Sunday, 11 March 2012

Stopping the Weasel Popping

What an obscure title.  You'll have to work  out from Wikipedia why I used it!

I reckon I owe you guys an update on yesterday's post. The night  passed without drama.  All quiet on the South Western front as it were.  No posse of men arrived to break into my new home and remove my electrical goods for sale by auction.  This morning I spoke to a very nice(!) bailiff who confirmed that he wouldn't be seizing my chattels to pay the debts of the last tenant.  Hurrah!  Back to my usual habit of leaving the doors unlocked so the neighbourhood kids can come and go when playing with Louis.

How do people get into this position in the first place?  Well, perhaps it's not entirely their fault.  The marketeers are very sneaky these days in persuading the unsuspecting to spend beyond their means.   There's too much choice out there.  Take the supermarket for example.   So many goods are promoted on the basis that they save time for the busy housewife.   But often the efficiencies achieved are negligible in return for the high price paid.  Take the following examples which have been chosen as the alternative low cost solutions take a matter of minutes more and don't require advanced cheffing skills.

Three packs of salted microwave popcorn weighing 270g in total costs £1.99 in Sainsburys.  Compare this to a 500g of popping corn for 69p.  Just cover the base of a lightly oiled saucepan with the kernels and put the lid on. Heat and shake and wait to hear those kernels exploding.   Lou and I worked it out that a snack sized bowl, seasoned with Maldon Seasalt can be made in a couple of minutes for the princely sum of about 3p!
Jus-rol's current TV ad was, indeed, the inspiration for this post.  The idea of topping a sheet of puff pastry to make a quick meal is superb.  I know because I've been doing this for years. The variations are endless...mozarella and tomato with herbs, roasted vegetables with chunks of feta, caramelized onion and anchovy.... I could go on and on.  Just take note. The ready rolled sheets sheets are on special offer in Tesco for £1.00 at the moment.  But they weigh 320g and £1.10 buys a 500g block that just needs the attention of a rolling pin.. Even better - Tesco own brand puff pastry comes in a 1kg pack at the bargain price of £2.

Tesco finest garlic infused olive oil. Yum!  Just the thing to drizzle on pizza or pasta and a snip at £2.49 for 250ml.  But wait.  I'm not sure of the exact price but didn't I pay the same price, or it might have been less, for a litre bottle of Lidl's Extra Virgin Primadonna Olive Oil?  Couldn't I just infuse a bit of oil with some garlic?  Yes it's easy-peasy.  Just refrigerate and be mindful of safe storage just so botulism stays at bay.

50p will buy you a 225g bag of diced onions from Tesco.  An absolute bargain?  Not when you consider that a kilo of  the loose brown variety will set you back 76p a kilo.  It wouldn't take long for the savings to add up to buy a decent chopping knife if you don't have one already!

Good looking men normally don't do it for me.  But when I heard George Clooney's  on Desert Island Discs I was a temporary  convert to the Prince Charming look because of the pinko leftie philosophy that he espoused.  How wrong can you be!  He then shattered my dreams by becoming an ambassador for Nestle.

They, like other coffee purveyors produce  'pods' to feed expensive machinery that produces an overpriced cup of caffeinated fix.  Do yourself a financial favour.  Resort to old style techology and buy a cafetiere and old style filter coffee instead.  Fairtrade preferably.
Waitrose 'Cook's Ingredients' croutons - Hmm! Shouldn't a kitchen savyy connoisseur be able to heat some oil, crush some garlic and add some cubes of bread to the pan to rustle their own gourmet soup  accompaniments within a couple of minutes? This surely will cost far less than £1.29 for 100g charged by Waitrose for a similar product.

Uncle Ben's Express Basmati - £1.64 for 250g at Asda.  Ready in two minutes in the microwave.  But £5.92 buys 4kg of the store's own brand rice that can be cooked from scratch with the same level of effort.  So it takes longer.  But is twenty minutes so long to wait for more than a 400% cost saving?

Sainsbury's Basics 125g batter mix seems a snip at 15p.  But it's not such a bargain when you consider that a 1.5kg bag of flour with the same economy branding costs 69p. Granted that the mix doesn't need milk or salt  but an egg or two still needs to be added to produce those Yorkshire puddings or pancakes.

Cute little boxes of raisins for kid's lunch boxes cost about four times as much as the equivalent weight from a larger bag.  Food packaged as 'snack packs' always seem to have a horrendous mark up.   Get out those tubs and containers and make up your own portions!


  1. Interesting post, especially as it highlights a couple of things I am guilty of. Must try harder on the pastry front. Now where to but 225 grams of tupenny rice?

  2. Thanks for linking your great post to extra virgin olive oil . The link gives results of some testing and notes the real ones and the bad ones. This was very interesting and informative! Hope to see you!

  3. Couldn't agree more! I feel especially disheartened when I see bags of pre-prepared vegetables as I'm sure the goodness goes out of them.

  4. I did see a friend of mine buy ready chopped onions but could understand because she has Parkinson's disease. However, she also has two strapping great sons in their 40's who live with her....
    Another thing; I was buying root ginger the other day and it's £2.11 a kilo in Asda; the size I want is probably about 200g or 42p. Next to it, in a cellophane wrapper with a £1 sticker was a piece the size I might buy...yes 200g....look, I'm bad at maths but that's £5 a kilo, isn't it?!