Savvy Cooking with 'Save With Jamie'

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Jamie Oliver's 'Save with Jamie' recipe book for Christmas and it has become an absolute stable in our everyday meal planning. Cooking hasn't always been my strong point as I'm much more comfortable baking cakes than preparing a meal and Harry usually takes over cooking meals for us both, but this book has inspired me to cook a lot more from scratch. The general premise (as you may have seen from accompanying TV series) is that you don't need to spend loads to eat well. Harry and I are already pretty savvy when it comes to food shopping so we haven't been able to cut the cost of our weekly shop down by much, but for the money we are spending we are eating much more fresh, unprocessed food and more vegetables too. Before I get into how 'Save with Jamie' has helped us, let me give you a run down of how we already keep of food costs down:

  1. We shop at Aldi, and yes it really is cheaper. Luckily for us our local Aldi is just around the corner, but even if it wasn't we would still shop there. We love Aldi because it is cheap, good quality and as the stores are only small and full of essentials, we don't often overbuy and shopping doesn't take nearly as long as it does in big supermarkets. If you haven't used Aldi before, try logging on to and comparing your shopping list across all the supermarkets to see which is cheaper. 

  2. We plan our meals based on what we already have in stock. You should absolutely check your cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you already have before going shopping, not only to see what you need to buy, but to assess how you can efficiently use up what you already have! There is no point constantly buying more food only to keep your kitchen full, we are not bears going into hibernation. 

  3. Similar to the point above, we write a meal plan and a shopping list to go with it - and stick to it! In our kitchen we have a chalk board where we write what meal we will have each day of the week. It might seem a little boring to some, but again it helps us to only buy what we need. Of course it isn't set in stone, we might change the meals around or forfeit the altogether to fit around our schedules, but in general it works well. 

'Save with Jamie' has already made such a difference to the way we think about our meals and we now cook a new recipe almost every day. The book is broken down into vegetarian, meat and fish based categories designed predominantly around cooking a 'mothership' recipe on a Sunday and several leftover recipes for throughout the week (as well as a few more recipes based on other cuts of that meat). It is also packed full of tips on how to get the most out of your food (like freezing, pickling etc.) and where/how to buy it cheaply. Jamie is also an advocate of having two meat free days a week, not only to save money but for our health and to protect the meat-farming industry. Now  a meal plan for us might revolve around a Sunday Roast Pork, a delicious Asian Vegetable Salad, Leftover Pork Tacos, BBQ Bean & Sweet Potato Bake and a Leftover Pork Ragu. To start with it seems a bit complicated, but it gets easier week by week and the costs gradually reduce too.

The biggest thing for me is that I'm looking forward to meals a lot more now, and although the cooking can be time-consuming the end result is well worth it. It seems like we're eating much more healthily too. Instead of taking processed food out of the freezer, we're using fresh ingredients, making sauces from scratch using chopped tomatoes, herbs and spices, and making vegetable side dishes we never would've thought of having before. It also helps that the calories for each serving are printed on the recipe page, and there is a full nutrition guide for ever recipe at the back of the book. I've become a lot more conscious about what food I am putting in my body and knowing where my food comes from. Overall I'm got a lot more use out of the book than I ever thought I would, my only quibble would be that a few of the ingredients can be hard to find and although Jamie sings the praises of Greengrocers, Butchers etc. there aren't many where I live to take advantage of. Our eating habits have definitely changed for the better!



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