Groceries – Day 02: Transformed rice, herbs and ginger

1 Mar
Budget carried over from previous days: 0
Content of pantry before shopping: 

- Perishable:

   1/3 onion (about 50 grams)
   250gr Passata

- Non-perishable:

   800 grams rice
   600 grams rice + 200 grams of rice ground into rice flour
   60 grams mash

Budget used: £ 0.88
Budget left: £ 0.12
Budget available for groceries on day 3: £ 1.12
The good news is that despite the mediocre food on day 1, I didn’t need to worry much about my 5-a-day for day 2 (or about any food in fact). First of all, because I had it mostly covered already; second, because friday is breakfast-at-the-office day, and it typically includes some fruit. Because of this, I focused on variation today. I spent all of 88p on groceries:And what a set of groceries it is. Just have a look at the sheer luxury of it. I’d have bought vinegar as well, but it was just 1p more than I could afford.

In the reduced section, I ran into two discounted pots of yogurt at 5p each – they’ll make for a dandy breakfast, dessert or even salad dressing. Both have a “use by” date of more than a week ahead so I don’t have to worry about eating them straight away.

Then there’s dried mixed Italian herbs. I expect to be eating a few pasta dishes this month to they’ll definitely come in handy. At 19p they cost nearly the price of a meal, and are therefore a “considerable investment” – but they’ll last for a while. Probably more than worth it.

Curry noodles – a bit lazy, but they’ll save me the rush of having to cook up a full lunch either tonight or tomorrow morning. One thing I like to do is to make a little “upgrade kit” which makes them a bit more interesting meal, and which allows me to vary. I might use that carrot as upgrade kit, or the leftover of onion, or both. There’s a little packet of a salty seasoning in each pack of noodles – salt! This allows me to postpone buying salt for at least another day. Ginger, a small piece. It’s only 20 grams and cost all of 4p. At the price per kilo you’d think it’s a regular vegetable. Anyhow, the price is small but the flavour is big – and 20 grams will do for at least 2 meals.

Finally, lard. Without some fat, it’s hard to prepare tasty food. The problem with dry-frying vegetables is that the heat doesn’t get distributed very well so you get very uneven cooking. Adding water to solve that doesn’t quite solve things either- water evaporates at 100°C, so you won’t get the food to get to that caramelization stage, the Maillard reaction, which takes place at around 150°C. Being high in saturates, lard is not the healthiest fat, and its flavour doesn’t make it the most suitable for sweet dishes either (compared to proper butter, anyway!) but it is the lowest-cost fat you can find. It will do for now and be a vast improvement over day 1. If I want to keep up at my 5 a day, by the end of tomorrow, I’ll be all out of vegetables, so I’ll probably stock up on those then.

For variety, my most wanted list now would contain vinegar, eggs, flour, mustard, salt, yeast. Flour I have partially solved by grinding up some rice- although I won’t be able to make bread with it. Still, by being careful for a bit longer, in a few days I should be able to open up a whole new world of possibilities.

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