Consuming The Harvest

While Pottering About At Home In Norfolk

Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Good For Customers, Better For The Environment

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While searching t’internet for large containers of bicarbonate of soda (1001 uses!) I ran across the online shop EcoShopDirect which is endorsed by Aggie MacKenzie of Kim & Aggie/How Clean Is Your House fame.  They had the bicarb and an endorsement from Aggie so I was more than happy to give them a try.

The order process was painless and the bicarb showed up at the door within 3 days.  Along with a load of other products.  I was sure that they had mistakenly boxed up someone else’s order with mine and promptly sent off an email stating so.  I received a reply back which surprised me and (very odd) left me silenced.  All of the extra goodies in the box were sent on purpose, for me to try their products and get this . . . they were free.  All of them.  Not dinky little sample ditties you occasionally get from some companies, but full size products!  The photo below shows what was in my box, the bicarb and Citrus Room Fragrance containers are the only things that I ordered, the rest are the ‘freebies’.


I’m sorry, but companies – no matter the size, just don’t do things like this any more.  As a matter of fact, I don’t know of any company anywhere that I have ever received so many full sized products from, free, for me to test out their worth.  Now, I don’t speak for EcoShopDirect so I have no idea if I was just lucky that day I ordered or if this is something they do on a regular basis (even 1 or 2 products), so I can’t say that if you were to place an order you would be quite as fortunate as I was in receiving ‘extras’, but I can speak for the products themselves that I’ve tried thus far.

I have not used the furniture or floor polish yet.

  • The Bicarb – I suppose bicarb is bicarb, it is what it says on the tin (bucket) so good enough for me 🙂
  • The Citrus Room Fragrance is absolutely lovely.  I put some in a little dish in the lounge and the aroma stayed for about 4 days, and I then stirred it up a bit and it lasted another 4 before I shook it up a bit once more and was good for another 2 days!
  • The Fabric Conditioner is extremely economical, just a small (very) amount worked wonders on a full load in fairly hard water with a subtle fresh scent.
  • The Colour Washing Powder worked very well with my coloured loads, and once again, you use a really very small amount per load.  So small in fact, I was a bit dubious and was certain that I would have to double up (at least) on the amount the next time, but no worries.  Just the small amount stated on the container is all it takes.
  • The White Washing Powder – the same as above.  Using only the small amount recommended did the job wonderfully on my white loads.

Now, as for the laundry, my usual washes are of garments that are what I suppose you call average grubbiness. 😀  If you were to have a load that was really dirty or your water was extremely hard, you would probably have to use a bit more product, but I’m certain that it wouldn’t be too much more, and not nearly the amount your average laundry detergent would need.

So, can you tell, I’m thrilled.  A company that offers innovative ecological products which actually work and is good to it’s customers. I think that speaks for itself, but just in case you’re waiting for the specific statement – I would highly recommend EcoShopDirect and those products that I’ve tried thus far.

There are plans in place to try a fair few more in the future . . . . .

EcoShopDirect gets a place under ‘Shops’ in the sidebar too, from one very pleased customer!

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Written by kadeeae

March 23, 2009 at 11:31 am

Of Imperfect Food

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There’s been much made about the unnatural quest for perfect fruit and veg.  Perfect in shape, size, colour and consistency to match what the supermarkets say we consumers want.  Even some market stalls and farm markets tend to ‘push’ the prettier produce.  If you ask me, it’s a total waste of time, effort, resources and most of all food, as in the “imperfect” specimines that never even make it to any shop because they are . . . . ugly.  Idiotic at best.  I just want fruit and veg.  I don’t want untold things to be done to/sprayed on/ injected into the plants that produce my fruit and veg.  And since when did any of this perfect produce ever taste of anything let alone the fruit or veg that it is supposed to be??  Tomatoes are a clear example for you tomato lovers out there, but the same applies to most all produce.


I’ve bought “imperfect” fruit and veg for some time now without any horrible things happening to me or BH (or The Beast who has been known to partake of certain fruits and veggies).  They are, as a rule, cheaper – much cheaper and have, dare I say it  .  .  .  .  flavour!  The last purchase was from a supermarket, a package of peppers at less than half the price of their high upkeep counterparts.  These were not of the perfect pepper shape (does Gok Wan do “pepper shape”?).  They weren’t GREEN peppers and not exactly RED peppers, nor were they ORANGE or YELLOW peppers – no.  These were special peppers.  Multi-coloured, rainbow peppers and absolutely delicious and useful.  Best keep it a bit hush-hush though, the powers that be may be listening and next month the special rainbow peppers will have doubled in price!

Written by kadeeae

February 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

Posted in Food & Drink, Shopping

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Best Before Dates. Common Sense Should Rule.

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Some of the latest buzz seems to be about a website called Approved Foods which sells items that are, for the most part, either near or past their “Best Before” date.  You can find more information about what the terms “Use By” and  “Best Before” mean on the FSA site, and there is a short excerpt here from one of their Q&A pages.

In a nutshell, “Best Before” means that the product will be at it’s best, ie: freshest, most flavourful at or before the listed date.  “Use By” means that the product should be used or (horrors!) discarded after that date as it could present a potential health problem if it were to be eaten past this date.

Approved Foods has also been in at least a few of the national newspapers, where I first saw it mentioned.  Being an eager participant in the MSE Old Style forums I decided to do a search and see if anyone on the site was talking about it.  I should have known!  There was already in existence a number of posts concerning Approved Foods and I have to say that the great majority of them are nothing but positive.  A look at their site tells you how much they’ve grown over the past few weeks with all of the media attention, there is a notice on the front page stating they are currently at a backlog of 7 days and are no doubt working full on to deal with the onslaught of orders.

I imagine it depends on where you stand on things like the “Best Before” dates.  I tend to use any and all of the provided dates as a guide and not law.  I think common sense rules here and while a tin of veg that is a month past it’s best before date may very well be not only safe to use, but also just as tasty as it was a month ago.  The same cannot be said for perishable products – which Approved Foods does not sell.  Anyone remember the gentleman that opened a canned ham (I think it was) that was many, many years old and ate it not too long ago?  🙂

I have had a look around the site and signed up for their newsletter.  I also noticed that there were quite a few items (at the time I checked) that were prior to their best before dates, and they have some non-food items and pet food too.  I haven’t placed an order, although I may at some point, simply because for most things I just don’t have the space to buy in great quantities which is really the way to save here.  With P&P at £5.25 which is up to 28kg, if I were to order just 20 items it would add 26p to the cost of each item, so I would have to check and see how much of a savings that still was over the current supermarket price for the specific item.  But if you are able to buy (and use!) items in larger quantites there is a definite and great savings to be had.

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Written by kadeeae

January 16, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Packaging Overload

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Just plain ridiculous.  A nice bakery bag would have sufficed.  If they insist on handing out this giant chunk of plastic, I at least want 4 more danish in there.  At the same price.  Not to eat all at once mind you, no.  Never.

I simply would never do that.  Not even in my wildest dreams.

Ummm, gotta run.

Over packaged 1

Overkill pkg. 2

Written by kadeeae

January 7, 2009 at 2:21 pm

My Next “Must Have”

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Panasonic Flatbed Microwave

I’ll be funneling savings to a specific fund again, this time for the Panasonic NN-CF778S.  Our oven is a built in and fairly small and gas – no fan.  Probably 75% of the time it’s more than adequate for my cooking/our eating needs.  But there are those times when I’m wanting to make 2 or 3 dishes in it at the same time and this becomes quite a headache.  Say I’m roasting a chicken and want to add another dish to cook during the last 40 minutes.  The chicken fits on the shelf that is about 2/3 of the way down in the oven.  The next “rack” higher up is too high.  If I try and place the second dish below the chicken, it is way too low.  In order to put it above the chicken, I have to nearly lower the chicken to the floor of the oven which just doesn’t work either.

Our microwave is small, and again, usually not a problem.  I’ve never “cooked” in a microwave in my life.  I use it to defrost meats, warm pre-cooked food and yes, even the occasional ready meal type of thing.  The turntable just takes a dinner plate and is still able to spin.  Anything larger or of somewhat wonky shape, nevermind.   There are those times though, when it would save much time and/or effort if it were the next size up.

This, this absolutely lovely Panasonic (above) would go a long way to solving a multitude of dilemmas.  It really is a multi-purpose piece of equipment and one I’m certain to use often and in all of the ways intented.  Sure, some more than others,, but running down it’s feature list I feel that I really would use it, if not daily, very often.  So – now that the Chef Titanium has been purchased, brought home and used oh so many times, I now set my sights on the Panasonic NN-CF778S.  Not nearly as impressive a name as my Kenwood, but just the same WOOT factor!

Written by kadeeae

December 22, 2008 at 10:28 am

Simple Simon Really Is THE Pieman!

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I had read a couple of different rave reviews of Simple Simon’s Pie Shop, where now I couldn’t tell you, and thought both times that I would definitely have to give them a try.  I bookmarked the site after reading the second review and finally got around to placing an order last week.

The most difficult part of placing the order was trying to decide on which pies to purchase.  All of the varieties sounded absolutely scrumptious, but in the end I placed an order for some of the Sausage and Potato in Onion Gravy, Pork with White Wine – Lemon – Parsley & Garlic and the Beef & Mushroom.  I ordered on a Wednesday, about 2:45 PM, which according to their delivery quotes on the website, would have mine arriving on the following Tuesday because I was after the 2 PM ‘deadline’ for Friday delivery.  I was pleasantly surprised when an email arrived about 15 minutes later stating that they had received my order and I could expect delivery on Friday.  Not only a punctual reply, but I’d be getting my pies 4 days earlier than planned!  🙂

The pies did indeed arrive on Friday, around 1 PM, and were wrapped and packed well with small ‘chiller cubes’ (ice gel) around them which they state would keep the appropriate temperature for 48 hrs.  Of course there was no way that these boxes were going to sit untouched for 48 hrs to find out!  I ordered more than I needed at the time so that I could put some in the freezer (they will keep well for up to 2 months, defrost slowly and thoroughly before reheating) and give a couple to the IL’s.

Dinner time the next day and into the oven went my pie, for about 35 minutes (I had taken it out of the fridge about half an hour prior to come up to room temp.) at Gas Mark 4.  Vegetables steamed, and I was ready!

And I was not, in any fashion, disappointed.  The photo above shows how gloriously golden (no edits here!) the pastry was and it tasted every bit as good as it looked coming out of the oven.  The pastry was lovely moist and light, but not so crumbly that you end up with bits everywhere like you do with some.  I thought that maybe it would be a bit dry because of reheating an already cooked pie, but it wasn’t in the least.  And, even better than the ‘shell’ was it’s contents.

The pork was very tender, moist and plenty of it.  The seasoning was absolutely spot on with no one flavour overwhelming the others, and all of the ingredients resting on steamed potatoes . . . . genius.  It really was delicious and a generous serving at about 300g.  I could have been a bit piggy and had two but with the veg it was a nice meal and I wasn’t so overstuffed that I couldn’t make a bit of room for some pudding.  🙂

I have to give Simple Simon’s Pies an enthusiastic and total “thumbs up”.  We haven’t had either of the two other kinds just yet, possibly this weekend, but I can’t imagine that they would be a let down.  Thought and care has gone into making these wonderful pies, you can tell, and I would feel confident in assuming the rest of the “line” is just as mouth watering and filling.  I will definitely post when we have the other two varieties.  Also of note, their creations are additive and preservative free with locally reared meats and fresh fish being used.

There are 20 types of pies and they also do casseroles which are suitable for freezing too, and a cold pork pie flavoured with spices and mustard which sounds yummy also.  I heartily suggest you drop by their site and have a look at the wonders Simple Simon’s has to offer, I know that we are now confirmed Simple Simon customers!

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Written by kadeeae

September 12, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Is There Hope For Buying Organic On A Budget?

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I have to admit that my organic purchases have slipped lately due to rising prices, but with some of the suggestions here maybe that can change. Please follow the “Clipped From” link at the top for the rest of the story.
clipped from

Organic on a budget
A shopper in the supermarket � Olga Chernetskaya -

Organic food can be expensive, but you can eat organically without spending a fortune. Lily Barclay finds out how

In recent months, rising food prices and an economic slowdown have led many people to question the cost of their shopping basket. With organic products typically more expensive than their non-organic counterparts, could these be among the first to go?

The first luxury to go?

Certainly, our desire to cut the shopping bill could explain why London’s largest organic supermarket, Whole Foods, has reported �10m losses in its first year.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – according to organic accreditation body, the Soil Association, organic food sales have grown fourteen-fold over the past 10 years.

There is still a huge interest in eating fresh, natural produce and you don’t always have to spend big either. If price is your main motivation, there are plenty of opportunities for budget organic shopping.

Written by kadeeae

August 27, 2008 at 1:19 pm