Follow my blog with Bloglovin Home of the Kimonii: What Hanibal Lecter can teach us about saving money....

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

What Hanibal Lecter can teach us about saving money....

This may seem like a bizarre roll model, but bear with me and be assured, no cannibalism is involved.
Just to keep you updated, here at Kimonii towers we are feeling the pinch and have decided to try and pay off the credit card bill from our wedding two years ago, in six months instead of slowly over the next three years. It will be hard as we're not exactly flush at the best of times, but we're both determined to get by on the minimum, and find nearly £1000 a month out of a wage packet which is not usually more than £2500 a month.
With that in mind, I turn to the observations of the far from good doctor - what we envy is not what is out of reach, but what is around us all the time. Okay, he was talking about a man lusting after human skin, but let's not sweat the details - it works for life in general and applying it to our situation has been the basis of my plan thus far, point one of which is :

Don't go shopping, unless you really have to.

Sounds obvious? But it works - because supermarkets and the like spend millions of pounds every year trying to make you buy more items than you wanted and more expensive items than you wanted. From making sure that the lower priced items are lower down and so out of sight (out of mind) to offering us special offers which aren't actually that special (branded good which are still more expensive than value range alternatives) they want you to spend money. No matter how clever you think you are, you won't be able to resist and when like me, you're trying to live on £200 a month for all your shopping, then even a £5 over spend is going to throw you off balance.

So - I've ordered £91 pounds of smart priced food and goods from Asda to be delivered and will try not to go there during the whole of January. The rest, fresh fruit and veg, will be bought from the twice weekly market which goes out of its way to be less than appealing, although they do call you 'mate' when they get to know you which is quite endearing. Clearly this is a false hope, already I have to go there to get ham as we're yet to work out a cheaper lunch for himself than sandwiches without buying a thermos flask, which would push us over budget, and I forgot ham - but we'll see.

As I do not need to eat sandwiches, today's recipe is for a red pepper soup with paprika croutons, which I've costed out as well for you - it was supper and will be my and daughter's lunch.

Red Pepper soup

1 red onion - £1 for a bag of approx 12, so we're going to call that 8.3 p
2 tea spoons of dripping - yes, I have collected dripping from the Christmas turkey, but it works as a frying agent, adds flavour, and costs nothing.
4 red peppers - these were bought before austerity times so were the pointed variety, but the ends were a little soft - no matter, chop then off and throw them in but be have to say £2
1 orange pepper - this was from a £1 market bowl, so cost 20p
250 grams smart price carrots - these are 99p per kg, so we'll call that 25p
1 tin of tomatoes - these are the ktc brand carried by Asda, and if you buy 4, 25 p each.
125 grams of basmati white rice - this is 1.80 per kg, so another 20 p

(I use rice to thicken the soup, it makes it more filling and should mean you don't need lots of bread to fill you up with it.)

smoked paprika, salt and pepper - shall we say 5p for these?

total £303 (Had I used a £1 bowl of market peppers, this would be reduced to £203)


200 grams or so stale bread, cut into thick slices.
dripping, salt, pepper and paprika - so shall we say this is £1?

 Slice up all your vegetables, start by frying the onion in the dripping and when it starts to colour, add the other veg and a tea spoon of paprika. Fry for about 5 mins until everything starts to soften, then add your tin of tomatoes and three or four tins worth of water. Add the rice and stir well.
Bring to the boil and simmer for twenty mins until the rice looks swollen, then leave to cool. Either with a hand blender or a food processor, blend the soup until smooth and bring back to the boil. Test and add salt and pepper to taste.

For the croutons, cut the bread into cubes approx 1.5 cm size ( large dice would give you an idea) Heat the dripping in a large frying pan until it's very hot, and then fry the bread turning it about with a spatula until it's golden brown and toasty looking, a few burnt bits is find, and season with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and paprika.

tip - croutons can be used to replace a packet crisps - use up the ends of your bread and try different flavours - rosemary and garlic (fry a crushed garlic cloves in the fat first to flavour it) Lemon zest and black pepper - curry powder or cumin seeds and so on.

It made four generous servings, so that's dinner for £1 a head, and three portions of your fruit and veg for the day.

* tip - if you buy super market chilled soup, which costs around £1.50 for one portion btw - save the plastic containers with their lids and use them to freeze your own home made soup. Take one out every night, then you've got homemade soup to heat up the next day - take it to work still frozen and zap it in the microwave - and it's low calorie too!*

Next time on my blog - the eternal quandary,  which is cheaper, a cheese and bacon scone or a ham sandwich and utility bread - is my oat loaf going to be cheaper than my regular bread? (And how to make both, a long with more cut price tips)

The plot, and the soup, thickens........

Final tip - keep powdered milk in the coffee cupboard - if you run our of milk use that rather than run to the late night store and be tempted by chocolate and biscuits. You can also use it made up in cheese and white sauces, to make milk bread and puddings, you really won't taste the difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment