ON a week when there are deals galore to be had, why not use Black Friday to snap up something really special?
Here are my top tips for saving in store and online – plus two quick and easy recipes for a busy time of the year.
Tips for shopping in store
- Get there early. Each branch usually has only a few of the best headline deals, so be first in line. Check times too, as some stores open their doors extra early.
- Dress for comfort. Wear trainers for getting from shop to shop, plus clothes you can slip in and out of to try on new togs. Shops will have the heating on full blast so avoid heavy coats and sweaters.
- Do Black Friday with friends. When you arrive, split up and scour the shelves so you can cover all the deals in half the time.
- Stay safe. Keep your purse in a secure zipped compartment inside your coat or bag, or attach a small bell which you can hear if someone tries to pinch it.
- Keep your receipts. You may get caught up in the excitement and end up buying more than you need. Keeping the receipts means you can do returns.
- Prepare today. Make a list of the items you’re interested in and set up accounts at the sites you want to shop with. Ensure the site is genuine. Look for the padlock symbol and check trusted reviews.
- Fill the basket but don’t buy yet. Log on today and pop it in your shopping basket. Then all you have to do is refresh the screen to apply the discount on Black Friday.
- Prioritise products with low stock levels. Check availability tonight and buy the items that are in short supply first.
- Shop around the clock. Most shoppers will log on at midnight tonight – but that means sites can crash. Set your alarm for early bird bargains between 3am and 5am when fewer people are browsing.
- Stack cashback and discounts for extra savings. Scour sites such as myvoucher codes and vouchercodes.co.uk for bonus discounts and look for free delivery vouchers. Shop via topcashback and quidco too.
- Missed out on a Friday deal? Wait for Cyber Monday. Stores can cut prices more.
Pork medallion chilli ramen
- 2 pork loin medallions,
- 2 sprays of oil,
- 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce,
- 125g bean sprouts,
- 1 litre vegetable stock,
- 2 stock cubes,
- 2½cm root ginger peeled and cut into matchsticks,
- 2 tsp of chilli sauce,
- 125g shitake mushrooms,
- 1 carrot sliced into thin strips,
- 200g pak choi,
- 90g rice noodles,
- 2 spring onions,
- 3 slices red chilli or to taste,
- 3 sprigs of fresh coriander,
- 2 wedges of lime.
METHOD: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Place the medallions on a board between two sheets of cling film. Using the base of a small saucepan or rolling pin, bash them all over until they are 1cm thin.
Place the bean sprouts in a sieve and pour boiling water over them, refresh under cold water and leave to one side.
Add the stock to a large saucepan, with the chilli sauce, ginger and garlic, bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick ovenproof pan for a couple of minutes until hot. Spray with a little oil, add the pork medallions to the pan and cook for three minutes on one side. Turn the medallions over, brush with the teriyaki sauce and place the pan in the oven to cook for a further six to eight minutes or until the juices run clear.
Add the mushrooms, greens, carrots and noodles to the chilli broth and simmer for four to five minutes, until the noodles and vegetables are tender.
Slice the pork steaks thinly. Divide the noodles and vegetables between two bowls and ladle over the broth. Top each with the pork strips, bean sprouts, spring onions, chilli, coriander and lime wedge. Serve immediately.
Apple flapjack bites
- 180g butter,
- 125g light soft brown sugar,
- 5 tbsp clear honey,
- 300g oats,
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon,
- 3 red-skinned apples.
METHOD: Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
Lightly oil an 18cm x 22cm rectangular cake tin. Place the butter, sugar and 4 tbsp of honey in a pan and heat gently until melted.
Tip the oats into a mixing bowl and stir in the cinnamon and melted ingredients, then mix well. Core and dice one of the apples and mix in.
Press the mixture into the prepared tin, then core and slice the remaining two apples and arrange on top of the mixture, pressing in gently.
Drizzle with the remaining honey and bake for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes, then mark out and divide into 24 portions.