Sunday, August 12, 2012


Took my own advice and yesterday hunted out £5 worth of food from my stores. Did take a photo of the lot, but then dropped my camera and it wouldn't work for ages. This morning it did work but got in a mess publishing the photo and now the blog site won't do that either. Hopefully tomorrow the photo will be shown.

Even so, can tell you what was 'bought', and have to say was very disappointed in the amount. When I did the same thing once for Radio Leeds (and yes I know no-one could see what I'd bought, but they were told and there was a photo of them on the fact sheet), at that time I practically covered the kitchen table with £5's worth of vegetables, plus some fruit. Now, only about a third of the table was covered, and none of it 'piled up'.

Once gathered together the foods (listed below) could make numerous dishes. There were even cheaper ways I could have bought 'something similar' (these are mentioned), and the lettuce (an offer price) was large enough to cut into two, this alone would have saved me 25p which then would have gone towards the cost of some oil/marg etc.

Here is the list:
4 large tomatoes (40p); 1 iceberg lettuce (50p); good chunk white cabbage (38p); 500g onions (50p); 300g carrots (36p); 500g baby new potatoes (50p).
5 eggs (40p); 1 pint milk (30p); 1 pack brown bread mix (66p); 1 pack chicken flavour noodles (11p); 1 tin sardines (45p); 1 pack jelly (8p); 1 banana (10p); 1 can red beans (18p).
total: £4.92.

One the food was in front of me could see where savings could be made. Own brand dried instant potato is 99p a pack and would give more servings than the new potatoes. Canned new potatoes also work out a bit cheaper.
Bread mix is not essential (unless we wish to bake bread and make pizzas, ordinary flour is much cheaper and this would allow us to 'make things with it'.

As I recently bought a large pack of porridge oats, worked out that these came to 1p per g, so some of those should be included in the list to make it more 'balanced'. Halving the lettuce and buying the instant potato would enable me to do this.

Could almost see me managing to feed myself on the above £5's worth for a week, probably because I don't eat much anyway, but certainly could see several meals there, such as a Chinese type stir fry (onions, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, tomato) served with the noodles and an omelette - made with egg only - on top.
Using the chicken flavour sachet from the noodles, would use this to make a soup using carrot, onion, potato, cabbage.
Onions, potatoes and egg would make a Spanish omelette, a wedge of that eaten with salad.

Yesterday made myself a coleslaw using a couple of small carrots, one onion and a wedge from the white cabbage. True I did add some salad cream but - like many cheffy progs, certain things are allowed 'free' from the storecupboard to flavour dishes: usually they expect us to have soy sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper, herbs and spices, mayo, brown sauce, ketchup etc. But very few of these have useful 'nutrition', so not absolutely necessary I suppose.
The coleslaw was enough to feed four, so that will last me several days. Had some with a bit of lettuce and half a tomato last night for supper (plus some shredded cooked chicken that had been picked from the butchers 'free' bones that had been turned into stock, and let's not forget the stock itself that was also 'free').

The above 'mini-challenge' is more a way of proving that we could survive for at least a week on £5 without actually starving, The eggs, milk, sardines (and free chicken scraps), gave the protein, and there were plenty of vegetables.
Obviously I couldn't have coffee or tea to drink (although perhaps could have afforded seven teabags - each being used twice), but then we always have water 'on tap', so thirst should never be a problem.

These are just ideas that came into my head when I looked at the food items I'd collected. What is of more interest is knowing how much my little batch cost and then working out whether you out there can buy the same (or other things) for lower cost. My eggs were the very cheapest on sale: Tesco's Value sold in trays of 15 eggs. Normally would buy the free-range, but for the purpose of getting as much as possible for £5, settled for those (had some anyway, as use these when baking for the club as the baking then costs them less so they make more profit).

Had I allowed myself a further £1 then this would have covered the cost of small amounts of items in store: flour, dried milk, sugar. Could even have made my own pasta.
Any means we can find to 'think outside the box' when it comes to buying (or even using) food always helps us to save money, as our shopping and cooking can often become more of a habit, and we stop looking how much everything costs.
As the girl in a recent programme said: "five pence rice on a food item doesn't seem worth bothering about, but when everything goes up 5p or more, then this make a huge difference to how much we pay at the checkout.

As Gill will be phoning in 15 minutes, will finish by replying to comments.
Thanks to Lisa and Margie who have set my mind at rest about feeling guilty about my larder full of food. It is true that buying food comes before spending money on myself, although maybe now there is not the necessity, always feel there might be a disaster in my life-time waiting around the corner.

That 'Able Project' in Wakefield sounds wonderful Jane. Let us hope more towns will follow that example as it helps both sides of the coin so to speak.

Great that you can barter at your stables Kathryn. Don't know if you missed an earlier query of mine where I hoped you might be able to tell us how horses are trained to do those amazing movements in dressage. I couldn't take my eyes off them when I watched them doing the dressage in the Olympics the other day. Just how is it done. From what I could work out, the rider gives the 'order' through the leg movements, but even so, how is the horse taught to do what it does in the first place?
Good luck with your own 'eventing', let us know how you got on.

That's it for today. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to show photos, so you can see my 'purchases'. Also took a photo of my avocado and lemon trees as they are now really 'big boys'.
If you can get the chance to log on, then please do, I look forward to 'meeting up with you' all again. TTFN.