FOODIE ON A BUDGET: ICELAND

Iceland Foods, now led by Malcolm Walker’s son Richard, might not be the first store which you think of, as a Foodie. But if you are a Foodie on a Budget, it certainly should be.

Freezing vegetables doesn’t make them organic. But freezing does two important things: it preserves freshness and it avoids waste.

If your recipe calls for just a few strips of peppers or onion, you can get just a few out of the bag and put the bag back in the freezer. Frozen ingredients can save prep time, and tears – literally, if you buy pre-diced frozen onions.

Buying in bulk enables Iceland to pass on savings. The diced onions in the bag don’t need to have perfect skins, which get removed anyway, so again, it’s likely that Iceland can buy outwardly blemished produce perhaps, which is still up to quality, inside.

When it comes to frozen peas, some own-brand peas can seem a tad tougher than the brand leaders. But that’s okay if you want them for soup or stews. Having one cheapo bag of peas for cooking and one more expensive one for accompanying meals, if you have enough space in your freezer, will make the expensive one go further.

Iceland does have quite a range of fish. When Britain was an EU member state, retailers were required to state the location where the fish had been caught, or whether it was farmed.. Recently, that information has disappeared from the website. ‘Sustainably fished’ can sometimes mean that the fish or seafood is farmed.

Atlantic salmon is a breed of fish,. It doesn’t mean that the fish was caught in the Atlantic (although it might be). Iceland isn’t doing anything illegal by labelling the bags of salmon with the breed of fish. If legal definitions are ambiguous, that’s down to DEFRA.

It’s like the difference between ‘home-made’ and ‘home-cooked’ on a pub menu. Home-made has to be made on the premises. Home-cooked can be a foodservice company ready meal, hoicked out of the freezer and zapped in a microwave.

Iceland wild red shrimp 240g come from Argentina and these are much larger than British shrimps. Come with the shells and excellent for a reasonably-priced paella. On offer at £4.00 saving 50p at 30/04/20 and also included in the 3 for £10 offer. Easy peel wild red shrimp The Arctic Royal bag is bigger at 500g for £8.00 and Arctic Royal was the original supplier. Again, excellent large shrimps. Arctic Royal wild red shrimp

Iceland Large North Atlantic prawns 450g currently 50% extra free at 30/04/20 may be wild or may be farmed. It’s impossible to tell, from the website. The smaller prawns were, and were also the best supermarket prawns out there. If these are wild, snap them up. North Atlantic Prawns

Maybe a mistake on Iceland’s part, but the Iceland Fish Pie Mix 450g does give more detailed information, showing where the fish was caught. On offer, reduced by 50p to £4.50 at 30/04/20 and included in the 3 for £10 offer, this is excellent for fish pie, fish soup and fish stew. Fish pie mix

The Iceland wild pink salmon fillets 480g are not the best that you will find. They can be a bit dry and are probably machine filleted. But if you are prepared to spend the time with salmon tweezers removing bits of bones, and will use them in a dish with plenty of ‘lubricant’ be it butter, oil, stock or sauce, then £4.00 and inclusion in the 3 for £10 deal, is a good price. Wild pink salmon fillets

Kelly’s of Cornwall clotted ice cream has 12g carbs per 125ml of ice cream, making it quite a lower carb once in a while treat. It’s made in Cornwall, with local milk and cream. Kellys of Cornwall £4 for a litre, is a good price. Kellys of Cornwall ice cream – Iceland

If you are a Greggs fan (are you sure that you’re a Foodie?) Iceland has ten frozen Greggs products. Greggs at Iceland and they include a pack of vegetarian bakes which tasted better than the ingredients would suggest and fulfilled #GreggsBucketList Greggs vegetable bake

Cheese is another area in which Iceland can throw up some interesting contenders.
Iceland Greek Feta cheese is a PDO Greek cheese made with milk from sheep and goats. It has a milder flavour than some and cubes nicely for salads. Really good price at £1.35 for 200g. Greek Feta cheese

Iceland Halloumi 250g is ,made in Cyprus by an award-winning creamery and for £2 for 250g it’s a cheap but tasty mild cheese, to get kids interested in cheese. No nasties and vegetarian Halloumi cheese

Many Halloumi fries are made with wheat, (why?) but Iceland Halloumi fries 190g (frozen) £3 are free of both gluten and additives and tasty. You may need to experiment with cooking times and heat, to get the golden look. Why not just slice up Halloumi ? Most are too short in length, to make decent sized ‘chips’. Only 1.8g carbs per 100g as well. Halloumi fries

In Normal Times, Iceland would have speciality cheeses such as Wookey Hole Cave-Aged Cheddar, which has disappeared. Luckily, a similar cheese is available at Ford Farm Somerset Brie is missing also, but you can find it at Longman Cheese

Barton’s Original Piccalilli has been made by the Barton family, in St Helen’s, since 1905. You can find out more about the company here Bartons Pickles and get price, ingredients and nutritional information from Iceland Bartons Original Piccalilli

With the demise of MySupermarket in March 2020, it’s pretty much impossible to compare supermarket prices now. However, Iceland has always had reasonable prices on things like table sauces.

Lea & Perrins Worcester sauce 290ml £2.80 Lea & Perrins Worcester
Colman’s English Mustard 170g £1 Colman’s English mustard

You’ll find quite a lot of tinned fish, including wild pink salmon and tuna in spring water. However for a good sized slice of ham, the Deli Speciale Torchon ham, made to a traditional recipe, is pretty good at £2.39 for 250g Torchon ham

If you are interested in learning more about Iceland, Channel 5 has a documentary, Inside Iceland on My5 Iceland – My5

Updated featured image to show delivery 18/05/20 which includes aforementioned Barton’s piccalilli (and their pickled silverskin onions), rainbow trout fillets, Halloumi fries, Halloumi, Feta, Mexicana, chilli and garlic olives, Leerdammer, cottage cheese, malt vinegar, Nando’s peri-peri salt.

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