

This week I intend to do my shopping at the Farm Shop - this will mean we achieve our "Supermarket free" week for this month, but of course it also means that everything I spend will be in cold hard cash. This means paring the list down to exactly what we need, and buying as seasonally as possible too - a bit of a challenge at this time of year! The meal plan for next week may well be subject to change depending on what I buy - it's currently looking like this:

Sat:  OUT Tea: OUT
Sun: Lunch: Roast Lamb with Moroccan couscous & HFW's Merguez chickpeas Tea: Crumpets & cheese

Mon:  Eggs on toast 
Tue:    Stew of some description. Using some of Sundays lamb? 
Wed:  Salmon, potato scones, veg.
Thur:   Chicken Risotto *use up last of the peas*
Fri:     Remaining chickpea curry from last week

As you can see we're still looking to "use things up!"  I am slightly concerned that all those chick peas might have an "adverse effect" though! The Merguez chickpeas have been doing in varying different forms by Mr F W in several of his books - the recipe can be found here if you fancy trying it. They're wonderful either as part of a tapas type meal, or just as a side-dish along with something else.

MrEH is currently facing a moral dilemma. He resents having to buy *anything* that "should" traditionally be sold in pints, in litres. Milk is where this causes the biggest problem, and especially on weeks I use the farm shop, not the supermarket, as they only sell 1l or 2l bottles! I'm happy to buy him a 2l bottle - at £1.49 this is substantially more expensive that our regular supermarket 4-pinters, but that's as maybe. So - I have told him that his maximum budget for the milk he wants for the week is £1.49, and he is now tasked with finding his milk himself, within that price, and without using a supermarket! *grin* - it will be interesting to see if he succeeds!

Current state of play for the month:
Total spend on groceries: £11.06
Of which cash: £0.24

If you're joining in Frugal February this year, how did your first week go?



dreamer said...

Good work so far :)
Re the pints of milk - will the budget stretch to buying an extra 4 pint carton the week before and freezing it?
I am just rotating some of my long term stores at the minute, some of this stuff can keep forever. Today I am using yellow split peas with a 2009 date that have been packed in airtight plastic drums. They taste absolutely fine! I will eventually use the mixed contents of the drum and then replace them with new packs.

Robyn said...

It would, but that would "sort of" feel like cheating on the "no supermarket" thing, if you see what I mean?

We're steadily trying to work our way through stored dry goods too - we always work on the basis that if it's been dried to preserve it in the first place, there's pretty much nothing short of nuclear war that'll destroy it! Best befores get largely ignored in our house I'm afraid - instead we use that seemingly increasingly rare attribute of "Common sense" - if something looks OK, smells OK and, when coked, tastes OK, it's probably OK! I have a suspicion you may well work on the same basis?!

dreamer said...

Yep :)
Common sense works here too. I have a working knowledge of food hygiene and food storage issues, and there are some fresh foods I wouldn't mess about with, but best before dates, especially on dried and canned goods just make me laugh.

Debbie said...

You've done really well! We were away at the weekend and I had a separate budget for that, we were in a Travelodge so had to buy all our meals out, not so frugal. We also seem to have run out of everything expensive in one go - coffee and decaf, for a start, which made a dent. Then there's my son's juicing, which I don't really want to stop him being able to do. I think if I can use up a lot of our stores and spend less than I usually do, that will be a result. More money for the emergency fund I am trying to build up.

I made your flapjacks last week - husband and son LOVED them!

Robyn said...

That's pretty much the outcome I'm hoping for Debbie - the financial side of it is as much to inspire me to stick to the "Using Things Up" strategy as anything else! Glad the flapjacks went down well!