Food for Thought

We are 2 best friends and amateur chefs, on either side of an ocean, with a common love for all things food. This blog will chronicle our respective food journeys, recipes, tips and tricks, links, ideas and basically anything else to do with food on both sides of The World - showing how they are influenced by our countries and each other.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Food for Thought: Feeding Families on a budget

There is a real art to feeding your family on a budget, one that I am myself still mastering. I thought I would share some of my top tips with you  in the hope that you can reduce your shopping bills too! 

1. Set yourself a budget, weekly. Stick to it. Easier said than done I know, so make it realistic. Mine is £60 for a family of 4 and this includes lunches, dinners and of course breakfast with snacks.

2. Take it online! Doing your shopping online and having it delivered may seem a waste if you live close to the Supermarket, but it will stop you picking up needless extras into your trolley which soon add up.

3. Plan ahead. Don't plan your meals and then shop for the ingredients, do it the other way around! Pick ingredients for your meals that are on special offers like half price, BOGOF, multibuy deals etc and then plan the meals based on what ingredients you will have.

4. Make sure your cupboards are well stocked. Always having plenty of herbs, spices, pulses, stocks, grains and pasta etc ready to use will help you planning your meals and sticking to your budget. Again you can stock up on these when they are on offer - they will all keep for ages!

5. Buy, and even cook, in bulk. The more of something you buy, usually the cheaper it is. For example a larger pack of mince can make 2 meals instead of just one, reducing the cost per portion. One day its lasagne, the next its taco stuffing or cottage pie. The same goes for sauces - a big batch of home made tomato sauce frozen in bags can be made into just about anything.

6. Make as much as possible yourself. Fresh vegetables are always available and will make your meals stretch much further. Making your own soups, casseroles etc from whatever veg and meat you have is something that once mastered can save you a LOT of cash.

7. Treats - all kids want them. I'm sure none of us want to deny them all the time either, Trouble is that sweets, crisps and the like are very expensive, and also packed with additives. If you are buying these things then Supermarket own brands are just as good, and kids won't care that they are not branded. Also making treats yourself like chopped fruit, sugar free jelly cubes, veggies and dips will always be cheaper and healthier alternatives.

Does anybody else have any top tips to share? Get in touch, comment and share with everybody... Over the coming weeks I'll be hopefully sharing some of mine and my friends favourite family budget recipes so please get in touch to share any of yours and watch this space!

Good Health


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Food for Thought: Supermarket Vegetables

Does anyone out there know if the almighty Tesco has changed their veg supplier or something recently?

I always prefer, where possible, to get my fruit and veg fresh from a local grocer, but in my old house it just was not possible. I eventually found that the vegetables from Tesco, the nearest supermarket, were in fact pretty decent quality.

However, this appears to have changed over recent weeks. The potatoes in particular have been awful - throwing away more per bag than I actually used has become all too common. Not had great luck with their leeks and onions either, and despite it being in season at the time I haven't been able to get rhubarb OR celeriac there. 

A trip to my local Sainsburys has sorted out all of these problems, including the sourcing one. The quality now appears to be noticeably higher which was never the case before when I had compared the 2.

Just a note to Tesco I guess - a little quality control goes a long way... You may not care about the shopping needs of one man, but this one man happens to have a food blog. I'm sure I'm not the only one either.