Posts tagged ‘Abel & Cole’

December 10, 2013

A Month without Supermarkets: end of month review.

Well, our first month without supermarkets is over and generally speaking it was a great success.

We have loved getting our weekly food delivery from Abel and Cole. We’ve really enjoyed searching out alternative suppliers, local specialists and great independent shops close to home, including the local butcher, bakers, and cheese shop. We’ve had lots of successes. And we’ve had a fair few failures – needing milk when the only shop open is Tesco (grr) is a notable one. However, let us not use our plans as a stick to beat ourselves with.

We’ve decided that this is how we want to live forever; to reduce our reliance on the supermarket as much as possible, but to not get over-anguished about those times when we have little choice. Which is usually, as I mentioned in a previous post, down to a lack of planning.  We’ve also changed the way we buy our food slightly from Abel and Cole, so we plan our weekly menu beforehand so we know what will be coming in the delivery, what we will cook with it and when. This might sound pretty regimented,  but actually, creates a lot more simplicity on a day-to-day basis and means for much less food waste.

Now we’ve got into something of a routine when it comes to food, and made our main decisions about where we buy our food from, the next thing we really want to tackle is the amount of waste and rubbish we create. As I said, planning a weekly menu ahead makes for less food waste, but also we’re looking at packaging too. Recycling is obviously one way to deal with packaging waste, but it shouldn’t be the first ‘r’ in waste reduction. Reducing the amount of packaging we bring into the house in the first place should come before that.

So, that’s our next step. We’ve bought a bokashi system to help us deal with the food waste and we’re looking at ways to reduce packaging and rubbish.

I’ll share our progress with you in a further post – but if you have any tips to share, please add them in the comments!

October 13, 2011

Back into the kitchen…

Now I’ve got a few  larger challenges under my belt, I decided to scale things down a bit and returned to the kitchen for the next one. I’ve made creme bruleé and macaron on the challenge already, but it was time for something savoury. Something that I’ve never cooked before, obviously. Cheese soufflé.

In fact, I’d never even eaten any kind of soufflé for that matter but the point of the exercise was firstly to see if I could make it rise like it should and then eat it!

So, having made this decision, I turned to the cook I always turn to in times of crisis:


This isn’t to say that she’s my favourite food writer. That title belongs now and always to Nigel Slater. His writing is wonderful and his books are exquisite. I generally have one of them by my bedside and I try to keep them in good condition, especially the two volumes making up ‘Tender’, which are my favourite cookbooks of all time. Having said that, some of my older Nigel Slater books are stuck up with splatters from cooking, which is a good sign – one that it’s been well-used. My rather ridiculous cook book collection also contains Simon Hopkinson, Sarah Raven, Elisa Beynon, Nigella Lawson, Elizabeth David, Julia Child and many more…I could spend a fortune on cook books and have only just got into the habit of getting books out of the library otherwise the house would be over-run with them. There’s something wonderfully comforting about reading a cookbook, even if you only ever make beans on toast.

Anyway, the simple truth about Delia Smith though, is that there is no-one better at teaching you the basics. The ones that you would already know if you’d actually listened to what your mother was trying to teach you when you were younger. So, although my mother is the reason I can make a cake without needing a recipe book, make béchamel sauce from scratch and whip up a decent pancake batter (thanks Mum!) when there are things of this kind that I don’t know, Delia provides the information.

‘Delia’s Complete Cookery Course’, bought from a charity shop for 50p, is the source of all this information, and is probably my best charity shop buy ever. So, on Sunday, using some amazing Wyfe of Bath cheese, bought especially from Abel and Cole for the purpose of this challenge, I made four cheese soufflés. I used my second best ever charity shop bargain, Le Creuset ceramic dishes (50p for four!) to cook them in.

And here they are!

My first souffle

They rose wonderfully and tasted really good too – in fact, we ate all four of them standing by the oven in the kitchen…