June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

  • The six rules of barbecuing

    28 April, 2016 The six rules of barbecuing

    Even the best cooks can be stumped when it comes to cooking to perfection over coals. We ask Ben Tish to tell us the six most important rules of barbecuing so we can grill with confidence over the long weekend.
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November, 2015

October, 2015

September, 2015

August, 2015

July, 2015

  • Eat like an Italian

    20 July, 2015 Eat like an Italian

    If you’ve ever been on holiday to Italy, like us, you’ve probably eaten classic pizzas, pastas and risottos until you’re fit to burst. While sticking with what you know isn’t always a bad thing, delve a little deeper and you’ll find the true heart of the region; eating cotoletta in Milan, beans in Florence and artichokes in Campania will open up a whole new world of Italian cooking. We spoke to three Air B’n’B hosts about the food of their region, must-eats while you’re there, and asked about the best-kept secrets when it comes to eating out.
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  • Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    06 July, 2015 Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    With so many Michelin-starred chefs on the site, we challenged Cooked writer Imogen Corke to test her mettle on some of the trickier recipes. This week, she cooks Atul Kochhar’s cod in nilgiri korma gravy from his latest cookbook, Benares.
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May, 2015

  • Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    22 May, 2015 Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    We ask our authors ten questions about their life long love of food. This week, we speak to Rosie Birkett, author of A Lot on her Plate, about roast dinners, tuna tacos, and why you should never run your finger through hot caramel.
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  • The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    01 May, 2015 The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    Each week, we take some of our favourite recipes and give them a little tweak to make perfect packed lunches.
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Making ends meet until payday: frugal cooking

By
Helen Barker-Benfield
Added
26 January, 2017

While many have jumped on the frugal food bandwagon – and we think there’s room for all of them if they save us money on our shop – Cooked author and food writer Fiona Beckett’s book Frugal Cook, first published in 2006, was one of the originals. We asked Fiona for her top tips if you need to make substantial savings on your food bills.



What are your top three tips for being a frugal cook?

1. Shop two or three times a week, rather than rely on one big shop. Plans tend to change during the week and you don’t want to be stuck with food you can’t use. Plus, it’s too easy to buy more than you need.

2. Have at least one fridge-forage day a week. It’s that day when you think you need to go to the shops but you hold off. No stopping off for a sandwich or going to a restaurant either.

3. Have a monthly freezer or storecupboard weekend where you live off what’s in the house. It will help you break that stockpiling habit.


What are the three things you always have in your fridge that mean you can create a meal without hitting the shops?

Parmesan cheese, eggs and lemon, which lifts everything


What is your go-to frugal dish?

Spaghetti Carbonara every time. Mainly because I love it, and I’ve also got eggs and Parmesan in the fridge…


Is there one indulgent ingredient that might surprise people how good-value it is?


Sourdough bread because it has real flavour and you can use it in so many ways. Sliced two or three day old bread makes a good base for simple snacks, like this Grilled tomatoes on toast. Then, you can then make croutons and fresh breadcrumbs with what’s left. And stale bread can be whizzed in a food processor to make dried breadcrumbs.


As someone who eats and drinks fine food and wine as part of your job, what's been the hardest lesson you've had to learn about cooking frugally?

Not to impulse buy new products! This is the discipline I’ve found hardest to stick to. I get totally over-excited about good ingredients, especially in markets and invariably buy more than I need – or at least I used to. Supermarkets are also brilliant at making us part with our money. Just because a product is new, doesn’t mean you have to try it.


While we may buy budget items when we're trying to save money, what is the one ingredient that is always worth trading up for?

Authentic Italian pasta - it has a much better texture and flavour than cheap own-brand pasta.


Finally, wine. Many of us are cracking open the wine again after dry January, do you have one frugal tip for wine shopping?

Look out for 25% off six bottle offers then you can buy your favourite wine at a good price. (Band together with friends or neighbours if that stretches the budget a bit).


FIONA'S TOP FRUGAL DISHES

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