Before I went shopping for this week I thought about what we had available already, and also what we wanted to eat this week. With the hot weather we've been having we tend to eat a fair amount of salad - MrEH is a proper bloke though and doesn't consider a salad to be a meal if it's just leaves and similar so I have to box clever and tart it up a bit - a warm salad with some form of cheese, some bacon and some boiled new potatoes is a particular favourite. Chorizo is great for this sort of salad - you only need the tiniest bit to add masses of flavour and croutons of stale bread fried off in the fat that comes out of the chorizo are a fabulous addition too.
You often hear people complaining that it's too expensive to eat lots of fresh fruit and veg - that they "can't afford" to eat that sort of food. Really? Our shopping last week - having checked on what we needed before I went, and made a list - cost £10.53. This included milk for both of us (MrEH will go through his 4pint container in the week, while mine will last at least a fortnight), a lump of "feta style" cheese which serves as the "main ingredient" in 2 evening meal salads for both of us, lots of salad leaves and lettuce, a huge bag of red & yellow peppers, spring onions, plus bananas, apples and nectarines for after our lunches. There was also a punnet of mushrooms (reduced to 59p) and some onions in there too. We already had potatoes in the larder - when we were in Norfolk a couple of weeks ago we bought a dozen eggs and 5kg of potatoes from the campsite we stay on, they farm free range hens, and are the only remaining grower of the Norfolk Pink Potato and we paid just over £5 for what we bought.
The trick to eating fresh food economically is largely seasonality, and buying what is on offer also helps. We try so far as possible to buy British too - so sometimes pay a little more for things as a result, but that's our choice. Salads at the moment aren't including cucumber, as at this time of year it's perfectly possible to grow cucumbers in the UK, but our "regular" supermarket (yes, that one) are choosing to stock Dutch ones instead. You might remember that tomatoes are a bugbear of mine on this issue - we have an absolutely brilliant climate for them, and yet half the time all that's available in the supermarkets is those nasty little Dutch objects that looks like tomatoes but totally fail to either smell or more importantly taste like them. Search a bit though, and there are usually some British ones to be had. The same with Mushrooms - Sainsburys are excellent at sourcing UK grown for even their budget range, but only very recently have Tesco caught up with this. (Morrisons were ahead of this particular game years ago). The salad produce was mainly on "buy 2 for £1" deals, aples were bought loose rather than pre-packaged (nearly always cheaper), as were the bananas. Watch out for the bags of "Value" bananas - half the time you end up with more than you need, they're already very ripe, shortening their life, and the per kg price is often higher than loose ones too!
|British budget mushrooms!