Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

All About Food

A brand-new topic for this blog and for which, I think I’m going to add an additional category to the already-long list of titles that attempt to define my sporadic range of content.

My first Bible… Maybe.

Inspired by a recent book purchase and with the intention of basically learning to cook (at least a bit), I thought it might be good to start by taking a long old look at what I currently eat. Beginning with a review of the contents from last week’s grocery shop.

Two bags full. Every week.

As I mentioned over the weekend; I spend on average somewhere between £20-25 a week on food and household cleaning essentials. This is already down a few pounds from what I used to spend previously (feeding a dog and buying treats for the family… Wait, shouldn’t that be the other way around?!) but if I can save more buying preparing my own meals and create a reasonable diet at the same time then I’m willing to give this a go.

With toasting waffles for weekend breakfast!

First of all, you should know that I like bread and, being a walker (at least, that’s my excuse), I have a strong preference for eating sandwiches. I make them every single day, regardless of what I have planned. I honestly couldn’t imagine a day without them, let alone survive.

(I already had butter in stock.)

These are my other ‘sandwich-making essentials’ and companions, although I only eat crisps on a weekend. But if this seems strange to you, please take a look at where I store it:

Yes, I keep bread in the fridge. But I don’t like cold bread.

You’re probably aware of the usual supermarket situation down the bread aisle… You check the ‘best before’ date and it’s only 3 days away. You can spend time sifting through to the back of the shelf but the chances are that someone else has already been there (probably that same woman who picks individual from complete hands, leaving the smaller fruits for the rest of us!). If you’re feeding a family with a yearning for yeast then that’s probably okay, as a loaf could well be consumed within that time. But as a single person, I find my loafs will last an entire week. Along with enough rolls too cover me for the next seven-days, I like to help prolong their life by keeping them cool.

I spy secret biscuits…!

But if I’m to start buying and eating more vegetables then, I’ll need to reclaim that space beneath the bottom shelf. I don’t really have the worktop space for a dedicated bread bin so, would my lunch survive a stint in a sagging wall cupboard?

There’s little worse than runny chocolate, believe me!

That’s enough talk about bread. But I also like to keep my chocolate bars cool and refreshed. I don’t often eat eggs and I’m not sure what else would be stored in that top compartment anyway.

A meal I enjoyed last week.

It’s only a small fridge and with that, I have a compact freezer compartment. I can promise you it never gets filled with ready-meals but as there’s rarely one item in there at any given time, there’s storage potential for other frozen things. I try not to buy any frozen meals. I often find myself a bit ‘desperate’ for food on at least one day so there’s a chance that I’ll pick something up if it’s on sale cheaply.

Three-days’ worth of dinner.

My meals have become rather monotonous, as most weeks end up being very similar. Pasta, noodles and soup… They’re all quick and easy but I’m still a couple of days short.

As I learned recently… Pasta Bake is NOT the same as pasta sauce!!

If we were to take this week’s menu as a typical example, it would appear like this:

Monday – Pasta with a sauce
Tuesday – Soup
Wednesday – Noodles
Thursday – Pizza
Friday – Meat and potato pie – probably with baked beans.
Saturday – take-away (or sometimes, an evening out)
Sunday – …I tend to skip Sundays as I tend to go out walking and make my sandwiches last the day.

When I first lived alone, I used to ear microwaved burgers and all sorts but I’m fully aware of all the sugar and fat risks with those meals that might at least look good.

[Image taken from teleshop24.co.uk]

Within the next couple of weeks, I intend to buy a halogen oven, after recommendation from someone who commented on a recent YouTube video of mine. If I can let go of my microwave at the same time then it also reduces that temptation for ‘cheap and easy’ eating.

I guess my diet looks quite unhealthy, or at least high in carbohydrates, as someone once told me. My lunches include two portions of fruit, every single day, in addition to the lettuce between my bread. So, there’s room for two more, if I’m to follow generally recommended advice.

Eat the pudding Eat the pudding Eat the pudding Eat the pudding

I’m used to eating desert maybe twice a week. Over the last few years, it has been known for me to dine on pudding alone in a single evening, which I know is far from ideal and certainly doesn’t fill me up. But equally, I’ve skipped meals on many nights, simply because I’ve felt as though I don’t ‘need’ to eat and that’s something that’s always interested me… How many meals do we consume simply because we’re being told to eat and when that voice doesn’t come from inside of us?

Every evening, after work or a walk, I like more than a couple of biscuits with my cup of tea! This is the first time I’ve bought muffins since I’ve been on my own… They were reduced in price and, well, I was feeling very peckish!

My tea cupboard. Everyone asks me for coffee but I never have it, as I don’t drink the stuff. I also live on orange squash because it’s ‘more economical’ than juice.

Last week, in the supermarket, I contemplated adding some ‘new’ vegetables to my trolley during my second visit up that aisle (I hate standing in a busy queue, waiting for people to hurry up and scan their goods). But it hit me that I didn’t know exactly what to get, or how much. I’m aware from past experience that jacket potatoes don’t last very long and I wasn’t sure about carrots, mushrooms, onions or anything else! I think I need to select one meal from my new book and aim for that first. One meal a week should be enough to get me going. Anything more than that and I’ll probably feel pressured and overwhelmed in to a state of procrastination and avoidance… Plus, I’ll start swearing like Gordon Ramsey!!

Mmmmm… Last Wednesday night!

So, that was my most satisfying meal from last week; two meat and potato pieces with a tin of baked beans! Honestly, the pies were very good and I have two more to tide me over later this week.

Oh yes, and my other essentials from last week… Some are non-edible!

My aim from here is that, about two weeks from now, I’ll be able to report back having consumed a different delicious dish… With the main difference being, it is something I have prepared myself! 😉

Thanks for reading and… Happy eating!!

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4 responses to “All About Food

  1. Peter Freitag 22/01/2014 at 01:01

    Hi Olly,
    it’s hard to find a way to make food for a single person fresh on a reasonable price.
    First of all, cooking for one person takes as long as cooking for a whole family.
    I am living on my own for five years now, after 15 years of marriage. The first year has been horrible. Living on fast-food isn’t all the best (especially it isn’t fast at all, only the hunger comes back fast and your weight gains fast). I discovered the Turkish cuisine as an alternative for me. I love cigara börek http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%B6rek I prepare about 20 to 30 of those at once. 5 will make a meal, so I put the rest into my freezer (if there are any left, as I said, I love them), with plain yoghurt an a fresh salad it makes a fast but full meal. On the other hand there is chilly or any type of stew (I hope this is the right word explaining a dish prepared in one pot). You can make a lot at once, put the rest into the freezer.
    Buying ingredients in larger quantities saves in the end.
    Sandwiches are great, as long as you put some fresh salad onto them. If you take them away from home, get the tomato or the cucumber separate as the water will soak into the bread, I don’t really like the idea of wishy-washy sandwiches.
    These are just a few suggestions how I manage my single food management.

    Greetings from Good Old Germany
    Peter

    PS: don’t spend money on WW-Food, as it serves as a desert, once or twice a week, a little “sin” is allowed (looking at the cost of these you can buy twice as much no-name) and rice-pudding is the easiest and cheapest self made: get the milk to boil, put the rice into the milk, wrap the pot into a blanket and set it aside. After half an hour the rice is ready, add some fresh or canned fruits (I love mine with sugar and cinnamon) and you’ll never buy the caned stuff again.

    • Olly Parry-Jones 23/01/2014 at 18:07

      Hi Peter! It’s good to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Okay. I haven’t tried Turkish but I know I’m not a fan of Greek. I do seem to like Asian food (Chinese and Japanese – soon to try Thai) but I like the idea of making a batch of meals for the future.

      Oh, don’t worry. I only bought that desert as it was on sale for £1 and I thought it might be nice… It wasn’t bad. I LOVE rice pudding and do also tend to buy own-brand products from the supermarket (Ambrosia were on special offer last week but one tin was more liquid than rice). Their own brand is currently 50p a tin. A few years ago, it was as low as 13p!! I’ve not tried making my own but it sounds interesting and very easy. I like brown sugar with mine but I’m keen to try other things.

      This week, I bought two sponge and syrup puddings for nearly £2. I like these but I’m going to stop buying them as I try to spend no more than £1 per single item when I’m shopping. I probably could make my own! I also bought cheap custard to go with them but I usually drown them in rice pudding! 😉

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I intend to do a follow-up post at some point.

  2. Damien 22/01/2014 at 21:56

    Continuing what already is, investing in a bread knife? It allows to cut fresher slices of better bread, maybe to replace sandwiches with thicker slices. I have a bread machine (a secondhand panasonic), it paid itself back in four months. The other advantage of a bread knife is that it is a daily exercise in sawing (gents saw or Japanese saw).

    • Olly Parry-Jones 23/01/2014 at 18:09

      Oh, I already have a bread knife! 😉 But I’ve not tried slicing (the true test of craftsmanship) or making my own bread. I suppose that is the next step. 🙂

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