Monday, January 21, 2013

Home-cooking is worth doing.

Have a free hour so thought I'd catch up with my 'chat'.  Sorry about the missing days, but it did give me a chance to do other things, especially as I have seemed to suddenly become 'useful' again (regarding cheap and easy dishes etc), so have a lot of recipes to sort out, and 'new' (eg. variations) that I need to test out, as well as dealing with non-foods. 

The above now keeps me busy, and this is something I like as recently I've been feeling a bit depressed with not having much in my life other than my 'blog' (enjoyable though it is 'chatting' to you).  Now it feels more like the old days when I could immerse myself in the 'cost-cutting' again, and spread the word even further afield.

Today, my blog theme is the 'financial' value of home-cooking .  Well, it goes without saying that ALL home-cooked foods should be better than bought (at least the cost, the 'quality' sometimes comes with experience).

In a recent article, read about some of the 'Duchy Original' products, and comparisons made between the 'D.O', a Premium range, and a 'budget'.  In nearly every instance (but not all) the D.O's came out top, but of course were usually more expensive.   What did come out tops with the D.O. was the quality and flavour, and the final words written by the 'tester' said it all "As a cynical shopper, I am hugely surprised and delighted by the Duchy range, which comes out top in almost every category.  The price tag may be a bit hefty sometimes, but as this shows, the products often taste better than the supermarket 'premium' ranges......However, if you can afford it, it's worth shelling out a bit more: you usually get what you pay for".

My idea today is not to promote Duchy Originals (but they really are worth the money), in fact the opposite (and hope this doesn't mean I end up having my head chopped off at the Tower of London) because we should be able to make something almost as good ourselves for even less than the price we would pay for the budget version (so am not promoting these either).  This is to show show that we should be able to make for ourselves and family really good 'produts' that (at present, due to the recession) only the 'well-off' can still afford to buy.

So here are some costings for both D.O and Budget as given in the article.  I leave it up to you to work out how much it would cost you to make the same.  Being able to buy certain foods/ingredients 'on offer' will help keep the cost down even more.  To make the end result as similar as possible to the D.O. use good recipes and good ingredients (like butter, free-range eggs. but the cheapest butter and eggs given nearly as good a result...). You will probably find your 'best' costs no more (and often less) than that sold at the  'budget' price.   How good is that!

Here is a list of the D.O. foods and price per pack and then per gram.  Don't get mixed up with the price per g, for instance 1.25p per g means 1p and a quarter of a 'p', and NOT £1.25p.  If the £ sign is missing, then you are looking only at pence or fraction of.

Sliced Ham:
D.O: £3.09 for 90g or 3.43p per g.
Budget: £3.50 for 2 x 140g packs or 1.25p per g.

Fruit Scones:
D.O: £1.19 for four, or 29.8p each
Budget: 55p four four, or 13.8p each

Strawberry Jam: 
D.O: £2.24 for 340g, or 0.66p per g.
Budget: 89p for 340g or 0.2p per g.

D.O: £1.48 for 160g, or 0.93p per g.
Budget: £158 per 250g,  or 0.63p per g.

D.O. £1.99 for 150g, or 1.33p per g.
Budget: 79p for 300g, or 0.26p per g.

D.O ( Pork): £2.49 for 170g, 1.64p per g.
Budget: (Brussels pate): 65p per 175g, or 0.37p per g

Even if you don't wish to make (or even eat) any of the above,  using a recipe as a guide to the weight of ingredients used makes it easy to work out the cost (although I SUPPOSE we now have to allow a few pence more for the fuel to cook them, although canny cooks will use the oven to cook something else at the same time).  I'd be very interested to hear how much you would have saved had you made your own, also whether your 'best' still works out cheaper than the 'worst' (budget).

It is trying very hard to snow here in Morecambe.  A few very small flakes keep falling, then stopping, but so far none have settled, they seem to thaw on touching the ground.  Even the sight I don't find appealing.  What I hope to see are those large flakes, that always used to fall when I was a child.  Possibly they may have done so in other parts of the country, as many areas are now covered in deep snow, only our little 'neck of the woods' seems clear, and possibly will remain so as the snow is more likely to fall on the Pennines and surrounding hills, rather than us closer to the shore.  Think this has something to do with warmth (warmth?!!) from the sea making us a few degrees warmer than surrounding areas.

Cannot spend more time today, but at least managed to give you something to think about.  Hope all those of you who have to venture out today manage to keep warm and safe.  The rest of you stay indoors and make use of those stores that you've been collecting over the year.  Well, you have, haven't you?  If not, why not?   With some people it's like talking to a brick wall.  Of course I don't mean you.  Even my friend Gill (who phoned me yesterday), hadn't planned ahead.  She went on a coach holiday to the south coast last week, and returned to Leicester on Friday (Leicester had in the meantime had a lot of snow), she then had to fight her way to the supermarket and local shops to buy bread, milk, and eggs and other foods I can't now remember.  Silly girl, she knew snow was forecast but hadn't bought UHT milk or put bread in her freezer.  Eggs would have kept in her fridge.  She thinks she has enough food to last her a while if snow keeps falling.  That's good news.  Not 'goode' enough for me.  I'd like to have heard she has at least enough to last 3 months.  Perhaps I'm getting too obsessed with the 'storing'.  You tell me. 

Hope to find time tomorrow to return to my blog.  If so, see you then.