Shortly after New Year, I stumbled across one of my all time favourite bargains ever. Half moons of blue stilton marked down to £1 when they’re originally been £8 each at full price.
I bought three, cut them into wedges, wrapped these in paper and put them in the freezer. Possibly freezing Stilton isn’t the best way to preserve its flavour but at this price I didn’t care. Probably I won’t need to buy any more blue cheese this year!
The price of everyday cheese as gone up by stealth. A couple of years ago, if you shopped around you could buy cheddar for £5 per kilo but today it’s nearer double that.
Worse still is the insidious size reduction of pre-packed products. Cheese, now commonly sold in 350g packs rather than 400g (and before that 440g and prior to that 500g!!) is not unique here. Everything from bottles of cola to bags of bagels has had pack sizes shaved down whilst prices remain static hoping the consumer won’t notice.
I regularly comment to my husband that it’s
a) my mental arithmetic
b) a knowledge how to cook from scratch
c) flexibility to bulk buy when items are genuinely on offer
… that keeps our shopping bills down.
If you weren’t so great at maths, not an experienced cook and on a very rigid budget it would be very different.
So I was delirious almost to find this blue Stilton priced at the equivalent of around £2 per kilo. Cheese hasn’t been that cheap this century probably.
My other thrifty habit recently has been to buy pairs of bags of rocket when they’re on offer (or indeed marked down miserable basil plants) and what doesn’t get eaten in salads or sandwiches gets whizzed up my own pesto before it turns floppy. Generally a small tub of home made pesto will stay in my fridge for up to a week and sometimes I freeze portions too.
Ways to use homemade pesto
Tossed with pasta
Spread it on toasted bread such as bruschetta or ciabatta
As a pizza sauce instead of tomato
Spread on tortilla wraps
Mixed into salad dressings
Mixed into cheese sauces
Stuff chicken breasts
Coat grilled fish fillets
Traditionally pesto would be made from basil, parmesan, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil however recently I have ringed the changes with the left over rocket leaves, used different oils, nuts and cheese. You can also make pesto mixes using roasted peppers, aubergines or sundried tomatoes rather than green leaves and herbs.
Hence this particular mix today:
Leftover rocket pesto with walnut and stilton
Half a bag of rocket
A handful of walnuts
Some chunks of blue Stilton
and of course garlic.
I’m not specifying exact quantities because these aren’t rigid. Simply blitz the lot in a handheld blender until you’re happy with the texture. Use it immediately or store in the fridge or freezer.
Do you ever make your own pesto?
I’m sharing this pesto with these events:
To Fiona hosting Elizabeth’s No Waste Food Challenge (using up rocket), Helen & Camilla’s Credit Crunch Munch (bargain cheese) this month hosted by My Golden Pear, and finally mine and Katie’s new Speedy Suppers event for 30 minute meals.