Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Savings vs. Ethics vs. Health--part one

1) Part of the reason Jack can find things so cheap is she is not a vegan. I would *love* to find a 100g dark chocolate bar for 35p to be used for grating into savoury dishes like chilli and making desserts. But every single stinking one of them has milk powder in it as a cheap filler. The cheapest I can find is a baking chocolate that costs £1.50 for 200g. Making 100g cost 75p. I could be paying much more than that for some of the specialty chocolate I love like Montezuma chocolate chilli bar which costs more that £2 for 100g.


2) But sometimes she hits it just right. I have been using red wine in my cooking lately. There is a superb mushroom and potato stew from the cookbook Isa Does It that uses a cup of red wine that makes the flavour fantastically rich. Jack Monroe also knows how cheap wine can really enhance the flavour of the dish. I was buying a 250ml bottle of cooking wine for £1.10 but on Jack’s suggestion went to the proper wine aisle where I found a 750cl bottle of cooking wine for £2.50. Her cookbook also talks about freezing leftover wine if you can’t get through that much in a week or so. The alcohol doesn’t freeze so it always has the consistency of a Sno-Cone. You just scoop out what you need and put it back in the freezer. I already do this with so many other things where you only use a bit at a time like smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Thanks Jack!


3) She buys white rice and white pasta because it is by far the cheapest. I struggle with this. Nutrition is where I’m at. I buy the cheapest brown basmati rice I can find which is £1.70 or there abouts for 1 kg.I think she pays less than 50p for a kg of white rice.  One thing she does do is use rice 100% of the time. I usually like to mix it up with other grains like quinoa which is great for you but ridiculously expensive. It had been the cheapest at Waitrose, but our last shop revealed that it was now over £3 for 500g. It got me thinking that we could have rice 90% of the time and the occasional quinoa to make it really last. No one says it *has* to be quinoa several times a week. Brown rice is rather nice! She also uses regular rice for risotto instead of expensive Arborio rice so I’m keen to try that as well.


4) She also bakes with cheap, plain white flour. I have a wheat intolerance and so 30p for a bag of Basics Flour is out of the question. Making GF flour can be really pricy. But I’ve been experimenting with making my flour mix out of healthy, but less expensive grains like buckwheat, brown rice and chickpea instead of really more expensive bags of teff and quinoa and millet (all around £5 a bag) So far the flour has been fine.


I’m sure I’ll be looking at more of her money saving tips and seeing how can we can adapt them making sure that cheap and healthy and vegan all coincide. I’m sure it is possible.

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