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Budget menu: Tips to cooking well for £1 a portion

Many people in Britain face real food poverty – which means a daily struggle to eat and to get enough nutrition because of lack of money. But is it possible to cook decent meals for £1 a portion?

Half a million people in the UK are using food banks, and a third of children are going to school on an empty stomach.

So where are the best places to shop? What are the best things to buy? And how can you add flavour to meals cheaply?

Chef Richard Corrigan, took part in The Great British Budget Menu and shares his top tips.

Buy second hand cookery books

“I’m in restaurants – the top end sector – to be given so little money to live off (in the programme) it was such a shock.

But what I’ve noticed, is that many have a distinct lack of cookery reference books.

You need to study and learn, read and absorb and learn how to cook.

Books don’t have to be expensive. Go to Oxfam.

Pick up a few cheap cookbooks and try things out.

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Test cook things.

Really examine ‘special offers’

Protein – so chicken and fish, on this budget is just so expensive – a free-range chicken on this budget? Forget about it. So how do you buy protein?

I had never walked around supermarkets and realised the confusion of special offers – question everything. Many offers might not be that good.

(There are ) So many different offers on salad, at the salad bars, the salad aisles, a different part of the veg aisle.

I don’t actually really think there is such a thing as a supermarket discount.

Unless you work out the times of day when they do the really discounted offers on food going out of date and pick that up.

Head to the markets – at the right time

Forget about going to the supermarkets to get a big fruit basket. Pick up your fruit and veg at the market instead.

If you head to the veg markets at about 5:30 on a Friday, when they are packing up for the weekend and not opening again till say Tuesday – they don’t want to pack it all up and take it back to their lock-ups.

Buy as much as you can and then freeze as much as you can. It is the best cheap place.

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Fresh eggs are a great, great treat when on a budget. You can get them cheaper at the markets.


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