Well, lots has happened here in Frugal Towers since we last wrote. There’s been hospitalisations, there’s been strange symptoms… now there’s bandages and medicine. But the frugal life goes on, as does this peculiar year!
See our Frugal Christmas section on how to minimise the cost and stress that can occur at this time. Some festive recipes too.
If you want to stock those cupboards up, Approved Food is the place to do it, selling soap and cleaning products too. Their stock changes daily.
Everything5pounds is the place to get cheap winter woolies for the approaching season. Also good for festive gifts.
Our founder’s debut novel is still available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited (they do a free trial which is a good way to stock up on some autumn reading). THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story. Libraries can get it too.
What strange times we are living through. We very much hope that you are all well and safe and have plenty to eat and plenty of, the now most popular item in Britain, toilet roll!
Our recipe selection this time focuses on two things: immune support and meals from store cupboard ingredients.
First the immune system: Wild Garlic Pesto – can be made with standard garlic too, both being anti-infective and immune boosting. Nettle Soup – eat up those nutrients! And enjoy the anti-inflammatory properties of nettle (just poking through the ground now). Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage – a brand new recipe on the site, this one, super cheap and also rich in nutrients.
And if you want to stock those cupboards up, it’s better to do it somewhere that is set up for the purpose, rather than depleting the stocks that everyone needs. Approved Food is one such bargain place, selling soap and cleaning products too. And sometimes even toilet roll! Their stock changes daily.
Still a bargain for a traditionally published book at £2.99 for the
ebook, our founder’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, blends an
often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations,
in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.
We were really pleased to receive this recipe just now (during the Corona Virus crisis) as red cabbage is a really cheap vegetable that is rich in nutrients and good for the immune system. It’s also unlikely to be sold out due to bulk buying!
Goes with most things and ingredients can be altered to suit e.g. use any cabbage, vinegar, sugar, (what you’ve got).
This recipe also freezes well.
2 tablespoons marg or veg oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
2 apples peeled & grated
1/4 cup white vinegar
salt & black pepper
Heat marg/oil in saucepan. Add cabbage & apple. Cook for 5 mins. Stir occasionally. Add vinegar & brown sugar. Season to taste. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Serves 4-6.
Optional: add 1/2 sliced onion with cabbage & apple + pinch fennel or caraway seeds when salting (or whenever).
If you do want to stock up your cupboards, the place to do it is Approved Food. They sell clearance food, drink and household items online. They’re a fantastic source of bargains and are set up to cope with bulk buying, so you’re not depleting resources.
Ailish Sinclair‘s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, and featuring the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, is out now.
Well, we finally have cool mornings and darker nights again. But that summer was great! It’s given us an abundance of apples which we are using up in apple pies and crumbles and cakes both brambley and appley 🙂
One of the cheapest ways to pare your food budget right back is to find out what time your local supermarket marks down its perishable products and do your shopping then. This makes possible what we call the 25p meal: feeding a family of four for £1, or under, all ingredients.
Cauliflower (25p) in a white sauce (milk/marg/flour/water totalling 20p), and 30p worth of leftover rice made into herby tomato rice by adding: 1 onion (7p, not marked down but really cheap in Lidl) a squirt of tomato puree (5p), dried herbs (5p) salt (2p).
Above was a nice meal based around getting an organic unsliced wholemeal loaf for 10p, and adding marg and garlic to make it into garlic bread. Cheap spaghetti (often around 20p for 500g in value ranges) mixed with a tin of kidney beans at 25p and marked down pepper and courgette, both 10p each. Salad was a 10p lettuce with a squirt of lemon juice. There was a LOT of garlic bread made with that one loaf!
A firm favourite now, actually considered a treat in this house, is the meal of pizza bagels, or pittas, or, as pictured below, pizza paninis. Made with 4 Paninis at 19p for 2, then with pizza sauce consisting of an onion fried in a tiny bit of oil, tomato puree, herbs and salt, totalling no more than 10p. They only need a few minutes in the oven or under the grill as the bread bases are already cooked. We paired them with a reduced salad bag at 10p, reduced hummus at 32p and a tub of pasta salad marked down to 26p. Over budget by 6p! If we’d used cheaper bread, such as one pack of bagels reduced to 20p, we would have been under.
It would be cheaper to use the pizzas as a side to homemade soup (see our many soup recipes). Of course, you can add any topping you like to these, but the sauce is delicious in itself.
This next one pushes the budget again, though only by 10p, for a luxury breakfast! It’s porridge (20p worth value range oats) made with water, but with a huge box of blueberries (marked down to 75p) and half a bar of Lidl dark chocolate (bar is 30p, so 15p), smashed up. Yum.
Our local Tesco usually does a big mark down around 6pm. The one in the next town is a little later at 6.45pm and its prices go right down to 2p for many items. Asda starts much earlier in the day with its reductions. Martin Lewis wrote an article on the different supermarkets and their reduction times here.
Unless we’re going to use them that day, we tend to avoid ready chopped things which go off quickly. Whole vegetables and fruit will keep for a few days and bread will be good for a couple of days or can go straight in the freezer. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve filled our freezer with 10p loaves and buns!
It can be fun to use your imagination and ingenuity to make best use of what’s available on any given day in the reduced section. Please feel free to share your ideas and successes in the comments below 🙂
Ailish Sinclair‘s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, and featuring the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, is out Autumn 2019. On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.
Simple to make, lovely to eat. Particularly frugal for us as we found these wraps reduced to 10p on Christmas Eve (freezer has quite a pile of them now) and the peanut butter at 4 jars for £1 at Approved Food, and it’s the nicest peanut butter we’ve tasted!
Ingredients for four people:
4 wraps or tortillas of your choice
a tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 or 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin sticks
1 onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon each: dried coriander, ground cumin, dried fenugreek. Or you could just use some curry powder.
1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon peanut butter
salt to taste
Heat the oil in a pan and fry up the onion and sweet potatoes for a few minutes before adding the spices and mixing well. Add the coconut, peanut butter and salt along with a small amount of water (a few tablespoons), cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft. It should only take a few minutes: sweet potatoes cook much faster than white ones.
Lay out your wraps and divide the sweet potato mixture between them. We lay it out in a line and then fold down the ends of the wrap before rolling the fajitas up for less messy eating!
We’ve walked through and against snow and ice and gale force winds this last week. That’s a lot of weather to deal with! So, reaching for some comforting food, we made beer battered onion rings. The recipe is new to the site here, and is very simple and delicious.
Our order of jumpers for Christmas presents came from Everything5pounds today and we’re very impressed. Designer labels on them all, and an expensive price tag left on one!