Let’s talk Food

Time for a food post, I think, as I’ve not done one for a while. Back in March when lockdown was looking likely and food shortages were becoming evident, I added some items to my delivery that I wouldn’t have usually have chosen thinking that they’d come in handy.  There was one in particular which I’d never give house room to again – tinned potatoes. Yuk!  I hated them and decided that I’d rather go without. As it turned out, potatoes didn’t prove difficult to get hold of. Long life milk served a purpose but I’d only use it again if there was no other choice – it definitely tasted different. I’ve been freezing fresh milk for months now and it’s fine so long as you give it a shake once defrosted. It’s not that I couldn’t buy milk at the local shop, but I was minimising outings to anywhere for a while.

There were a couple of  just-in-case buys that proved a pleasant surprise and have stayed on my shopping list. Although I enjoy baking, I’ve never been a decent pastry maker. I’ve used a fresh ready made version for years but when I was unable to get any I picked up a couple of pre-cooked savoury pastry cases and what a treat they proved to be! Slightly nutty tasting and crisp, they taste delicious. Recent fillings have included cheese and leek (with mozzarella) plus a few extra vegetable bits topped with feta. I also tried the sweet version and made Husband a custard tart which was declared a success.

I’ve also made more frequent use of part-baked bread rolls. I used to buy these occasionally but IA13 now do so regularly as they go so well with a bowl of warming soup. We’ve both realised that we actually like them better than the doughy kind. Talking of soup, I made a tomato and yellow pepper one last week and it was yummy. There are a lot of onions in the veg box so this week’s varieties will include French onion (though it will have to be accompanied by cheddar as I have no Gruyere).  And given that I accidentally ordered not one, but two bags of potatoes in last night’s delivery, I made vegetable soup (right) when I got home from work this afternoon. Time to revisit that great recipe site, Love Potatoes: https://www.lovepotatoes.co.uk/blog/potatoes-more-than-a-bit-on-the-side

A8Another item that I’ve bought again since lockdown is Branston beans with vegetarian sausage. Picking up a 4-pack of beans, I spotted these and threw them in the trolley but then I felt unsure about them and they sat in the cupboard for about three months. I don’t like baked beans as a vegetable with dinner but find them very acceptable on toast with a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and with the vegi -sausage they’re even better!

Fortunately I didn’t run out of baking ingredients during lockdown (thanks to gifts of eggs and flour from my brother and friend), though it came a bit close at times!  Last week’s cake was a chocolate and salted caramel. The topping was melted Cadbury dark-milk with caramel pieces. I also made a cheesecake for a friend, a small lemon meringue pie and some apple and sultana buns. There are still half a dozen in the freezer – maybe a post-Slimming World treat this evening! (I’ll share honestly)!

When I used to visit the supermarket regularly I loved to look at what other people were buying and took a great interest in the contents of their trolleys. I’ve quite missed that over the past eighteen months or so since I started grocery shopping online, so I enjoy the fact that some other bloggers show the contents of their deliveries! If you think that’s weird, what can I say …we all have our strange little ways!  You may be aware that Ocado recently ended their alliance with Waitrose in favour of Marks & Spencer which has extended its range to plug any gaps left by the departure of its predecessor.  I used to buy quite a few food items in M&S when we had a local branch so it was nice to be able to order a few remembered treats. They sent a free bag of Percy Pig sweets which I’m saving to make pig-topped cakes for the grandchildren. Tomorrow’s Ocado delivery is quite a small one as I really don’t need all that much, but at the same time need it to last until the next in two weeks time. That one will be from Tesco which I use about every 4th shop as there are certain things that I can’t get from Ocado.

A6

One of my favourite meals this week was fish cake with Slimming World chips (slice potatoes and spray with Fry-lite). I don’t par-boil them first, just straight in the oven. Husband likes them too. The fish cakes are from The Saucy Fish Company and have melted cheese in the middle.

We both love Little Black Bomber cheese. Although made by the Snowdonia Cheese Company, we first discovered this years ago when holidaying in the Lake District, and continued to buy it online direct from the producer, but nowadays it’s more readily available and discovering that Ocado sell it was a bonus. I especially like it with Tesco Cranberry, cashew and raisin bread. Truly, I could eat it every day, but I slice it up and freeze it so that I can remove one delicious piece at a time.

And how come I never knew that bagels taste so good toasted? I’d only ever tried them uncooked and wasn’t impressed. Trouble is that now I’ve tried them, I want more and my willpower is not great! If only they could be purchased singly instead of in bags of six! That said, I did lose 4lb at Slimming World last Monday (my first post-lockdown attendance). I was impressed with the excellent safety precautions in place and the members’ absolute adherence to social distancing. It probably helps that we are a somewhat mature group!

12 comments

    • Haha, I took it as meaning that you had three deliveries from Sainsburys and one from Asda per month. I have thought about smaller weekly deliveries rather than larger fortnightly ones. It would work better with fresh items. I may give it a go

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  1. Hello Eloise – apologies as am rather late with the comment. I have two supermarket deliveries on the go. I do Sainsbury’s x 3 a week and Asda x 1 a week. Yes, I freeze our milk but we also like soya milk and have the Barista Oatley with our coffee. We have a monthly delivery of that as the Barista became scarce during lockdown.

    And I have started stock-piling again for both the coming lockdown (inevitable) and the possible panic buying that goes with it, and also the January 1st final leaving of the EU. There’s some Italian pasta that I love which you can only get in Waitrose – I have to have some that in my cupboard. Also olive oil, I have several bottle of that. And I too have discovered the joys of pre-prepared pastry. I used to make my own wholemeal pastry that everyone loved but being ill at the beginning of the year led me to look for an easier method of making quiches and tarts. I found the Sainsbury’s own was good and I do use JusRol but find it’s not quite as good. Haven’t tried an actual base so will look out for those.

    Yes, my store of essentials is slowly taking shape. Tbh, I’m sorry to be doing it but needs must.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Penny, I too am refilling my Brexit/lockdown store. When it looked as if we would reach a deal I absorbed it into my usual store cupboards but it looks like a no-deal is on the cards again. Goodness, 2020 will not be forgotten in a hurry. I often think that future history students will have an interesting time when it comes to the first part of the 21st century. I like almond milk but not in coffee; for that I buy semi skimmed. Now I can’t imagine that I will ever tray to make pastry again! I have a small store of bases and some frozen pre-prepared that I can use for pies or pasties which Husband enjoys.

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  2. I love looking at other peoples shopping!

    We don’t really do long life milk here in Canada. It’s fresh, powdered (disgusting), or tinned (evaporated).

    Tinned potatoes? I use them when we have corned beef hash. I rinse the starch off of them before cooking, maybe that helps? I like the idea of using them in cheese & potato pie, hadn’t thought of it.

    My shopping basket is a mix of UK and German favourites. Colemans mustard and a few German ones for the husband. Biscuits/cookies are again a mixture.

    I’m always amazed at how inexpensive food is in the UK and Europe. The produce is much better and the variety of dairy is awesome.

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    • It must be galling to have to pay high prices knowing that items are not the best quality. Food here can certainly be inexpensive though the quality of some of it is questionable. There is huge variation in brands. For example, tinned tomatoes can vary by as much as a pound for a single tin in one store. Aldi and Lidl are generally cheaper and some of the produce is absolutely fine, but other items are inferior. I guess it’s about knowing what one likes and how much we are prepared to pay for it. I don’t think that powdered milk is used all that much here, but I could be wrong in that. We always had evaporated milk when I was a child but it was used as a cream substitute (usually with tinned fruit on Sunday tea time) rather than as milk.

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  3. I once bought tinned potatoes, oh they are dis-gust-ing!!! Like you, I’d rather go without!
    A great food post, though, Eloise. And we love the Snowdonia Cheese, too. Dart Fresh has several of their varieties, too, not just Black Bomber. So far they’ve all been delicious!
    Margaret P

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’ve tried some of the other varieties too, Margaret. They certainly are very good. Have you looked at their own website? They refer to Black Bomber as their flagship cheese and it has won several awards.

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  4. 4ibs loss – good one, may it continue. During the real lockdown times, here in New Zealand, my neighbour kindly did my food shopping. It wasn’t the best food, it was get-what-you-can-whilst-you-can, and it made me realise how privleged we had been. My thing that I’m doing lately is making granola, I have a lovely healthy recipe that keeps me going for hours. And is very popular with one of my adult daughters – staple diet stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like granola, and I love to make my own muesli…..with loads of nuts! We are very privileged to be able to get almost any food whenever we want to. I expect it’s because of this that people feel threatened by shortages of specific items and go into panic mode

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  5. I always enjoy talking about food : )
    I understand what you mean about tinned potatoes, but I do buy them to use in my cheese and potato pie. They are a time saver on a busy week night.
    Congratulations on your recent loss. X

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