My virtual trolley

As much as I enjoy food shopping, it’s hard to resist ordering from Ocado when they send me a vouchers for £15 off a £50 shop. The one that arrived the other day was very timely for two reasons: although I’m getting around pretty well now, the thought of a long trawl around the supermarket didn’t really appeal. Secondly, I usually do a fairly big shop around pay day so, as the timing was right, I took advantage of  Ocado’s offer.  Husband has happily done a couple of small shops this month and would willingly have done the main shopping but as it’s not something he is usually involved in, it’s just too bothersome to explain all the little intricacies of improvisation and the subtle balancing of ”If they have A, don’t get B, and if you get C, we’ll also need D.’ As for explaining the hierarchy of acceptable yogurts (I am ultra fussy), it’s impossible…..  “If you buy X, get raspberries but if you get Y,  I prefer strawberries.”   I don’t need to consciously think about these things, it’s just instinct after forty three years of doing the household shopping.

I know that some bloggers swear by meal planning, but I don’t bother with an actual meal plan though I’ve always got a pretty good idea of what we’ll be eating over the next two or three weeks. There’s always plenty of protein  in the freezer (fish, chicken and meat and usually several home-made dishes), fridge (various cheeses and eggs) and cupboards (pulses and tinned fish) so the on-line food order consisted of all the ‘supporting’ stuff. This month there has been little extra shopping done so it’s lucky that I always have good food stores; I knew there was a reason for my squirreling habits!

I’ve shopped quite a few times with Ocado and find them very good. The website is well laid out, the quality of fresh items has been excellent with long ‘use by’ dates, and the only substitution I have ever received was a very similar item but of higher value (these  can be rejected if the customer wants to). The drivers are friendly and polite and always offer to carry the bags in, and they’re never late. A few hours before a reminder text is sent to inform the customer who will deliver their order. I’ve had Dave in the Raspberry van, Mark in Green Pepper and yesterday’s message informed me that Edward in the Cabbage van would be with me within the allotted hour.   According to the email that is also sent, this is to ensure that the customer can identify the driver. Quite honestly, I think the chances of a spoof Ocado delivery man turning up on my doorstep at exactly the pre-arranged time and handing me several bags of groceries are pretty slim, but if you know otherwise – do share! Delivery can cost as much as £7 but if you’re prepared to choose a less popular time it’s much cheaper or even free of charge (which explains the knock on my door at 10pm last night).

I always wondered if I might be a bit weird in being so interested in other people’s shopping trolleys, but since joining the world of blog I have discovered that I’m far from being alone. I love it when other bloggers post pictures of their food shopping! For those of you who also like seeing what others buy, take a peek into my virtual trolley.

M&S used to make a lovely shallot, apple and sage marinade but discontinued it (don’t they always) and I experimented with a few variations to replicate it.  I’ve rerely been able to find fresh sage in our local supermarkets and if I want it I’m faced with a drive of several miles so I took the opportunity to order some and will use it this evening to make a paste with the shallots (these chopped frozen ones by Waitrose are very good) and grated apple for a chicken traybake with parsnips, apple wedges, mushrooms and onion.


The remaining parsnips will be used on Monday as parsnip and apple mash (love this!) with which we’ll have sausages (Linda McCartney for me and regular ones for Husband).

Soffrito, a mix of tiny chopped onion, carrot and celery features frequently in the recipes demonstrated by  chef, Gino D’Acampo in his wonderful Italian Escape TV series). It’s a really useful base for so many recipes. I make my own sometimes but this inexpensive pack saves lots of fiddly chopping. Half will be used in Scotch broth soup with pearl barley (I already have a pack of this open but I like a back-up), and the remainder will make two individual lentil cottage pies for the freezer. Husband prefers a conventional version.


Kremas whipped yogurt is my second favourite. I like Muller Bliss better but it has twice the calories. I use the yogurt with grape nuts cereal and frozen fruit to make a breakfast that I can take to work. Mixing the ingredients together and leaving them in the fridge overnight makes a yummy breakfast (close your eyes and think of cheesecake…ish).


Three tins of tuna – who knows? One will probably be used for tuna melt (toast rustic bread, spread with tuna, top with cheese and grill; another for fishcakes and the third might sit waiting in the cupboard waiting until someone fancies a sandwich. Water chestnuts and bamboo shoots will be added to sweet and sour chicken, a tin of pineapple will likely find its way into curry, and the cannellini beans will make the vegi-burgers from Jack Monroe’s A girl called Jack. She uses red kidney beans but I prefer these. Any Slimming World member will be well acquainted with passata which can be used in so many dishes.


I bought Oranges, lemons and limes which will be used thus: one lime for Mojito chicken or prawns (a marinade of lime, chilli and white rum), and the others in an experimental key lime pie Slimming World style. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while as my offering for the next SW taster evening, but I need to make sure it works first.  Lemons will be used with fish (a choice of plaice, haddock, cod and salmon) and, very likely, a lemon drizzle cake. The oranges will be eaten as they are.


I have plenty of Cheddar cheese and feta in the fridge already but needed some more Babybel lights. The Saint Agur was chosen specially so that I can try out the blue cheese and cauliflower soup recipe recently shown on my friend Margaret’s blog.  I’m looking forward to that, and also trying a bit of the cheese with crackers. We like blue cheese but I usually buy a mature Stilton or Shropshire blue. The Alpo dairy free custard and cream substitute are for when my brother comes for a meal (I always make some kind of pud for him) as he can’t eat dairy foods. The custard is especially good – so creamy, even though there isn’t any cream in it!

Apart from the regulars: coffee – our favourite was on offer at £3 a tin instead of £5.49, Marmite, Flora, potatoes, carrots, frozen petit pois and fish fingers, there were other items too but I can’t imagine you’ll be interested in toothpaste, toilet cleaner and the like!


  1. So interesting Eloise. I’ve had my shopping delivered for a long time now (?15 years) and never had any problems with it whatsoever. I don’t understand people saying – oh I wouldn’t like to do that as I like going to a shop/supermarket for my food. I think it essential as we age to know how to get food delivered for when we cannot go to the shops – at the very least get the account up and running. I could go on as I feel very passionately about this.

    On a lighter note I adore going to supermarkets on holiday!!! So enlightening and interesting to see what’s available and how people eat.

    Btw, because I shop so regularly for online deliveries I pay an annual fee and easily get the value from that fee many times over.


    • I wouldn’t have my shopping delivered unless I had to, Penny. I enjoy food shopping, but I am all in favour of people setting up an account and using it from time to time so that they are confident when it comes to the time that they need it.

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  2. I do enjoy taking a peek at what other people buy, whether online or in the supermarket, although I no longer have the opportunity to idly gaze while waiting at the checkout, as Lily insists on using scan and go – no need to guess at who does the scanning!
    No chance of using Ocado here. They don’t deliver in this area. X


    • I am very sceptical about self-scan and self-service tills since they are designed to cut jobs (though I can see the attraction to a six year old)! I might be more inclined towards them if a discount was given to the customer for doing the work of the store assistant. Do you have Booths supermarkets in your area? I was very impressed by the ones I visited in the Lakes.


      • Haha. I wouldn’t say that I shall visit the Lakes again just because of Booths….but I’ll certainly visit Booths again when I’m in the Lakes! We’ve been many times but last year was the first time we were self catering so needed to buy food.


  3. Thank you for letting us have a peek at your grocery shopping! You know I love seeing what others buy and what they plan to make with it! No chariots or trolleys, over here; just plain shopping carts! 😀


  4. In response to Margaret….I read your comment then seemed to lose it! Maybe be it will reappear later. WordPress has a mind of its own at times! I ate a corner of the cheese and loved it. I’d better make that soup tomorrow or it might all be gone! The frozen shallots are great as they’re chopped very small which would be a pain to do, and make me cry! My eyes do not like chopping onions or shallots. I love to experiment and ‘play around’ with food. Someone on Masterchef the Professionals once described himself as a ‘Development Chef’ for one of the high-end supermarkets; sounds like a great job to me!


  5. Thank you for sharing the contents of your trolley. It is fascinating to see what others have in their trolleys, virtual or otherwise! In fact, Eloise, you’ve given me a very good idea for a future blog post. I’ll share my trolley (or ‘chariot’ as it’s called in French!) contents when I’m shopping in France.

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