As a keen cook and lover of making a dish out of scraps and leftovers, even food shopping for myself and cooking has also been a challenge in these COVID times. Running a cooking school, you would think that all our meals are planned out to the smallest detail, but that is simply not the case. I like the thought of throwing something together, as I pride myself in having the skill set to do so easily. But now I have found that I have also had to adjust my mind set to how I approach not only my cooking but my shopping habits too. I have never been so obsessed with what is in my fridge and what is in my cupboards. I mean seriously I know how many tins of beans I have it is crazy. So, guys you are not on your own, these are mysterious and life changing times.
But it is not all doom and gloom, as this time is a gift we have been given. It has been given and we should therefore accept and be thankful for all the opportunities it is giving us. Sounds bonkers I know, but from this experience we will all learn different things about ourselves, our abilities, our boundaries and our mental attitude.
So, what has this got to do with cooking??
Well we need food and we all have to eat. It is only now we have the time, opportunity and need to cook. We do not have any excuses left, only our fears. For those confident in the kitchen it is a time for experimentation and development and for the less able time to learn and dust off those pots, pans and aprons. Basically, we can all gather new information and ideas on how to waste less food, make food go further and spend less money. The concept is adopting a “Frugal” approach to all areas of our lifestyle.
The way we do our shopping has changed, no longer now “should we” just bob to the “Co-Op” as we have run out of crisps, wine or snacks. We are going back, way back old school. Doing shopping at local butchers or farm shops. We are shopping in bulk (some way too much) and am not talking stockpiling here. When we hit the shops, we are going armed, sanitized and with a game plan. So, see how far you have come, we are being forced to meal plan naturally. Or some of us are!
So, you have just received your Asda delivery, been to Lidl or braved Tesco. The hard work starts now, managing that food, storing it properly, cooking it well and using leftovers effectively. Let start getting “Frugal””. Thrifty cooking is not a new idea and many of us already enjoy lovingly re-invented leftovers. But we can get stuck in a rut, so it is a time to revive and get creative and learn how “Frugal” can be fun.
Some of the most frequent leftovers fall into 10 categories. To reduce food waste areas, you can review being savvier with your shopping, better portion control and by having some tip top strategies for dealing with our leftovers. Let us have a look and see what we can do with them:
With any sorts of leftover bread, you could make Bread & Butter Pudding, Croutons, Breadcrumbs, Bruschetta or Eggy Bread. If you are in the habit of cooking too much rice you can use Cooked Rice in: Egg Fried Rice, Stuffed Vegetables and Rice Veggie Burgers. After the Sunday Roast you may end up with excess Potatoes. These can make tasty dishes: Bubble & Squeak, Soups, Salads, Fish Cakes, Gnocchi or Potato Cakes.
As for Dairy products you can use Milk in many delights such as Smoothies, Cheese Sauce and Drop Scones. With bits of random Cheese, you can bake a range of products: Cheese Biscuits, Welsh Rarebit, Cheese Straws and Cheesy Egg Custards. Meat leftovers such a Chicken can make wholesome Soup, it works well in a Salad, or use it in a Curry or Fricassee
When dealing with fruit and vegetables, one of the top wasted items is Cucumbers. You could try them infused in water, Smoothies, Chilled Soup, Raita. As for Berries, Crumble is the perfect solution, as pretty much any fruit fresh or otherwise will work! Trifle and Lollies are also excellent ways of using up fruit on the turn! Those massive bag of Salad Leaves can be used in Frittata, Toasties, Pasta and Soups.
So, I hope that has inspired or motivated you to think about your food shopping, preparation and your attitude to food and cooking. A lot of being “Frugal” is really thinking about what you buy and applying vigilance when out and about in the shops or online. Supermarket want us to buy 4 yoghurts for the price of 3, 2 bags of Rocket for the price of one. The shelves are awash with offers, deals and “BOGOFS”. Unfortunately, these offerings are only there to make you spend more and profit them. How many times have you got to the checkout to find you have spent an extra £10-15, that you did not expect? This is impulse buying, so beware! It is only a bargain if you actually need it!
Another tip when shopping, always check the shelf below, as the premium products are at eye level. Buy level… You will find the cheaper products are either on the top or bottom shelf. They intentionally make you work harder to find the cheaper products! Next time you shop, check it out!
There are lots more to being Frugal and loads more hacks to share with you. But until the next time enjoy being a savvy shopper, with the knowledge that you can make your food go a whole lot further than you think, with minimum or almost zero food waste!
For all your cooking needs and guidance at “Worship Food Cookery School” we are offer; monthly menu planning, recipes, family consultation and one to one cooking lessons online. We also do online cooking experiences for a Family /Couples “Fake- Away” learn to cook your favourite take way online with me, priced at £10 per adult/£5 per child. I also offer a “VIP Foodie” closed group for top tips, recipes and useful information.
You can stream our accompanying podcast ‘Lessons from Lockdown with Worship Food Cookery School’.
Reference: Alison at Worship Food Cookery School