June 11, 2009 by missmegany
Right, I’m going to cheat and backdate over a week’s worth of posts. I apologise for not posting, but I’ve had the Food for the Future event (photos will be posted!), I was in the newspaper (hopefully a scanned copy of the article will be posted), I had a birthday (photos of BBQ on Sunday will be posted), and I’ve had three lots of minutes and a report to type up for various groups (none of which will be posted).
So I’m sorry!
Anyway, here’s some photos of our fridge and cupboards. It’s a TINY kitchen, and I didn’t take a picture of the 5kg of rice, 5L of rapeseed oil, and 5kg of haricot beans that sit on the floor of our airing cupboard because there is no other place to put them. I highly recommend buying in bulk, but it IS a bit of a pain.
Here’s our shelves. Flours and various things on the top, baked goods on the second shelf on the left, some random seeds and things on the second on the right, and the bottom is tins and condiment type things. There’s wholefoods in the other one (nuts on top with some beans, then beans and pulses on the second shelf, and some pasta, rice on the bottom shelf)
We realised early on that we had a) too many oils and vinegars to fit in any convenient place, and b) that we had LOTS of herbs and spices (we often buy in bulk and keep the bags they come in ontop of the bread box. Mac found this drawer that had slots for . . . . stationary? cutlery? I don’t know. We turned it on its side (you can see the drawer pulls on the right) and use it as a spice rack. It looks great.
The oils and vinegars sit on one of those things you’re supposed to put in your bathroom. It wouldn’t fit in our bathroom, but works well in the corner of our kitchen.
Here’s our fridge (I couldn’t get the door in the shot, and I cut off the mini-freezer that sits on top). It’s about the size of a college dorm fridge. With a kitchen this small, nothing else would fit. On Wednesdays (when we get our milk delivered AND our vegetable box) it’s a bit of a tight fit, especially if we have lots of leftovers, but we manage okay.
Later this day, I took the kohl rabi out as it turns out they shouldn’t be refrigerated. I also keep tomatoes out of the fridge (pictures to follow many posts from now!).
We have a LOT of food at any one time, but 95% of it requires some kind of preparation. Apart from a box of falafel mix (to which you still have to add water, make the patties, and then shallow fry them) and a chocolate chip bread mix I got as a gift, and maybe a couple of sauces, everything is pretty much raw ingredients. It DEFINITELY cuts down on the bills.
BUY IN BULK! Set up a food co-op with friends and family, or see if you can order in bulk from an independent health food shop (Naturally Healthy on Bedford Place is usually willing to order in for people). Get at least 2kg at a time of things you use a lot (for us that’s oats, cous cous, rice, and possibly one kind of bean) and 1kg of other things. We bought (months ago!) 800g container of vegetable stock powder. We’ll probably have it for almost a year, but it means we won’t run out and it was LOADS cheaper than buying those little cubs.
Spices are a MUST for buying in bulk. Find your closest world food/ethnic/halal whatever they call it shop and buy it in bulk. People say not to use spices after 6 months because they’ll lose their flavouring, but if you cook them in oil it will usually perk them right up. Plus, if you get whole spices (cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, etc) and grind them as and when you need them, they’ll keep a LOT of their flavour.
ALWAYS STOCK UP – If you want to save money, always have a lot of staples (and I include a range of oils, vinegars, spices, pulses, grains, pasta, cans of tomatoes, quorn/TVP mince, vegetable stock powder, ginger, butter, and garlic in the word “staples”) on hand. It means you won’t be so tempted to buy a jar of something or a frozen meal because you know you have at least something that you can make. Plus, it helps bring a bit more of a routine to your shopping so that you can start skipping certain aisles which will really help you save money.