I’m keen to support local suppliers and cut the miles food travels to my plate. However, I’m also keen not to blow my budget.
That’s why I’m delighted when East of England Co-op’s Sourced Locally fortnight comes round.
During Sourced Locally fortnight, which is on right now from 2 to 15 June, East of England Co-op runs promotions and offers on products from local companies.
Here’s how I stretched my shopping, when I swapped items in my basket for local alternatives, and made the most of food on offer!
Plus to share the Sourced Locally love, don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post! Win a bottle of the world’s best gin: Adnams Copper House Dry Gin, in a gift pack with a pair of glasses.
My eyes lit up when I saw the ‘Feast from the East’ offer, encouraging people to start their day with a Sourced Locally cooked breakfast.
For just a fiver, you can get the ingredients for a slap up fry up:
- 4 x Havensfield free range eggs, normally 89p
- 200g Taste of Suffolk back bacon, either smoked or unsmoked, normally £2.50
- 6 x Taste of Suffolk sausages, either pork and honey or pork and apple, normally £3.20
- 150g button mushrooms from Capel Mushrooms, normally £1.25
- 250g cherry tomatoes on the vine from Valley Grown Salads normally £1.05
Buying the exact same products individually would add up to almost twice as much, at £9.93 rather than £5. Even if I went for my ordinary cheaper versions, it would cost more than that.
Stretching the breakfast offer into many meals
The Feast from the East offer would indeed make a fine family breakfast.
But looking at the ingredients, I could actually stretch them into several budget meals for the four of us (2 adults, a 10-year-old and an 8 year-old), by buying some extra food and adding stuff from my storecupboard.
So instead of one breakfast at £1.25 a head, I could use each of the bacon, sausages and mushrooms as the basis for a separate meal. Stretched with less expensive ingredients from local suppliers, such as cheese, milk, veg and potatoes, I could make the offer go further.
With bacon and eggs, I could make quiche. Adding veg, I could make sausage goulash – and it turned out East of England Co-op sells peppers grown in Essex, not just flown in from far flung places likes Spain, South Africa or Chile!
I couldn’t resist another big bargain bag of Fairfields Farm potatoes, with 7.5kg for just £1.99, to eat boiled with the quiche and mashed with sausage stew, then provide roasties, wedges and jacket potatoes for future meals.
With all those spuds, plus the breakfast mushrooms and flour, milk, cheese and onions for the quiche, I could make a mushroom, cheese and potato bake.
If I bought lettuce and cucumber, I could use the cherry tomatoes for salad, to accompany the quiche and mushroom, cheese and potato bake. I could also use up a couple of carrots lurking in the bottom of the fridge for the sausage goulash.
I could even rustle up a pudding with the remains of the flour, eggs and milk, especially if I added local jam and strawberries.
My Sourced Locally Shopping list
Here’s what I bought to make the meals.
After snapping up bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes for £5, I added the food in the photograph above.
It includes a half price pot of local cream when buying local strawberries, and 15% off Marriage’s flour during Sourced Locally fortnight.
(From left to right, starting from the top)
Lodge Farm strawberries, 400g, £2.29
Wilkin & Son’s Tiptree raspberry conserve, 340g, £2.19
Marriage’s white plain flour, celebratory bag for East of England Co-op’s 150th birthday, 500g, on offer at 55p
Fairfields Farm potatoes, bargain 7.5g big sack, £1.99
English iceberg lettuce, yellow stickered and reduced to 35p
Marybelle double cream, 125g, reduced from 99p to 49p when bought with a punnet of local strawberries
Valley Grown Salads red and yellow peppers, £1.29
Hamish Johnston mature cheddar, 256g, £2.26 (wide range of cheese, but my kids are big cheddar fans)
Humdinger large red onions x 3, 99p
Valley Grown Salads cucumber, 69p
Marybelle semi-skimmed milk (forgotten in the fridge for the photo), 2 litres, £1.69
Discounts and vouchers
Snapping up food offers is only the start, if you can use membership cards and vouchers to save even more!
One of the reasons I like shopping at the Co-op is that you get 10% off your shopping with an NUS Extra card (and no, you don’t have to be a full-time student, you can get an NUS Extra card if you do certain e-courses online).
The food cost just under £20, but I also bought one of my husband’s favourite Sourced Locally products as a Fathers’ Day surprise (don’t tell him…*cough* Adnams Ghost Ship *cough*)
As I signed up for an East of England Co-op membership card, tipping over £20 meant I could use the ‘£2 off a £20 spend’ voucher on the back page of the free spring/summer Members Magazine.
There are also vouchers for 50p off fresh greengrocery and 50p off Sourced Locally products, all valid right through 7 October. Officially, you can’t use all three in the same transaction. However, you could potentially pay in 3 chunks, and use a voucher for each.
So with 10% off and £3 vouchers, I cut a fiver off my food shopping, down from £20 to £15.
Meals from our Sourced Locally shopping
Bacon quiche with minted potatoes and salad
I do like a good quiche, and it’s the kind of thing you can make in advance before friends come round.
To make pastry from the Marriage’s flour, I raided out stores for some butter and lard. I also used bit of oil when softening the onions, but otherwise it was all Sourced Locally ingredients. I normally do a budget version of quiche using milk, but this time I substituted in 50ml of the Marybelle double cream.
Very tasty with the bacon and cheese, and the Havensfield egg yolks were a glorious golden yellow. We ate the quiche with Valley Grown salad and boiled Fairfields Farm potatoes, tossed in a bit more butter and some mint from the garden.
Only trouble with quiche is that I keep coming for just a little slice, but we had enough for a meal for four plus two chunky portions left over for packed lunches.
I also snuck a sneaky pasty into the oven while the quiche was cooking, made using the leftover pastry, plus some of the onion and bacon filling, a sprinkle of cheese and chopped boiled potato, then brushed with milk. Not the most photogenic, but still tasty!
Total: 7 servings
Sausage and pepper goulash, eaten with mash
Sausage casserole is great comfort food, especially with a pile of mashed potato. I used a recipe for Hungarian Sausage Goulash from when we tried a Simply Cook box, but added less liquid and cooked it down so it was more a stew than a soup. I chucked in a couple of chopped carrots with the Sourced Locally onion, sausages and peppers, then added smoked paprika and carrraway seeds from the storecupboard, plus a bit of Bovril as I’d run out of beef stock cubes.I chose the Taste of Suffolk sausages with chunks of apple, as slightly sweeter for the kids.
Basically it made four portions, but my husband carried off the last of the goulash with a lot of mash for his packed lunch the next day.
Total: 5 servings
Mushroom, cheese and potato bake with salad
This was a new recipe for us, to make the most of the ingredients.
I sliced 900g of just-boiled potatoes, layered with a cheesy sauce (bit of flour and butter cooked together, whisk in 300ml milk, heat and stir till thick, chuck in 50g grated cheddar) mixed with a softened sliced onion and fried sliced mushrooms. If you have any rosemary, adding a few chopped leaves to the frying pan with the onion and mushrooms really lifts the flavour. Once I’d put a couple of potato then sauce layers in a glass dish, I sprinkled another 50g grated cheese on top and bunged it in the oven at 160 degrees fan for 25 minutes.
Originally I thought this would only go down well with adults, but turned out my mushroom-loving son was keen too. I gave my daughter a jacket potato with cheese instead, using the a local potato and the last of the cheese, and we all had some salad.
Due to general greed the bake served 3 of us for dinner, with one portion for a packed lunch the next day.
Total: 5 servings, including the jacket potato
Celebratory scones and strawberries
Our four year anniversary of moving to Suffolk fell during Sourced Locally fortnight. I decided to celebrate with some scones, given we had flour and milk available, and a last egg to brush over the top so they baked with a golden finish.
I raided our stores for butter, plus some baking powder to make the Marriages plain flour rise. The Tiptrees raspberry jam was fabulous on top of warm, buttered scones. We also shared out the Lodge Farm strawberries with the cream left from the quiche.
I did rely on some storecupboard staples that weren’t on my shopping list. Building up basic storecupboard ingredients can make a massive difference to cooking on budget, by adding extra flavour.
- salt and pepper
- vegetable oil for frying onions
- salad dressing ingredients (olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, seasoning)
- bit of Bovril as I’d run out beef stock cubes
- mint and rosemary leaves
- baking power, so the plain flour used for scones would rise
- Couple of carrots
- 40g lard for the quiche pastry (could use Trex as a vegetarian equivalent)
- 130g butter for pastry, scones and white sauce for bake, plus extra for buttering scones
- the most exotic items: half a teaspoon of carraway seeds and a tablespoon of smoked paprika for the sausage goulash
In the end, my Sourced Locally shopping cost £15 after discounts and money off vouchers.
By stretching the breakfast ingredients with other items from local suppliers, I was able to make 17 servings across main meals and packed lunches, plus the celebratory scones with strawberries and cream.
Taking off £2.40 for the scones and strawberries, the food came out at 74p a serving, although we actually still have some milk, jam, potatoes and flour to use up. Even without the vouchers and NUS Extra discount, it would still only be £1 a serving.
Buying food from Sourced Locally suppliers doesn’t have to cost the earth – and tasted miles better!
Competition time – win gin!
East of England Co-op very kindly gave me vouchers to try Sourced Locally products, but I’d like to share the benefits of local suppliers with Much More With Less readers too.
How would you like to win some of the world’s best gin?
Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a gift pack containing a bottle of Adnams Copper House Dry Gin and a pair of Copper House Distillery glasses. This gin is the real deal – multi-award winning, including the trophy for ‘World’s Best Gin’ at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2013.
Just click on the Gleam link to find all the ways to enter:
This is a collaborative post. Please drink responsibly, whether you win the gin or not!
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