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Gilly Smith

The Cupboard Was Bare; Recipes for the Tighfisted. 1. The Supermarket Refusenik

It’s not that I’m a miser of a cook. It’s not that I’m even particularly thrifty when I’m shopping – let me loose in Borough Market and watch my purse bleed. It’s just that since I’ve moved to the middle of nowhere, I’ve spent more of my time writing about peak oil and have begun to see supermarkets as the greatest evil of the modern world. So popping out to Tesco to get something nice in for the kids’ supper simply never happens, although I can occasionally be spotted sneaking into Waitrose on a Sunday morning if I’ve forgotten to get the organic chicken or South Downs Lamb from the local butcher the day before.

All this means that I’ve never got anything in. But I’ve always been able to create something from nothing, and I think that maybe it’s a skill that not everyone has. So, here for you in Blogworld, are some of my daily recipes from a bare cupboard, filled only with staples such as lentils, pasta, rice and potatoes, a few stock cubes and a couple of tins of tomatoes. With my weekly veg box (£12.50) and the occasional ice pick through the freezer, I shall whisk up a bevy of treats and spend little more than £15 a week.

There are no home economists in my house (although my 12 year old is more up on these things than I am), and we don’t believe in measuring. But for a family of four, I think we do rather well. We’ll be growing our own veg before you know it, and sharing recipes with other tighfisted supermarket refuseniks, showing anyone who cares to notice that food can be delicious without costing a fortune and as quick to cook as a TV dinner.


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