- a blog about food and value

Monday 14 December, 2009
by jean

Christmas Pudding Taste Test in Pricewatch

turkeyIn today’s Pricewatch column, Conor Pope tastes four varieties of Christmas pudding, and gives the highest rating to Aldi’s Specially Selected version.  This is handy to know, as I will need to get a small Christmas pudding for our Christmas dinner, but have no intention of tasting it myself.  I’m really not a fan of Christmas pudding or Christmas cake, and will probably make a chocolate cake for Christmas dessert, but there is likely to be complaining from the older generation if Christmas pudding is not on hand.  What do you think of Christmas pudding and cake?

Pricewatch also has a feature on Christmas turkeys, and some interesting facts come out of the article: turkeys are available from Lidl for as little as €10.99.  An informal poll showed that most people don’t mind spending a bit extra on their Christmas turkey and many will still be buying free-range or organic this year despite tightened budgets.  And did you know that Safefood have an iPhone app that helps you to calculate the cooking time for your turkey?

What kind of turkey will you buy? I’m in agreement with the majority that Conor Pope refers to: I only buy one turkey every couple of years, so it’s not really an extravagance to buy a good quality one. I’ll be getting a free-range turkey crown for about €35 from my local (and excellent, although not cheap) butchers, Ennis Butchers in Rialto.

Friday 11 December, 2009
by peter
Comments Off on Garth McColgan’s Vanilla Plums with Foamed Brandy Cream

Garth McColgan’s Vanilla Plums with Foamed Brandy Cream

vanilla-plumsChristmas is all about pushing the boat out.  Created exclusively for CheapEats readers by top chef Garth McColgan of FoodActive and Aldi, this deluxe dessert is a pudding fit for a king, a yuletide treat packed with all things deliciously decadent and guaranteed to end any Christmas dinner on a high note! Serves four.

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Friday 11 December, 2009
by peter

Redeeming porridge

porridgeTwice a year, I decide to start eating porrdige. It usually lasts for, oh, about a quarter of the bowl. It’s just so stodgy! And gloopy. Most recently, I gave it a go in the Cake Cafe with hazelnuts, honey, and orange peel, but I couldn’t get through more than half.

That’s why I won’t be entering Flahavan’s All-Ireland Porridge Making Challenge. There’s two categories: firstly, create the perfect porridge dish and, secondly, develop the most innovative recipe using Flahavan’s Irish porridge oat range.

The overall winner in each category will receive a top prize of €1,500, with the runners up winning €500 each.

Recipe entries, along with preparation methods and photos, can be submitted via or sent by post to E. Flahavan & Sons Ltd. Porridge Making Challenge, Kilnagrange Mills, Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford. Multiple entries can be submitted, and there are no age limits. Closing date is January 31 2010. Let me know if you redeem porridge!

Thursday 10 December, 2009
by jean

M&S Dinner for Two for €12.50: 10-13 Dec

marks-and-spencers-logoIt’s on again everyone, get the chocolate mousse and asparagus tips and whatnot into you.  I noticed it quite late this evening, and surprisingly, was still able to snag a decent choice ten minutes before M&S closed.  Either everyone’s in shock about the budget or M&S are laying on way more stock than before.

This week’s choice (there’s a very impressive range of booze):


Oakham Chicken
British Steak
2 Salmon Fillets
NEW! The Cook Menu Cajun Stuffed Chicken Breasts
NEW! The Cook Menu Trout & Crab Stuffing
NEW! The Cook Menu Goat’s Cheese & Pesto En Croute (V)
The Cook Menu Chilli Beef Roulade
The Cook Menu Haddock Gratin
Beef in Chianti
Gastropub Moussaka

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Thursday 10 December, 2009
by peter

Product Review: Burren Smokehouse Salmon

smoked-salmonPainful experience has gently nudged me away from impulse buys, but one small sample of hot smoked salmon shattered my caution.

Because of my inbuilt capacity for financial self-destruction, I went along to last week’s Food and Wine Magazine show with only €10 in my pocket. Also,  it was all the money I had in the world. But hey, I had a free ticket so why not pop along and avail of the lovely samples, and check out the demonstrations?

Some stalls were more generous than others. One, which shall remain nameless, had a bulging display of chocolate and various treats. When I asked for a sample, I was directed to a piddly little bowl of some long-broken-up-and-pounded-to-pieces seed bars. Kudos, on the other hand, to the Hop House, who gave far and away the most generous samples: there was a good, full plate of really delicious food here.

But it was the Burren Smokehouse Hot Smoked Organic Salmon, marinated in dill and honey, which relieved me of my €10 burden.

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