Tag: aldi

hurrah for Aldi

Aldi-150x150I must confess to just a little schadenfreude upon hearing of Tesco’s woes. Yes, I know they employ thousands of people, and yes, I know that a lot of pensions are invested in them, but they were a bit Icarus like of late.

I very occasionally visit the huge Tesco in the centre of Hull, when I can’t get what I want anywhere else, and I’m always overcome by the choice in there. Who needs dozens of different breakfast cereals, or olive oils, or sausages, or whatever? I find myself just standing in front of the shelves, whimpering.

This morning, in stark contrast, P and I walked across the park in the wind to our local Aldi – we spent the princely sum of £27.73, and here’s what we bought:

 2.5kg baking potatoes
1kg wholemeal flour
1 large cauliflower
2 smoked salmon and cheddar fishcakes
1 pack of chicken thighs
3 courgettes
1kg bananas
2 packs puff pastry
1 double pack pancetta cubes
1 pack pork sausages
1 pack chestnut mushrooms
2 balls mozzarella
1 bottle baby shampoo (for my sensitive locks)
1 pack  Frikadellen meatballs (lovely for lunches)
1 pack Bavarian ham
1 pack egg noodles
1 pack Earl Grey tea bags
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 carton passata
1 tub hummus
1 pack Wensleydale cheese
1 tub pate
3 bulbs garlic
8 rashers back bacon (won’t be as good as Normans, but will do fine)

Yesterday, we spent about 5 quid in a local greengrocer, for cabbage, swede, courgettes (yes, I know, but I need moar! courgettes!), a bag of peppers, mushrooms (we eat a lot).

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it all yet. Tonight’s supper is the fishcakes, with sautéd potatoes and baked beans (yes! don’t care!). Sunday we are cooking a huge vat of chili with some ox cheek that’s been in the freezer for a few weeks – never used it before, so that’s quite fun. I’ll keep you posted.

And if you haven’t tried one of the German discounters, you really should!



Regular readers will know that I don’t much care for supermarkets, and generally patronise Aldi (or, occasionally, Lidl). However, we had to sally forth to Anlaby on Saturday for cat bikkit, and we needed some shallots. Inexplicably, shallots are unavailable in my usual emporia – not carried by the Indian and Continental, Aldi, Lidl or any of the local greengrocer’s (I meant to do that), although the latter have occasionally tried to sell me pickling onions, which are not the same thing *at all*.

And as we were in Anlaby, and needed shallots, we thought we’d do the shop in Morrisons. And I reckon I spent about 40% more than I usually do. To be fair, I’m not usually tempted by raw tiger prawns due to my usual shopping places, and I bought rhubarb and bok choi (but they were on the reduced shelf so not outrageous). And I bought two packs of mince for a ragu sauce, and two packs of frozen veg (but only a quid each), and a sourdough loaf for an outrageous £1.65, but I don’t think there was much more than that extra, and in fact we left some things till the next GermanShop. So no cold meat for luncheon, no sliced cheese (an abomination, I know, but nicely portion controlled for an elderly old bat with suspicious cholesterol levels), no butter.

Some of the increased bill was just temptation (which is another good reason not to patronise these stores), but I’m pretty sure they are quite a lot more expensive on the sort of stuff we buy every week.

christmas cakes 2013

christmas cakes and chocolate dinosaurs


Please excuse the chocolate dinosaur cakes. They were an experiment which clearly needs more work. No wonder the bloody creatures are extinct.

fruit for the Christmas cakesI actually got round to doing my Christmas cakes reasonably early (for me) this year. And inspired by my friend Jane’s most excellent, if sporadic, food blog, I have done them slightly differently. I always use this recipe from Nigel Slater, but I’m really quite cavalier about what dried fruits I bung in – it just depends on what’s in the cupboard.

The recipe calls for 1kg of fruit, so I did a quick inventory; I had a 500g bag of Waitrose luxury dried fruit mix, about  100g of dried cranberries, and a few rather elderly figs. So I wandered over to Aldi to see what they had, and came back with this 300g of dried fruit for £1.69. And it was all cut into little pieces, so I only had to chop the figs. Hurray.

I put all the fruit into a mixing bowl, added about 3 tablespoons of cooking brandy, stirred it around, and left it overnight with a plate over it, issuing dire warnings to Pete not to lift the lid unless he needed his sinuses cleared.

Now, I make a Christmas cake because I feel I should, but we don’t actually like it all that much (I know, I know). And I never ice or marzipan it, because it would just be too sweet for us (which is why the photograph on the recipe is just dusted with icing sugar). And then we have this enormous hunk of cake that we struggle to eat. But Jane’s recipe gave me an idea. I thought I’d make a ring cake in a savarin mould, and some individual ones in my spiffy mini sandwich tin from Lakeland.



On Sunday morning, I found the fruit looking deliciously plumptious, and the brandy all absorbed, so I dug out the tins ready for greasing before making the recipe. And – how utterly bizarre – I didn’t have a plain savarin ring. Fluted, yes. Plain, no. And I didn’t think fluted was going to work. I phoned Lakeland in Beverley, yes they had one in stock, yes they’d put it aside for me (they really are a great company to deal with). And off we bimbled, taking in an Americano at Café Nero on the way.  And some Cake Release as well, for the bloody dinosaur moulds.

I digress.

Cakes were made – one savarin ring, ten individual ones. They’re now wrapped in foil, awaiting drip feeding with brandy (except the one we ate, because you have to *try* them, don’t you), I’m seriously considering making some candied orange slices to decorate them with – could work, don’t you think?

Note to self: for this mix, at 160 fan, this recipe needed about 45 minutes for the ring, and about 35 for the individuals.

p.s. That’s the first time I’ve actually used that mini sandwich tin, but now I’ve tried it, I can see all sorts of uses for it.

Jacob's ladder

Rising rib, or Jacob's ladder

I’ve written before about our wonderful butcher, T L Norman of Princes Avenue, Hull. They’re an old fashioned butcher, and keep a lot of stuff out the back (not unlike Hilary Briss in League of Gentlemen, now I come to consider it), but of late he has installed a chill cabinet in the shop, and it is my downfall. Therein he puts all manner of things to tempt me – I go in for a dozen eggs, and come out bankrupt.

Today, I called in for a chickie! for the weekend, and some bacon – the weather looks foul, so we shall  be hunkering down at home, I think. And there it was – a cut of beef I’ve never even seen before. I picked it up and Craig beamed; “I thought you’d like that”, he said. “It’s a rising rib, or known as a Jacob’s ladder”. And we did. So I bought it – rude not to, really. 3.3kg of prime beef for £18.80. It’s gone in the freezer to be cooked on my 60th birthday weekend, when the family are here.

I certainly won’t be cooking it like this, though. Absolutely not. No question whatsoever.

Pete and I were on our way back from Aldi when we stopped at the butcher. We bought a mound of veg, cold meat, dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid, cheese, cream, an apple strudel, some seedy rolls for lunch, some naan, and lord knows what else for £27 odd, and congratulated ourselves on our thrift. And then we were mugged by Normans again. Ho hum.

And now he’s tempting me with shin. *On the bone*. Ohmigod. And he’s putting aside some minced offal for me for next week, when the Piranha Sisters arrive. I tell you, a good butcher is worth his weight in rubies, but you need an overdraft …

a quick trip to Aldi

I used to turn my nose up at Aldi and Lidl, but now we are poor people :), I’m a huge fan. There’s an Aldi about 10 minutes walk from home, and after a stroll round the park to see the new ducklings, we popped in for a couple of bits.

£17.38 bought:

  • 1 pack of green beans
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 big pack of mushrooms
  • 1 block of pate
  • 2 packs of smoked mackerel
  • 2 packs of oatcakes
  • 1 pack of pastrami
  • 1 pack of kabanos sausages
  • 1 pack of another cold meat that I can’t quite remember
  • 2 mozzarella
  • 1 pack of Danish Blue cheese
  • 1 litre of semi skimmed milk
  • 2 tubs hummous
  • 2 tins of pilchards (inexplicably, Pete likes these for lunch)

There might even have been more, but I don’t have the energy to go down and check; Aldi do a cracking range of continental meats and other deli type stuff – go take a look!