Friday, 16 May 2008

My final verdict on the veg box

Well, in the end I made it. Just over a week after picking up my box I used the last vegetables. Apart from a few potatoes which should keep for another few days.

This is the soup I made from the last scrubby remains - and they really were quite scrubby

I can't say it was easy. It took a lot of time and thought. I certainly spent more time in the kitchen than I would otherwise have done.

It didn't provide all the veg I needed. Well, fair enough in a way - it's a difficult season for growers stuck with the tail end of winter and not yet into spring. They weren't to know we would have a sudden heatwave. But it was galling to be eating cabbage when I yearned to eat asparagus. And infuriating not to have any onions.

It wasn't expensive, granted but I could certainly have spent less shopping at my local greengrocer. As it was I still dropped in for fruit and fresh herbs. But - a plus - I did spend less on meat and we certainly ate our 5 a day.

More than anything I think it's a question of the way you like to shop and cook. I like to see what's in the shops then make that a starting point for the next couple of days' eating. Usually, I admit, that process starts with meat so I find it restrictive to have to think how I'm going to use up some rather uninspiring veg instead (it wasn't a particularly good box). If I hadn't worked really hard at it and been determined not to chuck anything out I think I'd have been left with half the contents still on my hands.

Maybe you just have to get into the veg box habit? Or is it easier if you're a veggie? If you've been having one for years do tell me how it works for you. But I'm off to the farmers' market tomorrow!


Jeannie said...

Hello Fiona, I'm enjoying your blog which i've been reading since seeing it mentioned in the Timesonline (I don't buy newspapers anymore!)

As a single mum with two growing girls, I am always looking for cheap food tips so I've been looking through your blog for inspiration.

For our lunch today we are having pasta with passata and some leftover salad from the fridge; for our evening meal it will be baked potatoes with cheese or beans or, if we're lucky, both. I've also dug out a banana and walnut bread recipe to use up the soft bananas in the fruit bowl and the remains of a bag of walnuts.

I might be getting the hang of this!

Career Misfit said...

Hello jeannie, I too encountered Fiona's blog after its mention on the Times webpage a little while back, during a surreptitious bit of web-browsing at work.

I think the key to frugal cookery - and my word don't we all need to know a bit of it with prices how they're heading at the moment - is to make the best use of what you've got in and, where possible, to plan meals ahead of time. We've been doing that as part of a New Year's resolution to stop paying for food we don't use, and we must have almost halved our weekly shopping bill as a result. Learning how to make one-pot meals with cheaply-acquired local meat and veg has been an absolute revelation this year, even if most of our recipes aren't very flash; my favourite so far has been potatoes chipped, tossed in olive oil and roasted in the oven with garlic, rosemary and, for the last three minutes, eggs. Delicious, and saves on washing up, too!

Fiona Beckett said...

Hi, Jeannie and good to hear from you. Great idea about using up the bananas in a banana and walnut bread - good for kids' lunchboxes too.

It is totally a question of changing the way you think about food. A bit like dieting, I always think. Once you get into frugal rather than wasteful habits as Career Misfit points out, it really isn't too hard.

Like the riff on egg and chips, btw Career Misfit!