Sunday, 19 September 2010

Bacon Cheese Pizza

Sainsbury's recently lowered the price of their Basics mozzarella cheese balls to 30p, just in time for the start of the academic year. I had made a batch of bread dough earlier on in the week for bread to supplement my dinner, so I took the opportunity to make a pizza with the remainder of my dough, the leftover Basics pasta sauce I have, and the now-cheaper mozzarella cheese ball.

In recent times I have started craving for bacon, and while surfing the Net for related articles I suddenly recall the streaky bacon that I am so used to back home but have forgotten, having gotten used to back bacon being the norm here in the UK. The closest thing that the Basics range have are the middle bacon rashers, and not having tried these before and being informed by Wikipedia that these are a cross between streaky and back bacon, I thought I would give these a try.

As you can tell from the picture on the right, the rasher is made of two parts, the medallion hanging off which is usually part of the back bacon, and the rest of it, which you would usually find in streaky bacon. The only problem that I have with this is that they are expensive, at £1.99 for a 450g pack. By comparison, although not exactly the same class of product, a 670g pack of Basics cooking bacon will go for £1.52, although in exchange for a lower price you would end up with part rashers and a variety of other loose cuts of either streaky, back or middle bacon.

I'm hungry, so let's proceed. Take out your bread dough and lay it flat on a sheet of foil, which has been dusted with floor or spread with some oil, so that the dough will not stick while baking. Leave for 25 mins.
Add the toppings. Start with the pasta sauce, then the cheese, then whatever you wish to add to the pizza. Finish with Basics herb mix.

Cook in the oven at 225 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes.

The only problem with this pizza was the pasta sauce, which we know all along to be rather inadequate. It also might have been a good idea to bake the base first partially before laying on the ingredients. Overall however, the fundamentals of this recipe are sound, and merit another attempt in future.

Price per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Middle Bacon£1.99450g+£0.01 for 225gStreaky bacon instead of middle bacon

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Corned Beef Stir-Fry

Complications at work, general lethargy and a newfound fondness for the computer game Alien Swarm have delayed the delivery of this post. To make up for it however, I have a few ideas in my mind that would cater to university students, British and overseas alike.

I remembered having a fondness for corned beef (what the Americans call minced corned beef, the kind sold in cans) as a child, especially its strong salty flavours. My mother however was rightfully worried about its high sodium content, and so served it sparingly. Whenever she did, it was always fried together with cabbage, and served with bread. As we grew older however, I did not crave for it as much, gradually forgetting about it altogether. The first time I encountered this again was when I had the New York Deli sandwich at EAT, albeit in the form of pastrami. It got me thinking again about corned beef, and given how it has been associated with British Army field rations, I thought it might be quite interesting to do a post about it.

The Basics Corned Beef slices are rather simple, and don't merit much description. They do keep pretty well even after opening the packet, so long as the packet is wrapped in cling film shortly after. So far, I've only seen the British use this in corned beef sandwiches, and the most they've gotten to cooking it is to stew it with potatoes, according to Wikipedia. For this post, I've decided to recall how my mother used to do it, and stir-fry it with Sainsbury's Basics Vegetable Stir Fry, in the absence of Basics Cabbage from my local supermarket.

So start by heating up a pan on medium-high heat on the stove. While that is going on, break up two slices of the corned beef. Do not worry about the slices burning, there is enough fat and water in the beef to prevent that from happening.

Your hash should end up looking like this:

Add Sainsbury's Basics Vegetable Stir-Fry, and cook until vegetables have shrunk a little and a little gravy has formed.
This was a cheap, tasty and filling meal: the relatively mild taste of the Basics vegetable stir-fry went very well with the strong flavours of the corned beef. It would have been even cheaper had I used the canned corned beef, but that has to be used all in one go, and will not be so convenient to keep in the fridge. The cost of this meal came up to about 68p (43p for 2 slices of corned beef and 25p for quarter pack of vegetables), excluding some bread or rice for staple, which itself should be quite cheap. This post would be just in time for the start of the Fall term at my alma mater, where the incoming batch of international students may find this useful, as they spend the first few weeks familiarising themselves with the local Sainsbury's, living on their own, and the UK in general.

Price per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Corned Beef Slices£1.708 slices+£0.89 for 200gBetter quality meat?
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