Archive for the ‘Food Shops’ Category

As life in the UK is still far too expensive to keep up towards the same level in my home country, I have to somehow manage to find where to save money.

Therefore the Christmas and New Year 09-10 festive period is rather quiet days for us this time.

Staub Le Creuset Chianti Pittini Riedel

Staub Le Creuset Chianti Pittini Riedel

Despite the difficult conditions of life in the UK and even in the heavy snowy conditions, somehow we have managed to travel to Paris to seek genuine food and kitchen products which are not sold in the UK.

It seems departments in the UK have withdrawn some popular products or deterred selling products of other countries, even in the neighbour countries, France, Germany, Italy and more as far as I can see.

This tendency is more obvious since the current recession has been recognised, I believe.

After the Christmas and new year celebration, I felt as if we saw the real state of the country under this downturn period.

It seems to me that as if Paris is rather sensible to be conservative to save monies, comparing with London where there seems to be many ongoing and completed refurbishment in public transportation and the rows of high street shops and buildings.

As long as the bill is charged to only people who have abundant spare of contributions, not from ordinary people who are under struggling state of life in the UK, this is fair enough to share the fantastic improvement in London, preparing for the 2012 Olympic and further.

This is what I felt after the full day trip to Paris this week.

I bought the little Staub cocotte which is difficult to buy in the UK, although there were no discount. If I wanted the regular size of casserole, I would have bought a discounted 20cm diameter in the sale.

But I already have one from competitor’s manufacturer, Le Creuset, which I satisfy with. 

I have tried some cocotte recipes to see what is the best ways to use the swelled spots on the back of the lids to get even convection in the little casseroles I have.

As it is just a good size for one portion to serve straight away without dividing a whole large dish into plates, however, the enamel coating seems to be vulnerable to metal scratches.

Well, I fancy I should try the French onion soup with this first, then I may be able to discover some other recipes.  

Now, I just tell you a little delight we tasted in the festival period that despite the still far expensive life in the UK in this winter, more people give us wine bottles.

The perfectly satisfied wine I bought in Sainsbury supermarket in December 09 above was sold at only GBP5.49.  – Piccini Chianti Riserva 2006

This is the fair reasonable pricing that should have been in the UK and this must have been applied to all other pricing to keep global standard life level in the UK.

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I made Aloe Vera moisturiser for my face to cut cosmetic cost today.


Ingredients are just the 1 large aloe vera leave without the green rind, 200 to 250ml of water and 1 tea spoon of glycerin.

I used two small aloe vera leaves instead and keep it in a fridge and I have to use it within a couple of weeks as there are no additives.

I will try this for a week and if there are no problem to my skin, I will be able to save at least a few hundred of pounds a year.

In fact, I placed an order of 2 aloe vera leaves at the beginning of June 09.

On their website, it was written that it would be available in June or July 09 and when I placed the order I requested to inform me of the date of the expected delivery.

They said the leaves are available at the time I confirmed on the phone and the date of delivery would be informed later by a person in charge later.

There had been no contacts, nor delivery thorought to the end of July and at the beginning of August I called them to find out what is happening.

They said that this year they can not get large leaves, however, there are some small aloe vera plants available. 

As by the end of June 09, my interest to the aloe vera I have ordered had gone, I told that I could cancel the order due to the missing stock of the supplier.

But they said that they would somehow send them by the end of this week – then I received it today.

If the leaves are so small and it cost 1.70 x2 in minimam order + carriage 3.95 = total cost of 7.35, after waiting for 2 months. 

If I knew it would take 2 months to deliver and the leaves are not long enough as standard in a general sense of manner, I would not have bought it.

This is another typical expensive living cost in the UK. 

Imagine that most of services and products in the UK work like this example, how much living costs of us in the UK have been flown away, in comparison with other major cities in the world?

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Grilled Veal with Vegitable Saute

Grilled Veal with Vegetable Saute

I had somehow managed to carry food from a Waitrose which are situated more than 1 hour journey time this week in the hot weather.

I brought a big ice bag in a trolley actually and it was long time I had not gone for shopping in Waitrose.

For the start, I bought the English veal scallop and it was over £3.22 for just about 115g! It could only be good if we are on a diet to lose weight.

I convince myself that I am in the middle of the diet, but actually I grilled chicken as well for the meal.

I used to buy veal scallops from Waitrose sometimes until a year ago, but I do not remember the price. I believe that they have not reduced food price and created budget grade ranges for cheaper deals.

I like Waitrose and I will explore their meat, cheese, bread and more to find latest tasty food. I expect that most of the prices go down.

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I went to one of the most popular Japanese food shop which is called Japan Centre in Piccadilly, London on the other day. It had been more than several months since I last went there.

I was surprised as the food shop was beautifully modernised with about 10 tills with shop assistants. We queue in one line and go to the number of the till the automated voice calls.

There were so many non-Japanese shoppers as well as many Asian and Japanese shoppers and the range of products were much wider, particularly towards the higher range than the last time I came.

High Quality Sushi Vinegar and Nori Seaweed

High Quality Sushi Vinegar and Nori Seaweed

The top grade Sushi Nori 10 sheets was sold at £4.88 and the specially made Sushi vinegar was £3.85.

As I had an appointment on the day, I could not buy raw and frozen products. I will go back and get more attractive products from there later.

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Actual Working Times of Supermarkets in UK

Actual Working Times of Supermarkets in UK

When I had not got used to the UK, I often missed food I wanted buy in supermarkets in the UK.

You might say that food shopping should be done on weekends daytime, rather than in the evenings.

However, many large supermarkets in the UK open till very late and some of them even denote that they open 24 hours!

  • Sainsbury opening times

Monday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Tuesday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Wednesday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Thursday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Friday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Tesco 24 hours opening times

Monday 6 a.m. – midnight

Tuesday 24 hours

Wednesday 24 hours

Thursday 24 hours

Friday 24 hours

Saturday 24 hours

Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Even though Sunday operation hours are regulated up to 6 hours in the UK, is not the 24 hours opening times signs prominently written on their sites misleading customers?

If there are no much perishable foods missing, which makes most of the vegetable racks empty in their supermarkets, where is the point opening 24 hours or till late?

I believe that many people including myself miss their shopping on Sundays as shops only operate only 6 hours on Sundays.

Mojority shops open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so roads in London are also with heavy traffic before and after 4 p.m. Therefore I prefer to stay at home on Sundays.

Would not they better to close much earlier in the evenings and open longer hours on Sundays? I think majority of people do not mind in taking off on Sundays in the modern life.

I have often experienced the empty racks in supermarkets even just after 8 p.m! Presumably very little people would shop in the midnight, anyway.

A lot of services in the UK and probably in many countries in the world exaggerate their service or at least express in very misleading ways like this for example.

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Following the advertisement flyer delivered with the news paper this morning, we went to the supermarket.

The pictures above are the ones they actually sold. Non frozen Bonito in this high season, Horse Mackerel, Cod, Clams, Sea Bream and other local fish/once frozen fish from the sea around Japan, as well as cultured Salmon from Norway and other fish imported were sold.

The Sashimi Bonito above at 498 yen has been chosen for our dinner tonight.


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In Japan, news papers people subscribed are delivered every morning between 4 and 7 a.m. together with advertising papers by various shops, organisations or individuals held in the news papers.

Today, I found a paper from a local super market advertising a special discount for 4 days. The pictures below are part of the paper to show ideal food quality and freshness demanded in standard and fair prices which are generally accepted in Japan.

You may notice that some of the meat is much fatty. Good fatty part of meat cultured or grown wild in good environment i.e. food at high standard but reasonable prices are preferred and it is viable to buy such value products in Japan.

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