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Somerfield Magazine

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Genre: Food & Drink / Lifestyle

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      14.12.2009 20:49
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      Worth picking up if you are passing!

      Somerfield Magazine is the free monthly magazine available from Somerfield stores. It generally comes out around the beginning of the second week of the month. You can usually pick it up on leaflet stands with special offer brochures or by the till.

      Each magazine usually has circa 30 recipes and around 70 pages. This increases slightly on both counts for the Christmas edition.

      Aside from recipes it features a number of features on own-brand products. One thing worth noting is that there due to the merger of Somerfield and Co-operative, it features a lot of Co-op products. That said, I hope for the most part that they keep hold of Somerfield magazine because over time I have found it to be better than the Co-operative alternative.

      Most of the non-food articles are quite throwaway but feature news of charity campaigns and particular in-store achievements or events. There is a readers letters page which is notable primarily for a reader's recipe. I have found that these are largely excellent and real keepers - albeit mainly consist of baked goods such as cakes or cookies.

      There is a 'your health' page which gives nutritional facts and statistics as well as recipe and cooking tips to maximise health, particular when it comes to fruit and vegetables. There is also a page of book reviews which features high profile recipe book releases.

      Then onto the bulk of the recipes. One relatively new feature is the 'credit crunch of the month' recipe, which is meant to feature a family portion style recipe for a reasonable price - for example 'pork and apple casserole' which feeds 4 for £4. The recipe is well presented in that each step is accompanied by a photograph. A similar principle is followed with a two page article spread called 'beginners guide to.....". In the past they have used this section to feature something that may be a little more tricky to put together such as a gateau or roulade.

      As a rule of thumb, each recipe containst the following: a good photograph of the finished dish, a short introduction, how much it costs per serving, how many people it serves, estimated preparation and cooking time, whether the dish is freezable, how many portions of fruit/veg it may contain. There is also a box which lists all the main nutritional categories and how the dish measures up, both statistically and as a percentage of the recommended daily amount. Alongside the recipe list there are generally photographs of the products needed, which are largely ownbrand but sometimes branded. Sometimes the recipe has a 'cooks tip', a slight amendment to the dish either in ingredients or preparation that can be easily tried. Some main meal recipes also have a recommended accompanying wine choice.

      If the dish has something particularly special about it - such as it is low in calories, is particularly quick and easy to make or is high in a valuable nutrient, this is usually indicated.

      The recipes are generally on the easier side of average. A lot of the ones that I have collected over the years I have used again and again. They taste great, are not complicated to prepare and generally very economical. I have very rarely come across some recipes that have errors in them, but these are usually easy to amend and corrected in following issues.

      The dishes featured are largely seasonal and cover the spectrum of dishes from salads, soups, baked goods, main meals and accompanients, curries etc.

      On the odd page it will feature a particular ingredient and a simple way of preparing it to make a quick and easy meal/dessert or just a way of singularly cooking that one foodstuff.

      Enivornmentally it takes some responsibility also, having a page dedicated to ideas for food waste or the use of seasonal ingredients.
      There is also a two page section dedicated to beauty issues. Towards the back is a section called Ask The Experts where a question is asked to a number of people in the know - particularly a wine expert, doctor and nutritionist. There is also something called 'kitchen spy' where a reader lets a personal trainer look at their typical diet and then pick it apart, albeit in a much kinder way than the likes of Gillian McKeith.

      There is usually also a two page feature where a famous chef/food order talks about their career and inspirations alongside a recipe from their latest book. A random celebrity also completes a short interview about their food loves and hates. There is a two page section which focusses on a particular tourist hotspot and a recipe from theat region.

      The magazine is unsurprisingly quite advert heavy but there are also useful vouchers that can be cut out alongside a number of recipes, generally related to the home but there is normally one which will an opportunity to win a family break in the UK.

      I really enjoy this magazine, and would definitely put it in the top two of the free supermarket ones alongside the one that is provided by Tesco stores. The recipes are incredibly accessible and largely easy to make from your average kitchen cupboard. I have collected many from this magazine over the years and found that many of them feature ideas that are quick, easy and tasty to make from scratch even if you are knackered and back late from work.

      The content aside from the recipes is pretty weak to be honest, but hey its free so I do not think there is much room for complaint - if you do not like it do not pick it up again.

      Being able to get a copy of the magazine from the store can be a bit hit-or-miss, they often run out quite quickly with no real guarantee that any more will come in. Also, with the merger - Somerfield stores are becoming fewer and further between.

      For simple, tasty no-frills recipes, you could really do a lot worse than picking up this!

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