The diary of a doledrum diva and her adventures in alimentary alchemy….

I desperately need to buy a new cooker, (among other things) – I’m currently cooking on a one ring portable gas thingy that runs on very expensive tins of butane gas – and I am spectacularly bad at saving money…. hence one of the many reasons for my doledrums. Two things I am quite good at, though, are cooking and shopping for a bargain. In a supreme effort to change the habits of a lifetime, I am going to try to save at least twenty quid a week for the next year, in order I can buy the things I need (and want) –a new cooker, a new mattress.

Therefore, I will attempt to spend a fixed amount on food every week and come up with as many interesting ways to prepare the same old staples while using the least amount of gas or electric to cook them and without resorting to £1 ready meals, dodgy burgers or having to forego butter and real coffee….blah blah blah.

Can it be done? Well, the putting money in the bank bit I have my doubts about, but some of the best and most memorable meals I have ever eaten have been made with the simplest of ingredients in houses with no electricity or running water, so that’s much less scary. Most of the dishes in posh restaurants are originally peasant dishes and therefore we should all be able to eat like expense account kings and queens.

My self imposed rules are:

I will only spend up to £20 a week and allow myself £5 more a week if I have people round for dinner, (but mates popping in for a cuppa or a bowl of soup doesn’t count).

I will confess (if and) when I fail!

I will only shop in places that I cannot walk to on the days I have to go to those parts of London anyway, or on days that I have had to buy an all day bus pass – obviously there’s no point in chasing round for the best bargains when you spend more on the bus fare than the product.

I will deduct the price of anything I grow myself from my budget, ‘cos I’ve got a small growing space, mainly in containers, but loads of people are not so lucky…however, if I get hold of any ‘wild’ food, like nettles, elderflower etc, then that’s creativity.

I eat most things, and I love fish, but I will always put up a vegan version of a recipe first, if there is one I can think of.

In order not to become the ranting, opinionated harpy that is probably my inner self, I will try to put subjects that I find crossmaking such as utility bills, budget thin sliced bread, recipes that don’t work and supermarket scams in the sidebar.

I will try to give a shout out to bargains I notice, even when I cannot afford them myself…ditto any rip off scams.

My style of cooking is much less ‘cuisine de la frugalité’ and more of opportunistic cooking, so if you find a bargain, great – if not, my baked bean soup, or what to do with old cold French fries, or flat coca cola might tickle your fancy. I live in Limehouse, east London and am the willing slave of a small black cat. Bless.


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