Editor’s note: This Friday Alex has turned chef….
Good day one and all. It’s beautifully sunny and cosily warm out there, for now, but let’s not bang-on about the weather this week. Instead, let’s turn our attentions back to Aldi – the glorious supermarket. But this time around I don’t wish to discuss their questionable organisation, health and safety and risk assessment procedures, simply the beauty of their prices!
Walking around with my trolley, imagining it to be a racing car, it’s obvious that most things are nicely cheap, or shall we say in the range of what we should be paying to eat for less. I’m both stubborn and loyal to good value, and poor, though I don’t live too close to an ASDA so I can’t identify individual product price match-ups for you. I can, however, guarantee you that most items in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and alike are more expensive for no discernible difference in quality, and so it is Aldi that holds the keys to unlock the doors to some of my favourite meals cook, eat and serve to friends and family.
One of those favourite meals of mine is lasagne! Yum, how we all love lasagne (if you don’t you’re mad). Here is the list of the ingredients and their prices you can acquire from Aldi, thusly what I use to make my delicious version of the meal:
- Premium beef mince 250g – £2.69
- Spring onions (dozen) – £0.69 (use 3 or 4)
- 3 bulbs of garlic – £0.79 (use around 4 gloves)
- Bag of carrots (up to 15) – £0.75 (use 2 medium sized carrots)
- Bolognese pasta sauce – £0.75 (can use cheaper chopped tomatoes)
- White lasagne sauce – £0.75 (actually cheaper and much less messy than making your own béchamel sauce)
- Lasagne sheets – £0.64 (More expensive packets not much different at all)
- Extra mature cheddar – £2.19 (use around 1/3 to layer on top)
- Additionally use a couple of pinches of black pepper, salt, basil and oregano.
All this adds up to around £9, but of course it isn’t so much every time you cook it as ingredients are left over to use at your own disposal. My version of the meal feeds four quite easily, and in the case of saving food and not letting stuff go to waste it feeds myself and my brother twice as half of it is frozen for another day. Of course I haven’t included peppers or other vegetables you can throw in. And believe me, you can chuck in all sorts of veggie goodness into the mince-meat and sauce without affecting the tastes and texture. Also, if you have never tried putting carrots into an Italian dish, do it! I’ve even met people who don’t like carrots indefinitely, but I failed to understand why.
There are indeed many other meals to put together, and the one above is probably the most expensive one I do on a weekly basis, but it almost acts as a treat. It certainly tastes like one. Yet, as for other items in their stores the fun doesn’t stop there (you can tell I don’t get out much). Here is a miscellaneous list of products at mouth watering prices that I often purchase:
- Tomatoes (x6) – £0.49
- Red Onions (x10) – £0.75
- Spring Onions (x12) – £0.49
- Red Kidney Beans – £0.21
- Chilli Cooking Sauce – £0.65
- Premium Chopped Tomatoes – £0.45
- Korma/Other Curry Sauce – £0.79
- Spaghetti 500g – £0.19
- Penne Pasta 500g – £0.29
- Chicken Legs – £1.99
- Small Whole Chicken – £2.99
- Tuna Chunks in Brine – £0.64
- Naan Bread (x2) – £0.59
- Streaky Bacon (x6) – £0.85
- Various herbs (e.g. thyme, basil) – £0.49
Now, there are many other delightfully good value items, but of course prices can alter. My main hope is that Aldi manages the best they can to keep prices of such decent quality foods down to this affordable range. To draw comparison, the cheapest packet of mince meat in my local Co-op store is £6, more than twice as much as Aldi’s, who have an even cheaper alternative than the premium 250g product used in the lasagne recipe.
In addition, to my knowledge, there isn’t anywhere else in the country you can buy a pack of bacon at a set price of 85 pence, and so when a £40 food shop can feed two chubby adult males for the best part of 2 weeks we’re definitely on to a winner in the quest to eat for less. It’s unanimous, and whilst the only downfall for me is having to carry several kilos of produce on my back and in carrier bags for a few hundred metres, I wouldn’t change my shopping habits even if I won the lottery. That’s unlikely, though, I can’t afford to gamble even £1 on pipe dreams.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the best advert I can give for Aldi stores. They almost have everything for general cooking, and if you mention a product they don’t have that is available at Waitrose I’m afraid I’ll struggle to hear you. Aldi are the reason why I’m not eating junk food seven days a week.