Sunday, 2 August 2009

Saving money in the kitchen

I don't like to spend too much time in the kitchen, just enough to cook myself a quick and simple meal. I can't be doing with faffing about with loads of post and pans, mixing this, and chopping that, slaving over a hot stove is not my idea of fun. My meals have got to be cost effective, cheap but nutritious, and quick to prepare, because I don't want to be in there longer than I need to. I rarely use the oven because it uses too much gas, and I hate cleaning it. Cleaning the top and grill is bad enough, but my head in the oven, definately a no no.

I don't fry any food, (a) because it's bad for you, and (b) because it creates a greasy pan to wash, and (c) it spits all over the top of the cooker, and (d) greasy wash up water blocks drains, another hidden cost.

Another reason for keeping the use of kitchen utensils to a minimum is that it costs money to wash them, the cost of the water, heating the water, and the washing up liquid. This might seem a pifflingly small amount of money to save on a daily basis, but if you multiply it by 365 it can add up to a quite lot pounds. For instance I can make a bottle of washing up liquid last for almost a year.

So taking all these things into consideration, one of the cheapest ways for me to make a meal is to steam my veg in one of these.
I have just bought a new one for £2, the old one has been in use for about 8 years and was looking pretty grotty. In my mind, this is the best kitchen gadget ever invented. It fits most pan sizes, you can put all your veg in here together, and if you use a big pan there is enough for three people. You put an inch of water in the bottom, bring to the boil, and put on a low heat for six minutes, and it's ready. Tonight I had a massive plate of veg from my garden, potatoes, turnips, courgettes, onion, peas, and runner beans, with a piece of cod grilled in foil. Even the foil had been used before. They don't call me Meanqueen for nothing :-)


  1. Lmao, Ilona, you crack me up! Making washing up liquid last a year!! Wow. That little gadget for steaming looks good, I have never seen one of them before, must look out for one, I think I would like to steam rather than boil.

  2. I didn't mention about licking the plate clean so you don't have to wash it, did I? It's true, but you can only do that if you live by yourself, so you don't catch germs off other people, ha ha.

    For goodness sake don't boil veg, unless you drink the water you have boiled them in :-)

  3. Ah, I had one of those steamers years ago & yes, they are so handy!
    I've been using coconut oil (one of the few 'non local' food staples I buy) for ~ 6 months after reading about it's health & antioxidant bennies - I do the 'stir fry' bit with it - saute the onions, then add the vegs & a bit of water or stock, cover & steam. For the stock, I freeze the ends & tops of carrots, onion peels, etc & let simmer ~ 20 min.
    By the time it's cooked, the coconut oil is dispersed in the food - which makes some vitamins more bio-avilable. I don't use any of the unsaturated (& quickly rancid) oils for cooking nor salads - only olive & coconut, a bit of butter. A nearby nursery built an olive press a few years ago, so I can get that locally!


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