Tesco offers - gorgeous 3 course meal for 70p!

Maybe no such thing as a free lunch - but almost!

Did you see that - 70p the lot!

This was thanks to a successful shopping trip where we garnered the following ...

~   2 x 250g Extra Thick Brandy Cream reduced from (I think) 94p to 14p ea
~   400g strawberries, reduced from 3.00 to 45p
~   2 x 250g asparagus, reduced from 1.65 to 25p ea
~   500g red grapes reduced from 2.00 to 30p
~   500g parsnips reduced from 1.00 to 16p

So that is 1.69 instead of 9.53 – quite good n’est pas? 

All of the produce was in prime condition, despite the fact that some was past its best before date, and in fact the parsnips were superb. (Talking of best before dates on New Year’s Day my real man remarked on how excellent the tomatoes in his salad were, I checked the date on them – best before 29th November!  They must have been gobsmackingly marvellous then!)

This is just my kind of thing, as you probably know I started Sudden Lunch! (and also wrote “The Leftovers Handbook”) because this sort of spontaneous “wtf shall I do with this” kind of cooking is my favourite.  

The important thing, when getting a bargain, is to make sure you don’t spend more than usual making something good with it This what I have done so far with my bounty without lashing out on anything extra; the costs I have calculated include the pasta, olive oil, vanilla etc., everything in fact.

~  Parsnips  ~

I took these out of the bag as soon as we got home as they were wet so no label to show but they were 500g for 16p reduced from 1.00.

Once I wiped them off I have to say they were 8 of the finest parsnips it’s ever been my privilege to meet!  Lots of ideas for them but this is one I have been pondering for some time ...

Tostones (sounds rude, doesn't it!)

These are fritters made in Puerto Rico from plantains but I’ve long thought that parsnips would be a good, if not better, alternative.

olive oil or similar
crunchy sea salt

~   Have ready a bowl of cold water.
~   Cut the clean dry parsnips into slices about 1cm/½” thick.
~   Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, a depth of about 6mm/¼”, in a frying pan large enough to take parsnips in one layer.
~   Fry the parsnips gently till tender and golden.
~   Remove from the pan (keeping the pan of oil, you will need it again in a minute) drain and then press each slice to flatten it which will break open the edges a little.
~   Drop the parsnip slices into the water.
~   Reheat the oil, lift one slice of parsnip at a time from the water, shake off any drips and return to the hot oil.
~   Give them a minute or so more per side, drain and serve warm with crunchy sea salt.

My verdict – lovely; sweet and salty, soft and crunchy!  I used just half a parsnip so let’s see ... 16p for 8 parsnips = 1p!!! Let’s be generous – 3p with the oil and salt!

This leaves me with 7½ parsnips but not to worry there is probably a roast coming up on Sunday and roast parsnips are always welcome, or maybe Roasted Parsnip Soup 

These were quite thick stalks from Peru.  With one pack I made ...

Asparagus Pesto

250g asparagus
30g cashews (or other nut if it’s easier – pine nuts are traditional)
1 garlic clove
60ml olive oil
30g grated Parmesan

~   Snap the ends off the asparagus and discard, cut off the tips and set aside.
~   Slice the body of the spears.
~   Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and put a bowl of cold water nearby.
~   Add the slices asparagus to the boiling water, boil for 3 minutes till crisply tender, drain and immediately plunge (as they say in recipes) into the cold water.
~   Drain the asparagus.
~   In a food processor pulse together the cashews and garlic.
~   Add the asparagus, olive oil and process to a purée.
~   Stir in the Parmesan by hand.
~   Taste and season.

This was enough pesto to sauce tagliatelle for 2 so I had it for lunch the next day too. I always want a bit of crunch with my meals so I tossed the tips together with 3 coarsely chopped slices of chorizo (15p) and half a crust of bread in small dice (½p?) in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  I cooked this in a hot oven (that was already on for something else so no waste there) for about 8 minutes till the chorizo and bread were crisp and the asparagus al dente.  A perfect topping.

~  Extra Thick Brandy Cream  ~ 

Out of date on 6th January but still delectable on the 9th.  With one I made ...

Brandied Vanilla Ice Cream

This is, of course, based on my humungously useful, quick, easy, no churn recipe – just the brandied cream, 100g of condensed milk and tiny bit of vanilla paste.  So 14p + condensed milk 36p + say 3p for the vanilla = 53p for 2 portions.  Real man was happy to eat this.

The ice cream was superbly rich and creamy, probably the brandy content helped a lot with this. (More on this splendid recipe, how alcohol and can help, what else helps, my genius key recipe plus 100+ more recipes, accoutrements, serving suggestions etc. in my ebook – go here to read more about it and see if you fancy a copy, its very cheap!)

I served it with strawberry sauce – see below ***

~  Strawberries  ~

From Egypt; nice to think that probably Cleopatra feasted on these!

The were slightly sharp and a bit on the firm side but with a good flavour so I decided to make ice cream using the same basic recipe. It too was a gorgeous texture and made much better use of the strawberries than just eating them. The cost was 45p + 14p + 36p = 95p but it made 3 or 4 portions.  I cooked the berries with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and when I drained the strawberries for the ice cream, I boiled down the resultant juices to make a sauce I served with the Brandied Vanilla Ice Cream.

~  Red Grapes  ~

I’ll probably just eat these, mostly with St. Agur my favourite blue cheese, or perhaps on a pizza with said St. Agur, I’ve done it before and it works beautifully!


Unknown said...

What bargains and I think I've put three stone on looking at your pictures so I think they are more than up to scratch!

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

I do apologise for any weight gain!

Sue said...

Clever shopping :-)

And even cleverer use of the clever shopping!!

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

Actually Sue - my real man did the shopping, I wasn't there! Not bad eh?

K said...

Some gorgeous ideas there! Thanks so much for sharing - your recipes are just wonderful! I must say, it's been a rare but memorable occassion that I've managed to get my hands on some St Agur - and it's one of my favorite cheeses too - just heartstoppingly delicious! Off to look at your icecream recipe now!

Thanks for submitting your post to The Sunday Brunch Magazine.

All the best,

Eliza & Bel.