Red Onion Chutney

Let’s face it, Christmas isn’t a time for giving and it certainly isn’t a time for sharing, it’s the time of the year at which everyone attempts to work out what each of their friends and family would like to receive. Therein lies my problem – it’s exceedingly difficult to buy gifts for people of whom you don’t have an in-depth understanding. As you’ll all probably know, there’s nothing more disappointing than receiving an inadequate gift, particularly when you’ve put so much time and effort into the reciprocation. As such, it seems to me that the best approach is simply not to chance it – instead, make gifts that you know your loved ones will enjoy. Besides, gifting something unwanted is tantamount to waste and as we all know… waste is exceedingly un-frugal.

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peanut butter, frugal living, thrifty, healthy meals,

Making food, this peanut butter for instance, from scratch has advantages that are numerous and varied compared with purchasing their commercially produced counterparts. Clearly, the advantage my blog is most keenly interested in is the fact that making one’s own food is cheaper 99 per cent of the time. However, there is one only slightly less obvious argument for doing so – it makes it far easier to control exactly what goes into your recipes and diet.

For instance, even the most expensive supermarket brands of peanut butter contain palm oil, an ingredient both unnecessary and environmentally immoral – it has caused the destruction of the natural habitat of thousands of species of animals worldwide. The less said about cheaper products the better, for their recipes also contain brown sugar and peanut oil, in addition to palm oil. All of this unnecessary, environmentally damaging and unhealthy produce in a spread that really only requires two ingredients; peanuts and just a smidge of salt.

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frugality, thrifty, living, life, salad, healthy meals

One of the most exciting things about being a regular food blogger is that it has the potential to open up a whole world of ingredients that you never before knew existed. Of course, the word ‘chard’ has always been a member of our vernacular, but it’s never been clear to me quite how many varieties of it there are. Happily, such variety ensures that gastronomic inspiration is unlikely ever to go wanting, especially since one can always fall back on one’s ability to invent, adapt and experiment. One has only to wander into one’s local butcher or green grocer to fully appreciate the diversity of even the most local of produce. For instance, this morning I discovered a green grocer I had never before visited and before I’d even had time to take stock of my delicious surroundings several new recipes had forcibly entered my grey matter. However, it should go down on record that they were extremely welcome and particularly frugal guests.

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frugal living, thrifty, healthy meals, fish, pie, potato

There are many potential misconceptions one stumbles upon when writing about frugal food. The delusion that bothers me the most is that many people, frugal or otherwise, assume that to be economically prudent one must always eat the least expensive ingredients. Of course, such an approach will almost certainly allow one to attain their financial goals, however, it can also be an extremely dull path down which to venture. In fact, there are many ways to be thrifty but to also enjoy the finer produce in life. This salmon and prawn fish pie is a case in point – no one would immediately assume it is a frugal recipe, but that it is. As your school teachers no doubt informed you, one must never read a book by its cover.

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frugal living, healthy meals, vegan, dairy free

Potatoes are and always will rank amongst my favourite vegetables. The humble spud is flavoursome, versatile and about as frugal as it is possible to be. However, in some ways sweet potatoes are superior to traditional tatties. Indeed, one of their most endearing qualities, if a vegetable can be endearing, is that their texture is naturally more buttery and pleasant than that of one’s average tater, whatever the variety. The benefit of this is that sweet potatoes mash incredibly well, without the need of a plethora of dairy products. Even without butter or milk, this mash manages to delicately caress one’s tongue – to me it seems like pure madness that some similar recipes insist on incorporating double cream! Then again, this is a place for the frugal, so that would have to be my reaction!

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