24 August 2014

Oh my Samphire!

I’m well known for my savvy shopping skills – as most of this blog shows the kind of prices I find things at while out on my shopping expeditions.   However, this one really does take top some of my finds. 
I can remember watching Rick Stein on one of his many shows going on about samphire.  I thought shame I’ll never get to try it and just moved on as they say. 

So come one of my shopping trips out and about and stop into Asda and what do I find reduced?  Yes, samphire!  It was marked at 50p although I tore the sticker off – you’ll have to trust me on this.  I didn’t know how to cook it other than boil it for a bit and to not salt it.  So that’s essentially what I did and it was lovely.  I’ll probably never get to taste it again but am so glad I was able to get it – and reduced!  It was as salty as they claim and was most like asparagus I’d say in texture. 

I’m rather lucky in all that I do find reduced and it just goes to show you can have a very varied diet if you are willing to experiment and also willing to just go with whatever you can find.  I think what I try to do most is have options in the freeze for those instances we I don’t find anything but I’m always willing to exploit a find and maximise it’s potential.  I’ve seen a lot of shows lately on just how difficult it is for people to make ends meet and how they have trouble finding good food – I don’t think this is true.  I think you can do it all – you just have to be a bit more resourceful but you also have to WANT to do this – it’s not something that comes easy.  But oh boy are the rewards worthy of the eating!  Enjoy!

20 August 2014

Being crafty in a new way!

Well I know I have many interests – who doesn’t?  I love vintage things and have seen for absolute age, up-cycled clothing and love most of what I see (well you will always find something that you think to yourself – what were you thinking!?!).  I’m one of those who get’s something without a particular purpose in mind but saves for that special something – this isn’t always the case but you know what I mean.
So ages ago when trawling eBay I found this rather plain blue jean dress.  It went for a silly price – something like £5.00 for the dress and shipping – so I figured why not?  Then it sat in the closet for a long time.  I pulled it out last winter and thought – right I’m going to do something with it over the winter.  Well that plan went to pot but there it sat teasing me.  I then got a whole bunch of sewing supplies from a friend who was getting rid of them.  In this goody bag was some lovely glass bugle beads along with a load of pearls.  I instantly saw in my mind what I would do with them and this dress.  

As you can see from the pictures above I just added a bit at the collar along with two glass buttons (yes, I’m still stock piled with them – gotta use them up!).  I then had a vintage doily and put that on there and then decked it out with the pearls and bugle beads.  I then had a few other buttons that I wanted to use and that was it.  I looked at the rather plain blue buttons on there and well you know by now they went and yes, the glass ones came out and went onto it as well.
I think it came out pretty cute and I can guarantee no one will have anything like this.  I rather like that idea – a single one off creation that incorporates my love of vintage.  I'm now on the trek to making a cheesecloth rose - that one will be pinned to the dress in some fashion but I'll follow that up with a posting later.

I then was decorating a present for a friend and just wanted something different so brought out my crafting books stash and saw some roses in paper and thought - yeah that would be cute and different rather just the usual bow or ribbon.

So I did a search and you got to love You Tube – because at times they really do have some good videos.  So found a few and then began attempting to make them with my old dictionary that was falling apart.  Well in no time I had some very lovely little items as you can see below.

Then not I just had to bling them up a bit – they were after all plain (but plain is nice if that’s what you want) it was jus this was a special birthday so had to add a few pearls.  I think they came out great and when people saw the present they all asked where did I buy those?  I think they all knew the answer as I just smiled and said I made them.  They were so easy – and if you are interested in doing your own this is the video I used to make them.

Go forth and get crafty!

3 August 2014

Birthday cake...

Well you saw the chocolate in my previous posting - this cake took all that *plus* an additional amount.  Yep to the tune of nearly 2 pounds of the lovely dark stuff.  J sure is a lucky guy to get this one but he sure does deserve it! 

31 July 2014

Blueberry muffins that won’t make you blue!

OK – I’m probably not your average shopper.  I admit I know my prices of my basics in my head, use the web to get me the best prices but I also adjust my plans for what I can find reduced.  I’m lucky in that I find a lot of variety reduced and thus get a varied diet.  

Take the blueberries, I got them reduced but I also had some milk that was on its last leg.  So what to do?  Make muffins of course!  If I don’t have buttermilk and often I don’t – I just sour it with lemon juice instead but the milk provided me with the perfect reason to use it up.  I also had some corn meal that needed to be used up so that got thrown in – voila – muffins!

It’s not a complicated recipe as I have a basic muffin recipe and I just alter what I put in depending on what I’ve got loads of or found reduced.  I also am lucky that I get some fresh rhubarb from a friend so I just add an apple or pear or any other soft fruit I have that need using up into the mix and make a crumble.  
And here is a teasing look at the chocolate that will be going towards someone’s cake in early August!

15 June 2013

Herb cream cheese and bagels….

I’ve made my own bagels in the past but since they require some careful preparation for making at the weekend I often just get them from the supermarket when I find them reduced.   Normally we like them with cream cheese which we used to buy at Aldi’s but since they keep changing the recipe we’ve long gone off of it.  It’s a shame that we find something easy and convenient and not too expensive but once we do – it’s a guarantee that it will be gone when we next go looking for it.  

I’m getting where I am making just about everything at home.  Not that that is bad or anything but one has only so much time to devote to this. So fast forward to the other day when I found some bagels reduced and wanted to have that herb cream cheese with them but alas Aldi’s is not in the cards and wouldn’t be now that they’ve changed the product and we no longer like it.

Enter inspiration!  I had some cream cheese in the fridge from another meal and of course I’m forever finding herbs on the reduced aisle so there is plenty to choose from in the freeze.  I’ll make my own I say!  So armed with nothing more than a vague idea of what I’ll put in there I set off to the kitchen to create some fantastic herbed cream cheese for those bagels.

I must admit I’m rather good at combining things and just hoping for the best and usually I am rewarded with often very tasty treats.  So for this cream cheese creation I envisioned some garlic (one clove, minced), some parsley, a bit of chive and coriander.  I don’t have exact measurements – with this sort of blending I rarely do but about a teaspoon of each should do for those not used to cooking like this.  I didn’t add any salt but a good few grinds of the pepper mill would not go amiss.  I then tasted – it was good but missing something.  Back to the cupboard I go and spy some ground cumin and coriander.  I had a good measure of each – about ¼ teaspoon to my mix.  I should state that I began with about 100 grams of plain cream cheese.  Another mix and it finally tastes as I think it should and present to J with our bagels.

It passes the test for taste and of course expediency of making it.  After all it took me only about two minutes to get the cream cheese mixed and ready – how long would it have taken to get the one we liked previously from the store?  Surely longer than two minutes I can assure you.  The best part is that I mixed just enough for our bagel breakfast and that used up the last of the cream cheese.  A win-win situation – gotta love those! 

I just got these last night on my trip to M&S as I was heading back home and saw these - knew I had to get them - the price was just right as they say! I know it's sickening - but just had to get them all as the chives just freeze really well.  I've been using them up making my pasta side dishes and this is the first time I've tried rosemary - we'll see how well it freezes.  If it doesn't work - well no great loss as you can see the price was really cheap!
And these lovely flowers were from some friends after I had a biopsy (not to worry - everything is OK!) - took it a few weeks ago but have only just downloaded them and they came out so pretty just had to share. I know - I'm lucky to have such wonderful friends!
I’ve now thought of a sweet variation for my home made cream cheese and once I’ve had a chance to try that I’ll post all about it.  Enjoy!

1 April 2013

Bargains Galore!

Well it is Easter and I just happen to need some lettuce for some soft tacos I was making the day before Easter Sunday.  So off to the Co-op we go and what do I find – yes, a bunch of reduced that I haven’t a clue as to the why but I sure did take my share!

As you can see from the photo it was a big haul by even my standards.  I got vegetable bouillon which I use in a variety of ways from my doodle-noodle nights to making my own pasta sauces (I mix this in with sour cream, or pasta water and lemon juice, the list is endless).  I also found some dried mushrooms – which are always welcome in a risotto especially when it’s still cold out as it is here in the UK.
As you can see a wide variety of items and most had a long shelf life – the bouillon was not too long but I’ve put them in the freeze to keep it fresh but I’ll use this quite quickly with my cooking.  Some of it fresh fruit and veg as well as some Quorn for this week’s lunches.  I also got some organic peanut butter which will go nicely into making some cookies which I put in the freeze and then make ad hoc when we want fresh warm cookies.  

I also thought I’d post this picture I took at Sainsburys some time ago after I posted about finding loads of fresh herbs reduced.  I’m still finding them and found it funny how they sell them frozen now as well.  Sadly they will not get my money that way as I’m still finding them off and on in my trips to the stores.
And finally this is a picture of the first snow we saw back on the 5th of December.  The flakes were the size of small golf balls – it is true.  They didn’t come out too well and sadly the snow disappeared by the next day but it was fun to see it fall.

I’m off to make dinner – am still trying to get used to this time change but slowly the body is kicking in and says time to eat!  Enjoy!

25 September 2012

Lovely flowers....

Big birthday this year and a friend gave me these lovely flowers.  I especially loved the rose which has the most unusual colouring.  I tried to capture it with the macro part of the camera - am still not that proficient with it as I should be but I do try.

 Have a few other things to post in a bit but still working on the photos.  Enjoy!

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