Economising. What’s that?

OK I know what i should be doing, I just can’t or don’t. Pensions, savings, statement watching, utility bill comparing blah blah blah. Does anybody actually do that? Ironically I have a monthly subscription to Which magasine. I signed up for a months free subscription about 2 years ago whilst researching those all important baby products and never bothered cancelling the subscription.  I also have a £10 per month contract to Vodafone for a phone I had years ago that I never bothered to cancel. I have a fairly decent job, albeit part time. but that last week of the months often proves challenging. It’s a fingers crossed scenario each time I use the bank machine. I need to do something!

Basically, what these financial failure confessions are leading to is, me, patting myself on the back for going to Lidl .I avoided the big brands, looked at the price of everything, avoided buying non essentials bar a Christmas Poinsettia plant (it looks good on my hall table) and a bit of a cheese splurge. As yet I am unable to compare prices. I have no idea how much a loaf of bread is or a pint of milk, but this is the start.

Now for dinner. One of my favourites. Ham,cabbage and spuds. No significant dent in the Continue reading Economising. What’s that?


Comfort food heaven.

It’s Sunday. I have a bloody awful cold and I had to work. Food to soothe the soul was on my mind. So I decided to make macaroni cheese. This is another dish I have never made. I have always associated macaroni cheese with the tinned or packet stuff and never found it too appetising. However it is the perfect store cupboard dish. I had most of the ingredients and after lots of googling It started looking rather tasty and of course CHEAP! So I made it. I added the left over lardons from the puy lentil dish and dessert was the pear upside down cake. Boy does my tummy feel happy. Thanks to for the recipe.


Store Cupboard Ingredients

  • Flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Pasta
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Fridge ingredients

  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Lardons
  • Cheese

Food Expenditure

  • Garlic baguette – 89p

I’ve baked cake. I never bake cake.

Today I baked my first cake.  All that weighing, measuring and timing is a bit regimented for my kind of cooking so I’m on a high. Three tins of pears have been lurking in that cupboard for god knows how long. Let’s just say I shall not be telling my samplers their sell by date. I had to buy the baking powder, brown sugar and vanilla essence (extra store cupboard ingredients) but my defense is that they will enable me to use up other store cupboard ingredients. It was bloody delicious and I am feeling proud I am learning a new skill. Thank you for the recipe.

pear cake ingredientsPear upside down cake

Store Cupboard Ingredients Used Today

  • 2 tins of pears
  • Plain flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Oil
  • 1 egg
  • Salt

Food in Fridge

  • Butter
  • Milk

Food Expenditure

  • Brown sugar – £1.39
  • Vanilla flavouring – 89p
  • Baking powder – 73p
  • Total Expenditure – £3.01

PS- I forgot to mention dinner. That was courtesy of my good mother. I went round for a visit and she fed us.

Puy Lentils

OK. It’s day three and I’m still doing this. I’m going to move out of my comfort zone and cook something I wouldn’t really think of making. Puy Lentils. I googled and pinterestered and the only thing that tickled my fancy was this There were a lot of salads in that search which did not interest me. It is December after all. But sausages, now that’s my kind of food. Plus they are cheap. My local butcher is the business.He drives a Porsche FFS! There’s no threat from the big supermarkets to Stanley’s trade and that’s for sure. Really good quality meat. He’s the man to know – everyone likes him and he knows all his customers by their first name… except me…. I am in there at least three times a week.  I get ‘Darling,’ ‘Sweetheart’, ‘Love’, and even asks about the baby if he’s not in tow. I have even paraded in with my work badge on willing him to call me by my name but to no avail. I’ll know I have made it in the neighbourhood once Stanley knows my name.


Store Cupboard Ingredients used today

  • Puy lentils
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • White wine vinegar
  • Oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic

Food in Fridge

  • Parsley
  • Rosemary

Food Expenditure

  • Stanley’s pork and leek sausages – £2.35
  • Smoked bacon lardons – £1
  • Total expenditure – £3.35

So Here It Is.


So here it is in all its glory. I tidied it up a bit. Just to check out what was in there of course. Where do I start? Well, there’s a lot of rice and a lot of flour. Not the good stuff that all the chefs advise you to use, not even strong bread flour, just plain flour, but there’s dry yeast in there too so there will be some form of bread, pizza dough, gnocchi or pasta at some stage. I found four tins of tomato soup. Now three. I had a tin for lunch to make amends for yesterday’s blip. A full bag of polenta (haven’t a clue how to make it from scratch but I shall endeavor to learn), Quinoa, made it once, totally unimpressed.. Please feel free to change my mind and suggest a recipe. A bag of black turtle beans??? Dried marrow fat peas. Soup mix (is this exclusive to Northern Ireland?), Barley, originally for soup but i think I’ll try and make a risotto type thing with it. Puy lentils, red lentils, chick peas and gram flour (I’ll have the Hare Krishnas round some night), egg noodles and Supernoodles will feature some time too. Strangely the tinned macaroni cheese was not there (my husband’s guilty pleasure, he’s ate it all). On the upside I have an extensive spice selection. So here’d hoping there shall be some great dishes to come. Checking out the cupboard was pretty enjoyable. I ‘m looking forward to this culinary journey.

Tonight I kept it simple. A family favourite. Mushroom risotto


Store cupboard ingredients used today

  • 1 tin of tomato soup
  • Aborio rice
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1/2 bag of dried mushroom

Food in Fridge

  • Parmesan
  • butter
  • glass of white wine

Food expenditure

  • Chestnut mushrooms – £1
  • Parsley- 89p
  • Milk -79p
  • Onions- £1
  • Butter -79p
  • Bread – £1
  • Total = £ 5.47

Store cupboard chaos. A quest to purge.

It’s December. I have A LOT of Christmas shopping to do. I decide to be frugal and bring my own lunches to work. I open the kitchen cupboard and reach for a tin of tomato soup. A tin of green lentils and an opened bag of jasmine rice fall out scattering over the work top. I curse, stick the lentils on  top of the tinned broad beans and cram the remainder of the rice between the red lentils and polenta. (I plan to make a dish of creamy polenta mash with mushroom ragu someday, I have a picture of it on Pinterest.)

Crap falling out of this cupboard is a regular thing. The shelves groan with the weight of “essential store cupboard ingredients” my treasured cookbooks tell me I need. I close the doors, sweep up the spilled rice and go to work. The tomato soup is still on the work top. I have KFC for lunch. I feel guilty, I have fallen at the first gate! I spend the rest of the afternoon vowing to get back on track. I start stewing over that bloody cupboard and all the shite that is in it. And the freezer….. that’s full of crap as well…..

So this is my plan. I am going to clear out my cupboard and freezer by using up all those ingredients . So how do I go about this? How long will it take? Do I restrict myself to food that I already have? Or will I buy other ingredients  and compliment them with my store cupboard ingredients?

I have to say, I like to think of myself as a bit of a Foodie. I watch all the shows, buy the cookbooks and scour the internet everyday researching food recipes. I am even an enthusiastic member of a cook book club. However, I’m a part timer and if I’m totally truthful a Foodie Fraud! I make an effort maybe two to three times a week and then it’s Marks and Spencers ready made mash (God forgive me, I’m Northern Irish) with chicken pie, Takeaways, and potato waffles, fish fingers and spaghetti hoops (the shame!) the rest of the week.

So here it is. My Warts and all blog of how I am getting on using up all my food cupboard and freezer ingredients. And my quest to reduce my food expenditure enough to prevent serious damage to my credit card this Christmas.

(WARNING! This may not be pretty. There’s tinned Macaroni in there and it’s not even Heinz!)