Recipes to save £££ and the planet!
It is fair to say we (most of us) have never seen the price of everything go up so quickly in our lifetime, and as students trying to save up some money, it is becoming harder than ever when essential goods such as groceries are experiencing unprecedented levels of inflation. This blog post is therefore some suggestions to make the most out of your food shopping, maximising their usage rather than throwing it away because it’s gone off! Not only does this mean you save money by purchasing food less often, you’re minimising food waste and contributing to a more sustainable planet!
Before I dive into some recipe suggestions, I just want to make clear that many items often dated with ‘best before’ or ‘sell by’, are actually only suggestions for when to consume them, and can be consumed way after that date, as long as it smells and looks fine. These often include breads, dried pasta, rices, cereals, canned items, and in some cases, unopened dairy products, fruits, vegetables. My suggestion is to always give items a smell before you are certain it is unsafe for consumption. I’ve eaten bread up to a week past its best before date without any side effects, as illustrated by the fact that I’m alive and well, and still full of energy to write this blog post in the middle of the busiest week of term 1 as a final year student…
According to studies based on the UK, some of the most commonly wasted foods are
These also happen to be the items I purchase on weekly basis, but as a GSD student passionate about food waste, I am proud to say I have never thrown away a single item of food throughout my entire university life, and here are my few favourite recipes to use these items before they turn bad!
Recipe 1: French Toast: Bread, milk, eggs, sweetener of choiceThose are the essential ingredients. I like to use about 4 pieces of toasted bread, dipped into a mixture of 100g of milk, 1 egg, and sweetener to your liking. Make sure to toast the bread before dipping it into the liquid mixture, as it will be more absorbent and taste better once you fry it on a non stick pan! Drizzle some honey or spread some peanut butter on it, and if you’re feeling adventurous, sprinkle some cinnamon on top too!
Recipe 2: Baked cheesy potato
Pretty self explanatory, but my favourite way is to cut the potato into thin pieces, sprinkle with your seasoning of choice (I recommend, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder), and top with cheese and other optional toppings! Bake at 180ºC for roughly 15-20 minutes, and cry tears of joy as you bite into the crispy savoury potato ‘chips’ which are far healthier than the deep fried versions!
Recipe 3: Guilt free apple crumble: Apples, Bananas, Oats, Cinnamon, Peanut butter
Apples about to turn starchy? Bananas becoming soft and bruised? Then this is the absolutely perfect way to turn them into the most decadent desert, without the burden of an inevitable sugar crash from failing to resist another bite from the traditional apple crumbles. Start by cutting up the apple to bite size chunks- I use about 3 to 5 medium sized apples. Put them in a large bowl, and mix in some cinnamon, salt, nutmeg (optional), and place the seasoned apples onto a casserole. Pour enough water (about 4-5 tablespoons) so that it covers just the entire bottom of the casserole. Next, mix in about 150g oats, a dollop of peanut butter, and mashed up ripe banana. Mix them all until they form a crumbly oaty mixture which should be quite sticky, but not liquidy. Spread the ‘crumble’ on top of the apples, drizzle some honey and more cinnamon (yes I love cinnamon especially when it nears Christmas), and bake for about 20 minutes at 180ºC, until apples are soft and the crumble layer becomes drier and more crumble like! This is probably my favourite way to save fruits even when they are perceived to have a ‘bad’ texture, ie when the apple loses its crunch or when bananas become mushy. Everybody loves tenderised apples, and I am yet to meet anyone who dislikes crumble! To make this even more complete, I like to top some instant custard on top. My favourite recently has been Alpro’s soya custard- they are less than £1 in Tesco and come in 500g portions, which means I can use a single container 3 or 4 times for my crumbles!
Recipe 4: Hidden vegetables sauce: Broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, aubergines- everything you can think of!
I always seem to have some broccoli and carrots leftover, because let’s admit it, they’re not the most crowd-pleasing foods and certainly not something I am craving for. However, their health benefits are endless, and especially when you can’t taste them in this sauce, there can’t be any excuse not to get them into your system! First, you want to roast/ steam/ microwave/ cook them in any method until they become soft and blend-able. Then, get yourself a blender and add a can of tinned tomatoes. Next, fill your blender with the veggies, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, mixed herbs and parmigiano or similar strong flavoured grated cheese. Make sure the blender isn’t absolutely packed with veggies, just add enough so that the blender can actually do its job. You should get a sauce with the consistency that is like a thick soup- the longer you blend the smoother and less chunky it is. You can add this sauce to anything- Pasta, flatbreads, and ironically, vegetables!