Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Sainsbury's Feed Your Family for Fifty Plan

Fuck me… Those were my first words when I took delivery of the Sainsbury's feed your family for fifty quid food shop. Where the hell was I going to put it all?

I’ll qualify that statement: It’s not that often we’d actually spend fifty pounds just on food. It looked a lot to me… We normally do a couple of shops a week, spending thirty or forty quid.

That covers the lot usually; including all those boring things you get from supermarkets alongside your food as well like bog roll and fairy liquid. But then you need to add the “specialist” shopping trips…

Those little one offs, like a couple of Quail from Waitrose for a nice Sunday lunch. The booze runs, the picnics in the park at lunch or the occasional and mysterious deliveries of offal from my man at the market that all add up.

So being faced with a plan of what I was going to eat plus all the food to do it seemed like quite a refreshing change. I won’t bore you all with the details; you can check them out here if you are interested.

The idea revolves around choosing the value option where you can to add bulk! That means less meat, more veg and more carbs to make up the difference! Basics bread, though not that thrilling does make a sandwich as well as the next loaf.

Choosing Basics pasta means you can spend that little bit more on a big bit of meat for your Sunday Roast but more on that later. Then you’ve got the VEG!

I’ll freely admit I’m actually quite tight so I’ve bought Basics veg before so I know it’s actually not that bad. It’s not arrow straight or perfectly round but let’s face it a carrot is a carrot no matter what packaging you put on it.

But when you consider it’s a third of the price of your premium option you can see it start to makes sense. Testing out the plan was quite easy for me as I don’t actually have a family to feed as it’s just me and the Mrs at home.

I have however fed most of my office for the last week and a lot of our friends. They’ve been quite happy having their lunches made or popping round for dinner. In my opinion though the idea of the plan is simply to show you what you can get if you shop sensibly.

I’m not going to pretend it’s for everyone and by the end of it I was bored of carbs. I’d eaten far too much bread and pasta for my liking and went rogue on the last few meals.

But then again you aren’t meant to follow it verbatim. Use your initiative and cook what you want really. I ended the plan on Sunday with a certain amount of relief and cooked a Harrissa Roast Shoulder of Pork with Boston Baked Beans (definitely off plan).

Very simply butterfly out the shoulder and score the meat to create lots of surface space to take your marinade.  Chop 5 Red Chilli’s and 5 fat cloves of Garlic in a blender with a little Olive Oil and some toasted Cumin Seeds till you get a smooth paste.

Stick this in a freezer bag with the meat and SQUISH it all together till the meat is well covered with your Harrissa paste. Then throw it in the fridge for a day or so to allow it to really absord all the flavour.

Roast in a hot oven for about an hour and a half and it should be just about ready. Let the meat rest and serve with some gorgeous sticky Boston Baked Beans.

Helen at Food Stories did a fantastic recipe you can follow for the beans. I’ve used tinned rather dried beans in mine but it’s not that dissimilar.

I do think the plan is a great idea though all in all. If you add some order into your life and actually plan out what you want to do you can start to make savings. It’s simple really?


  1. Yeah, I subscribe to the fact that you can eat quite happily on £50 with 4 mouths and a good meal plan. I predominantly eat Italian food so on the whole it's quite cheap - pastas, pulses, soups and tons of veg - and I'm able to splash out on a few weekly luxuries in the dairy, fish and meat dept. But basics pasta? I'm sorry but it tastes like wallpaper paste to me. Yerk.

  2. I probably should agree, I did quite like the basics pasta with Marmite and some grated cheese though. Tastes very similar to wholewheat pasta to me.

  3. Great post Pavel, have been thinking of doing something similar. By definition would you say it's a healthy plan?

  4. I do think it's fairly healthy, definitely healthier than I would normally eat at least. It's signed off by the British Nutrition Foundation which sounds official I personally wouldn't want to eat so much bread though. I think you could make it healthier though just as cheaply. I could do without the cheap sliced ham, frozen sausages and mystery pate any day...

  5. I've menu planned (a week at a time) for the last 7 or 8 years. Couldn't do without it, now. Our budget was £70 for the week, including dog food, household stuff etc. which took some achieving, some weeks. After all, there's only so many Spaghetti Bolognese you can eat. :)