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Cod en croute

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

This recipe happened because we were lucky enough to find 2 large smoked cod fillets reduced from £10 to £2 in the supermarket. I had some home-made pesto in the fridge, leftover from our regular saturday pizza night. The puff pastry was bought ready-rolled.

Smoked Cod
The cod pieces were quite large at nearly 300g each. We decided that we had to eat both tonight since fish really doesn't keep very well.

Smoked Cod with pesto sauce
The pesto sauce was made using home-grown basil and watercress, olive oil, pine nuts, cheddar cheese and cream cheese. It was spread onto the fish immediately before the the pastry was folded over the top and sealed with some beaten egg.

Smoked Cod en croute
The fish parcels were baked for about 25-30 minutes at gas mark 5.

Old man in Tesco

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

It's always amusing when you see an old person in a supermarket start running with a trolley then pick their feet up and let the momentum of the trolley carry them forwards. You can almost hear them thinking 'wheeeee' as they go. For some reason, it's nearly always a man doing it.

I never saw nothing...

Story location: Home / Blog /

This morning, as we were leaving Tesco, we were asked if we wished to take part in a short survey. To start with, the lady asked if we always go shopping together or sometimes shop alone. Since I sometimes stop at Asda on my way home from work, she chose to ask me the remainder of the questions. These turned out to be about a new offer which 'Tesco Bank' is running. I was asked if I had seen any of the promotional material near the checkouts, near the cash machine, or near the petrol station. I had completely failed to see any of them. Now, I wouldn't normally describe myself as unobservant but somehow I had managed to avoid seeing some fairly large adverts and displays as we walked around the shop. Emma had spotted the display near the checkout but she wasn't the one being asked, so her observation didn't count. Ah well. I feel like I have brought the average statistics down for the entire shop.

Flat Peaches

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

We first noticed these flat peaches a couple of months ago in one of the grocers or small supermarkets in Coventry which specialised in foreign foods. Shortly afterwards we started seeing them everywhere, including in Tescos.

peach peach

They seem to have come from nowhere and become ubiquitous very rapidly. We bought a pack last year and were dismayed to find they went mouldy very quickly but I did manage to salvage one to eat. It was quite juicy but slightly bland. I think I will stick to normal peaches or nectarines.

Tesco Vegetable Drink

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

We were in Tesco yesterday and we bought a selection of bottled drinks, including their own brand active electro-lite sports drink. It tastes ok but we were surprised when we read the ingredients. Among the list of 'fruit and vegetable extracts' it lists Radish and Sweet Potato. I'm not sure why these are in the drink, I can't taste radish, but it must be there for a reason.

This afternoon I made a fruit smoothie which, as far as I can tell, didn't contain any vegetables at all. We had some melon which had gone very soft and over-ripe so I liquidized it along with some of the wild strawberries from the garden and a kiwi fruit. The strawberries were straight from the freezer so the smoothie was nice and cold when I drank it.

Welsh Tesco

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

The Tesco near the Walsgrave Triangle has a bilingual sign in the 'ready meals' section. The thing is, we are about 60 miles from Wales (as the crow flies) so I don't know who the sign is for. I was unaware that Coventry had a significant Welsh-speaking population.

Welsh Tesco sign

Marks & Spencer Valentines Meal

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

Tonight's meal was from the Marks & Spencer's 'eat-in' range. For Valentine's weekend they did a version which cost £20 but included starter, main, side dish, dessert, sparkling wine and chocolates.

Crab Salad
Our starter was the mini dressed crab which we served with a mixed-leaf salad.

Sea Bass
The main course was Sea Bass with chilli and coriander butter. The fish was simply baked then the skin and backbone needed to be removed before serving. It was a little bit fiddly but the fish was very good. We chose the mixed vegetable layer for side-dish, which contains peas, shredded courgette, cabbage and broad beans.

Strawberry and Champagne Souffle
The Strawberry and Champagne souffle was a posh trifle. The jelly contained large pieces of strawberry, topped with a thick layer of fluffy champagne flavoured cream.

The Rosado Cava we picked turned out to be a particularly good example of a cava. It was dry but with a discernible fruity flavour.

The deal also included chocolates but at the time of writing we haven't eaten those yet.

Every Little Helps Destroy the Environment

Story location: Home / Blog /

We went to the cinema to see Let Me In. It was a good film, a bit different to most vampire films because it didn't have the usual 'Vampires vs. Humans' approach.

After that we went to Tesco. We needed some antibacterial hand soap and thought we'd get a refill instead of a whole new soap dispenser. The own brand refills were more expensive than the bottles which came with the pump dispensers. If Tesco are selling the refills as an environmentally friendly gesture, they are going about it in the wrong way. If they really care about the environment they would try to avoid doing this kind of thing and sell refills for less. If they are just pretending to care, at least they could do it properly rather than their current half-arsed attempt.

We did get some bargains while we were in the shop though. Some jars of chillies were reduced from 99p to 24p so we put a few in the trolley. When they scanned at 1p at the checkout, I raced back to the shelves to grab more of them. It will be a while before we run out of chillies again.

Yellow Raspberries

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

I had some Waitrose vouchers to spend so this afternoon we went to Kenilworth to have a look around the shop. The idea was to get there in time to get some good bargains as food was marked down before they closed. Most of the food we bought was merely on special offer, such as the yellow raspberries. They looked novel so we bought a punnet.

They tasted ok but the flavour was a bit mild and they didn't have the sour flavour which raspberries sometimes have. While we were in the shop we also bought some redcurrants. I've never eaten them before and they were also on offer. They were quite sour eaten on their own but worked well stuffed inside the raspberries. Eaten together, it brought out more raspberry flavour and the sourness of the redcurrants was much reduced.


Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

We already had the cream in the fridge. The meringue and fruit were bought from Asda on our way home from work.


Bargains from Waitrose

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

While we were in Kenilworth last night, we decided to pop into Waitrose. It was half an hour before closing and there were a lot of good food bargains to be had. Nearly everything we bought had been greatly reduced. Only one item was full price (Blackcurrant High Juice squash), two items were on special offer (cider and a half-price chicken). We normally buy the M&S chicken which is raised to the RSPCA 'freedom food' standard. The Waitrose chicken didn't say it was to that standard but claimed to use high welfare standards. Since you tend to expect Waitrose to be better than normal supermarkets, the chicken should be ok.

Other food bargains included bread rolls reduced to 5p each, cottage cheese, cooked salmon, Duchy Original milk. The milk was semi-skimmed but not homogenised and there was a lump of cream stuck to the lid. It tasted so much better than the skimmed milk we normally buy.

Oxford Isis Cheese
Oxford Isis mead-washed cheese. Very smelly. We had to put the tub in a sealed bag in the fridge to stop it stinking out the kitchen.

Strawberry Syrup
Strawberry Syrup. At over 80% sugar, I'm surprised it was pourable.

The total cost was just over £11 but would have been well over £25 at full price. Of course we wouldn't have bought most of the items at full price but it's always nice to find a bargain.


Story location: Home / Blog / animals /

This afternoon we were near Leicester meeting someone to pick up some mice to replace some of ours which had died recently. The new mice have been named Phantom and Bandit. We don't have any photos yet.

After collecting our mice we drove into Leicester and had a wander around the High Cross shopping centre. I think we mainly went because Emma wanted to go to John Lewis. That was ok by me because I'd never been to one so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I guess if you lived near one it'd be worth shopping there occasionally. We did buy some incredibly tasty dessert sauce though (Luxe Chocolate Noir with Tart Cherries).

Boxing Day

Story location: Home / Blog /

We were on our way Up North to visit visit family when we needed to nip into Boots to buy a few things. We stopped at Central 6 and struggled to find a parking space. I was lucky enough to find a space at the far end of the car park.

I noticed a huge queue of people on the pavement outside one of the shops. When I got closer it turned out to be people waiting to be allowed into Next. There were bouncers on the door only letting people in when somebody left. I found it rather pathetic that people were so desperate for a 'bargain'. We went to the shops because we needed to buy something, rather than because we felt the need to satisfy some shopaholic craving.

Shopping at Asda

Story location: Home / Blog /

I really don't like shopping at Asda. It's rarely a pleasant experience. I went there this morning with a very short shopping list, including bread and a newspaper. The shop really really didn't want people to buy newspapers. They had erected a set of display boards by the entrance, blocking off the newspapers. To get a news paper, you would have to:

  • Sneak out past the checkout, pick up a newspaper and sneak back into the shop
  • Do all your shopping, pay, pick up a newspaper and queue up again at the kiosk to pay.
  • Sneak in through the exit, pick up a newspaper, and sneak into the shop.

I decided not to bother, and thought I'd get a paper from the petrol station. Asda had other ideas. The pump I pulled up at was a 'pay at pump' one, which didn't seem to offer the option of paying 'in person'. If I wanted to buy a newspaper then I would have to queue up yet again and pay separately.

The easiest option seemed to be to buy the newspaper from our local newsagents on the way home. If Asda seem to want to make it difficult for me to buy something, I'd rather give someone else my £1.50.

Moules and Frites

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

We regularly buy the '2 eat in for £10' deals, whenever Marks and Spencers have them. This time we had garlic mussels and french fries (along with a bottle of wine and cheesecake for dessert).

We decided to be properly Belgian and had the Moules et Frites with mayonnaise. The mussels were packaged with garlic butter so just before serving I took the cooking liquor and thickened it to use as a dipping sauce.

I'm not a big fan of mussels because they can often be a bit rubbery but these were very tender. I wouldn't normally buy them but I think I've been converted and I'd certainly have them again if I can be sure that they've been cooked properly and not been overcooked.