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Video: Jack Monroe on cheap substitutes for fancy-pants ingredients

(38 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Mar-14 13:20:08

On Wednesday cook, poverty campaigner and MN blogger Jack Monroe came into the Towers for a rather cracking webchat. While she was here, she shared a few tips on how to cut costs by replacing expensive ingredients with less pricey ones. Have a look at the video (and share far and wide if you like it!) - and do leave your own frugal food tips on this thread.

JiminyCricket Fri 07-Mar-14 14:12:11

I just bought the cookbook and I love it. I plan to use one or two of the recipes every week - the lentil bolognaise went down well even with dd2 who commented (not being a fan of lentils and vegetables) 'I didn't like the look of it but when I closed my eyes it actually tastes really nice'. And I love the idea of adding the oil from tins of fish to various things - I already make a bean casserole thing that would be more fish stew-esque with this added. So thanks for the inspiration.

hannahem Fri 07-Mar-14 18:28:24

Great video, love the tips about using peanut butter instead of tahini. I haven't got any frugal tips to add really, other than trying to catch the good reductions in a supermarket on an evening. Had some great finds but it's usually a case of luck and having some room in my freezer more than anything!

Love Jack's book too, bought it this week and can't wait to try some recipes out! smile

HectorVector Fri 07-Mar-14 20:18:29

You can also use long grain rice for rice pudding, you don't have to buy little pudding rice.... Although I don't really think that saves you any money.

CuttedUpPear Fri 07-Mar-14 22:54:35

Great smile

TheZeeTeam Sat 08-Mar-14 00:55:57

I'm confused. I get the cheap food bit, but where does the $5000 dentistry come in?! Because those implants are not cheap.

ShoeWhore Sat 08-Mar-14 07:13:25

Pitta bread makes a good alternative to naan with a curry and is loads cheaper.

MrsPennyapple Sat 08-Mar-14 12:02:00

I bought the book too, the tomato and bean soup is lovely, looking forward to trying some more recipes.

As for frugal tips, adding a handful of oats bulks out a mince-based meal without changing the flavour or texture.

Zee JM used to earn lots of cash. Now she doesn't. She sold everything she could to make ends meet, but dental work can't easily be sold.

Mignonette Sat 08-Mar-14 13:51:33

Gigantes Plaki for us plus Scampi Roes.

Maybe you'd like her to sell a kidney or her teeth or body so she can claim to be authentically poor.

LoveBeingCantThinkOfAName Sat 08-Mar-14 14:54:34

TheZeeTeam it gets worst sometimes she used to buy a bottle of wine to add to her cooking shock

working3jobs Sat 08-Mar-14 14:58:40

i second the peanut butter/tahini

Dappydongle Sat 08-Mar-14 15:35:17

Can we have a transcript of this?

Mignonette Sat 08-Mar-14 16:56:25

How long will it be until they discover the string of Polo ponies she kept in a nearby field?

And she fed them on straw spun from pure gold.

WilsonFrickett Sat 08-Mar-14 17:06:34

I follow Nigellas advice and only have one kind of anything in the house. So I have one pack of SR flour and don't buy any other kinds, I have caster sugar and no granulated (or occasionally good brown sugar but again, no other kind), one kind of pasta (plus lasagne to be fair). Cheap table salt, no posh rock salt etc etc.

Spices from a big ethnic supermarket in the nearby city - tonnes cheaper and I grow herbs.

And I freeze every scrap of leftovers or odd bits and pieces. They all come in useful somewhere - although to make that work you have to have weeks where you only eat out of the freezer to use everything up!

TeWiSavesTheDay Sat 08-Mar-14 17:07:04

Why is dentistry in dollars anyway?

I love carrots.

LordPalmerston Sat 08-Mar-14 17:08:26

has the mumsnet magic chicken made its weekly appearance yet?

LordPalmerston Sat 08-Mar-14 17:10:48

what is the talk about her teeth for? Is it HER teeth you are going on about?

I think she might need a new bra.

TeWiSavesTheDay Sat 08-Mar-14 17:19:10

I do a lot of the same kind of kitchen cheats as Jack. One thing I'd say is if you've got family members who are fussy about Apple brands etc, the basics bags will say what brand they are in small letters - they're often braeburn at half the price of a apple-brand bag, they're also that little bit smaller so you get more portions out of them.

My advice is get store cards and rotate your supermarkets.

If you shop somewhere week one and then not week two they will try and tempt you back with vouchers - hold out and only go back if the vouchers are actually good value though. I use the online shopping sites to tot up my basket in the different stores I can get to and decide which is cheaper. I don't use mysupermarket because I find it doesn't have the full range so you can't compare as accurately.

Time consuming though!

Mignonette Sat 08-Mar-14 17:49:46

#Shoplocal and use your market. What kind of fiscal lunacy is it to buy five supermarket apples for the best part of £2 when you can get the same for £1 from a market?

Same with grapes, strawberries and other more 'luxurious' fresh fruits.

Meglet Sat 08-Mar-14 19:05:27

Supermarkets have much longer opening hours than markets.

I can only visit our market on a saturday (and that's if we're not busy), I have tried it but I don't like the fact I can't choose what I want. The veg stall holder just grabs the items and chucks them in a bag.

LordPalmerston Sat 08-Mar-14 19:08:14

and they go off faster

TeWiSavesTheDay Sat 08-Mar-14 20:43:26

It's £6 to get the bus to our 'local' market.

(it's not a bad tip, but not possible for everyone)

WilsonFrickett Sat 08-Mar-14 21:23:47

My local shops are Tesco and Thr Co-op. no markets, no independents unless I drive 8 miles. So popping off to my local market ain't gonna happen...

Mignonette Sat 08-Mar-14 22:18:47

The produce I buy from my market doesn't go off faster.

Obviously if it costs more in travel to get to a market then its not cheaper. You have to use common sense wink. If you have one in your town, it is a good idea to support it and use it.

Jux Sat 08-Mar-14 22:47:04

I don't know who Jack Monroe is. The tips are OK, but I like olive oil and don't use it for frying anyway.

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