Thrifty & Nifty Food: Part 4 What to buy

bacon and greens

Obviously I am not going to tell you what exactly to buy as it depends on your diet, likes and dislikes but I am going to share with you my tips to create a well stocked kitchen which will mean you can make a meal any night and will cost you pennies. A lot of TV chef often talk about having a well stocked larder but this makes people think they have to run out to the supermarket and buy every thing all in one go. That would be silly. So here are my quick tips to build your supplies and a little description of what’s in my pantry/larder/cupboard.

  • Plan and Prepare– This takes us back to the first thrifty nifty tutorial. Look in your cupboards to see what staples and dried goods you have left over to make sure you don’t buy something you already have.
  • Little by little-Once you know what you have, you must buy what you need. I buy at least three items for my cupboard every week, more if I have more money. When I say I buy three items I really mean I buy one item off my three different lists, which are:
  1. Staples– These are the grains and cereals like pasta, rice, lentils, beans, flours, oats, dried fruit and nuts
  2. Flavours These include condiments, herbs and spices and stocks
  3. Tinned– This is for the basic tinned foods every kitchen needs, chopped tomatoes, baked beans, other canned beans, fish.
  • Preferences– Don’t buy food you or the family don’t like, seems obvious but people throw away a lot of food. I like to be healthy and try vegetables I don’t like in an attempt to condition my brain into liking them (successfully done it with courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes and only green peppers so far) but when you have little money it’s a bad idea and you will end up wasting food.
  •  Aim for fully stocked– Decide on what you want your finished collection to look like and aim to get there and then start replacing items again. This list at Love Food Hate Waste is pretty good but there is lots more you can add to vary your diet

Spice Rack

Currently in my cupboard I have basmati rice, paella rice, yellow split peas, soup mix, oats, plain flour, pasta shapes, spaghetti, bulgar wheat, an array of nuts, and sultanas which I bought this week for some salads. In the flavour department I have two spice/herb racks that were bought for me as presents so I try keep the jars topped up when each runs out. I have basil, dill, oregano, thyme, mint for herbs (need more parsley). For the spices I have black pepper, 5 spice mix, cinnamon, cloves, curry powder, chilli powder, cumin, black cumin, paprika, star anise, nutmeg and cardamom (need turmeric).   I also have a few vinegars; red and balsamic, oils; olive, sunflower and rapeseed, and sauces, soy, fish and good old Hendersons relish. I always have a couple of cans of beans, normally baked, kidney and cannellini and bulk buy chopped tomatoes.This week I bought English mustard and I am getting a FREE organic mayonnaise in my next veg box, ACE! Next week I am going to get some more porridge oats and white wine vinegar. If you do it slowly it doesn’t cost you a bomb and you’ll soon have a larder which is easy to whip up a meal with.


X xxx


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