assorted vegetables

10 tips to help keep food costs down

Just because we are trying to save money, doesn’t mean we can’t eat healthily.  This means being extra savvy when shopping;  gone are the days of throwing things into the trolley –  just in case – but instead, most follow a plan.
  1. Think about Frozen vegetables. Ounce for ounce these are often better value then ‘fresh’,Click to zoom in and contains more nutrirnts with no waste. Most ‘fresh’ fruit and veg. today are picked before they are ripe and left to ripen artificially.  Frozen veg. are picked when they are just right., at peak ripeness.
  2. My go-to cheap meal is Baked Beans on Toast.  It contains fibre and protein, I eat them on wholegrain toast, but read the label and search for a low salt and sugar. option. :
  3. Other less-expensive options are boiled eggs and soldiers, or scrambled eggs on toast.
  4. Don’t forget DARK chocolate has surprising benefits, and ‘a little of what you fancy….’
  5. Beware shiny apples.  This may be because they have been picked unripe, come halfway across the world in storage, and were sprayed with ethylene to chemically ripen them.  Then sprayed with wax coating to make them look shiny and ripe.  Search for labels like ‘English Coxes’ etc., now coming in to the shops;  better still if you go to a proper greengrocer who pride themselves in buying local produce.
  6. When strawberries are in season, a white ‘ring’ around the green hull probably means they have been picked unripe.
  7. Bread – nutritionists say beware of the term high-fibre.  Officially this only has to be 6 gms per 100 gms.  If you can, buy bread at a bakery where they bake their own (watch out for supermarkets that bake ready-frozen loaves with a dispenser that wafts out the ‘fresh baked’ smell).  If you like white bread a good baker can tell you which are healthy white loaves.
  8. Watery bacon – if your bacon curls up and ‘leaks’ water when cooking, it’s all the nitrates, water and other additives leaking out. There is a theory that smoked bacon might have cancer warnings, so buy the best, unsmoked bacon you can afford.
  9. Soya Beans are one of the best plant sources of high-quality protein, and if you like the taste you can swop them for peas in a recipe.  They are particularly useful if you are Vegan as there are concerns over sourcing an adequate daily  amount of protein.  These are sometimes called Edamame Beans, .
  10. SPAM  – A recent news story said Waitrose (Waitrose!) had noticed an increase in customers buying Spam.  (Yes, they do sell it).  Before you rush to copy them, remember – although Spam is convenient, it’s also very high in fat, calories and sodium and low in nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it’s highly processed and contains preservatives like sodium nitrite that may cause adverse health effects.
Savoury Tart
Spinach and feta filo pie This tart is ideal for a special occasion, but doesn’t cost much to make,  Basic ingredients are a pack of Filo pastry, cheese, cream to bind it and a vegetable of your choice:  tomatoes, leeks, broccoli, spinach etc., anything that is cheap or going spare.
Ingredients (for 3 – 4)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Lightly oil a 20cm/8in cake tin.  Oil a baking tin – If it has a removable base you can add excitement by turning it out, but a basic baking dish will do,

  2. To make the tart. One at a time, lightly brush a filo pastry sheet with a little of the oil and place in the tin, pressing gently into the base and up the sides of the tin. Arrange the next lightly oiled pastry sheet at right angles to the first. Repeat with two more layers, leaving a flat base and frilly edges.

  3. Mix the cheese with the cream to make a soft paste. Drop teaspoonfuls of the paste over the pastry case and spread lightly with the back of a spoon, taking care not to tear the pastry.

  4. Top the cheese mixture with the sliced veg.  and season with a little black pepper. If the pastry edges hang over the tin too much (this will depend on the size of the sheets), roll loosely back towards the filling. Bake the tart for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown and the veg.  are softened. Remove from the oven to cool slightly.

  5. And enjoy!