Frugal Fridays #21

Out of all possible meal scenarios of one day (elevenses, brunch, supper and midnight snack included), afternoon tea is my favourite. Not only is it an opportunity for cake-based delights and gallons of tea, it’s a chance to use all the delicate and beautiful china I’ve been hoarding collecting. It’s actually quite a thrifty meal, especially if you adhere to the following tips.

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Make your own sandwiches with whatever is in the fridge. Shop-bought sandwiches are never up to scratch. Plus, it seems counter-productive to specifically buy ingredients when you already have a selection in the house. The magic comes with how you cut them. I did fingers of cheese and pickle, triangles of raspberry jam and trimmed my cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches with a cutter. The two different breads I used were bought from the reduced section, not that my guest needs to know that!

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Make your own biscuits. Yes, my home made gingerbread does look quite rustic, but I was complimented on the flavour. I know scones are more traditional, but you can knock up biscuits with minimal ingredients, thus decreasing the cost. I also quite like the different texture biscuits bring to the table.

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If you do buy your cakes, try to get ones on offer. I ran out of time to bake my own, and I’m not entirely confident with gluten-free cake anyway. Luckily, these finger cakes were two packs for £3. Standard cakes are much cheap, and once you add a little garnish (like my raspberries), who would know the difference?!

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Afternoon tea is an indulgence, gosh yes, and by no means a necessity. But it is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in the company of a good friend.

Frugal Fridays #20

I think the lesson at the top of the list for thrifty living is to readily accept free stuff. Not always, because some items will provide no use to you whatsoever. But if something comes along that you favour, or enjoy or can make use of, pride should not stop you from accepting free items. This edition of Frugal Fridays highlights all the lovely items that have come into my possession lately, for free!

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My housemate was clearing through her kitchen cupboard yesterday and pulled out this box of tea. It’s not one I’ve tried before, but seeing as tea is rationed, I saved it from the rubbish pile and snaffled it away.

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In another free stuff story, other housemates purchased a bag of potatoes this week. The supermarket had run out of loose potatoes, so they bought a huge bag instead. I found it a bit bizarre, seeing as they are only staying for a couple of days. But it meant good fortune as the remaining potatoes were gifted to me. My ration recipe books provide dozens of recipes for potatoes, as you can imagine, so these will go a long way I’m sure.

It’s two sides of a coin really. On one hand, I wish everyone was sensible and thrifty and didn’t waste unnecessarily. But on the other hand, I do benefit from other people’s flagrant behaviour. Is that bad?

In other frugal happenings, the chap returned from yet another adventure with yet another gift. I am now the proud owner of this exotic range of spices.

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I’m already imagining all the dishes that can be flavoured with this mix, but the one I’m particularly interested in is this one:

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Is Turkish Saffron different to regular saffron? I can see Paella happening in the near future.

Frugal Fridays #6

Out of all the items I bought during my big shop at the start of the month, I have been most impressed with the versatility of a bag of Basics frozen mixed vegetables. I paid 75p for a 1kg bag of diced carrot, peas, cauliflower and broccoli. I’ve had some mixed with brown rice and drizzled with a little sesame oil and chilli sauce to create a yummy cold packed lunch. I’ve had some boiled in stock with a diced potato to make a very filling soup.

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It’s been a wonderful side dish, steamed in the microwave and then tossed with a little butter.

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But my best recipe was combining a large portion of veg with a can of Basics red kidney beans, a carton of Basics chopped tomatoes, a diced sweet potato and some Cajun spice. This veggie chilli was a very cheap dish, but it made a lot. It’s colourful and healthy, and above all, yummy! I shall be making this dish again. And I will be buying Basics frozen mixed veg again. No need to yet though, I’ve still got half a bag in the freezer. I wonder what I can make with that . . .