Thursday, 8 May 2014

Long Bank Holiday - #MorrisonsMum challenge

Our little town has several supermarkets, there is a big Waitrose in the centre, the Co-Op, there's a Sainsbury's further away from the centre, a couple of local Tesco stores on the outskirts, and last year Morrisons opened its doors to its customers. I was looking forward to having a new supermarket, as I love shopping around and getting a bargain. When BritMums announced a shopping/cooking challenge #MorrisonsMum (Dad), I have applied, as I was curious to re-discover this store, seeing it with new eyes.
Morrisons have launched a new wave of price cuts over the Bank Holiday weekend, when more than 1200 products had their prices slashed. All reduced price products now sport a sticker "I'm cheaper".
Bloggers were given Morrisons vouchers, enough to buy food for meals over the Bank Holiday weekend and asked to compare notes with their usual grocery shopping.
As I don't drive, I tend to do shopping on a daily basis. I take my trusted trolley bag and walk everywhere in town. That's why I didn't do one big shopping spree but spread it for several days.

This lot costs £30.14

What did I buy on day 1? Salmon fillets, chicken stockpot, a block of Grana Padano, Dairylea dunkers, prosciutto, frankfurters, kiwi, mango, raspberries, strawberries, spring onions, bread rolls, ice lollies, jelly bellies and feta cheese.

All these goodies for £30.69

On my 2nd trip I bought a selection of fruit, vegetables, meat and treats, including a bottle of rose which was on offer: a whole chicken, wine, fresh aerosol dairy cream, a bag of red onions, courgettes, tomatoes, mixed peppers, breaded ham, roast pork, 2 dips, poppy seed rolls, peppermint tea, an orange and biscuits (I forgot to add 2 packs of McVities chocolate digestives when taking a photo).
The chicken costed £4.40, and I usually pay twice as much for the same size free range chicken (and will continue buying free range elsewhere).
During the 3rd trip I spent about £10 more berries, dunkers, tomatoes and dips, and I still have the last voucher to spend.
What I prepared:
we had rolls with ham and roast pork with tomato salad (chopped tomatoes and spring onions with tsatsiki);

I made chicken soup twice, and also a vegetable soup with sorrel, chicken wraps with vegetables (Mexican style); lots of macedonia (fruit salad), lemony salmon hash with spring onions and more.

vegetable soup with sorrel

Macedonia (fruit salad)

Salmon hash

We love soups and salads, and I make them often. I made a big bowl of Bulgarian salad (a variation of Shopska salad).

Bulgarian Salad
1 red onion
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 courgette
1 block of feta cheese
1 green pepper
1 small tub of olives
3tbsp olive oil
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp runny honey
salt & freshly ground pepper
Slice the red onion thinly into rings and place in a small bowl, pour ice cold water and leave it for an hour (this removes the odour). Strain the water, squeeze the onion and put in a big bowl. This is an optional step, you might just slice the onions without soaking if you prefer.
Chop and slice all the ingredients and add to the bowl. In a small cup mix together the oil, vinegar and honey. Pour over the salad and mix well.
The original Shopska salad doesn't use courgettes or honey. There should be a sunflower oil rather than olive oil and the red wine vinegar rather than the balsamic vinegar.
It is a lovely summery salad, full of flavours and textures.
Overall cost for this salad: 1 courgette (3 for 99p), 2 tomatoes (4 for 59p), 1 pepper (pack of 2 for £1.49), feta for £1,65, olives for £1, 1 onion (a bag of 6 for 49p), cucumber for 49p. The dressing was made from ingredients I already had in the kitchen. That brings it to about £4.60 (or 92p per serving, as there are at least 5 servings of salad).

We baked yogurt cupcakes and decorated them with jelly bellies.

And of course, no Bank Holiday would be a holiday without ice lollies.

Pros: we liked the freshly baked section (especially the poppy seed buns and bagels).
The quality of fresh berries and fruit was high, and the prices were much lower than in our usual shops.
There were some good offers on branded products like Dairylea's Dunkers (my younger son can't have enough of them) at half price.
Some of the supermarket own products which we haven't tried before were surprisingly good (like fresh salsa and tsatsiki, feta cheese, sliced ham etc).
As you can see, even with a smaller store and not such a big choice of products, you can prepare a variety of tasty meals.

Cons: (I only describe what I have observed in the local store, so it might not reflect the whole chain): I haven't seen any organic or free range produce. I prefer to buy free range/organic meat, eggs and milk, and most likely wouldn't buy these products in Morrisons.
The alcoholic and soft drinks aisles are bigger than the fruit and vegetables ones. I couldn't find any whole carrots, for example, there were only carrot sticks in packs. I would have thought that carrots would be a basic vegetable which should be available widely.
Some of the branded products were more expensive: for example, Mr Kipling Angel Slices are pricier that in Waitrose.

What's the verdict?
I am grateful for the opportunity to buy food to last for several days, and it was an interesting experience. Am I converted to do my major shopping in Morrisons? No, I am not, unless they expand the store in town, then we'll just have to see.
Will I be popping more often to see what the bargains are? Yes, I will most definitely keep an eye on offers.

If you'd like to know what my friends thought of their Morrisons experience and what they bought and cooked, visit their blogs
Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews - Bank Holiday new cheaper shopping as #MorrisonsMum
Leta from Attachment Mummy - Saving Money at Morrisons
Alison from Dragons and Fairy Dust - Busy Bank Holiday
Jo from Given to Distracting Others - Bank Holiday #MorrisonsMum

Disclosure: I received £80 worth of Morrisons vouchers to spend instore and write about my experience. All opinions are mine.


  1. Shame you only got to experience a smaller store, our medium sized one has a good range of organic. For carrots five different bagged and then loose as well. The salad sounds really good, I will be trying that, thanks for the mention.

    1. I've seen some fab looking fresh fruit/veg/herbs counters in Morries as photoed by the other bloggers, so it must be just our particular store.

  2. I struggled to find much organic food too, but was very impressed with the cheap berries and some other bargains. You got a lot for your £80 though. Love the sound of the salad too!

  3. We have a giant store with lots of fresh food. You made some lovely meals, I love that soup. I would never have thought of adding an egg to soup. Thanks for the mention :)

  4. I love the look of your food - so colourful. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part.

  5. Ooh you got loads ! Love the look of the salmon hash and the Bulgarian salad, both recipes that I will be trying out :)

  6. I love the look of salmon dish I always find it hard to make my money stretch to make lots of nice food