In these times of severe austerity many need to watch their food spending, including me, so I went to see the author give a talk about feeding your family for less and eating well at the new Library in Brent Civic Centre, Wembley. The borough of Brent has a poor record on diet, nutrition and obesity so the council had organised a series of talks on food and health. Council tax well spent in my view.
Bernadine’s book is pretty comprehensive covering all the basics. It begins with listing staple essentials for any household food cupboard; tinned food, dry food, spices, jars and bottles and gives great tips on shopping, planning and budgeting.
The book is packed with information with over 150 recipes divided into breakfasts, light meals, main meals, salads and desserts with additional sections on sauces, bread and other basics with more on seasonal food using leftovers and a healthy eating guide.
Some of the recipes are simple farmhouse cheese and potato cakes went down well at home as did the savoury pancakes; so cheap and so easy to make. Many of the dishes contain whole foods and pulses such as lentils and beans – the black eyed bean burger was particularly tasty. I Loved the fragrant coconut fish too and the sweet potato, coriander and chilli fishcakes.
Buying pork shoulder was a great tip that I took up too, It’s one of the cheapest cuts of pork and although contains a lot of bone it’s full of flavour and the leftovers are perfect for boiling up for stock.
The key to her message, both in the talk and in the book, are really twofold, planning and reducing waste. Bernadine suggests planning a weekly menu and reducing waste by reusing leftover ingredients and food to create new dishes. Something I was taught by my own mother who had grown up in Holland during the war when food was incredibly scarce.
When I left home to become a journalism student up in Sheffield my mother packed me off with a copy of Cooking on the Breadline by Jo Hatcher, another austerity cookbook that served me well throughout my student years and I still dip into it now. Bernadine’s book is for more modern times but will still serve the reader in many years to come.
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Harper Collins ISBN: 978-0007485659 £5.00
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