1. Buy local
Think fresh vegetables, locally reared meat and artisan breads.
These items and much much more can be found at your local market!
Often the produce here is much cheaper than the supermarket and much better quality too. You are also helping the local economy and the environment, as many items come from the surrounding area, thus travelling a much reduced distance from the field to your plate. I often head to Newgate Market in York to pick up fruit, vegetables and local free range eggs.
Top tip: Go near the end of the day, half four to five is usually the best time I find. Stallholders at this time are often looking to sell off items cheaply to get rid of left over stock. If you ask nicely (i.e with a cheeky smile) they might even knock off a bit extra for you!
2. Breast is not best.
When it comes to chicken anyway, thigh meat is packed full of much more flavour than lifeless breast fillets. It's also much cheaper!
Top Tip: I portion my thigh fillets then freeze them, defrosting as needed.
3. Make the freezer your bread's new best friend.
If you are anything like me you buy a loaf of bread, have a few slices, then get bored of it and forget all about it until you are faced will stale or mouldy loaves lurking in your cupboard. Well the answer is here; freeze that loaf, then you can take a slice or two out every time you fancy some carb time.
Top Tip: You can toast slices of bread from frozen, they just take a minute or two extra!
4. Go Exotic
If you love cooking with many different spices and trying out new cuisines, you will probably notice that ingredients can be expensive in conventional supermarkets. If you have a local independant supermarket which stocks exotic foods, these are often the places to go and stock up on things like coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and cinnamon sticks, the list is endless! Items often come in much larger quantities which means the initial outlay is greater, but gram for gram I often find overall it is lot cheaper.
Top tip: There are often many international versions of packaged noodles available that are cheaper than the traditional student staple of pot noodle. The range of flavours is much better too (if you can't understand the packaging, this is often a way of being adventurous - surprise noodles anyone?)
5. Make your own takeaway
Even a cheap takeaway margarita pizza can set you back five or six quid. This recipe brings down that cost to a couple of pounds at most, depending on how bothered you are about your toppings and the quality of cheese used. This is a cheats version of a recipe that I make using yeast, which I will post soon. Though this version uses baking powder, it still produces a great base! The amounts I have suggested will make one very large pizza or two medium ones.
Ingredients for base
200g Plain Flour or Wholemeal Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
2tbsp Olive Oil
120ml Water (this can be more or less depending on the flour you have used/humidity of room - add slowly to gauge right amount)
I often add fresh or dried herbs too: Oregano, Basil, Dried Herb Mix
Passata or Tin of Chopped Tomatoes with some juice drained (or you get a soggy bottom)
Mozzarella cheese (Top Tip: I buy the supermarket's basic version of this and it does the job fine!)
Whatever else you fancy, Mushrooms, Tinned Pineapple, Parmesan Shavings. You could even experiment with Soft Goats Cheese instead if you're feeling fancy.
1. Preheat your oven to 200C, findsuitable baking tray/s and grease them with a little olive oil. I have a pizza tray which has holes in to give a crispy finish.
2. Add the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, make a hole in the centre in which to pour the olive oil.
3. Slowly start adding the water, mixing everything together with your hands. Remember, you can always add more water but you can't take it away! Once it has all come together into a dough like form, turn it all out onto a clean work surface and start kneading.
4. Knead for five minutes until the dough is stretchy, then roll out to about 1cm thick, matching up with the size of your tray/s.
5. Place the rolled out dough onto the tray and top with the passata or chopped tomatoes base, then add your cheese and anything else you fancy!
6. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until golden and crispy
I made this Pizza Fiorentina by adding spinach wilted in a little butter and cracking eggs onto the pizza 5 minutes into the cooking time!