Monday, December 16, 2013

Supermarket Price Shock.

We do little shopping in supermarkets but this week we had to make the trip to Tesco to stock up on Organic butter, it's about the only place we can find it. For some reason we found ourselves in the fresh meat aisle and spotted Organic lamb on sale, we know how much we pay for our Organic meat, lamb beef and pork in the farmers market but were staggered to see the Tesco price, 25% more than we pay, we then looked at the conventional  fresh meat which is in the same unit, this was only 5% less than the Organic, still 20% more than we pay. They did not have Organic Pork. I know their motto is 'Every Little Helps' I had always assumed this meant  that they helped the customer with low prices, it seems  that what they do mean is 'Every Little Helps' to keep their shareholders happy. We certainly could not afford to shop for our food there, and will stick with the Farmers Market, we know where it has all come from and in the case of the meat we know several of the producers. The fruit and veg is always so fresh, nothing prepacked so you can pick out what you want, we were very surprised and pleased today to find that Mike the fruit and veg man already had
Seville Oranges in, normally they arrive over here in January, we had finished our last pot of Marmalade earlier in the week so they have arrived just in time for us. All I need now is two free days to get it made.
We have bottled the first lot of this years wine, the pea pod, although very young yet it promises to be good, but we wont know for a year as that's how long it takes to mature.
We have also been eating the salted runner beans, this was the first time that I had done them this way, we gave up freezing beans some years ago as they were never very nice, well salting them is a success, they do take a bit of rinsing, but they taste almost as good as freshly picked beans, so we will continue to use this method in future.
I have now made the first batch of mince pies, I still had mince meat that we had done last year, I then realized that a dozen mince pies would not last us that long, unfortunately we like mince pies. Pigs that we are, the first doz mince pies were eaten in the first day, which meant more had to be made.
For some reason I decided that we would buy a pot of mince meat for our this next lot of  mince pies, possible thinking that as we are so close to Christmas I didn't have time to make the mince meat and let it mature. Anyway Simon went shopping and brought back a jar of a very well known brand. We both have a distrust of things already made, especially if they have come from a factory and we read labels, normally in the shop and the item then ends up back on the shelf. This time the label didn't get checked until it reached our kitchen, after all what can they do to a pot of mince meat? It seems quite a lot, gone is the suet, replaced by palm oil, ( yet another rain forest destroyed) sunflower oil, ( well that counts me out as I'm allergic to it) and rice flour? no spirits of any kind, and a wondrous selection of spices including fennel and coriander, not things that you would normally add to mince meat. So the jar remains unopened, hopefully we can find someone who will be able to make use of it.
I then set to and made five jars of traditional mince meat, the next batch of pies are made, and tested, they taste great. I wonder how long these will last?
I am still continuing the glass painting in between baking. I am fairly pleased with the last piece I've done, a Mandala, a regular pattern repeated within a circle which is used as an expression of oneself and as an aid to meditation in some Hindu religions. Hopefully it will restore a feeling of calm to us.
I have also done a couple of small lanterns, which look nice when lit.

What is that? Can I catch it?
Yesterday we had a leak from a water tank in the attic, the cats were fascinated, why are cats so interested in water I wonder.
Susie's Box.
Boxes are also a source of interest to them, once investigated they get taken over as beds even though they have lovely cat igloos, cardboard boxes are better.


  1. Mmmm....mince pies. I've never actually made a batch myself, but yours are definitely inspiring me to.

    I know what you mean about Tesco's - it's the same with all the big-chain supermarkets - quality has gone down significantly, while prices seem to be ever increasing, bit by bit. Fennel and coriander? In mince meat? How bizarre a combination that is. What were those folks thinking with that one? We've gotten to the point where we will not buy fruit and veg anywhere else but at the farmers' markets in the area. And when we can find them, specifically organic fruit and veg stalls at those markets (some aren't organic, as I've discovered). Is it Micheal's of Kinnegan Organic Produce in Boyle that you buy your fruit and veg from? I used to love being able to buy our produce from him when we had a stall there in the summer. I especially loved the fact that we could buy turmeric root - real turmeric root! - not grounded up in a jar from Tesco's! We also get a lot of our fruit and veg from Tir na Nog in Sligo - an excellent health food shop.

    Your glass painting projects are beautiful, Anne. You already know my own affinity and attraction for the mandala - althoughI don't work with glass, I know exactly what you mean about mandalas cultivating a sense of calm and serenity while doing them, in whatever medium, which is why I love doing them, too.

    Lovely post, Anne. Thanks for sharing. - June

    1. We are at the stage where we trust nothing from the big shops, yes what little veg we buy is from Kinnegan, everything is so fresh, we do buy fruit from him every week excepting Bananas, they travel far too far, we wonder what has happened to the Organic Canary island ones. Tir-na-Nog is great, Mary and Noreen are real sweeties. I have tried to grow some of the Turmeric from Kinnegan but it didn't shoot for me unlike his Ginger which is growing strong .

    2. We're the same. I don't trust anything in the big chains any longer. I also think it's all a big scam about buying from health food shops and farmers' markets being 'oh soooo expensive.' Rubbish! It might cost a wee bit more, in terms of money. But in terms of quality, taste, nutrition, freshness and actual REAL FOOD, apart from growing your own fruit and veg and doing your own baking, the health food shops and the farmers' markets (in particular, the organic versions) are truly the only way to source real food, and they are true value for money, in terms of what you are getting (and eating) for your money.

    3. Real food also tastes better and you don't need so much to get the nutrition from it. Our rule of thumb is if it comes in packaging be suspicious, if it comes from a factory read the label very carefully indeed, as in the case of the mincemeat!
      I cant get into your blog, I have to have permission! We would like to invite you and Thomas over here so we can have a good chat in comfort over a glass of wine or real beer. if you contact Bridget she has our phone number but she doesn't have yours. Anne.

    4. Hi Anne - Thanks very much for inviting us over to yours over the Christmas break. Unfortunately, as I'd told Bridget earlier today, we won't be able to make it there this weekend, but hopefully, we'll be able to the next time there's a get-together. It's always lovely meeting with friends, good conversation and a little bit of 'adult bevvies' to accompany it all.

      As far as my blog goes, I've been having more than my fair share of spamming issues, so I've contacted Blogger to ask what more I can do to stop it or prevent it, besides going into the settings/privacy preferences (which I've already done). When the problem is sorted, the blog will be open and public again (not that there's anything new there, I shame-facedly have to admit. I've been so busy with the plaques and the fairs and markets this year, that I've had precious little time to blog at all...hopefully I'll find a way to manage my time better come the new year).
      I wish you and Simon and your lovely cats a lovely, joy-filled and peaceful Christmas, and a hopeful and happy ringing in of the new year. Thanks so much, once again, for thinking of us and inviting us round to your home. - June

  2. Hi again Anne - I hope my original comment went through just now. - June

  3. Fascinated by the salting of runner beans. We will quiz you on that one when we next see you. Mainly how much rinsing do they need. We have so many beans we are bursting another freezer, and we have 20 kg of salt left from our small bacon-making session. Love your continuing glass-painting, especially the lanterns.

  4. and very nice the mince pies were too!

  5. Hey! Those mince pies look delicious!! The lanterns look lovely too as does the Mandala. Christmas winter madness has hit here now and the supermarket look like they've been looted....what recession?! xxx

    1. When we were first in Spain Xmas was very low key which suited us just fine, by the time we left eight years on commercialization had taken hold.