Only a quick post tonight as we’re out shopping, so I’m reposting a particularly relevant part of the blog that I typed out a while back – seems perfect for budget week! Enjoy. The recipe could not be simpler, it’s just dressed spaghetti with fried eggs. Sounds dull, but really, the combinations of flavours combined with a runny yolk makes it almost like a meatless carbonara, and it’s worth giving it a go. Without further delay then…
Bulk buy the staples
Long time readers may remember The Cat Hotel – we cleared out our shed, fitted shelving and use it to store bulk purchases of anything that is either on a considerable discount or cheaper to buy in bulk. So to this end we always have masses and masses of Slimming World staples – chopped tomatoes, beans, pasta, spaghetti, chickpeas, tinned veg, stock cubes, salt, vinegar, sauces, rice. We generally buy these in bulk from Costco – to give you an example of savings here, you can pick up 24 tins of excellent quality chopped tomatoes for around £7, or 28p a tin. Yes, you can buy them cheaper in Tesco if you go down to the ‘Aren’t I a cheapskate’ range, but you’re getting red piss in a tin with a tomato crust. There would be more tomato flavour if you sucked the tomato on the tin wrapper. Bulk buying nearly always pays for itself in the end plus you’ve always got something in – many a time Paul and I will just have a tin of beans for dinner because we’re too busy illegally downloading TV shows and living the life of Riley. By the way, our cats don’t bother with it, and why would they? Yes it’s warm, safe and dry, but they’d much rather crap in my flowerbeds and track their muddy paws across our white tiles.
Cook twice, freeze once!
Most of our recipes can easily be doubled or halved – but if I say it serves four, then cook for four and freeze two portions – or serve three portions and take one for lunch the next day as we normally do. You’re cooking the meal anyway so it’s no hardship at all to freeze a bit up.
You can save money in these shops, but I don’t like them. I have tried, I swear I have. We went to an Aldi once and it was just too stressful – I don’t like a shop that puts garden shears next to petit pois tins and tumble drier balls next to the Daily Malk chocolate. I find it too confusing, with all the off-brand rip-offs and impossible layout – it’s like an Escher puzzle of abject poverty. Plus when you go to pay for your items the cashier throws them through the checkout like she’s going for gold for Great Britain’s curling team. I like small talk and chit-chat, not fucking carpet burns from a pack of floor wipes swishing past my hand at the speed of light. If you can deal with the above, all the very best to you, you’ll definitely save – but if not…
Don’t be afraid to scrabble in the bargain bin
Listen, I used to avoid the bargain bin like the best of them, but since I discovered that my local Tesco actually do decent meat reductions, I’ll happily get in there and elbow an old biddy in the face for £2 off a pork shoulder. You’ve got to be savvy though – get what you need, rather than what you think is a decent deal. If you weren’t going to buy that six pack of yoghurt reduced to 8p because the fork-lift ran over it and a fox shagged the strawberry crunch, it’s not a bargain. But the flipside of this is – don’t be one of those fucking awful people who grab items as soon as the poor supermarket worker has stuck the reduced sticker on it. Have a touch of class. Yes, you might have a trolley so full of reduced bread that you could use it to stop a raging river, but what price dignity? I’ve mentioned before that I’ve seen people actually fighting and nothing is worth that.
Get yourself a countdown
Clearly not a countdown as in the game-show for the piss-flow challenged, but rather where you bulk buy Slimming World entry costs and get 12 weeks for the cost of ten, plus if you time it right you’ll normally get given a free book that you can immediately
sell on ebay for further profit read and enjoy. Mind, this is good for two reasons – yes, you’ll save money, but if you’re as tight as a tick’s bumhole like I am, the idea of wasting already spent money will make you go to class! WIN WIN.
for dressed spaghetti with eggs, you’ll need (serves 6)…
- 500g of spaghetti – 500g is only 20p at Tesco, so go mad – you don’t need expensive spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil – 6 syns – £1.20 for 200ml so let’s say 6p for a tbsp
- 8 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced, not hard for a mincer like me – 30p at Tesco
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes – £1.99 in Tesco but they’ll last you an age, so I’m going to say 6p here
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, more for garnish if desired (£1.25 for a plant in Tesco, you use 10p worth, see my note below)
- juice of half a lemon (30p, 15p used)
- optional – use parmesan on the top (30g HEA for one person) (block I use is £4 a pop, but you don’t need to use it – I reckon around 40p used here)
- 4 tablespoons of the pasta water
- fried eggs dry-fried (2 eggs each, 12 eggs in total – £1.75)
- salt, naturally
to make dressed spaghetti with eggs, you should…
- cook the spaghetti in boiling water until cooked, then drain – keeping aside a small cup of the pasta water
- finely mince your garlic and sweat it down in the oil on a nice hot pan (save about a sixth to add later)
- cooked slowly, the garlic will golden nicely
- once the garlic is golden, add the chopped parsley, chilli flakes, pasta water and the lemon juice together with a pinch of salt and allow to mingle together like awkward teens at a disco
- mix it through the cooked spaghetti, adding a little extra water to loosen it
- whilst this is happening, cook your eggs – don’t let the yolk set, as you want to pop the yolk when the eggs are on top of your pasta!
- serve the pasta with eggs on top and parmesan if you fancy
Look, I know this looks bland, but the pasta is delicious and the eggs add a nice creaminess. Plus, it takes about fifteen minutes from looking at the freezer crying to getting it on the plate.
a note about herbs
Fresh herbs always, always taste better. You’re better off buying a couple of those living plants from the supermarket and looking after them – we’ve got a basil and a parsley plant in the kitchen on the windowsill that’s been going strong since May, despite Paul’s attempts to kill them with his toxic farts. We simply popped the plant, still inside its plantpot, inside an old loaf tin, which we top up with water every now and then. Easy! It takes the water it needs and keep you going for ages!
to gussy it up
- add bacon strips
- more cheese!
to cheapen the deal
- switch to Frylight (you’ll save syns too)
- one egg each rather than two