What an original title, I am very proud of myself.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details, but I used to be a massive food snob – until University I never even particularly considered shopping at ASDA with Tesco and Sainsbury’s being my supermarkets of choice. However, with one of my best friends now being fabulously important at Aldi, and my parents, grandparents and friends extolling the virtues of Lidl at every opportunity, I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, it’s a massive supermarket in walking distance of the new flat.
I have never, ever, had a more interesting shopping experience. The range of vegetables, spices and meats on offer was extraordinary. James and I believed that we would have to be almost vegetarian to be able to stick to our tight budget, but lo and behold, we bought chicken, steak, pork loin medallions, mince, salmon and smoked haddock – all for under 10 pounds. Sweet potatoes, marrow, salad, chillies – and they’re all British grown, so environmentally we’re being more responsible! Fabulous!
I even bought a mint plant to accompany the basil that’s already growing on my kitchen windowsill. Definitely building up a herb garden on the balcony – so much cheaper than constantly buying packs of dried herbs. I also thoroughly recommend placing fresh herbs in ice cube trays and filling them with olive oil before freezing. This makes handy single portions of flavoured oil. Clever, huh?
So, in terms of getting the most for your money, I couldn’t recommend Lidl highly enough. I wanted to pickle some runner beans this weekend, and I managed to buy a pint of vinegar at Lidl for 23p. That’s how to work to a budget – none of this bogof nonsense where you save about 6 pence and feel like you’ve done really well and then everything you’ve bought goes off because you only really wanted one in the first place.
But I digress.
I want to tell you about my soup. It’s entirely vegan, and absolutely scrummy – plus I created 6 portions for about 2 pounds in the end.
First, I pan roasted some onions, whole garlic cloves and chillies in a tiny bit of olive oil.
Did you know you can freeze chillies? Neither did I (thank you Jamie Oliver) so I froze the chillies I didn’t use all of to use again in next week’s curries.
I then boiled some butternut squash, coconut, carrot, onion, lemongrass, ginger and chilli in vegetable stock. Then I added the pan roasted veg while I allowed it to cool before blending. Pan roasting the onion, garlic and chilli gives the soup a deeper flavour which is just delightful.
After blending, I added salt, pepper and cumin to taste. So good!
And I’ve seen all the ingredients I need in Lidl, so I’ll be making lots more, I can guarantee that. This is a must try recipe for anyone (vegan or not) who likes quick and simple food that tastes awesome – and I’m pretty sure everyone likes food that tastes good, because that’s sort of the point right? Apart from the fact that we need it to live, of course.
My soup’s going to be my lunch for the next week, and I’m really looking forward to it!
As I also mentioned, I pickled some runner beans this weekend, but as I had a bit of a cornflour incident and it takes a while to know if I’ve done it right, I might leave it a while before I tell you that recipe. For all I know it might taste awful, but I know that if I ever want to try it again I’ll find everything I need at Lidl.