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Feed your family - or fellow students - for a fiver

publication date: Apr 1, 2008
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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I finally got my hands on some of Jamie Oliver's recipe cards for Sainsbury's new ‘Feed Your Family for a Fiver’ campaign but they’re not as helpful as I’d hoped. I don’t like to knock Jamie, whose heart, I’m sure, is in the right place but Sainsbury’s - like all supermarkets - never loses an opportunity to make a few bob.

What’s odd about the recipes is that they’re not consistent. Sometimes they suggest using loose produce (always cheaper), sometimes not. Sometimes they recommend a product from their ‘basics’ range like tinned tomatoes. In another recipe they’ll suggest a premium version of it. Sometimes they assume you have storecupboard ingredients like oregano. In another recipe they recommend a product that implies you don’t have any seasoning.

The only explanation can be that someone was given the brief that the recipes must come to pretty well exactly a fiver - no more, no less. Which means Sainsbury’s (obviously) doesn’t point out if it could be done cheaper. However I can, so here are the changes I would make:

Spicy Chilli
Mushrooms would be cheaper bought loose. It would also be cheaper in the long term to buy a jar of mild chilli seasoning and buy ordinary unflavoured red kidney beans. You can buy 3 tins for a £1 compared to 60p for 1 can of the recommended red beans in chilli sauce.

Homemade Beefy Burgers
Again you should be able to save a bit if you buy your potatoes loose. The beef could also do with a bit of seasoning. Salt and pepper would fix it.

Why are standard chopped tomatoes suggested at 88p for 2 tins when you could use the basics range at 21p a tin? Also I doubt if you’d get 40 meatballs out of 500g of mince. Twenty is more like it.

Savoury Sausage Bake
Seems an unnecessary extravagance using the premium Taste the Difference range sausages at £2.08 for 400g.You could Sainsbury’s perfectly decent mid-range Butcher’s Choice sausages which only cost £1.64 for 454g. You could also save a bit on broccoli if you bought it loose. A head of broccoli - as recommended in the recipe below - is 42p. A bag is 79p. And again the recipe suggests using flavoured tinned tomatoes with basil and oregano for 47p. If you use the basics range (21p) and some oregano (which Sainsbury’s assumes you have in another recipe) you could save yourself quite a bit. Nice recipe though.

Chunky tuna cakes
Since you’re making mash you don’t really need to buy potatoes by the packet. It would be cheaper to buy them loose. Ditto the carrots which are there as an accompanying veg. You don’t need a kilo for four if you’ve got broccoli as well. 400g would do it. (Again a bit of seasoning - pepper and a bit of grated lemon rind if you have a lemon - would help this recipe)

And finally just remember that, as with all supermarkets, you pay for all these promoted items somewhere else in store. I spotted the in-season vegetable of the moment purple sprouting broccoli for £9.95 a kilo further down the fresh produce section. In my local greengrocer it costs just £1.25 a lb (equivalent to £2.81 a kilo), less than a third the price.

‘Nuff said.


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