I love a challenge.
So it was a no brainer for me to take part in the making money go further challenge.
Debt Free Direct challenged a few bloggers to create a meal twice. One with ingredients from famous brands and one with a supermarket’s own brand ingredients. The questions was – could you taste any difference between the two meals?
So I decided to create a pasta recipe that can pretty much be made from pantry staples in less than 20 mins. Perfect easy meal idea for week night suppers. Aka a pea and bacon pasta.
So off I trotted to one of my local supermarkets Waitrose, compared and shopped away. The four main ingredients I compared were:
Team famous brand (total cost £11):
Birds eye peas
Creme Fraiche D’Isgny
Cav. Giuseppe Cocco Fusilli
Denhay dry cured smoked streaky bacon.
Team Waitrose (total cost £7):
Waitrose essentialpetit pois
Waitrose fench creme fraiche
Waitrose essential fusilli
Waitrose smoked streaky bacon (there was no essential streaky bacon at the time so I got this instead).
There was a very small difference in how the famous brands ingredients looked compared to Waitrose own brand. It was nothing that mattered or would have put me off using either of them. The most noticeable one was that the Creme Fraiche D’Isgny was thicker and richer than the Waitrose creme fraiche and I wondered if that would come through after cooking.
So I happily cooked away and resisted the temptation to taste either version till the very end.
Now in terms of the final dish – I blindfolded OH (to remove any possible bias) and asked him to taste test both. He honestly could not tell the difference between the two dishes. He did the same to me and neither could I. Seriously. We both enjoyed each dish equally.
So I would not hesitate to make this dish again entirely using Waitrose own brand ingredients (which worked out cheaper and thereby saving you money) – they were good. The minor differences in appearance were completely irrelevant in the final version of the dish.
I hope you try this easy pasta recipe and please do share your budget recipes here. Do also check out their tips on their thrifty blog.
With thanks to Debt Free Direct for sending me a supermarket voucher to create these meals. Note that I gave the cost for the full packs of ingredients. It would cost less as I did not use the full packs.
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Pea and Bacon Pasta
- 400 g (14oz) dried fusilli
- 6 slices smoked streaky bacon
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 300 g (10.5oz) frozen peas
- Handful of chopped mint or some dried mint
- 3 heaped tbsp crème fraîche
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Ground black pepper
- Cheese optional
- Boil the pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking finely chop the bacon.
- Heat the oil in the frying pan, add in the bacon and fry until it is crisp.
- Add in the peas and fry for a minute.
- Then stir in the creme fraiche and mint and cook for about 30 secs.
- Meanwhile drain the pasta but reserve a little bit of the pasta water.
- Add the pasta to the bacon mixture along with the lemon juice and let cook on low for a min till the sauce is nicely thick. You can add in a bit of the reserved pasta water if you prefer it a bit thinner.
- Adjust seasoning and add in any cheese if using.
- Serve warm.