I Am Spending A Fortune On Feeding My Goldfinch

When I do my own food / grocery shopping, I usually go to the local Sainsburys supermarket.  For years I went to ASDA or Aldi, but there is no ASDA and no Aldi near here.  Nor is there a Lidl, an Iceland, or a Farmfoods.  When I first moved to London I lived a five minute walk from an enormous 24-hour Tesco Supermarket.  But there is no Tesco near here.  So instead I now shop for myself at Sainsburys.

The nearest supermarket to my little abode, at only two minutes walk away, is an organic supermarket named Bayley & Sage, but everything there costs a fortune…I went shopping there once, just after I moved here, and nearly started choking with the shock when the cashier told me the price of the small basket of items I had collected. So I don’t go there unless I want to buy a treat for Goldfinch or to buy sandfire (it’s the only shop near here where I can buy it).

When Goldfinch is coming I switch to shopping at Waitrose…because in my head, (if not reality) I think I will find better produce.  But it also costs more.  I just like to feel I am giving the best to Goldfinch.  One of the things I love about shopping at Waitrose is the chance to collect a free Waitrose magazine (along with my free coffee).

The Waitrose magazine has some fantastic recipes.  I have always been a big fan of supermarket magazine recipes.  I like them because they normally don’t have a ridiculous amount of ingredients and you don’t have to have been a contestant on Masterchef to be able to follow their recipes.

I like to bake…and I especially like to bake for Goldfinch. This weekend I made a traditional favourite savoury dish which I have made many times before.  But for pudding I thought I would turn my hand to trying a couple of recipes from last month’s Waitrose magazine.

ice cream.pngFirst of all I made the toffee-apple ice-cream…which involved making caramel – a messy job but somebody has to do it!  It has ripples of caramel soft golden apples, crumbly biscuit bites and creamy vanilla ice-cream…oooh la la!

upside down cakeThen I made the upside down. maple, walnut and apple cake, which was warm and ooooozing with caramel.

It is a pleasure cooking and baking for my Goldfinch.  But I spend twice as much money on my food shopping when I know he is coming to visit.  I am spending a fortune on feeding my gorgeous Goldfinch.  But I love it.  I love him you see.  I love any chance I have to give something to him that shows him how I feel and how happy he makes me.

 

The Righteous And The Unrighteous

shopping.jpg

I went shopping last night.  I didn’t need a lot, just some fresh greens and milk and bready stuff.  I think I did quite well:

    • salad (rocket, cos lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, basil, parsley)
    • cashew milk / soya milk
    • rice-cakes
    • quinoa bread
    • crisp bread
    • chickpeas and coriander (I intend to make some hummous with)
    • bottle of red wine

Yeah, I was able to hold my head up high as I approached the tills.  The gent in front of me on the other hand had a more notable selection:

    • 2x bottles of rum
    • 2x bottles of whisky
    • bottle of gin
    • 4 bags of filter coffee
    • a wedge of brie
    • a slab of manchego
    • ten packets of pepporami

I mean maybe the two of us were a bit of an extreme example.  Moi –  truly trying to eat sensibly, so because of the rest of my shopping basket being so virtuous I could hold my head up in good conscience with the bottle of red in the middle.  (Though I had stacked my salad on top of it.)  Man – looking as if he cares not about the shape of his body and his health.  There we were, side by side, the righteous and the unrighteous of shoppers!

There is a difference between man shopping and woman shopping isn’t there?  I must be careful what I say now.  I am sure there are many responsible men out there capable of a well-rounded shop.  I am going to relate to you one or two real-life experiences of shopping that mean I would not trust every man with my weekly food shopping.  I remember times when we were a bit gobsmacked when we trusted a man to go shopping on his own.

For example, when I was in Romania, we had an episode about cooking.  Eleven of us.  Seven girls in one apartment a Romanian friend had let us stay in, and four boys in another apartment.  Our Romanian friend had said we could use up any food that others had left on the apartment.  (He often let it out to tourists.)  The boys would come over to our apartment in the morning before we all set out together exploring.  Most meal-times took place in our apartment.  Four of us were vegetarian.  Now it strangely kept falling to the vegetarians to do all the cooking and there were complaints.  One of the girls seemed to suffer terribly without meat.  I went out and bought sausages and bacon and cooked up a full English for everyone and she seemed to revive.  But one night we were at the apartment catching up on desperately needed rest.  We had been skiing and we were all shattered.  The boys arrived and told us they had invited around some friends for dinner.  They were expecting twelve guests.  Eleven of us.  Twelves guests.  Hmmm.  We asked what was the plan for dinner?  The boys looked blank and expected us to have the answer.

Well there was a big sack of potatoes in the cupboard.  But half of them were inedible.  We sorted through them and washed peeled and sliced all the decent ones.  We also found lots of kidney beans and tinned tomatoes and spices.  So, we improvised a sort of chilli with all this.  We all scraped some money together and sent the boys out shopping for drinks and other food.  We were hoping they would bring back some useful food.  When they returned they had spent the entire amount on beer and crisps.  The twelve guests were scratching their heads about the strange chilli and mashed potatoe we served them.  But the boys in our group thought it was great.  The females of our party were red-faced.  But the lads had no idea why we were making a fuss.  To be fair – I think us girls were truly shattered after the skiing.  We were not overly happy to be told twelve guests were coming and we had to cook for 23 for no other reason than that we were female.

My friend told me that just after he and his wife married, she sent him shopping with a list thinking nothing could go wrong.  He was puzzled by her wanting 100 rolls though and wondered if she had decided they would have a BBQ and had not told him.  So, he came home with 100 bread rolls.  She was shocked.  She said, “loo rolls”.

One very sweet 90-year old lady I used to help as a carer would ask to be taken on a shopping trip to the large Waitrose a couple of miles from where she lived.  There was a little shop near her where she used to go to get her basic provisions.  But this very independent, mobile, sociable 90-year old used to have little parties where she would invite people to her flat and provide food and drinks.  Now our shopping trips were quite interesting.  We used the car and we would always put an empty suitcase into the back of the car.  We went down to the Waitrose supermarket and she always bought virtually the same thing.  We filled up the trolley with cans of Guinness, bottles of sherry and wine.  Then we would buy bags of nuts and crisps.

 

 

 

When we arrived at the tills I would be pushing the shopping trolley while she pushed her walker.  The cashier always looked at me with a stern look as the total came up more than £200/£300 and the very little 90-year old lady would pull out her purse and pay for the shopping.  I always wanted to say “This is not what it looks like.  I am not getting my sweet grandma to pay for my booze!”  But I realized that frankly it was none of the cashier’s business.  Although the cashiers seemed to cast a judgemental glance my way.

Then we would put everything in the suitcase.  She didn’t like her neighbours to see her shopping so when we arrived back she would walk along with her squeaky little walking frame and I would pull the suitcase slowly trying to make sure no bottles clashed.  It was hilarious really.

Anyway, I have to admit, I am sometimes nosier than I should be casting my eyes on what other shoppers are loading onto the conveyor belt to the till.  It does have a wholesome effect on me though.  It motivates to me to make sure whatever I put into my shopping basket will make me feel splendidly righteous when I am in front of the cashier.  If I am craving something naughty and find I am unable to resist something alluring on the supermarket shelves, I will always go through a self-scan till.

Pathetic hey!

My Lovely Mum Used To Buy Us Iced-Fingers

When I was a little one…(that was the 1980s, in case you were wondering) before mum learnt to drive…I remember our shopping trips for the weekly family food supply. Mum would often make a whole day trip out of it. I remember our trips vividly.

We would walk down the hill into town heading for the local indoor shopping centre. I remember my baby sister Milly was in the Victorian pram, which mum hardly had to push on the trip downhill, more hold onto so it didn’t run away.  Meanwhile, me and my other younger sister Mandy would skip along running in and out of bushes and balancing along kerbstones all along the way.

Whenever we entered the ground floor of the shopping center, I remember an almost blue layer of smoke that hung above us…so many people used to smoke cigarettes inside the shopping center leaving a lingering stench and smog. Whenever we passed too near people puffing on their cigarettes, my sister and I would deliberately explode into hysterical coughing fits to try to make the smokers feel guilty.  We would be marched by mum right through to the opposite side of the shopping centre and back out into fresh air.

The first venue we would visit was the town library. We possibly stayed there for hours. It was a great idea for my mum to take us. A quiet place for mum and baby Milly…and endless entertainment in the form of colourful books and other children for me and Mandy.  When it was time to leave, we were allowed to borrow up to 6 books each to take home.

If it was a long day out mum would sometimes buy a bag of chips from the local chippy (fish and chip shop) …which was beside the public swimming baths. Then we would sit on the rocks……I don’t know how to explain this public monument to nothing which was an incredible playground for us to challenge our agility – dangerous when I think about it.  Oh, we had so much fun climbing and playing hide and seek there while mum looked after Milly. There were usually plenty of other mums and children.

The main purpose of the trip was of course to buy food for the family. Mum had to take us back into the smoky shopping centre and up to a supermarket named Presto or Prestos. It has long since disappeared.  Mum would load up the trolley with the basics for feeding two adults and 7 children. We tried to help. There was a food trolley and a Victorian pram to safely steer around the store. I do remember some mishaps…I was not quite tall enough to be in charge of either pram or trolley, but I had to take one of them.  I often bashed into other shoppers or clipped their feet.  It seemed to take all my might to control either. Sometimes mum would just have to park up the Victorian pram near the cashiers with me in charge while she whizzed round loading up the food trolley.

Anyway…once the shopping was paid for, it was time to head home.

Mum would tie the shopping bags to all parts of the Victorian pram. The hard part of the trip out was going to be getting all of us back up the hill. The Victorian pram was now very heavy and mum had to push it up hill all the way home. But it would be more difficult to motivate Mandy and I to trudge back up the hill…I do remember us both sulking and pleading to be allowed to squeeze into the pram with our baby sister.

To motivate us, my lovely mum would buy us a treat from a bakery named Duncans. The treat was an iced finger. We would munch our iced finger and normally it would last us all the way to the top of the hill. Those iced fingers were such a welcome treat.

Iced-Fingers

One day, a wasp landed on the other end of my iced-finger.  I dropped it onto an area of the pavement with leaves and rubbish and dirt.  Mum would not let me pick it up to continue eating.  I cried all the way home.

One day, Mandy and I had been squabbling and had been misbehaving in in the shopping center.  Mum was close to becoming impatient.  I know my mum was a bit of a softy on the whole, but that day she tried to be tough.  She warned us that because we had been naughty we would not have a treat from Duncan’s bakery.  Well, Mandy and I were rather cheeky and threatened mum that if we did not have a treat we would refuse to leave the shopping center.  Mum told us she would have to leave us then as she had to take the shopping and baby Milly back home.  She told us she would have to send Dad down when he came home from work to take us home.  Mandy and I grew quiet as we knew Daddy would be cross to learn we had misbehaved.  We walked along quietly. Suddenly we looked around and Mum had vanished!  I immediately concluded she had been true to her word and left us on our own.  My little head was full of panic.  However, I also recall trying to work out what was the most logical thing to do next.  There was a police-man nearby.  I told Mandy that we should approach him.  There we were, a five-year old with her three year old sister telling him that our mother had abandoned us because we had been naughty.  He told us to stay with him.

A few minutes later mum came rushing over with the pram.  She was full of anxiety.  We had not noticed she had turned into Duncan’s bakery to buy us iced-fingers.  It had shocked her when we were not in our normal waiting place which was just outside the bakery window pressing our noses to the glass as we eyed up all of the colourful cakes and fruit tarts.

Poor mum!

What a lovely mum I have.

If you are reading this Mum…I love you.  I am deeply grateful you and dad gave us life and taught us wonderful things about life.  You showed us how to be happy and healthy.  Thank you for all of your hard work caring for so many children.  Sorry for all the hard times we gave you, all our squabbling and being naughty and coming home covered in mud.  You and dad have set an incredible example for us in countless ways.  Thank you for all the iced-fingers Mum.  I love you Mum!