We are always looking for ways to cut the costs of what we spend on food.

To cut down the cost of your meal you need to be prepared to put in a little more effort. You can still make amazing meals just with flour and water with a few odds and ends, some imagination and a few extra minutes. Flour with milk, water or eggs mixed in different ways makes a variety of interesting dishes that you can’t go and buy off the shelves of your local supermarket.

There are a lot of recipes for saving money on food, but you can really come up with some creative ideas of yourself. Do you grow your own veggies and herbs? Think about it – you can make some awesome soups for the whole family.

The power of flour can make some amazing breads. This is nothing new and people have been baking fab breads for years and as time has passed things have just become better. We are not talking about a slice of white with butter folks – you can make your own pitas, stuffed focaccias and ciabattas with really good things like cherry tomatoes, olives and pesto – yum!



photo credit: Lisa Williams

Above: Another of the great ways to save money on food - gnocchi - just flour, eggs and potato - dress it up in a fancy sauce, and you have another great meal!

Caramelized Onion Tart

This is a really great tart. If you want to upgrade the recipe you can roast some shallots in the oven, but I think onion marmalade tastes great.


  • 1x onion marmalade recipe
  • Olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.2 cup milk
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • Salt and black pepper


  • 250g Flour, cut into small blocks
  • 115g Butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 Tbsp chilled water
  • 100g rice (for blind baking)

For the Pastry

  • Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl
  • Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips
  • The mixture should look like fine breadcrumbs
  • Sprinkle the water over until the dough comes together
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes

For the Filling

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c
  • Lightly grease a tart tin
  • Roll out the pastry and line the tart tin
  • Prick the pastry case and line with foil and rice and blind bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove the foil and the beans and spoon in the onions
  • Mix the eggs with the milk
  • Add the cheese and season to taste
  • Pour the mixture over the onions and bake for 30 minutes or until set

Serve warm 

Serves 6

Tagliatelle with spinach

You can even go cheaper and fresher by making your own pasta, it takes a little time, but you will find that the flavors are awesome.

  • 1x Bechamel recipe (see at the bottom)
  • Olive oil
  • 500g tagliatelle
  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper


  • Bring a pot of salted water to the boil
  • Add some olive oil to a pan and fry the garlic
  • Add the spinach until it wilts
  • Heat the white sauce and mix with the spinach
  • When the water is boiling add the pasta according to packet instructions
  • When the pasta is ready drain it and mix everything together.
  • Season with salt and pepper

Serves 4

Egg Fried Rice

This is a sort of Asian dish which can be served with stir-fried vegetables


  • 400g cooked white rice
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 5 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50g peas
  • 2 tsp soy sauce


  • Heat the oil in a wok or a solid based frying pan
  • Fry the spring onions and garlic for half a minute
  • Add the rice and stir-fry for two minutes
  • Add the soy sauce
  • Make a well in the middle and pour in the eggs, scramble them around for half a minute and then mix together with the rice.


These are really good for any meal and leftovers are excellent with cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can make them ahead of time and just warm them up. These are more crepes than American style pancakes.


  • 200ml milk
  • 100ml flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 egg


  • Mix some of the milk with the flour, sugar and salt to make a paste and then whisk in the rest of the milk gradually.
  • Add the eggs and the oil.
  • If you are making a lot of pancakes just double up the quantities a couple of times. For the filling you can use a ham and basil pesto mixed with white sauce. Creamed spinach and feta is also a good one.

Makes 10 pancakes

Hake with Basil Marinade

Here you can use any fish that suits your budget. It is the sauce that really makes it. This is where growing herbs in your garden will help because it will keep the costs down, and you know what you are putting in your food at the same time.


  • Basil
  • Olives
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Hake


  • Mash up the basil
  • Add the olive oil
  • Stone olives, break up and add to basil oil
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Pour this over the fish and bake in the oven at 180 for 10 minutesbasil

photo credit:photobucket.com/user/MotherEarthsMagik/media/basil.jpg

As an alternative, try baking this in a bag. Use aliminum foil for this. Simply fold the edges over, so that you have a little pocket, and pop your fish in there. Add in a drop of wine, seasoning and a bit of stock. Leave this in the oven for about 15 mintues, and make sure the rest of the food has been cooked, like potato wedges or mash.