A stylish lunch – from Lidl and IKEA (!)

20080517 - LidlChocrouteGarniBSo… you’d have to have spent the last few months living under a rock in the desert not to have heard about the credit crunch.


Yes, folks, it appears that apart from:


a) the environment going to hell in a handbasket;


b) social values and the nuclear family going to hell in a handbasket;


c)  democracy going to hell in a handbasket;  and


d)  our food supply going to hell in a handbasket,


it appears that the world economy is soon to follow suit.  Seems some folks invested in a very risky part of the market, gambling on the “big risk, big returns” premise.  But as so often happens with gambling… it turned out to be a very, very bad bet and now we are being told that we are on the brink of a global recession.  Jobs are being lost, house prices are tumbling, stock markets are taking a beating… and food prices just keep on rising.


What’s a wannabe gourmet to do?


At chez Cooksister, I am pleased to find my lifelong love of leftovers has suddenly come to be viewed as a virtue rather than just stinginess 😉  But you still have to go and buy food.  Which is expensive.  One thing we do is to try and get our fruit and vegetables from the Queens Market, which is not too far from us.  But recently I have also been discovered some rather delicious things in unusual (and reasonably-priced!) places.


I have written before about the odd phenomenon that is Lidl.  Or maybe it’s just our local branch that’s always a hothouse of weirdness.  The bizarre selection of random merchandise (raclette grills one week, tents the next, and fishing tackle the next) sitting alongside the food.  The general wariness of the (largely) Baltic states clientele who all seem to be from just outside the EU and permanently looking over their shoulder in case the immigration police should pop in to pick up a raclette grill.  And the general preference for using cardboard boxes for ferrying your groceries around the store rather than a trolley.


So at first glance, it’s possibly not the kind of place where you’d go to pick up the ingredients for a chic lunch.  But… surprisingly, you can find some rather good continental goodies there (and it’s also the place where I bought all my English purple sprouting broccoli this season!).  Nick has always loved sauerkraut – even more so when it’s served with some sort of German sausages.  A brief trot around the store revealed that Lidl not only does a nice line in bottled German sauerkraut, but also these dinky little packets of 8-10 bratwurst sausages.  I usually keep the sausages in the freezer and the sauerkraut in the cupboard, so if you drop into our house unnanounced over a weekend and you look as though you need feeding, it’s more than likely that this will be on the menu if I’m feeling lazy.  Grill the sausages, heat the sauerkraut with a few cracked black peppercorns, garnish with sweet wholegrain mustard and voila!


And to drink?  Well, for that, you should head over to that well-known gourmet store, erm, IKEA.  Yes, we all know about the meatballs in the chiller cabinet and the delectable Daim sweets.  But lately I’ve been buying the most delicious drinks there.  For your non-alcoholic friends there’s the lingonberry drink on the right.  Think cranberry juice but with more oomph – delicious!  And to serve with the meal?  Forget expensive Alsace wines to serve with your sausages & cabbage and pick up a slab of Kopparberg Swedish pear cider – my latest addiction.  Once you pour it into champagne flutes, your guests will be intrigued by this undiscovered, fruity bubbly – keep them guessing before you reveal the tin.  And at 95p per can, it’s an affordable luxury :)



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  1. says

    This posts hits home. My partner came froma working class German family and swear by Lidl and Aldi. I shopped at a Lidl on our recent visit to Sweden. Not bad. Sometimes I even venture to an Aldi. Its great fro plain basics. I stay away from the proceesed junk stuff. You have to fo what you can do. And who knew Ikes yielded such finds. I have purchased a frozen ham, chesses, and all sorts of stuff in their timy market.

  2. says

    A swear by Aldi & Lidl for their Christmas products. I also love their crinkle cut and paprika crips. I never realised they sold PSB, I certainly have to make sure i can get some there next year when it’s in season.

  3. says

    You will probably be pleased to learn that I wont be popping round unannounced on a random Saturday; not if I am gonna be feed the devils excrement that is sauerkraut!

  4. says

    I can assure you the weirdness is not unique to your branch of Lidl! After five years of shopping at Aldi and Lidl, I have recently changed to a slightly – but only slightly – more upscale shopping emporium, but I still go back now and then just to taste the weirdness.
    Speaking as an almost German, I can say that your Wurst und Sauerkraut look superbly authentic.

  5. says

    Food prices here in SA is sky high and with everything else climbing, sadly people have to cut down on food. This is a delicious “cheap” meal. Thx for showing that you guys are also normal…..all your other dishes are always very elaborate.

  6. says

    I’ve only been coming here a short while – but am pleased to see that you do use the odd tin or two. :)
    The Saurkraut looks delicious and much easier than making it at home. I tried to make it with a friend two years ago and had to try three times before I managed something that didn’t go off first & the last lot tasted vile! Wish you’d tell us which brand you bought – or is that not allowed here?
    Thanks again for a super amusing post!

  7. says

    *gasp* Lidl and Ikea. I don’t know you anymore.
    Just kidding! When I lived in London on a budget you might have caught me buying pots of honey there. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.
    Sorry Jeanne, I’m with Andrew on this one. :-)

  8. says

    I have not gone into our local Lidl – ’cause it’s a tacky store in an out-of-the-way place. Now you have my curiousity roused…. Besides, I love good saurkraut!

  9. Jennifer says

    Not a fan of either Lidl or Aldi- I have been known to go into the Lidl for weird things like we bought a huge cat scratching post there for 24 euros nearly identical to that sold at our local pet store for 90 euros.
    I too like Ikea’s lingondrink because it has almost as much oomph as real cranberry juice- I find that Cranberry juice sold outside of the US and Canada is just far too sweet- but don’t gorget Ikea for their ginger cookies- they make a great base for a cheese cake, and their polar bread is perfect for finger sandwiches!

  10. says

    My wife and I were amused by this post. While Lidl is still pretty much a no-go area save for the olive oil that we pick up there every other month, Aldi has been a revelation. Moreso in these tough times lol. Great blog. I blog randomly at http://www.africanaspects.com – do visit when you’re not cooking up a storm. Stay well!

  11. says

    Courtney – I know – after a while the whole “eat locally/sustainably/ethically” story becomes rather elitist. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I agree that there is some terrifyingly processed stuff at Lidl (never been to an Aldi), but then as I said, also frech British stuff like the PSB that the bigger chains weren’t carrying regularly. IKEA food markets can be a treasure trove – do look out for this pear cider!
    We Are Never Full – I know – it took some suspension of disbelief…! Surprisingly, not only is the food in their restaurant usually pretty good, but the herring, cheese, cripsbread – and cider! – in the food market is excellent. I’d probably stay away from the 99p hot dogs though 😉
    Jules – you are right – their seasonal stuff can be good, and they always seem to have the best selection of frozen game meats. THe PSB was a revelation to me – but every time during the season that we visitied, there is was, from British farms. Crazy.
    Andrew – LOL! CHances of you “popping over” to ours because you were “just passsing by” are pretty slim, given where we both live!! SO don’t worry, for you I will bring out the fatted calf instead of Satan’s excrement 😉
    Dragon – no chance of that! You’re stuck with me… 😉
    Charlotte – so it’s a chain-wide outbreak of weirdness than. Maybe a kink in the space-time continuum or something? But defintely free entertainment. And thrilled to get your almost-German stamp of approval :)
    Nina – oh believe me, we’re normal!! This blog is a bit like an iceberg – you only see the small percentage of food that pokes up above the water surface while the scrambled eggs on toast remain submerged 😉
    Justfoodnow – oh, I’m not averse to tins and bottles – I don’t think anybody in full-time employment can afford to be! Have never thought of makign my own sauerkraut as I’d imagine the house would smell vile for days… Can’t remember the brand but if we get some more I’ll let you know.
    Michelle – there are definitely some very guilty pleasures lurking in Lidl… Can’t really argue with their cheap bottles of bourbon either!!
    Katie – oh, tacky it is!! But ours is actually the closest food store to the house, which is the only reason we first went there as an experiment. They have a great selection of fruit juices and frozen game meat – so however tacky the surroundings might be, there is some cool stuff if you look. It’s also the source of the (very inexpensive) Prosecco that I quaff like water on warm summer afternoons…
    Susan – I can image leftovers at your house would be spectacular :)
    Jennifer – my point exactly! You wouldn’t want to do your weekly grocery shop at Lidl, but every now and again they have in stock the One Thing You Want and it’s probably cheaper than anywhere else. Agree on the lingonberry juice and the ginger biscuits – and don’t forget those addictive Daim toffees…
    Africanaspects – thanks for stopping by! Hmmm, olive oil from Lidil – must investigate! You see, that’s my point – however little you may like the store, extra virgin olive oil is extra virgin olive oil 😉 Will go and check out your blog soon.