Summer fruit and apple compote

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Now that Lidl have added strawberries to its mixed frozen soft fruit (although it does now contain cherries which is some form of compensation), I have discovered an alternative (and inexpensive source of good summer fruit at Sainsburys). Sainsburys is currently selling two 500g bags of ‘Summer Fruits‘ for £4. The ingredients are: “Raspberry (25%), Blackberry (25%), Blackcurrant (25%), Redcurrant (25%)” – so no strawberries there!

I made a fruit compote using a 500g bag of Summer Fruits and 5 small cox apples (pealed, cored and sliced):

Microwave the apples on ‘high’, with a tablespoon of water, for 4 minutes. Mix the cooked apples with the frozen fruit, and when defrosted, microwave on ‘high’ for 4 minutes. Stir and microwave on ‘high’ for a further 1.5  minutes. Leave to cool.

Can be stored in the fridge for at least a week. Excellent served with Greek yogurt and granola.

Microwaved cardamon rice pudding

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This will serve 3 or 4 people. I increased the normal amount of rice (60g) by 20g to produce a very solid rice pudding which can be served cold, turned out from large individual ramekin dishes (which if filled to the top, yielding 3 portions):

  • 1 pint milk (568ml – to be precise!)
  • Seeds from 12 green cardamom pods (ground using a pestle and mortar)
  • 80g pudding rice (or risotto rice)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Put all the ingredients into a microwavable casserole dish with a lid. Stir and cover, and microwave at 750W until the milk starts to boil (about 7 minutes). Remove from the microwave, stir, cover and bring back to the boil (at 750W). Then immediately turn down to ‘defrost’ and cook for 1 hour. The result should be a creamy glutinous mass.

Line the bases of three ramekin dishes with discs of baking parchment. Fill each dish with rice pudding and level off the tops. Allow to cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. The rice can easily be turned out of the ramekin moulds, by running a knife around the edge of the dish, turning upside down and removing the baking parchment.

I served mine with defrosted berries from Lidl’s frozen Black Forest Fruits, which – although they now contain strawberries – are still quite good as they now also contain some rather tasty cherries.

Butternut squash, bean and tomato hotpot

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This is my take on ‘Italian bean, butternut squash & tomato casserole (topped with fontina cheese & sliced buttered potatoes)’ from Aqua in Bristol. This provides plenty for 4 people:

  • Oil
  • 1/2 roasted butternut squash (cut into 2cm cubes)
  • 1 large onion (cut into thin wedges)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
  • Large pinch of oregano
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tinned butter beans (drained)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 baking potatoes (skins pierced several times)
  • 40g butter
  • 40g grated cheddar

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds (if you like you can roast these at the same time as the squash – remove the fleshy fibrous bits, mix with a little oil and salt, and roast (on a baking sheet in the bottom of the oven) for about 15 minutes (take a look after 10 minutes)).

Put the two halves of the butternut squash on a baking sheet. Pour a dessertspoon of oil into each cavity and brush over the surface of the squash. Roast for 40 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4). Put the potatoes in the oven at the same time.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Stir in the onion and gently cook for 8 minutes. Add one clove of garlic (crushed/chopped) and the oregano, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the butternut squash is cooked. Cube one of the halves (the other can be used in soup or risotto) and add it to the tomato mixture (I skinned my squash, but you can eat the skin which is quite tasty, but it does affect the texture of the finished dish). Add the butter beans. Season with black pepper, and ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish.

If the potatoes are cooked, slice them into 1cm slices (if they need a little more cooking I suggest that you finish them in the microwave before slicing). Place the potato slices on top of the tomato, squash and bean mixture.

Melt the butter and the remaining garlic in the microwave (about 40 seconds at 750W). Brush onto the potatoes (use a brush which won’t melt!). Sprinkle with the grated cheese and black pepper.

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes (longer if you are cooking the dish from cold). Serve.

I served mine with wild rocket (65p at Lidl).

 

 

Bargains at discount supermarkets

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Today’s Daily Telegraph says that “Britain’s ‘Big Four’ supermarkets have all lost market share for the first time in at least ten years” – the reason? “Nearly a third of the country have shopped at Aldi in the past three months”.

I don’t have an Aldi near me, but Lidl is my nearest supermarket – only about 8 minutes walk away. If you pick and choose you can find some very good products there. Their Christmas stuff is excellent value – for example, their Poppy Seed Stollen seems identical to the Bahlsen product, but retails at somewhere near half its price.

 

Another fruit compote

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I made this with:

  • 3 sticks of rhubarb (cut into 3cm lengths)
  • 3 cox’s apples (peeled, cored and thickly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp castor sugar
  • 500g frozen raspberries (£2.29 from Lidl) defrosted

Put the rhubarb and apples in a microwavable dish. Add the water and sugar. Cover, and cook at 750W for 3 minutes. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes (at 750W).

Add the raspberries, stir in, and cook (at 750W) for 4 minutes. Stir and cook for further 2 minutes (at 750W). Cooking time will be longer if you leave the rhubarb and apple mixture to cool before adding the raspberries (or add the raspberries while still partly frozen).

Leave to cool and store in the fridge. Makes about 1 litre of compote.

Tesco says almost 30,000 tonnes of food ‘wasted’

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Images from: Joonggul Ro’s PG02

This BBC article is based on food waste figures published by Tesco for the first six months of this year.

The figures include food wasted before it arrives at Tesco, and food bought by its customers which is never consumed. Tesco estimates that “families are wasting an estimated £700 a year and we want to help them keep that money in their pockets, rather than throwing it in the bin”.

£700 represents about 50% of the average annual dual-fuel bill (gas and electricity) of £1,315 per household, so wasting less food could help a lot.

Tesco claims that 1 in 10 bananas purchased is thrown away, and also high in the customer wastage stakes is packaged salad (most likely because the bags are too big) and bread.

There are many ways to use up (or to avoid creating these left-overs in the first place):

  • overripe bananas can be made into muffins (or banana bread) and can be frozen so you don’t need to eat them all at once; also, if you have a robust liquidiser or food processor you can create some fruity ‘ice cream’ by combining ripe bananas, frozen fruit (use it straight from the freezer) and yogurt;
  • left-over bread ccould be made into croutons, breadcrumbs (dried in the oven, bread pudding or bread and butter pudding;
  • maybe bagged salad should be avoided – you can always shred a white cabbage (a section of white cabbage will last a long time in the fridge) and grate root vegetables. If you do want some green leaves then Lidl does small bags of (unwashed) wild rocket (I think it was 79p last week).

Of course, another way to reduce customer wastage is to stop doing multi-buy deals on perishable food (at Tesco these deals on large bags of salad have ceased) and to reduce the size of perishable food displays which Tesco is also doing.

I can’t help thinking there’s a conflict of interest here. If lowering customer food wastage leads to customers spending less at Tesco, and Tesco sales fall, this won’t be good (for Tesco).

Tunnock’s, or Lidl’s?

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Lidl have a new product: Caramel Wafer Bars. They look surprisingly like the real thing (that wonderful Scottish biscuit): the Tunnock’s Milk Chocolate Coated Caramel Wafer but  my husband says they are less sugary (I can’t tell as I’ve yet to do a blind tasting). As with most Lidl look-a-likes they are about half the price of the original.

I should imagine that selling clones could be challenged by the originator as ‘passing off’, but Lidl don’t seem to have a problem. Often when I go into Lidl and walk past the alcohol shelves I think that I’m back in some 1980s Spanish supermarket where they used to sell ‘counterfeit’ bottles of Gordon’s Gin barely distinguishable from the real thing). Lidl also has another look-a-like ‘Scottish’ product: ‘Iron Brew’ (label features man wearing a kilt), clearly a cheap version of Irn Bru.

Back to another Scottish Tunnock’s product (not cloned by Lidl): the Tunnock’s Teacake (unsurpassed by any other teacake as far as I’m concerned), here’s a bizarre story about exploding Tunnock’s Teacakes in a 1960s RAF V Bomber!