One of the things that cooking almost everyday has taught me is shortcuts that suit my type of cooking and the food that I prefer. Because everybody has a style. Some people cook from scratch, some from packets, some just for one person, some for families, and what you cook is about your cooking style and the likes and dislikes of the people that you’re cooking for.
Everyone has a style, even if it’s a takeaway menu.
My style of cooking is all about minimal faffing, maximum effect. Because of the budget limit I set myself this year, they also have to be value for money, even before setting the £15 a week limit, I didn’t like throwing food away and I’m even more keen nowadays to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The best weapon in avoiding waste is a freezer, mine is never empty. I turn stale bread into breadcrumbs which live in a bag in the freezer. I make soup from dying vegetables and freeze them and I try to run down the fresh food in the house before I go away, but the day before I leave, I have a clear out and make sure that any food that won’t last is dealt with. This year before I headed off to Amble, I made a fritatta to eat on the journey. There was quite a bit more veg than I had planned for so I made a ton of lentil bolognese and chopped the remaining and to be honest, past their best, carrots, celery and onions and threw them all into a bag. That was a good call.
I have used this so many times and it’s become part of my routine. At the end of each week, I check my stock of carrots, onions and celery and if they look like they won’t last the week, they get chopped and added to the bag. This makes cooking things like the braised lentils I made last week and other things like soups and stews much easier.
It makes the times when I’m short of money, time and inspiration much easier. I just start with this and build from there depending what I have in the kitchen.