Ok so update on my 'free food' and 'spout' experiments.
After almost a week our 'sprouts' have had mixed results. I can safely say that the cottonwool is a more appropriate base than blotting paper; it appears to hold moisture better. And even though it is currently winter, so had hoped the cooler temperatures and humidity would have meant that mould would not have been an issue… clearly it was.
I have also set some seeds for veggies and rosella shrubs to see how successfully they germinate using this method.
Our celery is sprouting well, so I have set another half we recently used. Also whilst the lettuce looks increasing ill and translucent, it has actually began sprouting fresh leaves!
And my basil now has great roots, might have to try planting some soon.