Day 22 – Postcards from the Edge

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Outside of Camden 99p store

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London streets are so clean….

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Soon to come – photos of the goings on of the pound shop from the inside Ooooooo

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Day 21 – Dumpster Diving

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It was my brother, Chris who set me this pound shop challenge. And it is my brother Chris who is already plotting the next bet. This time he wants me to become a freegan. ‘What’s a freegan?’, I hear you cry. For those who don’t know here’s the blurb from Wiki:

Freeganism is an anti-consumerism lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on “limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.

Yes, basically you root around in bins looking for food.

There are many restaurants, supermarkets and cafes that throw away their goods because they have expired when the food is still edible. In a world where others are struggling to find food to eat, this really is a disgusting thought. I have heard of schemes in Italy that organise ways of talking the expired food to homeless shelters and places of need. Here it is illegal, as far as I understand, to give away food that is past its sell-by-date. So they have to chuck it away. And this is where the freegans step in, to prove what a wasteful society we are.

So I’m considering this bet….but not until Christmas is over. I want my not-very-likely-to-be-found-in-a-bin roast goose first….

Day 20 – Pound shop risotto

 My Italian Grandfather would be turning in his grave…

Normally, arborio or carnaroli rice would be used to make risotto. This is because both rices are high in starch which is gradually released as you slowly cook the rice giving it a nice creamy texture.

Well I tried it for this blog and can report that ordinary rice can make a pretty ok risotto. I treated the rice (I used American long grain rice) as I would an Italian rice, that is to say I first softened some onions in unsalted butter then added the rice and stir-fried it for a couple of minutes. Then, chicken stock at the ready, I ladled in one spoonful of stock at a time, letting each be absorbed by the rice before adding another. You do repeat this until all the stock is used which normally would take about 20-30 minutes but with the non-risotto rice I used it seemed to use much much more stock and take a lot longer for the rice to lose its crunchiness. Some point halfway through cooking I would add my flavour – for this some tinned asparagus, the nearest I could get to a vegetable.

The result is not quite risotto but not a bad imitation at all. Sorry Nonno.

Day 19 – Ode to a vegetable

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Oh carrot when raw you’re a tasty treat

In the form of a cake you’re hard to beat

At the end of a stick you’re such a tease

Grated in salad you’re so quick to please

And as a juice you’re pretty drink-able

Smothered in butter you’re equally sink-able

But as a hair colour you’re pretty unthinkable

Because no-one wants to be ginger.

Day 18 – I need your brain

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My imagination has run dry. I need your suggestions for recipes using only ingredients from the pound shop (list below).

You suggest it. I’ll create it. Maybe. And if you’re really unlucky I’ll make you taste it.

  • honey
  • tinned tomatoes
  • rice
  • potatoes
  • onions
  • chocolate of every variety you can imagine
  • muffin mix
  • lemon juice
  • tinned tuna
  • tinned crab
  • tinned ‘meat’
  • tinned sardines
  • tinned pink salmon
  • corned beef
  • white bread
  • olives
  • olive oil
  • dried chilli
  • garlic cloves in oil
  • tracker bars
  • breakfast cereal
  • flour
  • sugar
  • tea
  • coffee
  • nuts – cashew, peanuts
  • crisps
  • croutons
  • chicken soup
  • baked beans
  • liquorice
  • candy floss
  • peanut butter
  • ready made pasta salad
  • mustard
  • dates
  • dried apricots
  • raisins
  • sweet and sour sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Curry sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • cranberry sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • peppers under oil
  • tinned white beans
  • tinned macaroni
  • chicken stock
  • beef stock
  • fray bentos pies
  • paella in a box
  • beef risotto in a box
  • beef curry in a box
  • jarred red cabbage
  • jarred white asparagus
  • gherkins
  • chicken cup-a-soup
  • tomato cup-a-soup

Day 17 – Waiter, there’s some dry shrimp in my paella

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And now all the way from sunny Spain, via King’s Lynn, comes paella in a box! That’s right folks everything for that authentic Spanish flavour in one handy box: dehydrated vegetables, dried shrimp and everyones favourite Monosodium Glutamate. Hear the castanets, watch the swirling skirts of the flamenco dancers as you lift a forkful of that tasty rice to your mouth. Oh can it get any better than this? No, no it can’t, for you dear friends are eating a Vesta paella meal for one. 

Day 16 – Corned Beef Hash

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People who are scared of flying go on specially organised flights to help cure their fear. Those scared of spiders go to the zoo to meet tarantulas. I decided to make a dish out of corned beef to get over my tinned meat phobia.

The dish I made is Corned Beef Hash, the kinda thing people used to eat on camping trips huddled under tents in the rain. It is not the most elegant looking dish but is great comfort food…

  • 1 tin of 340g corned beef
  • About 700g of potatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

How to cook:

Preheat oven to 200° C

Boil the potatoes and mash

Chop the onions and saute in a little oil till soft.  Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer till reduced – about 20 or 30 minutes

Break the corned beef into small pieces and add to mashed potato. Then add the tomato mixture to the potatoes.

Transfer the potatoey-beefy mix to a small baking dish then serve.

You could grate some chedder cheese on top and put in the oven till it creates a tasty crust.