Sunday, 17 February 2013

A supermarket-free Lent

Even though I'm not super religious, I always give something up for Lent. Usually, it's a good reason to stop eating chocolate, or meat, or bread, or wine, in an attempt to get healthier. This year however, I've decided to give up supermarkets! So that means no Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrison, Asda, Waitrose, M&S or Co-op. I'm allowing myself to go to the local, independent 'mini' supermarkets as I think using those still counts as contributing to the local economy.

So far, I've done two food shops. The first one, I did via Hubbub, which is an absolutely brilliant home delivery service. I think they're only based in N1 and E8 at the moment. The basic premise however is that you order your food online from a pretty good selection, and then they go to lots of different independent shops to collect it for you.

The food is always very good quality, if a little more expensive than going to a regular supermarket. They also charge £3.50 for delivery, however given that it saves you time that's really not too bad. Another great plus point is that as well as offering plenty of fresh food, they also have cleaning products, shampoo, and other household goods that I'm likely to need.

My second shop was a little more creative and I went to five (!) different shops for my weekly shop. I went to Newington Green Fruit and Vegetables, which is possibly my favourite greengrocers ever. They have a fantastic range, plenty of unusual vegetables, and also a good selection of things in jars, like capers and vine leaves. I cook a lot of food that requires unusual ingredients, but here they had tahini paste, artichokes, galangal and salsify, as well as plenty of things I couldn't identify.

My fish for the week came from a local Turkish fishmongers. I wasn't quite as impressed as although the fish appears to be good quality (I've not eaten it yet), there wasn't such a big range and it was dominated by the more standard fish types such as salmon and cod.

Other shops include the Wholefoods store (for creme fraiche and fresh soup; the latter was very expensive and so I need to find another stockist), L'entrecote for wine and Percy Ingle for bread. All in all, I spent about £30, although that includes £10 on a bottle of wine.

I'm looking forward to discovering new shops and new ingredients, although actually shopping in person is obviously quite time consuming as not only are these shops further than Sainsbury's, you have more to visit. I do like Hubbub but miss being able to choose my own food so that's not a perfect solution either. I'll keep you posted!

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