I haven’t talked about the recession on this blog yet but thought it was time I gave it a mention. Everywhere you look there are articles about how to save money, cut costs etc, most of them for some strange reason involve giving up panini and ciabatta(gasp). Our local paper had a front page article about cutting costs which focused on “sending the ciabatta back to Italy”, what has the poor ciabatta done to anybody besides saving them from the monotony of the rubber ham sandwich. Eddie Hobbs mentioned it in his 10 commandments for the recession too, the funny thing is nobody mentions giving up alcohol!! 

I know we are all feeling the pinch at the moment and being told to shop around for the best prices etc and I know this is a good idea but I personally don’t have time to visit Teso, Dunnes, Superquinn, Aldi and Lidl in 1 week to pick up the best bargains in each so I think the way I spend my money is probably what I should focus on so here’s where I’m saving and making changes(well trying to):

food costs:
cut down on buying junk – we don’t need 6 packs of taytos, packs of fun-size bars of chocolate, cans of coke etc. If they are not there you won’t eat them and your belly and hips will thank you for it. In saying that every time I’m having a sandwich I curse myself for not buying some walker’s cheese and onion but I’m going to try.

note to self – you don’t need to drink a glass of wine with dinner EVERY night or have a beer while watching telly EVERY night.

food waste –  I am very guilty of this but I have made a conscious effort recently as you saw in my last post to use up whatever is left in the fridge. I actually don’t do my main shop now until there is virtually nothing left in the house. I’ve stopped buying multi – packs as I don’t use them e.g. SQ do a really nice pink garlic but it comes in a pack of 4 and I always end up throwing out 3 so it’s back to regular garlic.

grow your own herbs – I was a terror for buying those little packets of herbs every week in case I would use them and then dumping them in the bin so I re-potted a basil plant at the start of the summer and I’m still using the same one. I also planted rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme in the new garden so I have a constant supply of them. I’m going to try growing a few vegetables this year too, I haven’t a clue about growing veg and wouldn’t even know where to start so I’m going to buy this

add more variety to your food week – we only eat red meat about once or twice a week, not intentionally but we just eat a variety of food. Pasta and soups are really cheap to make so eat them more often, we have pasta at least twice a week and soup once a week, chicken or fish once a week, pizza one night etc etc.

 – go to someone else’s house on Sunday, in our case the “MIL”;)

take-aways – only buy take-way from a fabulous little Italian place called La Cucina, it’s worth every penny:)

misc costs:
avoid Boots – this shop is a place of evil for me, I go in for a bottle of shampoo but leave €50+ less but I will have the silkiest hair, softest skin, the most natural tan, the most plumped up eyelashes but I somehow still look the same using the basics, plus I don’t have a million bottles in the bathroom collecting dust so I’ve saved on pledge;)

stop buying magazines – every month I buy Delicious and Olive just to read about the foodie news in the UK and about restaurants I’m never going to visit. I also buy Food & Wine and complain about how bad it is but I still buy it. I used to buy Hello, OK, Now etc but I’ve stopped as I’ve had enough about Posh n’ Becks and Brangellina.

household cleaning products – when we moved house and I actually cleaned out the press under the sink I couldn’t believe how many different cleaning products I had. Every new product advertised on the T.V. I bought it, I am a marketers dream. All I really need is a bottle of Jif, washing up liquid, pledge, domestos and a bottle of windolene. I’m a bit of a wipe addict, domestos wipes, pledge wipes, windolene wipes but I’m trying to change, it’s been difficult but I’m getting there slowly:)

beauty salons & spas – they’re just not me!! I never go but the odd time I get a gift of a facial or I try some new treatment, (note to family do not buy me vouchers for beauty salons) I know you are supposed to relax and unwind but I end up getting so stressed trying to relax because I’m supposed to be relaxing that I don’t relax – get me?? Bru bought me a voucher for a facial a while back and I nearly lost my life, while getting a face mask done it went something like this:

the beautifier – “do you mind having it on your eyes?”
me – “I don’t think so, why?” as she puts it on my eyes!
the b(for short) – some people don’t like it, they find it claustrophobic”

Now if she had said nothing I would have got on with “relaxing” but because I couldn’t open my eyes, my eyes decided to go nuts and try and open themselves, my eyelashes were fluttering a 100 times a second, I kid you not!! .She then decided to leave for 20 MINUTES to let me relax to the dolphin music and crashing waves all on my own in the dark with my uncontrollable eyes. To make a long story short she came back to check on me a few minutes later and I had to ask her to take it off – MORTIFIED and I still had to stay there and pretend to relax with cotton wool pads on my eyes instead for another 20 minutes. When leaving the girls at the counter all smiled sympathetically at me, she had told them all, I haven’t been to a beauty salon since. I don’t care what anyone says but Immac is a lady’s best friend!!

This has turned into a far longer post than I planned so back to the recipe, I’m trying to make new pastas that use ingredients that I have in my press and fridge without having to go out shopping. I bought a new pasta book for €8 by Eric Treuille & anna Del Conte recently and it is one of the best books I’ve ever bought. This is basically a “no cook” pasta and so simple to make.


what you need for 2:

 – 350g pasta

 – 1 tin of Italian tuna in olive oil

 – 250g cherry tomatoes cut in half..

 – juice of 1 lemon

 – 1 tbsp capers

 – olive oil

 – basil

 – salt and black pepper

what to do:

 – cook your pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente and drain.

 – return to your pot with some of the cooking water and add your tuna, tomatoes, capers, basil, lemon and oil and toss well. Serve with some black pepper and basil on top.


buon appetito!!

p.s. what are your recession tips??