UPDATE 17 March: Further benefit changes have been announced since this article...
9 foods you didn’t know you could make at home
The supermarket shop tends to make up a substantial part of most people’s monthly expenditure. When you’re on a tight budget one of the first things you might look at is how to reduce your family’s food bill, whether that’s by swapping to a cheaper store or planning your meals in advance.
But the savings don’t need to stop there! What if you could recreate some of your favourite shop-bought items in your own kitchen and get the same flavour for a fraction of the cost?
‘Impossible’, you say? Dust off your pinny and prepare to eat your words.
1. Peanut butter
Peanut butter is one of my all-time favourite foods. Health gurus are always telling us how good nuts are for our health, but the sad truth is that shop-bought peanut butter often contains lots of other ingredients, like sugar, palm oil, salt and E numbers, that your body might not thank you for!
It’s actually really easy to make your own peanut butter. Just buy a bag of peanuts, whizz them all up in a food processor and spread it on a thick slice of bread. Or if you’re like me, grab a spoon.
I’ve noticed my local pound shop has started selling bags of nuts and other healthy snacks, so why stop at peanut butter?! You could do the same thing with cashews or almonds!
2. Chocolate spread
You can make your own chocolate spread with hazelnuts, chocolate, cocoa and a couple of other ingredients you’ll probably already have in your cupboard. Hazelnuts can be a bit pricey, but as I said before, I’ve spotted them on sale in my local pound shop so it’s worth having a hunt for them in cheaper stores.
Emma in our Digital team has tried her hand at making her own chocolate spread. Here’s her son getting stuck in making “not-ella”, as he calls it!
3. Fajita seasoning
Fajitas make for a quick and easy mid-week dinner, and they tend to be my go-to meal to use up any last bits of veg in my fridge. I always used to use shop-bought seasoning to make fajitas, until one day I looked on the back of the packet and realised I could make it myself for a fraction of the cost. Not only that, but it takes just a matter of minutes to do.
You’ll need chili powder, salt, sugar, a stock cube, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper to make my favourite fajita mix recipe. It might sound like a lot of ingredients, but this recipe makes about five times as much as you’d get in a pre-mixed packet.
Did you know you can make your own mayo in less than ten minutes? You’ll need two egg yolks, vegetable oil, lemon juice, some salt and pepper and a bowl to whizz it all up in.
It’ll look a bit more yellow than the stuff you get in the jar but don’t worry, it’ll more than make up for it in taste! Take a look at the recipe on The Petite Cook’s website.
Continuing with the condiments theme, you can also make your own ketchup. I’m set in my ways when it comes to ketchup and tend to stick with to my favourite shop-bought brand. Mostly it’s because I don’t think it’s a flavour I could recreate in my own humble kitchen.
Apparently though, I’m much mistaken. According to all the fab ratings it’s been given by those who have tried and tested it, Top Secret Recipes has hit the nail on the head! I’ll be giving it a go…
6. Marie-Rose sauce
Now you’ve made your own mayo and ketchup, you have all the ingredients to make your own easy Marie-Rose sauce. Just grab a bowl and a spoon and mix them together.
It sounds gross and looks gross, but I’m assured by my boss Andrew that it’s delicious! Perfect for prawn cocktails, as a salad dressing, or even as a dip in its own right.
7. American-style hot sauce
Peer in the MoneyAware team always makes his own American-style hot sauce. Last year he even gave it away as a gift for Christmas! Check out his recipe in our Christmas DIY gift guide. But be warned – it’s seriously spicy!
You’ll need an onion, four cloves of garlic, white wine vinegar and a big bag of green chilies. Peer also recommends wearing a strong pair of marigolds to protect your hands from all the chilies. No, seriously, he’s not kidding.
8. Magic shell
You remember that chocolate sauce that goes solid as you pour it over your ice cream? (Watch this advert for a bit of retro fun.) I remember thinking it was made of magic, but turns out the recipe is pretty simple. So simple, in fact, that you can make it in your very own kitchen – no wizardry required!
All you need is chocolate and coconut oil, which you can get your hands on in the supermarket for about £1.50. Take a look at this recipe from The Slow Roasted Italian.
9. Satay sauce
Rory in the MoneyAware team swears by making his own satay, and says it’s loads better than the stuff you can buy in the shops.
You’ll need coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, chilli, onion and garlic to follow this satay sauce recipe from Nigella. In the (unlikely) event that you can’t finish it all, you can keep it in the fridge and reheat it. Waste not, want not!
Have you got any more recipes to add? Let us know in the comments!