Low Cost Cooking
Regardless of how ‘small’ Christmas may have been, it can still be a time when we spend more money than usual. 2021, although optimistic, has still gotten off to a bumpy start, and is full of uncertainty for most of us. For these reasons, I decided to focus on low cost cooking for this edition of Southsea Lifestyle.
The great news is: low cost doesn’t need to involve any compromise on flavour or enjoyment of food. It is often when presented with a challenge or a brief that we create some of our most delicious meals. Just last week I created the most delicious cottage pie I’ve ever made by omitting the meat, and using up all of the random root veg in the bottom of the fridge left over from Christmas.
The recipe came from Jamie Oliver’s Veg book, and it featured finely chopped root veg, cooked down with marmite, lentils, and spices. It sounds odd, but it resulted in a deep, meaty, warming and delicious base, which topped with fluffy mashed potato and baked, was incredible, and cost very little to make.
Reducing or eliminating meat is a great way of reducing the cost of your meals, and also helps with those ethical and health related targets we like to set ourselves in the new year.
My top tips for reducing meat consumption and cost of cooking include:
• Use a small amount of nduja or cured meat in pasta dishes in place of fresh meat. You only need very small amounts to create maximum flavour.
• Make your own fresh pasta! I’ve talked about this before, but with flour and an egg you can create something epic!
• Eat locally-produced kale, beetroot, or spring greens in place of imported veg such as green beans or mange tout. They are cheap, healthy, and delicious when dressed with a little oil & vinegar.
• Swap the meat out of your Bolognese sauce and replace with finely chopped mushrooms and/or a tin of lentils.
• Buy whole chickens instead of breasts. You will find that a whole chicken doesn’t cost much more than a pack of 2 breasts. If you
roast a whole chicken once per week, you can use the leftovers in meals such as pasta or fajitas, and make a chicken soup by boiling up the carcass with some veg. There’s loads of recipes online to show you how, and chicken soup is great for our immune systems.
• Have a go at batch cooking. Making larger portions of your favourite curry, stew, soup or traybake will save you time and money. Foil trays with lids are available online or from supermarkets. Just make sure you label the lids before putting them in the freezer!
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