A new low for oats…

…in a good way!

lidl oats

I noticed earlier this year that a Lidl store was “under construction” on their store-finder 0.7 miles from my house. I’ve been checking the site every couple of weeks since then and it finally showed as open when I looked today, so I eagerly trotted over to check it out.

I found a few good bits and bobs. I got a can of coconut milk that is actually mostly coconut (rather than 48% plus thickeners and water, like some I have seen) for 79p, 4 big bulbs of garlic for 89p and some cashew nuts at £1.49 for 200g (so just under 75p per 100g). They also had some of the lowest prices I’d seen for a few staples I didn’t buy at this time but wanted to note for future reference. I didn’t buy the oats pictured above, but in a real penny-watching situation the information that 500g bags are available for 39p is useful. These packets didn’t say what country the oats are from that I could see, but I did find some Scottish porridge oats at 99p for 1kg, which is also a pretty good price. Other highlights included big jars of gherkins for 65p (I’ve had them before and they’re really nice, and the jars are a good size for re-using), and 1kg sugar for 49p, which is the lowest price I’ve seen sugar for quite a while (EDIT: I’ve since been to Aldi, who are also selling sugar for 49p and theirs is produced in the UK, a bonus for my next challenge which is going to be a local eating one).

Lidl is good in marking a lot of their own brand stuff suitable for vegans, even if you have to take a magnifying glass to the label to spot it sometimes, so that’s another plus for them. They also had a not-too-bad selection of Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certified goods and one or two organic items as well.

I’m pleased to add this option to the already wide choice of supermarkets nearby, especially as it means I can now walk there then wander around for hours on my own, price-checking stuff and peering at labels and telling passers by that this is a great price (yes, I did that to some poor man nearby when I spotted the oats today!), rather than having to con someone into giving me a lift and then trying their patience so they eventually resort to “herding” me towards the tills!

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Bargains at the market! (November ninety, day 15)

Halfway through the month!

Since I was in credit, and I really fancied some tofu and a looksee at the market to try for cheap bananas, I headed across town after the morning at work. I popped into the Chinese grocery next to the market for calcium-set tofu, £1.30 for 600g, then headed across the road towards the market.

One of the stalls regularly sells organic pointy sweet peppers a few for a pound, and today the bowls were extra large. True, some of them were slightly wizened, so I may have to process them fairly quickly and freeze some, but they’ll add interest to lots of meals!

red, yellow and orange peppers in a row

There’s a stall that sells sweets, crisps and snacks at knock-down prices and they had The Dormen mixed nuts (baked almonds, cashews, macadamias and pistachio nuts) in 130g foil bags, three bags for a pound! True, they were past the sell-by, so I bought a three bags and opened one. Seemed absolutely fine, so I bought another three bags, and will stick most of them in the freezer to be on the safe side. When I came home I checked the normal retail price and they seem to go for over two quid a bag, so I’m very pleased.

bowl containing bags of nuts

I also bought a savoy cabbage for 60p, and 20 clementines with leaves (showing freshness) for a pound, so that’s a total of £5.90, bringing the month’s spend to £44.17.


November ninety – day thirteen

It’s rather a nice day in Leicester. Cold, yes, but crisp and sunny. This was part of my view from work this morning.

cityscape view of west leicester

I haven’t spent anything yet today, but I could splash out £6.50 or so and stay on target, and may take a trip to the shops soon as I am nearly out of almonds, meaning my morning routine is in jeopardy. I’ve mentioned before that I am not usually hungry first thing in the morning so I soak a handful of almonds in my drink when I get in to work and by the time they start to plump up I’m ready to snack. Today’s drink was Equal Exchange brand rooibos and honeybush.

brown liquid in mug with almonds

But now I only have about ten almonds left.

almost empty almond packet

The price of the Natco almonds I’d been getting has shot up over the last year. Used to be you could get 400g from Morrisons for under £2.50, then they seemed to stop selling them but Sainsbury’s had them for around £2.56, still a good price. Last time I saw them there (while I wasn’t boycotting them!), they’d gone up to £3 a packet. Aldi do ground and flaked almonds which work out to less (60 and 62p per 100g), but don’t seem to do whole nuts. The best bulk deal I can find currently involves having to buy 800g for £5.39 (6.74 per kilo) from Co-op, so I may get those tomorrow, or I may pay one last hopeful trip to Morrisons tonight to see if the Natco ones are back in stock. Incidentally, Poundland have started doing a range of healthy/wholefoods type things, and were recently seen selling 150g brazil nuts for a pound, which seemed a bargain if you like brazil nuts! Unfortunately I’m not that keen.

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Lunch today was virtually identical to what I ate yesterday, but craftily varied in terms of form. Yestrday I had split pea thick soup with added butternut suash, a bit watered down and with toast on the side. Today I have made open-faced sandwiches of slices of toast generously covered in cold split-pea mix (having a break from the squash), with chopped peanuts on top for added texture, and fresh mint from the garden, which is a slightly odd flavour addition as coriander would go a lot better, but you work with what you’ve got!

IMG_20131113_135927

I also have a smoothie to which I’ve added all sorts of weird and wonderful things. It has a small apple, some oats, dried apricots, a dried fig, flax seeds, a pinch of Irish Moss (for iodine), blackstrap molasses and a handful of frozen gooseberries. It isn’t terrible, but it does taste quite worthy. I knew I should have put some chocolate in instead of gooseberries!