Book review - Cooking on a budget

Wholesome: Feed your family well for less may be aimed primarily at hard-pressed parents as the title suggests, however it contains a multitude of tips, tricks and recipes that are well worth studying by anyone.

Caitríona Redmond opens the book by recalling pre-recession days when she didn’t have to give much thought to budget while grocery shopping. Students living away from home on tight budgets will learn much from this book: from calculating grocery budgets and writing shopping lists to recommended store cupboard staples and savvy shopping tips.

While supermarkets wage war among themselves with fruit and veg on offer for as little as 29c, Caitríona wisely points out that there’s no point in buying anything if you’ve no time to eat it. “Special offers will only benefit you if you’re going to use all that you buy, otherwise you might as well burn your money before it reaches the till operator. Food not used is wasted food and this in turn is wasted money.”

You don’t need an A1 in project maths to figure this out. “For example, imagine you buy a bag of tomatoes for €1.50 and pass over an offer of 25 cent per tomato. If you only use two tomatoes from the bag and throw away the rest, that’s a waste of the majority of a bag of tomatoes and a loss of €1,” says Caitríona.

There are numerous tips about healthy foods, healthy portions and how to bag real bargains in supermarkets. An interesting tip is to buy battered tins, bashed cereal boxes and out-of-season products, which go on discount all the time with plenty of wiggle room on their best before/sell-by date.

Caitríona has also compiled a well-organised, basic cookery book that wouldn’t be beyond a beginner cook; from bountiful breakfasts and lovely lunches through to 15-minute suppers and hearty meals.

Apart from a couple of recipes that are overly simplistic even for this book, such as mixed salad (tomatoes, lettuce etc mixed up in a bowl), there are plenty of tasty-looking recipes and meal ideas. Whether you feel like whole sea bass in a parcel, pea risotto or a simple ragu, you will find straightforward, step-by-step budget recipes here. Caitríona has tested every recipe on her family and friends in her home in north Co Dublin. She also blogs on where you will find lots of recipes and great tips.

– Tara Horan

Book review - Cooking on a budget

All rights reserved by INMO. Please don't use without permission