Good Food Blog
Mean cuisinePosted at 11:42AM, 28 April 2008 by Elaine Stocks - Deputy editor, Good Food magazine
Penny-pinching is not a very attractive trait but over the weekend I found myself doing just that. Although I prefer to call it being frugal. And in the face of rising shopping, fuel and utility bills, plus a desire to be more green, I suspect I'm not the only one.
Friday night, home from work, tired and hungry, I was on the verge of phoning from a takeaway when I decided to check the fridge. Initially, not too promising. But 20 minutes later I had rustled up a delicious frittata using two eggs (near their use-by date), a slightly shrivelled onion, the remains of a block of feta, some frozen peas and fresh mint and chives (two half-used packets hidden in the salad cooler). Quick, satisfying and a fraction of the price of the takeaway.
I decided to give my freezer and storecupboard a really thorough check. Would they be like my wardrobe - stacked with stuff, but 80 per cent rarely used?
As I began to write a shopping list on Saturday morning, I decided to give my freezer and storecupboard a really thorough check. Would they be like my wardrobe - stacked with stuff, but 80 per cent rarely used? I'm afraid the answer was yes. Lots of tins and jars, plenty of half-used packets of pasta, rice, couscous, plus an assortment of nuts and spices. The freezer yielded peas, broad beans, soya beans, frozen pastry and several tubs of stock.
Feeling inspired, I did some quick research on the web. I typed in my ingredients to bbcgoodfood.com and also had a look at bbcgreen.com and lovefoodhatewaste.com. Then I began planning meals... and crossing items off my shopping list.
And instead of driving to the big edge-of-town supermarket, I walked to the shops. As well as being good exercise, knowing that I had to walk back loaded with bags made me really think about what I bought. Arriving home, I felt rather smug until my partner dubbed the whole exercise the 'green, lean, mean workout'.
However, he had to admit that he was impressed with the reduced shopping bill and when we sat down to eat a fantastic bread and butter pudding (leftover loaf, dried fruit from Christmas and a half-empty tub of custard)and plan an early summer break, it was him who suggested that we stay at home and tackle the garden, maybe plant some veg. Not sure if he's calling my bluff...