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  • FIRST POST
    • caronc
    • By caronc 13th Jan 17, 7:32 PM
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    caronc
    Cooking for one
    • #1
    • 13th Jan 17, 7:32 PM
    Cooking for one 13th Jan 17 at 7:32 PM
    Hi, newbie poster though long time lurker trying to adjust to being an empty-nester and due to some substantial changes income-wise in the next couple of months trying to cut my costs and adjust my shopping to mainly solo dining. I abhor waste so good that way and do cook from scratch/batch cook the vast majority of the time. I do "sort of" meal plan but it can be a bit hit or miss depending on my health is on any given day. I'm reliant on on-line shopping so can't take advanage of aldi/Lidl etc. What (if any) changes did you make when changing to a single-person household?



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    Last edited by MSE Jessica; 02-05-2017 at 3:14 PM.
Page 164
    • caronc
    • By caronc 18th Apr 17, 9:28 PM
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    caronc
    Agreed. And that goes for other things.

    I do have a LOT of freezer space, but am currently using approx 1.5 drawers of my inside freezer. The rest are currently empty as I'm running down stocks prior to the kitchen being redone. However, that's enough space (if well organised) for me to have frozen peas, sweetcorn, edamame, avocado, smoothie fruit, a piece of steak, a piece of chicken, a pheasant, a couple of pieces of smoked haddock, some hm chick stock, half a can of coconut milk (the other half used for curry a couple of weeks ago), some bulk-cooked and frozen (in portions) chickpeas, rice, bulghar wheat, spelt and lentils, some hm lentil soup and a couple of UFO hm ready meals that appear to have black-eyed beans in.

    I either cook in single portions, or make 'family' recipes as batch cooking. I get a veg box (which sometimes includes eggs if I haven't been given any, milk if I need it, and yogurt if I've had to have a break from making it) on Thursdays. I also get a recipe box every couple of weeks with 3 x 2 portion meals. So this week's menu plan has been:

    Monday b'fast: porridge & fruit; lunch: cheese and salad sandwich (I was travelling); supper: couscous with stir-fried veg, salad (left over from weekend) and cold lamb
    Tuesday b'fast: rice crispies and milk; lunch: salad, chickpeas, couscous & lamb; supper: chicken noodle soup (defrosted chicken stock with some chopped cooked chicken leg, a finely chopped chilli, a nest of wholewheat noodles and half a spring cabbage shredded into it)
    Wednesday b'fast: porridge (rice milk, oatmeal, chopped figs, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds); lunch: goats cheese salad with bulghar wheat, chickpeas, hm coleslaw, avocado; supper: salmon baked with harissa, rice, purple sprouting broccoli, carrots and courgette.
    Thursday b'fast: smoothie; lunch: courgette salad with parmesan and sunflower seeds; supper: chicken curry with rice (have a friend over - will make enough for 2 and that's it) and something interesting from the veg box.
    Friday b'fast: pain au raisin (from freezer); lunch: chicken with spelt, radishes, tomatoes, carrot & beetroot salad; supper: aubergine curry, rice, tzatziki, steamed green veg.
    Saturday b'fast: roast veg (broccoli, pepper, tomato, mushrooms, asparagus if there is some) with a poached egg & smoothie; lunch; tuna, olive and pasta salad; supper: moussaka
    Sunday b'fast: yogurt & granola; lunch: quinoa superfood salad; supper: pasta with bacon and tomato.

    Careful shopping and planning, and use of the freezer (and I'm working on limited freezer space at the moment, plus making myself use stuff up) means CFO doesn't have to be about boring meals. And bear in mind I don't live near shops and work full time from home so don't pass shops to get to and from work. I manage with a weekly veg delivery (which means I don't always know what I'm getting), a recipe box (not cheap, but helps with creativity and avoids waste - this is where most of my meat/fish is sourced) and the odd bulk delivery when I need more loo paper...

    I do keep stock of ingredients, particularly spice, pulses, grains and tins, but these are being run down, which will limit my options somewhat as stuff is used up. However, so far I seem to be doing OK
    Originally posted by greenbee
    You seem to have found a way that works for you and your budget , I love that folk have so many ways of addressing CFO all are valid and helping me to make the transition from family cooking
    Feb GC 122/100, Mar GC 131/150, April GC 150/160, May 150/150
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th Apr 17, 9:29 PM
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    PasturesNew
    Jelly takes longer to set than you'd think/like. 5.5 hours and it's still not "solid" ... but I made the custard to go on it about 3 hours ago, so an hour ago I took the 1/4 pint of "leftover" jelly (that wouldn't fit in the 3 small lidded pots I was making up) - and I took the cold custard and tipped the custard onto the jelly, still in the glass jug .... and scoffed it with a big spoon. I'll make more custard tomorrow to top the three pots.

    While I had the fridge door open, at some point I also grabbed a boiled egg.... 3 down, just 1 to go now.

    Still got half the tomatoes I bought too many of last week.... 3 big salad tomatoes and half a tub of cherry tomatoes.

    Today started well ... then went into scoff-fest.

    2x toast, 1x scrambled egg, 1/2 tin beans, some cocktail sausages; one crust of toast and 1/3 tin beans; 2 crumpets and one cheese triangle; jelly/custard; 1 boiled egg.

    I think that's it .... although it is easy to forget something you ate.

    Things that will need using up before they go off include: 750grams salad potatoes; 2Kg small potatoes; 2 lots of tomatoes; 1 boiled egg; 1 dry/manky swede; 2 "ripen to eat if you can wait 3 months for the bugg4hs" plums.

    Everything else either keeps (packets/tins) or is frozen.

    I'm completely out of bread, eggs, cheese - but I'm waiting for the L1dl cheese offer later this week and I'll get two packs. Then I'll have enough cheese for 3 months.
    Last edited by PasturesNew; 18-04-2017 at 9:32 PM.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th Apr 17, 9:33 PM
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    PasturesNew
    Re freezers.... if I bought four very very small whole chickens and one 1Kg bag of oven chips my freezer would be full!

    2.5 drawers, freezer baskets are 7" deep and 14" wide.
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 18th Apr 17, 9:37 PM
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    greenbee
    You seem to have found a way that works for you and your budget , I love that folk have so many ways of addressing CFO all are valid and helping me to make the transition from family cooking
    Originally posted by caronc
    It's weird... I thought that recipe boxes would be WAY too expensive, but a friend got me a freebie as she's been using them (for her family) and found it has cut her bills. Turns out that it improves planning and therefore cuts waste. And you don't have to buy a whole jar/pack of something that you only use once. Each box is 6 portions. Depending on the recipe either ingredients or made-up meals can be frozen for another week. If there are bits left over as a result of making a meal for one, they generally can be incorporated into the rest of the week.

    Cooking has become a lot less of a chore since I've moved to deliveries rather than going shopping - and I only did this as a temporary thing to cover 2 weeks planned post-op recovery (which turned into a month). And it's now working really well for me now I'm back at work. I certainly don't miss the time wasted in shops!
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 18th Apr 17, 9:41 PM
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    greenbee
    Re freezers.... if I bought four very very small whole chickens and one 1Kg bag of oven chips my freezer would be full!

    2.5 drawers, freezer baskets are 7" deep and 14" wide.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    That's why I don't buy 4 chickens and a kg of oven chips I buy a couple of chicken breasts, eat one & freeze one. Same with fish etc. I buy small quantities so I can have variety. And I freeze in single-person portions (roughly 100g of protein/pulse/grain) in small bags or boxes, so they are easily accessible.

    Tomatoes can be frozen and used for cooking if you don't think you'll use them up. Otherwise they're nice on toast as an alternative to beans with your egg & sausages.
    • caronc
    • By caronc 18th Apr 17, 9:42 PM
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    caronc
    It's weird... I thought that recipe boxes would be WAY too expensive, but a friend got me a freebie as she's been using them (for her family) and found it has cut her bills. Turns out that it improves planning and therefore cuts waste. And you don't have to buy a whole jar/pack of something that you only use once. Each box is 6 portions. Depending on the recipe either ingredients or made-up meals can be frozen for another week. If there are bits left over as a result of making a meal for one, they generally can be incorporated into the rest of the week.

    Cooking has become a lot less of a chore since I've moved to deliveries rather than going shopping - and I only did this as a temporary thing to cover 2 weeks planned post-op recovery (which turned into a month). And it's now working really well for me now I'm back at work. I certainly don't miss the time wasted in shops!
    Originally posted by greenbee
    I've looked at trying the Gousto boxes but always ending thinking I could make that......but do use the meals they have for a bit of inspiration
    Feb GC 122/100, Mar GC 131/150, April GC 150/160, May 150/150
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th Apr 17, 9:44 PM
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    PasturesNew
    If I'd stayed at yours this week I'd have eaten:

    Monday
    porridge & fruit;
    cheese and salad sandwich ;
    couscous with stir-fried veg, salad and cold lamb

    Tuesday
    rice crispies and milk;
    salad, chickpeas, couscous & lamb;
    chicken noodle soup (defrosted chicken stock with some chopped cooked chicken leg, a finely chopped chilli, a nest of wholewheat noodles and half a spring cabbage shredded into it)

    Wednesday
    porridge (rice milk, oatmeal, chopped figs, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds);
    goats cheese salad with bulghar wheat, chickpeas, hm coleslaw, avocado;
    salmon baked with harissa, rice, purple sprouting broccoli, carrots and courgette.

    Thursday
    smoothie;
    courgette salad with parmesan and sunflower seeds;
    chicken curry with rice

    Friday
    pain au raisin;
    chicken with spelt, radishes, tomatoes, carrot & beetroot salad;
    aubergine curry, rice, tzatziki, steamed green veg.

    Saturday
    roast veg (broccoli, pepper, tomato, mushrooms, asparagus if there is some) with a poached egg & smoothie;
    tuna, olive and pasta salad;
    moussaka

    Sunday
    yogurt & granola;
    quinoa superfood salad;
    pasta with bacon and tomato.
    Originally posted by greenbee
    There's some stuff there I'd eat if it were put in front of me ... but I'd not "choose" them from a menu. Things I can "put up with" (like couscous), but not really enjoy/like.

    There's some stuff there I simply don't like - the moussaka would have the aubergine picked out ...

    And there's some stuff I've never had (salmon/harissa) and some I'm not even sure what it is

    Looking at that menu though ... on the whole I'd arrive with a secret stash of snacks in my bag .....
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 18th Apr 17, 9:46 PM
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    greenbee
    I've looked at trying the Gousto boxes but always ending thinking I could make that......but do use the meals they have for a bit of inspiration
    Originally posted by caronc
    I thought that. Never did though I do like the fact that they have EVERYTHING in them I need, so there is nothing missing (which is often the reason something else goes off).

    Of course, once I have a proper kitchen again I'll probably go into cooking overdrive, and end up with all three freezers full and having to invite people over all the time to try to get through it all! I used to cook for vast numbers of people - I can quite happily cook a multiple course meal for 20 or 50. Not so good at one - but the two portion recipes are helping.
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 18th Apr 17, 9:49 PM
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    greenbee
    There's some stuff there I'd eat if it were put in front of me ... but I'd not "choose" them from a menu. Things I can "put up with" (like couscous), but not really enjoy/like.

    There's some stuff there I simply don't like - the moussaka would have the aubergine picked out ...

    And there's some stuff I've never had (salmon/harissa) and some I'm not even sure what it is

    Looking at that menu though ... on the whole I'd arrive with a secret stash of snacks in my bag .....
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    But you'd still have had plenty of variety. The point is, there's no need to eat the same thing every day for a week.
    • caronc
    • By caronc 18th Apr 17, 9:49 PM
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    caronc
    I thought that. Never did though I do like the fact that they have EVERYTHING in them I need, so there is nothing missing (which is often the reason something else goes off).

    Of course, once I have a proper kitchen again I'll probably go into cooking overdrive, and end up with all three freezers full and having to invite people over all the time to try to get through it all! I used to cook for vast numbers of people - I can quite happily cook a multiple course meal for 20 or 50. Not so good at one - but the two portion recipes are helping.
    Originally posted by greenbee
    Yep give me a crowd and I know exactly what I'm doing..... LOL
    Feb GC 122/100, Mar GC 131/150, April GC 150/160, May 150/150
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th Apr 17, 9:53 PM
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    PasturesNew
    On the basis my entire day's food today's cost about 1.10 - and I just had a quick look at Gousto boxes and the 2 recipe box is 7/serving for one meal... I think we can safely say I'm not of the Gousto using financial classes

    To me ...turkey twizzlers would be a big treat. Although I would say I've never actually had a turkey twizzler....
    • caronc
    • By caronc 18th Apr 17, 10:10 PM
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    caronc
    On the basis my entire day's food today's cost about 1.10 - and I just had a quick look at Gousto boxes and the 2 recipe box is 7/serving for one meal... I think we can safely say I'm not of the Gousto using financial classes

    To me ...turkey twizzlers would be a big treat. Although I would say I've never actually had a turkey twizzler....
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    Yep they can be really expensive but there is always offers on Facebook where you can get 6 meals for a tenner, I would never consider one at full price
    Feb GC 122/100, Mar GC 131/150, April GC 150/160, May 150/150
    • Willowx
    • By Willowx 18th Apr 17, 10:16 PM
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    Willowx
    I actually cooked something vaguely resembling a standard meal today for the first time in a while. Mince with mixed veg and gravy with a nuked potato, had a few slices of bread with it too. Was in a nostalgic mood, was a take on one of the meals I used to cook a lot for my grandma in the early days of caring for her, although the spuds would have been boiled and the bread hidden in the kitchen for mopping up the fat from the pan. Couldn't have bread at the table people might think we were poor and it wasn't wise to point out that it was only the two of us there.
    GC 2017: Yearly budget: 1,560 YTD: 577.39 Jan: 217.70 Feb: 208.39 Mar: 139.29
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    • kittie
    • By kittie 19th Apr 17, 10:10 AM
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    kittie
    a good start today oatmeal porridge with sour cherries and vanilla soya milk. Ready at 6.30 as in the rice cooker and stays hot for an hour. Really enjoyed it. A small piece of sd toast with hm marmalade. Morning snack is a fresh fig and grapes

    lunch is prepared and I`m looking forward to it, again in rice cooker on a timer. Basmati. fresh ginger, an umboshi plum, carrot, parsley, frozen green beans, purple sprouting, little caulie. Herbs and small piece of skinned frozen haddock. I get the fish from cornwall and prep it at home ie skin and vac pack in my-size portions. I added a little water but white wine if I had remembered

    snack, goats milk kefir, sounds yuk, tastes lovely. Hm and grew up on this until I was 10. Also a kiwi

    at 5, soup and berry/almond crumble with small dollop of hm ice cream

    I had to compost the spring greens, really a small loose cabbage in disguise. Goodness was going out of it and yellowing. Better to overwinter some swiss chard called fordhook giant. There is room in every garden for one and just pick the leaves as needed

    I made a meat order for early may, all grass fed and organic, expensive but so be it. This time all destined for one and easy cook ie lamb chops, lamb sausages, lamb burgers, turkey sausages.

    I have some amazing storage containers called tightvac. I have tall and small. I use the smaller ones for my various dried herbs, kept in a cupboard in the dark. The taller ones are amazingly good at keeping my washed and prepared veg in good condition in the fridge. The purple sprouting and caulie from 7 days ago are as good as new in there.

    I also use veggie wash, as birds can do unmentionables on the likes of kale. I soak a few minutes and rinse twice, drain and it goes into the jars. I have 7 used bags on the kitchen counter so this is mission accomplished wrt using things up
    • caronc
    • By caronc 19th Apr 17, 10:34 AM
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    caronc
    I actually cooked something vaguely resembling a standard meal today for the first time in a while. Mince with mixed veg and gravy with a nuked potato, had a few slices of bread with it too. Was in a nostalgic mood, was a take on one of the meals I used to cook a lot for my grandma in the early days of caring for her, although the spuds would have been boiled and the bread hidden in the kitchen for mopping up the fat from the pan. Couldn't have bread at the table people might think we were poor and it wasn't wise to point out that it was only the two of us there.
    Originally posted by Willowx
    I love mince and tatties and of course some bread is needed for mopping
    a good start today oatmeal porridge with sour cherries and vanilla soya milk. Ready at 6.30 as in the rice cooker and stays hot for an hour. Really enjoyed it. A small piece of sd toast with hm marmalade. Morning snack is a fresh fig and grapes

    lunch is prepared and I`m looking forward to it, again in rice cooker on a timer. Basmati. fresh ginger, an umboshi plum, carrot, parsley, frozen green beans, purple sprouting, little caulie. Herbs and small piece of skinned frozen haddock. I get the fish from cornwall and prep it at home ie skin and vac pack in my-size portions. I added a little water but white wine if I had remembered

    snack, goats milk kefir, sounds yuk, tastes lovely. Hm and grew up on this until I was 10. Also a kiwi

    at 5, soup and berry/almond crumble with small dollop of hm ice cream

    I had to compost the spring greens, really a small loose cabbage in disguise. Goodness was going out of it and yellowing. Better to overwinter some swiss chard called fordhook giant. There is room in every garden for one and just pick the leaves as needed

    I made a meat order for early may, all grass fed and organic, expensive but so be it. This time all destined for one and easy cook ie lamb chops, lamb sausages, lamb burgers, turkey sausages.

    I have some amazing storage containers called tightvac. I have tall and small. I use the smaller ones for my various dried herbs, kept in a cupboard in the dark. The taller ones are amazingly good at keeping my washed and prepared veg in good condition in the fridge. The purple sprouting and caulie from 7 days ago are as good as new in there.

    I also use veggie wash, as birds can do unmentionables on the likes of kale. I soak a few minutes and rinse twice, drain and it goes into the jars. I have 7 used bags on the kitchen counter so this is mission accomplished wrt using things up
    Originally posted by kittie
    Wow how organised I've just managed toast & cottage cheese and have taken a bagel out of the freezer for lunch. My rainbow chard did well over the winter - there's another picking or so left. I've never managed to successfully grow kale - don't think it likes being grown in pots. A good wash for veggies is a cap of hydrogen peroxide (9% strength - sold as mouthwash in chemists) in a pint of water gets rid of any birdie nasties and lurking slugs/bugs

    More use it up at lunch time today that should finish Sunday's salads and no idea what to have this evening. I've a lurking chicken thigh that I didn't eat last night but don't fancy chicken again so will probably keep it for lunch one day. It's quite a cold and murky, damp day so might defrost some mash and have with bangers or similiar.
    Feb GC 122/100, Mar GC 131/150, April GC 150/160, May 150/150
    • kittie
    • By kittie 19th Apr 17, 12:41 PM
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    kittie
    oh caronc, needs must, not organised. The rice cooker copes well with frozen fish and frozen veg. I am enjoying it now, lovely taste from the ginger, herbs and umboshi, which is acidic taste. Best of all is all in one pan

    I ditched the soup, into the plughole. I didn`t like it and life is too short, wasn`t looking forward to it, so its gone to feed the fish in the sea. I`ll have the rest of the salad leaves instead, with a few nuts

    I am not getting any veg delivery this week, I use A and C or R (seldom) or lately local county delivery (they pick up and deliver all over the county). Got to use my own frozen stuff up first and empty my veg drawers. I`ll stop using the first two soon, as my own stuff kicks in but third one is good for goats milk for kefir and I buy several and freeze

    caronc, kale doesn`t do well in buckets. Little gem does well in troughs and so do various leaves but CBA with the leaves these days. Alfalfa sprouts is an easy one for salad type veg or an addition to peanut butter/cheese etc. I`ll be growing tomatoes, leeks and carrots in buckets at home. Potatoes are also good but I don`t eat them. I am only growing salad stuff on the allotment now, not in troughs

    Finished my lunch, will make it again with an umboshi, I think I have four left in the jar, lasts forever in the fridge
    • Pop Up Pirate
    • By Pop Up Pirate 19th Apr 17, 1:18 PM
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    Pop Up Pirate
    I just took a look at that Gusto.
    Wow! Expensive and not very nutritious to boot. How can people justify that kind of money on that kind of food?
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 19th Apr 17, 1:24 PM
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    PasturesNew
    Got that "bedsit cookery" vibe today....

    Breakfast was a pot of jelly/peaches - made yesterday and intended as trifles, it's not going to happen now as I CBA making more custard (ate the first lot waiting for the jelly to set yesterday).

    Then I had a 2nd pot of jelly/fruit a bit later....that's sealed the fate of them being trifles as there was still a SLIM chance I'd have made custard for two pots, but it won't happen for one.

    Lunch was a Not Poodle.... curry flavour. 25p at Home Bargains, so I bought four a couple of weeks ago.
    • Farway
    • By Farway 19th Apr 17, 2:49 PM
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    Farway
    But you'd still have had plenty of variety. The point is, there's no need to eat the same thing every day for a week.
    Originally posted by greenbee
    On variety front, that is one reason I do not food plan ahead really until my YS mooching is completed, and why I like the ready made meals for one offers, that way I can get three or more different meals without having to faf around or think about it

    Just this week has been slow braised beef, liver & bacon, will be veg lasagne & a chicken curry to come, all chilled and in date

    Breakfast was more marmalade on toast, thought I would have a change but when I looked in the pantry only thing there in spread on bread line was fish paste and did not fancy that at that time of day

    Lunch I went fishy, small tin tuna, mixed with chopped red onion [posh buy on offer Lidl], mixed with mayo, inside a sanrnie, and some left for another day, isn't there always in a single house?

    Today though is cooking, sort of, recipe as follows

    Open tin of red salmon, BBE June 2015
    Open small packet of mixed crunchy salad leaves, sell buy 17 April
    2 fresh toms from a Lidl 1Kg net, not yet wrinkled but lush, ripe & red
    Some slices of cuc, used 35p voucher at Morrison's
    Couple of large spoonfuls of Smart Price coleslaw, actually in date and not bubbling
    Some mini spuds from Lidl 29p on offer 1.5Kg, wash & chuck in Actifry, this is the "cooking" bit of the CFO

    served with blob of mayo, salad cream would be nice here but none in

    Cracked open the Easter egg & scoffed the chunky Kit Kat inside, never had a chunky one, very nice but not one to buy, too tasty

    Tomorrow is Easter Bunny hunt at RHS Wisley with the younger grand chlidren, so lunch is God knows what from one of the cafes there
    Last edited by Farway; 19-04-2017 at 2:51 PM.
    • caronc
    • By caronc 19th Apr 17, 6:21 PM
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    caronc
    Good evening everyone,
    That's the buffet leftovers now scoffed and very nice they were too! Thankfully there wasn't so much that using them up became a chore!
    Cumberland sausage with mashed swede and tatties tonight - all from the freezer so easy peasy though I'll make a spot of onion gravy to go with it
    Feb GC 122/100, Mar GC 131/150, April GC 150/160, May 150/150
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