Cost of Living Crisis: The 25p Meal

Cost of living crisis: the 25p meal

We want everyone to eat well during the cost of living crisis. We very much hope this article will help with that.

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.

Don’t forget to check the Olio app for free food being given away in your area too. Food Heroes collect the yellow stickered items that didn’t sell and share them in the community. Desktop version here. People also share things that they can’t use up in time from their fridge, or cupboard items that they no longer want.

Cauliflower in a Cheesy Sauce

Cost of living crisis: a 25p meal

Cauliflower (25p) in a white sauce (milk/marg/flour/water totalling 20p), and 30p worth of leftover rice made into herby tomato rice. We added:  1 onion (7p, not marked down but really cheap in Lidl) a squirt of tomato puree (5p), dried herbs (5p) salt (1p).

Cost of Living Crisis Spaghetti

Cost of living crisis: 25p meal

Above was a nice meal based around getting an organic unsliced wholemeal loaf for 10p. We added 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!

Pizza Bagels or Pittas

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.

Cost of living crisis: 25p meal

Porridge: cost of living crisis food

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. Lidl has many things, including a basket of bread, reduced to 20p first thing in the morning. 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!

Also see:

Our Sourdough bread for pennies post here.

The Free Food section about gardening, giving and foraging.

And check out clearance food sellers like Low Price Foods  and Approved Food for stocking your cupboards with low priced staples.

And all our frugal recipes.

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. Let’s weather the cost of living crisis healthily together!

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. On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.

The Mermaid and the Bear Cover

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

soused red cabbage

Recipe submitted by Colleen.

red cabbage

We were really pleased to receive this sweet and sour red cabbage 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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

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.

See all our frugal recipes here

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The Mermaid and the Bear Cover

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.

On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.

Immune Boosting and Store Cupboard Recipes

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.

Store Cupboard:
Yellow Split Pea Soup – delicious and nutrious.
Chick Pea Curry – super cheap and easy, can be made with dried or tinned chick peas.
Mixed Bean Casserole
and one that fits both categories: Chunky Purple Pasta

If you are experiencing anxiety over the current crisis, you could try a tapping meditation. There’s a free specific one here and basic information on the tapping points here

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.

Amazon

Author website

Wishing you all very well, in all meanings of the word!

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

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