Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A little introduction

Hello there!

If you are reading this you have some how stumbled across my own little corner of the internet- well done and thank you! Over the next few weeks I will be adding my family favourite recipes and any frugal tips I have. These are obviously based on my personal experience and opinion and are in no way conclusive :)
Anyways, as the blog is brand new tonight I will start by running through a little list of handy store cupboard items that I find are a god send for making cheap, last minute meals. This may be pointing out the obvious, or it may be more about personal taste but I do find with these bits and bobs in the cupboard and freezer I am able to get by on very tight weeks and keep us all fed.

  • Herbs and spices- I try to get into the habit of picking a new pot or jar of something up every week- a simple bag of frozen chicken breasts can be reinvented a million times over with a well stocked selection of flavours! If you use a lot of a certain spice I advise using Indian/Chinese shops or the worldwide aisles in the major supermarkets- often they will have much larger packets for much cheaper prices.
  • Tinned tomatoes and passata. The base of many a good meal and an absolute staple for the cupboard.
  • Mayflower medium curry sauce, powdered. Available in Farmfoods (Frozen food specialist and all around life saver for food budgets) I know this is available in other places but is very reasonable from Farmfoods. It is a plastic container with curry powder in and it lasts forever. If you like Chinese chip shop curry you will love it- I will blog my chicken curry and egg fried rice recipe soon. Cheaper, healthier, very quick and I PROMISE just as nice as your local take away.
  • Pasta, all types, cheap and filling- stock up :)
  • Stock pots. I.am.in.love.with.these.little.guys - I always pick a few packs when they are on offer as I tend to use them a few times a week.
  • Bulk bags of flour and self raising flour. Seriously, you would not believe how easy pancakes, naan breads, tortilla wraps, batter etc are to knock together and how few ingredients you need!
  • Tinned tuna- ideal for the weeks when fresh shopping has taken a slide. They keep for years, are a family favourite and go with everything from Jacket pots to pasta to sandwiches. Well worth looking out for the BOGOF offers.
  • Olive oil. There are always offers on this in the big supermarkets and Aldi do a huge bottle for a very reasonable price. I don't use this as our main form of oil but I do find a little of this drizzled on salads or used for dipping bread can give a cheap meal a touch of luxury.
  • Tinned mushrooms. Are they any good for breakfasts? Hell NO. Are they good in a slow cooked dish? Hell Yes. Beats frozen, I always use fresh where possible but like to have a few tins of these there for emergency mushroom situations!
  • Cous cous, cheap and uber versatile. It can be anything from plain to spicy- get experimenting with those herbs and spices! Best bit? Cooked in 5 mins!
  • Garlic Puree- I use a lot of garlic, this does not go off, leave little lumps, need chopping finely etc. Besides its cheap. I buy the Sharwoods tube but I am sure all puree is created equal :)
  • A packet of pizza dough, well under a £1 in Supermarkets and you only need to add water and oil to make a fab pizza base. Great fun spinning it around like a master chef with the kids! Great way to use up left over meat, veg, sauces and odd bits of cheese. Fantastic way to get the veggies into the kids- put them on first and then the cheese ;) 60p plus leftovers and you have a feast for 2-4. Add salad and potato wedges to bulk it out- or just make two!!
I will add to this list as I go along and will also add my freezer favourites and best fridge buys too.

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