As I may have mentioned before, my sister is a - very good, though I'm possibly rather biaised -chef. She is therefore slightly horrified, though I think interested, by our £50 a week food challenge, as her standards of food and cooking are rather higher than ours. We are still sticking to our food budget, by the way, although occasionally it is a bit of a stretch.
My sister and I talk quite a bit about food, what is worth spending money on, and where economies are feasible. Despite her training and general preference for use of the best quality ingredients, my sister and I are both influenced by our grandmothers' wartime and austerity Britain recipes. Yesterday, we attempted to recreate one grandmother's flapjack, which had a treacle-y, chewy toffee-ish texture that we have not found in flapjacks eaten since. We read through dozens of recipes, then made two batches, using slightly different proportions of fat, sugar and oats, in an attempt to create the perfect flapjack. We do not yet know if we've achieved it, as one thing we can recall about our grandmother's method was that it involved leaving the flapjack to go chewy for several days before being eaten.
I've asked my sister to contribute some thoughts in future posts on economical eating, areas where she feels it is particularly worthwhile to pay for high-quality ingredients, and also to comment on the best, minimal, kitchen equipment she can recommend, and where it is worth spending on high quality. Whenever she cooks at my house, I'm always a bit ashamed of my rather blunt knives and scrappy baking tins, and so once she's formulated her list, I'm hoping to persuade her to come shopping with me to help me choose a few new pieces of equipment.
More to follow in due course...