Monday, 10 October 2011

Slow Cooking, Rice Pudding and Electricity Costs

A Winter Warmer and a Winter Warning!

I'll start with the frugal winter warmer, as it's more comforting than the winter warning.

Rice pudding is a firm favourite of our household but, despite this, it seldom seems to be on the menu during summertime. For this reason, I have come to the conclusion that it must be a frugal winter warmer.

Being a big fan of the slow cooker, as opposed to switching on the main electric oven, I tipped in the following ingredients, in no particular order:


1.5 litres UHT milk
Half a can of evaporated milk (left over from semolina pudding the previous night)
300g rice (I had to use long grain, as nothing else in store)
3 rounded tablespoonsful of sugar
3 handfuls of raisins or sultanas
a good sprinkling of nutmeg

I cooked this on high then reduced it to low after about an hour and a half. It was then left slow cooking until teatime. Give it a stir every half hour or so, just to ensure it isn't burning (caramelising is the more frugal terminology used for this browning process) and add a little more milk if you don't like it too thick.

The above should provide you with around 6 to 10 servings, depending on how hungry/greedy you are. Obviously, if you follow guidelines, then the portion prices are minimal.

I'm finding now that I need to cook as much as possible at any given time, mainly because the cost of electricity is creeping up to a level that's getting out of control!

"Ditch and switch", I keep hearing people say, only these people obviously aren't thinking on behalf of the entire nation! Get cashback to ditch and switch - that might help! Only problem I have found is that each time I feed my household's electricity requirements into one of these comparison sites, they all seem to come back saying the same thing: Amount of savings = ZERO!

I'm not one for brand loyalty but, when it comes to electricity and telephony, there can't really be a cheaper way of doing things, can there? Living in a rural community, our only service provider for telephone lines is BT. There may be other companies out there but, at the end of the day, if the BT network goes down, the phone connection and Internet access is lost, regardless of who is billing you.

I feel the same way about the National Grid. If your electricity is coming to you on mains wiring, it has to be connected to this self-same grid, regardless of who is supplying it.

I double checked my figures using the E.ON site, thinking I could possibly take advantage of their Tesco Clubcard points offer, but found that, in order to 'benefit', I would need to pay even MORE than I'm currently paying Scottish Power. I guess what I'm trying to say is, no matter who your supplier is, they're always going to get your money somehow. As they say, "better the devil you know than the devil you don't", so I'm sticking with what I've got and hoping that the original is always best.

Of course, if all this talk of the miraculous *E-Cat proves to be true, I'll want to make sure I have enough in my savings account to cover the cost of purchasing my very own energy catalyser. Guessing I'll need to be quick, too, before 'they that be' clamp down and the miracle device mysteriously disappears, all traces of the thing dissolving into the ether.

My one piece of extra good news over the weekend was that my £35 cashback has finally been confirmed for last year's contents insurance. If I remember correctly, the policy cost me around £40 for my minimal contents and if I 'cash-in' for an Amazon voucher, I'll get an extra 0.5% bonus.

Topcashback and my eBid Buddy Points are paying for Christmas 2011 in the Frugaldom household.

* On the subject of the e-cat, my research is beginning to look more like an article for the Paranoid Times!

NYK Media


  1. OOH I may try making a rice pudding in my slow cooker, I hadnt thought of that, thanks x

  2. I love home made rice pudding! I usually make mine with a tin of condensed milk too, as well as skimmed milk...Yummy!

  3. Glad your Christmas plans are going well.

    Sft x

  4. I think this will be on the menu here tonight, not sure I have the evap milk but I do have some long life single cream. yummy

  5. Mrs Squirrel, I don't normally have any evaporated milk, I usually just add a bit margarine (butter not in the budget) to the pan while it's cooking.

    The slow cooker version tends to be more like the tinned puding, if you prefer the old-fasgioned type complete with skin over the top, you'll need to bake it uncovered for a bit, which also means it needs extra milk to compensate for evaporation.

    Having the last of ours at lunchtime today. :)

  6. The "ditch and switch" saving figures we hear about are usually for people who've never switched - who are on their original energy companies expensive standard tariff. I'd imagine there are fewer and fewer people in that position nowadays - last time I switched (after my previous good deal was coming to an end), all the quotes were had minus savings (so cost more) but I could still choose the most competitive rather than sticking with the same company as before.

    The only person I know who has really benefited from "ditch and switching" didn't care about the resulting tariff - he was more interested in claiming cashbacks. The day his previous switch was complete, he started his next switch onto whichever tariff, from whichever company was paying the most - over and over again. He didn't care how expensive the tariff was as the cashback more than paid for it. He paid nearly his entire annual electric bill from those cashbacks last year but I think the stream has dried up a bit now and it's not as lucrative as it once was.


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