Lifestyle: Eating Out on a Budget

I love food. It goes without saying really, given that I run a food blog, but I live to eat. To me food isn’t just a fuel so I can get on with my life, it’s one of my genuine pleasures and I get so much out of a good bite to eat. Whether it’s a perfectly cooked steak, gorgeously runny egg, exotically spiced curry or even a comforting roast dinner, a good meal to me is the fastest way to my heart.

Prioritize Spending

This is generally how we “afford” most of our meals out and expensive cooking ingredients. Yes, we don’t see the problem in shelling out upwards of £100 on a meal for two (or more, especially now I’m out of university). However as a couple neither of us are into nights out, and nor have we ever been.

I personally would never dream of spending more than £10 on an evening of drinks, whilst I know friends, colleagues and family who wouldn’t think twice at spending £50, £100 or even more. And that’s absolutely fine. They enjoy a  night out. I see a tray of shots as a fancy dish I could be eating. It’s each to their own, and I put my eating out more highly than alcohol.

Eat Mid-Week

Quite a few restaurants will sneakily put their prices up Friday-Sunday – midweek meals are generally the cheapest. There will also often be special deals which are just too good to miss. Putney Pies does a deal on a Tuesday which makes it a lot more affordable!

Purchase Discounted Vouchers

As well as popping restaurant vouchers on your Christmas and birthday wishlist, you can also pick them up at a discounted price on Zeek*. Whilst the savings aren’t massive, you can easily save anything up to 10% by purchasing  restaurant vouchers using the app. It’s mainly chains on offer, though I do love Bella Italia’s courgette and chicken pasta!

If you know where you’re off to, getting a small amount of money off a voucher can make all the difference. You can generally treat it as a giftcard too, meaning it can be used alongside other discounts. Double win in my books!

Visit “Cheap” Restaurants

Cheap doesn’t have to be McDonalds, or a soggy fridge-cold sandwich from Tesco! Whether it’s tacos at Wahaca (the two of us can generally eat for around £25 including churros) or pizza at the Dynamo, there’s a lot of reallllyyyy good places to eat that won’t break the bank. A little time spent searching means we’ve got a bank of cheaper restaurants that we really want to try – have a looksie on Time Out for inspiration!

Utilise Lunch-time Offers

Dining in pricier restaurants is, for us, only usually possible at lunch times. Case in point is when we took a trip to Pollen Street Social earlier in the year. It’s a pricey restaurant (main courses start at around £35 and the portions aren’t *huge*), but with a three-course lunch offering at £37 it’s a lot more reasonable than it seems at first. We actually purchased a lunch voucher in advance, and so only paid for teas/coffee on the day – and we’re still treated to both appetizers and petit-four too. Definitely worth it if you want a real treat without completely blowing the budget!

Steer Clear of Alcohol

I love me a glass of wine as much as the next person – but it’s pricey. I’ve been to many a restaurant where the cheapest bottle isn’t far off our weekly food budget, so it’s quite rare that we’ll indulge. I’ll avoid soft drinks too – I’d far sooner spend an extra £10 on starters rather than a glass of lemonade! Tap water all the way here…

Keep An Eye Out for Soft Lauches

A soft launch is a chance for new restaurants to test their menu, kitchen and staff before they are officially open. Sure, the service might but a bit hit-and-miss but the food is usually delish and you can get a decent discount – up to 50% is normal. I’ve used hot-dinners.com in the past to see what’s popping up!

*I was gifted a small amount of Zeek credit in exchange for a post, although all opinions (and other tips) are my own!

What are your tips for eating out on a budget? 

Saving Money: Down the Plug Hole

There are two things that really bug me when I’m trying to save money. The first is expensive candles – I wouldn’t burn a £20 note, so why burn a £20 candle?! Especially now I know making my own isn’t so difficult..

 photo 2015-04-12 19.06.26_zps0uzxud7g.jpgThe other thing is the cost of water. It’s something you don’t really think about – I know I haven’t really as water bills have always been included in my rent. But starting from next year they won’t be, so I’ve been looking at water costs – and it’s more than I imagined. This all meant I was doubly grateful when Salamander Pumps got in touch with this infographic;

down the plug hole-final

I never really thought that we used so much water a day. Which is bad for an ex-geography student, though admittedly the exam covering ‘Water Conflicts’ was the reason I didn’t get an A* at A-Level (by one single mark #notbitteratall). And most of it gets used for flushing the toilet. That worries me! I live in a rented room in my landlady’s house so I won’t stop flushing the toilet anytime soon, but it’s definitely made me think that the ‘if its yellow, let it mellow’ strategy might come into play when me and W finally move in together and start paying bills (sorry babe!).

*Sponsored post. And that plug hole is the one at work (I’m not shoddy at cleaning), I had to do a rushed picture as my SD card went a little dodgy last weekend!

Do you have any tips for saving money on water bills?

Student Sunday: Saving Energy & Reducing Bills

Bills are an annoying part of student lives. You often sign a “Bargain” housing contract, only to discover its lacking heating, water, gas and internet. Luckily I manged to get a bills-included rent package, which saved a lot of hassle and meant we weren’t constantly turning lights and heating (when the boiler worked) off. NUS have put together some great energy-saving tips which should save you a few pennies over the year, here they are! And they aren’t just applicable to students either, I might be working fill-time this year but even so still feel the pinch at the end of the month…

1.       Join in with your University’s annual Student Switch Off. The not-for-profit campaign organised by the NUS to encourage students to save energy when living in halls of residence. Not only can you all club together and do something good for the environment, you can turn it into a bit of a competition! For those amongst us with a competitive streak , there’s tubs of Ben & Jerry’s and tickets for nights out on offer, now that’s got to be worth it! Visit www.studentswitchoff.org/unis to find out what’s going on at your University. Image source.

2.       Minimize your consumption of natural resources. In other words – switch things off! We are all guilty of leaving the light on when we leave the room, coming home to an absolutely boiling flat after forgetting to switch the heating or radiators off when we left at 7am this morning, and falling asleep with the telly on after a late night TV marathon. If it helps, leave little ‘Switch me off!’ stickers around the house, then there’s no excuse!

3.       Sharing is caring. Have a mass brew making session by boiling the kettle only once an hour (ludicrous we know) and cook together with your flatmates. It’s a great chance to socialise over a brew and a biscuit as well as cut down on the amount of energy you are using, plus it might be a nice change from cereal, or beans on toast. Snuggling up in cosy clothes in always great too – cover up and turn the heating down! Image source.

4.       Put a lid on it!  No, we’re not asking you to do a sponsored silence but instead to put a lid on the pan when you’re cooking those Nigella-style dishes – it’s a great way to save time when cooking as it traps the heat in the pan and saves you loads of energy and dosh too! I find using my slow cooker to be a great help too!

5.       Be wise with paper. We each use 4.48 trees-worth of paper per year and thinking of little old you vs. the size of a tree well, that’s a lot isn’t it. Don’t take leaflets off those pesky street promoters and then just bin them, don’t print off millions of lecture slides if you don’t actually need them, try and print off double sided, re-use your blank sides for study notes and recycle! Simple really. Don’t let the amount of ‘DON’TS’ put you off though.

 photo 8c7cfc3f-5e4a-4d6f-bc66-c2cf6a2be8fa_zps08086004.jpg6.       Don’t wash yourself, ever. No don’t worry, we are only joking with this one. But taking more showers than baths will help to eliminate the amount of water wastage. Maybe make those showers a little shorter as well, and cut out a few songs from your daily shower singing playlist (we all do it). Try not to leave the tap running whilst you’re brushing your teeth and get your flatmates to give you any washing they need doing if you don’t quite have enough for a wash.

7.       Take public transport, or car share. We all want those pesky fuel charges to stop going up but to combat heavy prices and to save a bit of money don’t be lazy and walk to your lectures or, if it’s a bit too far, jump on the bus. You don’t really need your car at Uni but if it’s a necessity, fill your car up with fellow students if you are all going in the same direction, to save you all driving separately. Car sharing is a great way to save a bit of petrol and you can do it for free via sites such as Lift share (https://liftshare.com/uk).

8.       Take your own shopping bags. We’ve all got that drawer in our house that is overflowing with plastic bags from various supermarket trips so stop the avalanche and start taking them with you on your food shop. Or, better still, invest in some ‘bags for life’ which are much sturdier and have a lot more room! Image source.

9.       Get yourself an NUS extra card. To treat yourself for being such a green student of course! We all need to indulge once in a while and if you’re off out for food, drinks or to the cinema, invite your flatmates and friends along to make use of your discount. All of the electricity will be off, no cooking will be taking place and your flat will be having a nice bit of down time, just like you!

This post was produced in collaboration with NUS & Co-Operative Energy, all opinions are my own.

What are your energy saving tips? Any quirky ways to reduce bills?

Brand vs Budget: Volumising Shampoo/Conditioner

Over Christmas (read about my holiday here) I ended up leaving my big toiletries at university due to very limited suitcase space and so just used whatever hair washing products were hanging around. I ended up concentrating around two different sets; a Pantene silicone-free duo aimed at fine hair, and a set of Boots own-brand “Provitamin” products designed to be volumising. As both of these are really aimed at the same thing I thought I’d try my hand at a comparison review.

2014-01-15 11.04.01First up, let’s discuss the brand version – the Pantene Pro-V Aqualight Duo, priced at £3.69 each. One important thing to note is that although the conditioner claims to be ‘silicone free’ the shampoo doesn’t. I forgot to check the ingredients on it before I threw away the empty bottle, or I’d give them a quick analyse for you (I did the co-washing trend a few years back, so am pretty clued up on ‘goodies’ and ‘nasties’ in hair products).

I’ve got to admit I really didn’t get on with the Pantene shampoo. To me is felt sticky, didn’t lather (not a deal breaker for me, but it just didn’t feel pleasant) and I actually felt my hair was drier than before. It also seemed to make me a little tangled and bird’s-nest like which definitely isn’t a good thing!

The conditioner was more of a success – I loved the smell (not too strong!) and it felt moisturising but didn’t weigh me down. Now I definitely do NOT have fine hair (if you suggested that to my poor hairdresser he’d probably die laughing, the amount of hair I have is the bane of his life!) but I do find my very thick hair gets weighed down easily, so I like a lightweight but nourishing conditioner. This came pretty close to being ideal!

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Moving onto the budget version!

2014-01-15 11.04.24At £1.99 per huge bottle (and normally on Buy 1 Get 1 Free too!) it’s a lot cheaper than the Pantene offering, and by far my favourite.

The shampoo actually feels like it’s washing my hair, without stripping it. Granted it isn’t as gentle as my favourite Tresemme Naturals product, but it definitely feels a good-quality product.

The conditioner is perhaps a little runnier than I would like, so you have to use a good handful, but it is light and feels nourishing. I do feel I get a little build-up from this product so wouldn’t want to use it long-term, but its an excellent budget choice for holidays.

2014-01-15 11.05.59-2All in all, I definitely prefered the budget duo when comparing these two sets of products. For a significantly cheaper price there’s actually a slight improvement in quality. However I don’t think I’ll be sticking to either of these products over a long period of time…currently I’m extremely excited as what used to be my all-time favourite conditioner seems to be newly available!

What are your favourite hair-washing products?

Year 2 Term 2: Aims & Ideals

Today marks the beginning of the Spring term of my second year at university, so today I thought I’d go with a more studenty post – what do I want to achieve this term, and how am I going to go about achieving it?

 

First, I want to improve on last term’s results. I finished my first year with a high 1st and I definitely want to continue with that this year. I felt my first term went okay (although with much room for improvement!) – we covered a lot of completely new and more applied material than before, so I have a lot of revising to do to make sure it’s up to scratch to prevent falling behind!

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I also want to work on my study skills, or at least at not wasting time! I really struggle to work at university when I have a single hour’s break and last term those hour’s turned into a little bit of a gossip session. This term I really want to make the time a little more productive! The type of work I generally have to do isn’t really suitable for an hour’s work (short of reading over notes, I find an hour is too little for settling down and getting a really good grip on a maths problem of this level!) so instead of studying I’m thinking of making those hours into time for me to work on this blog. I even bought a mini keyboard for my tablet, which is an old one of my boyfriend’s kindly gifted to me over the holidays, which will make this a whole lot easier. Does anyone have an recommendation of blogging-related apps which could be useful?

Also in terms of study skills, I want to continue to improve on my technique when I’m actually studying. I want to share some of these tips with you guys, if its something you’d be interested in reading about?

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In terms of my cooking and diet I want to become a little more adventurous. I really enjoyed experimenting with some new ingredients when making my Chicken Massaman Curry, and I want that to continue. Following on from reader feedback (I love getting it, so please get in touch if you have a suggestion!) I want to work on more vegetarian/meat-free recipes so will be doing that!

Looking at my timetable, I’m due to be doing a lot more full days at university this term (I had a strange timetable last term – full on mornings, but finished by 1 three days a week, which was lovely as I got a decent lunch at home!) so I really need to work on making up a decent packed lunch. Currently toying between salad filled wraps, or rice/pasta combinations, but I’m sure I’ll rotate these ideas over the term!

2013-11-20 15.58.25Budgeting wise – I need to, and I need to save money! I may need to shell out for a deposit on a new rented place in a few months, and invest in some workwear so the pennies need to be saved. I managed to save a huge amount of money using a ‘piggy bank’ last term, and I’m hoping this method along with experimenting with cheaper ingredients will help my savings mount up.

And whilst I am budgeting, I’m also experimenting with my make-up and beauty regime. In the spirit of things, however, I’m trying to keep everything as low cost as possible. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming ‘budget buys’ post as I’ve nabbed some great sale bargains (including the aforementioned workwear!)

So that’s a broad outline of what I want to achieve over the next term. Now for the important bit! What do you want to see on my blog over the next twelve weeks? All and any suggestions are welcome!

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Happy New Year everyone, I hope your celebrations seeing in 2014 were lovely! Mine were spent doing some of the catering for a dinner party which has inspired a post or two, but for now I’m going to share with you all my New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve split these into a few categories, and I hope to keep you updated throughout the year, in a bid to keep me on track!

Academic

Weirdly, I’ll only be studying for around 5 months of 2014 as I’ll be on a placement from July, so I’m kinda struggling to this of academic based resolutions. However I have a few broad things I want to work on:

  • Take better notes for all subjects. I’m not a bad notetaker, I’m just inconsistent. And guilty of spending boring lectures on Bloglovin’. My main aim is to work on my notetaking for my more written modules – numerically I’m fine, but I find keeping up with theoretical financial lectures more difficult.
  • Come up with a better revision plan. Basically, I want to make sure I’m not learning content when I should be revising! I guess my main aim is to do more past questions.
  • Make full use of my Filofax. It was a little neglected last term, and my organisation suffered, so I definitely want to improve this.
  • Self-teach Excel. A little add-on which I think best fits in this category. I use Excel for budgeting, but I’d really like to be able to do more of it before I’m required to use it in a professional setting. I just don’t want to look like an idiot for not understanding it!

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Blogging

The important one! 2013 was the year I really started to blog properly and this year I want to go on developing and improving this site.

  • Comment on a blog a day. I’m a massive blog reader, but I always seem to just read rather than participate. I definitely want to start showing other bloggers that I appreciate their work!
  • Keep to a blog schedule. I ideally want to post around three times a week, plus the regular weekly posts such as the What’s Cooking Wednesday series.
  • Improve my photography. I was debating whether to invest in a Nikon bridge camera over the past few weeks, but have ultimately decided against it, instead focussing on my own technique before upgrading my equipment.
  • Continue developing the blog. This is a broad one! I’m considering going self-hosted, I want to alter the design I currently have, and I also want to branch out into other areas – for instance I have a lot of beauty related reviews coming soon.

Cooking/Baking

My main aim is to really tighten up my budget (I’ll need to find the money for a deposit on a new rented property around May time, so money is going to be tight!) and expand my repertoire.

  • Save money. Ideally I want to spend around £10 a week over the next term, with a big shop at the start bringing it up to an average of £15 weekly. I’m also aiming to post a few money-saving tips in the future, including one that saved me a whopping £50 last term!
  • Continue experimenting with tomato-free recipes. I think I’ve cracked the Tomato Free Slow-Cooker Bolognese, but I want to work on a faster version, and also play about with curries.
  • Buy joints of meat. I received Save with Jamie for Christmas, and have been inspired by the leftover recipes. I’m definitely going to be trying a few! Linked with this, I also want to learn how to joint a chicken, as I think this will be a lot cheaper than buying the parts separately.
  • Expand my baking knowledge. Yes, I can cook muffins, but I want to expand into traybakes, and maybe even more impressive cakes. My main aim? To bake my own bread. Hopefully as good as this loaf my boyfriend made a few weeks back.

Bread

Beauty

My blog is going to become a littleee more beauty orientated as I’ve become a lot more interested in it. My aims are;

  • To find the perfect foundation for me. I thought I had found this recently, but its not quite blendable enough for me.
  • Clean and maintain my make-up brushes. I recently invested in a whole new set, and am determined to keep them in the best possible condition.
  • Try Pixi Glow Tonic. I just think that, from what I’ve read, this would be perfect for my skin.
  • Take my make-up off every night. Without fail. I’ve gotten my skin to what is pretty much the best it’s been since pre-teenage years, and now I want to maintain it. Unfortunately I’m kinda lazy, but I’m determined to combat that this year.

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Personal

And finally a mish-mash of things that don’t really come under any category;

  • Exercise more. The standard resolution. For many years my aim has been to begin running, but its slowly beginning to dawn that my ankles are too weak to run without proper supporting trainers, the cost of which I can’t justify right now. So I plan to walk more, be more active, and use online exercise classes to improve my fitness.
  • Learn to knit. Properly. I’ve been trying for over a year, and its probably one of the most difficult and frustrating things I’ve ever tried to do. But I’m determined that by next winter I’ll have knitted myself a scarf.

But really, all of my goals amount to one thing – be a better person in everything I do. A lot of self-improvement is on the cards for me this year!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? 

12 Days of Christmas (#7): Secret Santa Gift Guide

I mentioned yesterday that my house did a Secret Santa. I highly recommend this as a cost-saving exercise, for two main reasons. One, you only have to buy for one person, so it will be inevitably cheaper. And two (my favourite!) you end up with a slightly higher budget for this one person, so you can get them something they will truly treasure.

Here’s what I received from my secret Santa (we had a £15-£20 budget);

  • A homemade ‘Tomato-Free’ recipe binder
  • A cake-pop stand, and sticks – guess they’ll be some cake pop recipes coming soon!
  • A festive cupcake set, which I hope to make good use of this weekend
  • A lovely tartan snood, which I’ve absolutely fallen in love with!

I would always recommend that, especially with a slightly larger budget, you try to stick with a theme whilst creating a secret Santa present. I feel it just makes it look so much more expensive, and it seems like a whole lot more thought has gone into it. Here’s my ideas for some Secret Santa gifts!

For the Relaxer

Relax CollageSome girly bubble bath, a nice mug, a good book (I LOVE Dorothy Koomson – I’m hoping her new book “The Flavours of Love” will be in my stocking this year) and some yummy hot chocolate.

For the Prospective Student

Student Collage

A good pretty pencil case, some lovely photo frames, a cheap and easy cookbook (this is a personal favourite) and some bed linen – I highly recommend H&M’s offerings as they are 100% cotton and very comfortable!

For the Fashion Conscious

Fashion Collage

A winter-berry nail polish (I’m lusting over this shade at the moment!), a pretty purse, an on-trend ‘curtain’ material scarf (loving this one!) and a good lipstick.

As for what I got when I was playing Secret Santa? You’ll have to wait until tomorrow!

Do you like giving secret gifts?

12 Days of Christmas (#6): A Budget Dinner

As you might know from this post, my housemates and I decided to a do a Christmas dinner (on a “school” night no less!). None of us are particularly full in the bank department right now, so we had to do it on a tight budget. I think in the end we each spend under £5, and we had an amazing dinner. Here’s how to copy us and do it on a budget!

Note: we have moved our main shop to Aldi, so that’s where I’m pricing from today (due to having receipts) unless stated otherwise. For all of my other recipes I tend to price using ASDA online, disregarding special offers. That said, all of my costings are very rough (and generally rounded up) anyway!

2013-12-12 18.39.23What we bought (specially) for this dinner:

  • A stuffed chicken breast joint (£2.99 – you can get turkey versions too!)
  • Pigs in Blankets (£2.50 for 12, from Tesco)

We then added:

  • Potatoes (both mashed with black pepper, and roasted with garlic) – £1
  • Homemade Yorkshire puddings (see here for recipe) – £1
  • Gravy – 20p
  • Sweetcorn – 50p
  • Roasted carrots – 20p
  • Broccoli – £1
  • & whatever other veg people had lying around that they fancied (hence I added red cabbage, savoy cabbage and curly kale)- 50p

2013-12-12 19.16.08We even managed to find 8 crackers for a £1 in Poundland! Okay, they didn’t have exciting plastic gifts, but they did include some rather lame festive jokes, obligatory hat, and even some cute stickers!

2013-12-12 18.39.56We finished off the meal with syrup sponges (£3 for four) and gave out our Secret Santa presents (although that’s another post!).

2013-12-12 18.40.28This was a fabulously festive night with my girls, the best antidote to a horribly stressful week. I really do suggest all student houses give this a go, even if it is the only time they cook together.

What’s your tips for Christmas dinner on a budget?

12 Days of Christmas (#3): Gifts For The Man In Your Life

I will confess that the products that on this post aren’t the cheapest and most budget friendly options, but (1) I have to avoid posting exactly what I have got my boyfriend or dad, and (2) I try and do my Christmas shopping in advance, so most things I would have originally chosen are long gone. I’ll give some cheaper ideas in the post too, but a lot of those don’t photograph too well! All photographs are taken from the links given.

Collage

 

From left to right, top to bottom, we have…

  • A box of classic ales. Beer or cider always goes down well!
  • A cute Christmassy jumper – I love this one!
  • Some kind of manly cooking course – this Pie & Pint one local to my home looks amazing! I’d want to book one that we could both do together though, as I’m greedy!
  • A scarf – I love the tartan styles ones around at the moment. I bought a lambswool one (before they became fashionable I’ll have you know!) during the Edinburgh Fringe and I love it!
  • A Make Your Own Bacon Kit – how cool does this look?! I can’t think of many men who would be disappointed to find this in their stocking!
  • A good leather wallet – Ebay has some fab offerings, like this one.
  • A funny book is something I think is a great little stocking filler. I’ve done FML ones in the past, but I desperately want to read this Exam Fails one!
  • If you know your man’s style well enough (I find they are quite personal things) then a watch is a good idea. Argos seems to have some good looking and relatively cheap ones (I like this). There’s currently an offer on too, so definitely have a look!
  • Finally, some aftershave. I’ve bought W this Paul Smith since the beginning of our relationship, and I love the smell.

Other ideas I have include finding a small plastic toy (try toy shops) version of his favourite animal, IOU’s (whatever you like – cooking, household chores, etc…), gift-cards for places such as Cineworld or restaurants (if all goes well, a nice date night for you!), or a selection of DVD’s and sweet treats to make your own night in. If you have met at university (and so will be spending Christmas apart), a nice photoframe filled with you two is a nice idea too! Basically, I like to think of presents I’d like to receive, make them a little more masculine, and then find those. And that way, it means if he doesn’t like something, I get to keep it!

What is Santa bringing your man this year?

Recipe: One-Pan Mac’n’Cheese

I made this only two hours ago, and I’m already writing a blog post about it. That says a lot about this recipe! It was just lovely, and so, so easy. I adapted The Londoner’s recipe, making it more student friendly (because to be honest, I really can’t afford loads of different cheeses – I stick to basic cheddar and the cheapest parmesan I can find!) and less irritating to my minor dairy intolerance.

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If you want the best photos, and the actual method, do check out Rosie’s blog. I love all of her recipes, my version of her Banana Nutella muffins are a huge favourite amongst my friends, and I can’t wait to try out these.

I will add a point about the one-pan-ness. I chose to top mine with extra cheese and shove it in the oven briefly, so used an extra pan. To be honest, I wouldn’t bother with this step next time as it was cheesy enough, so it really is one-pan. I mean, just look at this fabulous (fail) photo of the stringy cheese!

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What do you need to make this cheesy goodness? My amounts make one (BIG!) serving:

  • Bacon (1 rasher – 20p)
  • Some spices – I went with a Cajun mix, which I always find works great with cheese (prince negligible)
  • 100g of pasta, any tube-type shape is good (10p)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (7p) – made up to 1/2 mug of stock
  • 1/4 mug milk/soya cream (10p)
  • 75-100g cheddar cheese (75p)
  • A sprinkling of parmesan, though I didn’t find I needed it (10p)

Total cost per serving is £1.32 – with salad you would have a great meal for under £1.50. And hardly any washing up to – win win!

Let’s get cooking!

Chop up your bacon into cubes, and fry in the pan you will be using. You want one with a lid! Once the bacon is browned, sprinkle in the spices, fry for a couple more minutes, then tip into the bowl you will be serving in, or the dish that you will grill the pasta in.

2013-12-07 19.05.37Tip your stock and milk/cream into the pan, add your pasta, stir well and cover.

2013-12-07 19.04.53Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few, until the pasta is cooked to your liking, and the sauce has thickened. Grate your cheese whilst this is cooking, or read some of your reading list. Or bloglovin‘…You should have something like this in your saucepan by the end:

2013-12-07 19.19.05Add your bacon back in, and stir in your cheese. If you want to grill it, keep some back.

2013-12-07 19.22.15Now eat as it is (I personally will do next time), or transfer to a grill-proof dish, and top with more cheese.

2013-12-07 19.23.10Throw under the grill while you prepare a healthy accompaniment. I went with salad, but I think some cauliflower would work well.

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Mmm salad! I was lazy and just ate my pasta out of the grilling dish. I won’t judge if you do the same!

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Curl up in front of your favourite TV-show (I’m currently weeks behind watching Masterchef, but enjoying it immensely!) and enjoy this winter warmer, knowing you’ve hardly any washing up to do. Perfect for lazy days.

Have you tried any of the Londoner’s amazing recipes?