Alice-Azania Jarvis: Cheap cuts are staying top of my menu
In The Red
Saturday 17 September 2011
"You done this before?" I hate these conversations. I have them all the time: at my butcher, at the fish stand in the local market. "Yes!" I say, feeling sheepish. It happens when I buy oxtail. Or kidneys. Or mackerel. Or sardines. Or any of the other foods that your grandmother used to cook. The butcher/fishmonger/whatever looks at me in amusement, like some relic from another era. "Are you sure? It's usually just the old girls who like that."
I buy them because I love them. Last weekend was spent lovingly assembling, and then enjoying, an oxtail stew so rich I felt like I'd been out to dinner and had a three-course meal. And there's nothing like roast mackerel with lemon and thyme to cheer you up at the end of a dismal day (this was my comfort food of choice during the London riots, as angry groups ran past to smash up the nearby Tesco). But they have one other advantage, too: they're cheap. Very cheap indeed.
It cost £4 for enough oxtail to feed four people: a big casserole pot full. Never mind that my boyfriend and I managed to gobble it down between the two of us, going back for second, then third helpings. Yet for some reason, people are queuing up at supermarkets to buy twin packs of chicken breast for the same amount. Don't they realise they're being ripped off?
Increasingly, more people are cottoning on to the "forgotten cuts". You see it on the menus of fashionable restaurants: tripe, liver, kidneys – they're all the rage. As are sardines, cockles, winkles and mackerel. I can think of at least half a dozen high-end openings in recent years where retro food is given the star treatment. But going to a high-end restaurant is hardly the best way to cut down your grocery bill. What I don't understand is why they're not more popular in the home, among regular cooks like me.
Perhaps it's the supermarkets' fault. I know I don't take advantage of cheap cuts nearly as much as I would if I could pick them up on my way home. Going to the butcher's requires effort, going out of my way, early in the morning before I leave for work. None of the four shops I pass on the commute has a meat counter – they just have the meat aisle, crammed full of the usual suspects. So, until they change I know where you'll find me: at my local butcher, being ridiculed by a man in a white coat...
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Mark Dampier: An infrastructure fund that builds returns by taking different roads
Simon Read: Timeshare owners accuse Macdonald Resorts of land grab
Donald MacInnes: Let's pretend Scotland won and now a salmon is running the country
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Bargain Hunter: Win a new iPhone 6
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
Day In a Page
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize