January is always a bit glum. Revision is underway and the student loan hasn’t quite arrived. The word budgeting has suddenly gained meaning after living off super noodles at the end of last term. So here are my top tips to make your food go a bit further.
1. Buy small amounts regularly. This way you any buy what you actually need to use. The temptation is do a big shop and be seduced by bulk buying, but this is when you start to throw out a broccoli that you forgot about and is going moldy in the back of the fridge.
2. Speaking of leftover vegetables get inventive! A blender is a great investment to make soups and stews with. Then you can freeze soup on sturdy picnic bags and voila, healthy meal ready in 5 minutes when you’re tired.
3. Leading on nicely, the freezer is your best friend. Learn to defrost is to make sure it is working efficiently and that you are getting the maximum space. This may take some persuasion from flatmates but worth doing. Freeze leftovers, soup, yellow sticker bargains, ginger ready to grate, bread for toast, the list goes on.
4. Visit any supermarket at 4pm on a Sunday or half an hour before closing and you will get some fantastic yellow sticker deals. However, make sure you are going to either use them soon or freeze them. Don’t be seduced as the produce will have short dates.
5. Learn some classic flavour trios, this way you have a good starting point with every recipe. Celery carrot and onion, tomato basil and onion, lemon garlic and ginger,
6. Learn to love herbs and spices, they are your best friend in the kitchen. They can make a boring meal come to life and perk up even the cheapest rubbish ingredients.
7. Perfect your signature dish. It is also great to have a dish that you feel confident making, food is a great way to socialise on the cheap and even better when you’re not stressed about what you are cooking.
8. Cook with other people! Often you wont need much for ingredients to cook for two, it’s fun, cheaper and a great way to make cooking less of a chore if you don’t enjoy it. Even if you are cooking on your own, if you can make a little bit extra do-that is lunch done for tomorrow.
9. Be adventurous, this may mean throwing away a few dodgy dishes. I attempted courgette fritters last night, not my finest effort but as long as you learn why it went wrong it is not a waste of time.
10. Enjoy cooking. Cooking from scratch is cheaper, better for your health and a lifelong skill. If you can find a way to enjoy cooking (and more importantly eating) you are onto a winner.