Monday, 15 October 2012

The horror, the horror

And on the conveyor belt tonight...

It's not an edifying sight is it? There are three sardine fillets marked down at 8p. Not that I'm not partial to a sardine fillet, fried up in butter with saute spuds, but they do repeat summat terrible and are best cooked in the open on a camping stove in the Cornish sun, straight off the boat, not several weeks old stinking the washing out in the kitchen on a damp October night.
There are some Tesco Everyday Value sausage rolls, which, to be honest I wouldn't feed to the cat, so I don't even bother to check the price out. Oh well, you can't win everytime. 
Off to Tesco's bakery dept for a small loaf, and a quick scout of the salad bar.
 Nope, nuffink there. 
The Hot Chicken Bar ( which is an invitation to a gippy tum at the best of times) is similarly denuded. 
Mrs Ixion tells me there are two cans of reduced Tetley Bitter in the booze aisle, but man cannot live on gassy corporate fake real ale alone. He's got to have chips, at least.
But even there my luck is out. All the potato product available is Potato Waffles.
Time for the second pass. Oh yes, result. Two cod fillets in spiced breadcrumbs, 60p. 
That'll do. 
The sardine fillets are still there.

I pick up another bargain, of which more anon, and scamper off to the stationary aisle with my prize.  where my good lady is trying out the Gel pens. oh it's a laugh a minute round our way. I find a small loaf and decide to go for a rare third pass. O! let joy be unconfined!
Cheddar and bacon potato skins, with dip. Another 60p.
 Now to be honest, paying 60p for three spuds and a bit of mayo is a bit over the top. And anyway another bargain hunter picks them up as I make to swoop, which is a bit out of order as they've been there for ages and she's been blocking the fridge with her trolley, but she rejects them, and I seize them like a kestrel on a vole.

Mrs Ixion decides against the fish, having had birthday buffet earlier at a work chums, so I get two plump cod fillets reduced from three quid and three of the potato skins, also 60p - these were also three quid originally. What sort of person pays three pounds for three potatoes?

Dinner for two for £1.20. I am replete

Friday, 5 October 2012

None more black

So here's how the idea for this started. It's a fairly damp Wednesday, we've both been working flat out for three days, haven't had a chance to go to the shop and things are not looking good.
On the dinner front, anyway.
The fridge contains the remains of a week-old Chinese meal for two, a tube of tomato puree, a bit of cheddar and some mushrooms that are on their way out.

And I've run out of Indian Tonic Water, and that's very serious indeed.

So I take to my trusty GT Transeo 4.0 and head for Morrisons, having asserted from the current Mrs Ixion that she's: "not really hungry."
Up the High Street in light drizzle and into Morrison's.

Now you've got to get your timing bang on with Morrisons - theres usually a window of opportunity  in the cook chill reduced to clear section that opens at about 7.45pm. That's when the real bargains go out - theres never anything on a Monday, little on a Tuesday, so prime time is Wednesday or Thursday. But I'm a bit late tonight, rocking up at ten past eight and not really expecting much. Which is just as well as the fridge is a bit naff tonight - some double cream, a carton of chicken and sweetcorn soup, couple of yogurts. I do manage to score 100 grammes of Pastrami for 19p, and abit of Quiche Lorraine for 10p but it looks like I'm out of luck on the tea front.
Check the fish fridge, but theres only a couple of scallops and some salmon, and that's only gone down about 10 per cent. Meat counter's not much better - lots of mince and venison grill steaks, but the vultures have been there before me - this stuff still has a days shelf life and tonight's bargains are long gone.

I grab a pizza for a quid, but that's not really a proper score as they're on special offer. I remembered seeing some french sticks by the door, but what could I do with a French stick?

But now it's time for the all important Second Pass.

Back to the RTC fridge. Et Voila! while I've been gone on the other side of the store, four packs of The Black Farmer gourmet sausages have appeared at 29p a pack- that's a 90 per cent discount! now I could have snaffled all four, but there are rules of Karma involved, so I leave two packs behind for another hunter-gatherer - a decision I am grateful for some two days later.
Back to the door, two mini baguettes for 10p, total expenditure on tonight's tea will be 39p, and there's a spare packet of sausages for Sunday's toad in the hole.

The main ingredients for not one but TWO meals for 68p. That's a win in any ones book.

The sausages, grilled to perfection on a low heat, are delicious - plump, meaty and with next to no fat on them. Almost worth their £2.75 list price for six and, stuffed into two french sticks and slathered in barbecue sauce - because I can't find the ketchup - they fill that Wednesday night hole beautifully.

The pastrami is a bit of a let down - it all sticks together, and has to be broken up to serve it.

But nothing can beat the glow of dinner for two for 39p.


How can a poor man stand such times and live?

Times' is hard, whimpers the media. The masses are struggling.

And yes they are, lots of people are poor. Not dirt poor like Okies in a duststorm, or starving like Ukrainian peasants during Stalin's famine, but there sure are a lot of belts being tightened.
Of course, some of us have always been skint. I never really recovered from the 1980's, to be honest. The early 90's were no picnic, and everything got a bit wobbly when the bubble crashed as well, when was that again?
This one's been going on for a while, mind, and its not getting any easier.
Fortunately, as I've always been skint I have developed a very particular set of skills.

Skills that involve hanging round the reduced to clear fridge at supermarkets, and blagging the best bargains.
Creating a meal for less than a quid is something that satisfies my soul.
It's about avoiding the sharp pointed umbrellas of the more feral pensioner, and accepting your lot when those chicken breasts at £1.12 are snatched just as your fingers are about to seize polystyrene trayed victory. Making sure you always keep a space in the freezer for that unmissable bargain.

So here it is. Reduced To Clear Bingo.
Seeing out the latest hard times with a full stomach using the money you find down the back of the sofa.

To Battle!