Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Back Again...

Eventually managed to reconnect the Speedtouch connection (via control panel). Eventually I'll learn how to mend the errors. Unfortunately it won't stay connected in that when the comp is switched off Speedtouch disconnects itself again, so I have to go through the whole rigmarole each time. But at least I can connect up which is something.

B has to use one of my 'sides' (I have two) on this comp to read his email as his 'side' now reads 'time out' (when he does manage to reach Yahoo) and he can't access his Internet. We don't know what that means or how to sort it. Yet he can reach the same site via my 'side' (until he upsets that as well). Even if I had a password (he has one for his but I know it), this means I'd have to keep coming in and setting it up for him so not worth it. In any case I now prefer to get his email page set up for him but now also switch it off when he has finished to make sure he doesn't do something else wrong (he keeps forgetting to sign off his email when on my page which might be the cause of the trouble). Only takes a minute, so as long as I'm not in the middle of cooking something suppose I can put up with it.

Thanks to all who wrote in, just two quick replies to the earlier comments. That tip about shelling eggs with a teaspoon Sarina. You can do almost the same thing to remove the peel from ripe Kiwi fruit. Just cut a thin slice from the wider end of a Kiwi, then insert the tip of a spoon between peel and fruit, then push it in so the bowl of the spoon fits round the fruit then work it round to loosen the peel. If a slice is removed from both ends, once the peel is loose, it can then be easily split down to the centre and the fruit pushed out to eat/slice. I also eat Kiwi fruit while still in its peel, using a teaspoon as though I was eating a boiled egg.

Sounded as though you had good weather for your day in Scarborough Jane, with the storms arriving on your way home which is not good but better than the other way round. On the news is said that the east coast of America have just had very bad storms that were not forecast, just came out of the blue. A mention of the jet stream having moved further south which is causing a lot of the bad weather in our country.

Pottered around yesterday doing some laundry, although the machine stuck on the first cycle, so I have to be there to move it on when it needs it (so sorry Eileen that I had to cut short our phone chat due to me hearing the machine 'sticking' as we spoke), yesterday when it got to the spin cycle it did switch itself off which is something it has not done for months. Even so, dare not leave it in case it doesn't cut off, although a lengthy spin (5 - 8 minutes) is useful in that it gets a lot more moisture out of the washing than when left for the usual time (3 minutes spin) so dries faster.

Yesterday bake a crusty white 'farmhouse' loaf using a Tesco bread mix (69p). I've used their brown bread mix before and very pleased with that especially as I can add more flour/water and gain another 1lb loaf for just a very few pence. Didn't add more flour yesterday but will do as the dough rises rapidly so obviously enough yeast there to work more flour. Might even be able to make another 2lb loaf by adding as much flour/water again. Will try it next time I use the mix (having bought 3 of them).

As mentioned in a previous posting, had bought plenty of fruit this time round, and as I wanted strawberries to add to my 'mixed fruits' for jam, tried three different ones on sale. Tasted one from each pack yesterday and the Tesco Value Strawberries were far sweeter and had more flavour than the more expensive which looked like perfect clones, but had little flavour at all.
The value straws were quite small and very mis-shapen (which is why they were sold cheaply I suppose), but taste matters when it comes to fruit, so who cares what they look like?
Have several strawberry plants in a huge tub in the garden, they are growing well due to the rain but so far showing no flowers, and whether we get any fruit from them this year remains to be seen.

I'd also bought two different varieties of raspberries, but very little difference in flavour between the two, and not really much flavour at all if truth be told. Our own raspberries are autumn fruiting.

The Tesco lamb shanks (2 for £5) that I used to buy they now no longer stock. Was sad about that as they were very good value. However, after a few weeks of no shanks, this time they had a similar pack of frozen (cooked) mini lamb shoulder, again 2 for £5, so bought a pack and will see how they turn out. They take less cooking time than the shanks (even though the shanks were cooked from frozen), so that helps a bit.

Something that may be interesting to those on a diet (and who love to crunch crisps like me). I've taken to eating Tesco's salt and vinegar rice cakes and really enjoy them. Each rice cake is large - like a thick Wagon Wheel size) and it takes a long to crunch through one as it takes me to work through a bag of crisps. Each rice cake works out at 9p each and is only 33 calories. So I can eat three (yippee!) without any feeling of guilt - and still far cheaper than a bag of crisps. There were 15 rice cakes in the packet and although £1.29 sounds a lot, as I said one is as good as a bag of crisps so with a bit of self-control they work out a lot cheaper.

As I have my Tesco 'shopping statement' by my side, thought that you might be interested why I buy what I do. So here is a run-down...
Lurpak butter - on offer and B's favourite. Tesco's value butter used to taste as good, but they seem to have changed this and so occasionally buy Lurpak as a treat, but of course only when reduced in price.
Frozen 'value' chicken portions - have found these very good value as the thighs useful for many chicken dishes (cheaper than breasts and have more flavour), and when cooked in a slow cooker overnight, the bones just slip out leaving me good chunks of meat. The cooking liquid makes a good chicken stock as enough skin and bones to give it a good set. Drumsticks also useful for stock/cooked meat.
Celery, Carrots - needed restocking as use these constantly, the carrots were on offer.
Watercress - B prefers that to lettuce, and it's also good for us both.
Cauliflower - stores well in the fridge and part can be used, eats well cooked or raw (with dips)
Iceberg lettuce - 50p each if buying two, so bought two (I love iceberg and fill up on that when on my 'diet').
Chestnut mushrooms - keep longer in the fridge than the plain 'buttons', also firmer and 'meatier' in flavour. Only 5p more than the ordinary 'buttons' so worth it.
Seafood Sticks - for me as they are low in calories. Use to be called 'crabsticks', then 'seasticks' but now listed as 'fish sticks'. Most people don't care for them, but I like them. Burns up calories fiddling around trying to remove the wrapping round each stick!
Canned fruit - pineapple, sliced peaches, fruit cocktail. Bought as had run out of stock and they come in useful when making trifles etc. Good shelf life.
Kiwi, Oranges, Nectarines, Apples, bananas, grapes - for healthy eating
Avocados - to serve with prawn cocktail, and added to the salad with chilli con carne etc. A treat but I can grow the stones to make houseplants to give as gifts.
Strawberries, raspberries - to eat and freeze (for jam etc)
Baby potatoes - keep these in the fridge so they don't sprout and will keep several weeks. Apparently keeping them in the fridge turns their starches to sugar but this seems to improve their flavour.
King Edward potatoes 2.5kg - cook the large as 'jackets' and the smaller as 'roast' or 'mash' or added to soups. Have to keep an eye on them and remove sprouts as they appear. These don't store well in the fridge (or at least I prefer not to).
Sardines - they have a shelf life of five years so bought six cans to make sure I have enough supplies to keep us going as the price will probably rise again.
Spam - ordinary and with bacon. Just because I LOVE it!
Tomatoes - no chance of growing my own this year due to the weather, so bought some large and some small (I eat tomatoes like sweets).
Cucumber - reduced price when buying two, and I eat a lot (B hates it).
Bread Mix - because it works out much cheaper than buying a loaf.
Rice cakes - reason mentioned earlier today.
Eggs - both free range and 'value'.
Sweet mini-peppers - six or so in a pack (red, yellow, orange) and although smaller than bell peppers probably work out the same price as the larger ones weight for weight, but as they keep better are worth it.
Chocolate - restocked as had run out. Bought the 70% cocoa solids and one white chocolate (for cooking, not for eating as-is).
HP sauce - as only an inch left in the bottle in use.
Raisins (500g) and Sultanas (1 kg) - as low on stock.
Mayonnaise, English Mustard.. - forgot I'd bought them last time ordering!!!
Milk, double and whipping cream - milk for usual, cream for B (his desserts, ice-cream etc).
Gammon joint - reduced price and had run out of ham (now cooked and it is very good!).
Puff pastry - to store in the freezer.

The previous order of mine was quite different to the above (other than the standard replacements: butter, milk, cream, eggs, salads....and Spam!), if I remember I was buying cans of baked beans, canned tomatoes, UHT milk, canned tuna, brown sugar, coffee... The next order will again be different . This way my larder gains a wider variety of foods while still keeping well within my budget. But for how long?

Prices still keep creeping up, but as I now have enough in store to work with for many weeks without ordering foods again (other than eggs - I have plenty of UHT milk, and long-life cream), perhaps time for me to work through these and save the money. This will really 'save' a LOT of money, so when re-stocking (again within my budget) I won't be spending more, just replacing a few different products each month and use the savings to buy 'quality' when it matters (meat etc). I now I keep repeating this 'method' of gaining by saving but this is the best way to 'have our cake and eat it' so to speak. Stock up on offers (but keep within our budget), and then padlock our purses and use what we have already bought (over the months). Then spend the savings on quality meat, fish etc to store in the freezer. Allowing that home-cooked food is 'the feast of kings' these days, for no extra expense our strict and frugal budgets CAN be enough to allow us to serve fabulous food to the family.

All I need to do now is control my urge for 'retail therapy of the foodie kind'. Get into the 'make the most of what I've got' mode, and take my own advice. Would that it was so easy. Well it is easy and very enjoyable making a meal from 'oddments' and 'leftovers' and what other people would chuck in the bin...it's just that I enjoy ordering (and receiving) groceries. As I said the other day, I need councelling.

Perhaps I will be able to control myself for a couple or so months and as Tesco will then believe I've shopped elsewhere they will do their 'usual' of tempting me back with a '£10' (or £20) off your next order. Work waiting just for that.

B is busy at the moment going to and fro from the sailing club. This was broken into the other night and some bottles of wine and cash in the till had been stolen. They were disturbed by a neighbour who saw one man on the roof of the club house, who then ran away, but think there must have been another one (or two) that had already broken in (they tore off part of the flat roof to enter - this then let rain in during the night!).
So B has had to take turns with another man waiting for the police, the builders, and today the forensics (to take fingerprints etc).

Must finish now as Norma the Hair is coming today instead of tomorrow. At least that means I won't have a late start as usual on a Wednesday, and computer permitting, will be back as usual time. Spellcheck has not worked for several days so apologies for any errors. TTFN.