The £1 Bents bargain bag challenge

A bargain fresh food haul and early peek at Christmas!

Everyone loves a good bargain don’t they? I always cast an eye over the reduced shelf at the supermarket and have this year started buying vinyl- none of which has cost more than £1 at the myriad of local supermarkets. So when these £1 bargain bags were pointed out to me in the great new food hall at Bents Home and Garden, I couldn’t resist. Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

My friend Jane spotted the bags in the fresh food section and challenged me to make as many dishes I could with the bargain bag. I had no idea what I was going to find in it but could see rhubarb and carrot tops.What’s in the bag?

I turned everything out onto the table when I got home to see what I had. It was quite a haul for a quid: Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

  • 22 carrots – a big bunch of smallish carrots complete with tops
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 mushroom
  • 6 red apples – some were jazz apples
  • 5 beetroot
  • Bunch rhubarb

Sure there were some blackened ends on the rhubarb and the carrot tops were damp, but every single item was perfectly edible after a trim and a scrub. Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

As tea was sorted that day, and everything needed to be cooked before it went bad I had a couple of hours making a stash of freezer ready goodies. I hit up the cupboards for a few extra bits and bobs and two hours later I had the following.

Roast rhubarb

  • Chopped the rhubarb in to three pieces per stalk
  • Add zest of a satsuma (I was eating the fruit anyway so no waste) and a couple of pieces of star anise
  • Roast 175c for about 20 mins

I will use this for a crumble one cold weekend. Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

10 x whole small carrots

  • Parboiled in boiling water for 3 minutes
  • Drained in cold water to chill down
  • Frozen whole

Will defrost when I have a Sunday dinner and roast for approx. 40 minutes

Mirepoix

  • Got some bendy celery out of the fridge which I nearly threw away, and two onions from the cupboard, along with 6 of the carrots, peeled
  • Pulsed it all in the food processor
  • Voila! Mirepoix portioned and frozen ready to be used in the base of soups and stews
  • Three large portions Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

Lightly spiced parsnip soup

  • 2 x parsnips, 1 x onion, 1 x celery, 2 x garlic cloves, 1 turnip, 1 mushroom, curry powder and stock
  • Pulse all veg in processor, sauté in oil for 2 minutes
  • Add curry powder and stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Blend with stick blender
  • One very large portion

Carrot and cumin soup

  • 6 x carrots, 1 x onion, 1 x garlic clove, 1 x pinch coriander seeds, pinch cumin seeds and stock
  • Pulse all veg in processor, sauté in oil for 2 minutes
  • Add stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Blend with stick blender
  • Two large portions

Apple pie filling

  • Cored, peeled and sliced each apple into 8
  • In a large pan, I melted approx. 3 tbsp caster sugar and 30g butter
  • Add the apples to pan along with tbsp. ground ginger and tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • Cook over a medium heat for approx. 10 minutes until soft
  • Frozen in a pie dish so I can defrost and add a pastry lid to the dish for a simple pudding Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

I’ve not cooked the beetroot yet but it is going to get roast with Sunday lunch this week!

Away from the bargain bag, the food hall at Bents really has grown over the last few years. It is now the size of a small supermarket and boasts a wine merchant, tapas bar and butchers. The food hall, along with the rest of the centre, is gearing up for Christmas. There are fruit cakes and pannetone, gifts and goodies galore. Bents Bargain Bag Challenge Bents Bargain Bag Challenge Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

As you can see, I was particularly taken by this GIANT Ferrero Roche!

Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

Thanks Jane for the pics of me!

Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

Always on the look out for non alcoholic drinks and there are loads to choose from here.

Over in the Christmas area, which has opened this week, the woodland themed tree was my favourite – I was antlers and mushrooms and furry animals in my tree. Alas, the only furry animals in my tree are my pesky cats! Check out HodgePodgeDays for this year’s Christmas decoration trends and some beautiful shots of the Bents Christmas area. Bents Bargain Bag Challenge Bents Bargain Bag Challenge Bents Bargain Bag Challenge

There you have it. A freezer stocked with goodies for the princely sum of £1 and a couple of hours cooking. Are you a foodie bargain hunter- let me know where you get your best bargains!

Thanks to Bents Home and Garden for allowing me an early sneaky peek at the Christmas area which is now open to the public and worth a visit if you are already in the festive spirit!                                   

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Posted by Claire

She eats. She drinks. She cooks. She travels. She learns. She tastes. She bakes. She is a foodie with exceptional taste! Always looking for the best food and drink producers from far and wide. Chocolate brownie queen, mine are the best. Clandestine Cake Club Organiser for Bolton and Wigan. Travel lover. What better way to discover new food, than to travel to it. Massive fan of The Archers. Crazy cat lady and proud. NW England / Manchester / UK Twitter/Insta: She_Eats_Blog Facebook: SheEatsBlog

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