Thrifty Cook Soup – Discounted!

Thrifty Cook Soup – Discounted!

  With another cold spell due in the UK and freezing temperatures on the East Coast of the USA, I decided to run a limited time discount on my Soup eBook! Thrifty Cook Soup includes traditional soup recipes plus some new ones, which are all incredibly easy to prepare. The soups use every day ingredients which are easy to source. No specialist equipment is needed – just one large lidded casserole or saucepan and a blender (or even a potato masher!), and all the recipes can be made on the hob – so even a camping stove would suffice! The price of the eBook is just 99p in the UK and $1.43 in the US from 19 – 25 February 2016 and if you don’t have a Kindle Reader, a free application can be downloaded from Amazon which will run on a PC, iPad, iPhone or Android device. Please click here to view on Amazon. I hope you enjoy these tasty recipes!...

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Review: Extra Oven Shelf

Review: Extra Oven Shelf

I have started to review kitchen equipment and cooking ingredients and especially those which I believe will save time and/or money in the kitchen. Last week I tried out an Extra Oven Shelf from Qwerkity who sell hundreds of unusual gadgets for the home, garden, DIY and travel. The extra oven shelf is made of chrome and sits on the oven floor.  It measures 38x34x5cm so will fit in most ovens. Ovens are often supplied with only two removable shelves, so whether you have an electric, gas or range cooker, this extra shelf is a very clever idea for saving time and energy. My oven is a standard size and sometimes I have to cook in batches due to lack of space, however, last week I cooked three large pizzas using the extra shelf and also some biscuits, which again, required three shelves. The pizzas were cooked on baking sheets, but as with any oven shelf, if food is to be cooked on the oven rack itself, a baking tray should be placed beneath the rack to protect from food dripping onto the oven floor. The shelf is easy to wash in warm soapy water after use. With a price tag of £9.99 plus delivery I think this is a bargain and especially useful for when family or friends come over and more oven space is required....

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Review: Russell Hobbs Food Collection 3 Tier Steamer Model 14453

Review: Russell Hobbs Food Collection 3 Tier Steamer Model 14453

Steaming is a very healthy way to cook food and this steamer from Russell Hobbs has 7 litres capacity, 3 tiers, a rice bowl and a 60 minute timer. Mine was supplied by Viking Direct viking-direct.co.uk who sell office supplies ranging from stationery and equipment to office furniture and catering supplies. The steamer is made of brushed stainless steel and plastic and measures 378mm high, 192mm width and 240mm depth. The plastic baskets are not made of the thickest plastic but for a price of £15.69 plus VAT (and delivery for orders under £30), this steamer is very good value considering that many steamers cost twice the price. I steamed carrots, broccoli and frozen green beans together and found that the steaming timetable at the back of the booklet was accurate. The carrots were peeled, sliced into four lengthways, and chopped in half. The broccoli was washed and cut into 2”/5cm florets. I placed the carrots in the lower basket, the broccoli in the middle one and the frozen beans in the top basket. The water reservoir needs to be filled up to the maximum level (1 pint/500ml) with boiling water. I set the clockwork timer to 20 minutes – the timetable states 15 minutes for a single layer of carrots but I had almost three layers of carrots in the bottom basket so had to adjust the cooking time. After 20 minutes all the veg were cooked perfectly and still had a little “bite” to them (I don’t like soggy vegetables) and the water reservoir was still half full. I found that the steamer was fairly quiet too, as I know that some can be very noisy. After use, the baskets and mounts are easy to clean in warm soapy water. The steamer has a thermostat which will cut off the power if the water boils dry, however, the water should last for 60 minutes if filled up to the maximum level. The steamer will also cook chicken, fish, shellfish, frankfurters, rice and just about anything else which will benefit from steaming. I shall enjoy experimenting with this...

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Planning a Barbeque This Weekend?

Planning a Barbeque This Weekend?

A beautiful warm, sunny weekend is forecast in the UK and maybe you have planned a barbeque – if so, read on if you haven’t bought your fresh meat or charcoal. The price wars have started in the supermarkets, not only for meat and BBQ packs but also fresh fruit, vegetables, ice cream, drinks and anything that can be enjoyed al fresco! The competition is fierce as the supermarkets try to grab as much of the market as possible. What struck me when flicking through the supermarkets’ prices today, was that the offers available for this weekend are virtually the same at all the major supermarkets. So if you want to shop at the supermarket, you may as well visit your nearest store. They all have offers on meat, whether it’s buy one get one free, or half price offers. For example:- Would you like sausages this weekend? All the supermarkets have offers on sausages but Aldi seem to have the best offers. Aldi’s Butcher’s Select Sausages (weighing 454g) are reduced from £1.55 to £1.09 for a pack of 8 sausages. They are also selling a bog standard pack of 8 pork sausages for 99p (see picture on the right). The latter is good value as the percentage of pork is only slightly lower than all the other Butcher’s Choice ranges from the other supermarkets. Tesco’s Butcher’s Choice British Pork Sausages, again weigh 454g for 8 sausages and 2 packs will cost £3.50 (rather than the usual price of £1.99 per pack) Morrisons have reduced their Signature Thick Old English pack of 6 sausages from £3.19 to £2.50 per pack. Sainsbury’s have a multi buy offer on Sainsbury’s Butcher’s Choice Large Pork sausages for £2 per pack of 8 sausages or buy 2 packs for £3.50 Asda are promoting their Extra Special Pork Sausages at £4 per pack of 10 sausages, or you could buy 3 packs of 10 sausages for £10  What about some pork chops? Lidl have an offer on Pork Loin Steaks – 1 kg (about 8 steaks) for £4.49 Tesco have an offer on their Pork Chops – a 1kg pack of 6 is reduced from £6 to £5 If you’re after pork chops or sausages then there are bargains to be had! I had a quick look at burgers, chicken portions and ribs but found the same trend. In other words, all the supermarkets have offers on virtually anything to do with barbeques. As far as charcoal is concerned … the same story as they’re all £1/kg. Sainsbury’s Charcoal Briquettes are £6 for a 6kg bag Tesco’s Outdoor Charcoal Briquettes are £5 for a 5kg bag Morrison’s Big K BBQ Charcoal Briquettes are £5...

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Supermarket Shopping – Be Wise!

Supermarket Shopping – Be Wise!

Falling supermarket profits are in the news again today and this time it’s Tesco who have reported a 6% fall in profit.  Their profit was still a whopping £3.3bn, a little down on last year’s £3.5bn which was their first drop in in 20 years. It is also reported that the UK’s big four supermarkets, namely Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have all lost a share in the market due to rival discount supermarkets Aldi, Lidl and B&M. So why has this happened? Some think that the reduction in Tesco’s profits are due to people comparing grocery prices online and then choosing which supermarket to buy their weekly shop from.  I think this may have a little to do with it, but in my opinion, it’s due to a shift in shopping habits.  The public are shopping more at the big discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl, and also, more people are buying their fresh produce locally as was always done in the past! Of course, with food scandals hitting the headlines regularly, whether it be horse meat substituted for beef, incorrectly labelled origins for fish or misleading adverts and special offers, the public have grown suspicious and lost trust in the supermarket they thought they could count on for value. I think the trend in discounted supermarkets is happening despite how much money people have in their bank accounts.  Who would want to pay more for an everyday food item when the Lidl or Aldi is just down the road? For example, 6 large free range eggs from Aldi cost £1.00, the same large free range eggs from Tesco and Sainsbury’s are £1.30 (today’s online prices).  An 800g loaf of thick sliced bread just 75p from Aldi and £1- £1.40 from the other four supermarkets. A few pence saved here and there will add up to several pounds for a weekly shop! After all, nobody is going to get rich by spending more cash than they need to.  If you go to Aldi, Lidl or B&M – have a look at the cars in the car park and you may be surprised.  Not all their customers are scratching around to make ends meet! It seems that a lot of people shop at the discount stores first, then go to one of the other big four supermarkets to buy anything on their shopping list that they couldn’t find in the first one!   My husband and I have actually recognized shoppers going to two supermarkets on the same morning!  Just goes to show that grabbing the bargains are more important than being loyal to any particular store. The British used to get embarrassed at the thought of being seen...

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