Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Grand Experiment, Week Two

This week I again shopped in Tesco. Do to an unfortunate mix-up, I actually had to make several trips. The list below represents the combined list from these three.
  • Fresh Chicken Breast (800g), £7.78
  • Coriander, £1.49
  • Coconut Milk, 1 tin, £1.29
  • Chopped Tomatoes, 1 tin, £0.56
  • Pappadums, £1.49
  • Onions (2), £0.37
  • Irn Bru (24 cans), £6.78
  • Sandwich meat, £1.80
  • Muller Lite Yoghurt (12), £5
  • Finish Dishwasher Tablets (30), £3.67
  • Shampoo, £2
  • Tomatoes (6), £0.80
  • Soap (4), £0.76
  • Air Freshener, £0.59 (not counted)
  • Bananas (6), £0.83

The reason the air freshener isn't counted is that that spray is likely to last at least a year. The total of the three trips was £36.68 (actually, much higher than I'd expected). The running total is now £71.36.

I was also unable to get cotton buds, which was annoying. Of course, it's always possible that they've stopped making them due to the risk of ruptured eardrums.

Why Cans?

As I'm sure you've noticed, I purchased 24 cans of Irn Bru. Clearly, it would be much cheaper to buy four 2 litre bottles instead. There are two reasons for this: a single 2 litre bottle would be expected to last a whole week, all being well. Of course, it would be flat after two days, which isn't good. Also, when pouring a glass from a bottle, it's quite hard to judge the serving size, such that that bottle might only be five glasses. A can, on the other hand, is a fixed quantity.

The cost of home-cooked food

This week's "Experimental Cookery Tuesday" is chicken tikka masala, which is something I have had frequently. This provided an ideal opportunity to compare the costs of doing business. My gut feeling was that Jamie's version would be more expensive, but by how much?

While in Tesco, I priced up the two methods of cooking.

From a Jar: This version requires one jar of Tikka Masala sauce (£1.46) and 400g of chicken (£3.89). This makes for two servings, giving a cost of £2.68 per serving.

Home cooked: Ingredients: 800g chicken (£7.78), 2 Onions (0.37), 1 Chilli (£0.18), Ginger (0.30), Coriander (£0.35 approx), Tikka Paste (£0.68), Chopped Tomatoes (£0.56), Coconut Milk (£1.29), Yoghurt (£0.65), Almonds (£0.17 approx), Lemon (£0.30). This cooks up six servings, giving a total cost of £2.11 per serving.

Neither of these include incidentals, such as salt, pepper, cooking oil or butter; or sides such as rice.

So, surprisingly, the home-cooked option costs more than 50 pence less per serving than the version from the jar. I suspect the reason for this is that the jar option is all meat and sauce, while the home-cooked option is bulked out with vegetables, which are obviously considerably less expensive.

1 comment:

rj said...

Hmmm, well we intend to try out this curry soon too, having tried out loads of recipes from this book and really enjoyed them. However, it definitely won't work out cheaper for us for a number of reasons:
1. I always stock up on jars of curry when they're half price.
2. I always halve the amount of chicken, given that the amount of meat you actually need in life is pretty small.
3. We ram these curries full of veg and serve them over 4 portions, thus saving money. Yay!

Still enjoying the ongoing recipe review!