With the UK budget looming over us all today, we have been thinking about how the government will be attempting to save us money – or what will be costing us more for the year ahead.

UK Budget 2014

It is no secret that the cost of food is constantly going up but have you also noticed that packages have also decreased in size?

In 1957, 36% of our earnings were spent on food and that had come down over the years but, it is now going back up and basic food items are now increasing in price.

Farmer and friend to Jamie Oliver, Jimmy Doherty, presented the first of a two-part documentary called ‘Food Prices: The Shocking Truth’ as he wanted to investigate the reasons why food portions have become smaller but more expensive.

the cost of food the shopping truth

Rice, pasta and chocolate were all looked at and Jimmy travelled to India, Ghana and Kansas to find out exactly what was making food cost us so much more. Both India and Ghana hold political reasons for the cost of their main exports. In India, the government want to focus on tackling poverty and feed the hungry within the country with rice.

In Kansas, Jimmy spoke to wheat farmers who revealed that the winter of 2012 had a devastating effect on their harvest. The weather across the globe in recent years has also meant that crops have been damaged – almost 57 million tonnes – has led to an increase in the price of bread and pasta.

Chocolate has also taken a hit, lots of people have commented on “shrinking” chocolate bar sizes and it is true, before 2008, Mars Bars were 62.5 grams whereas now, they are 58 grams. Despite the small decrease in size, there has been a significant price increase and it is very rare that you will find a standard chocolate bar for less than 50 pence. The Ghana government have increased the cost of its cocoa which has meant that chocolate manufacturers around the world have had to pay more to produce your favourite bars of chocolate.

The adverse weather conditions here in Britain in the last few years have also meant that our own farmers have made a great loss with crops and beef. With the snow killing lots of cattle and heavy rain harming our wheat and barley fields, prices have had to go up so that farmers can cover the costs they have incurred.

I have blogged before about living within a budget, something that affects us all and with this in mind; the Bath-Knight team are currently working on a guide all about living within your budget and eating well later in life. Even though food products are reaching a higher price than ever before, there are still ways to shop and eat without it costing the earth.

If you subscribe to the blog, you will be alerted on all the new posts and when the guide is available for you to download.

The second part of ‘Food Prices: The Shocking Truth’ will be on Channel 4 on Tuesday 25th March at 9pm and you can watch the first part on 4OD.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

You may have noticed that on some Channel 4 shows that the presenters have referred to the Scrapbook and have probably wondered what it is. The Channel 4 Scrapbook is your online notepad to all the creative, cookery and property focused shows, perfect to start for a slow Saturday or Sunday.

How to create a Channel 4 Scrapbook

Getting your Scrapbook is easy; first you sign up and create an account by entering your details. Then, once you are registered, you can search for any programmes which you find interesting.

So, if like me you’re a fan of Jamie Oliver and his Money Saving Meals, any recipe you have seen on any of his shows are ready for you at the click of a button to save onto your online Scrapbook.

Another presenter’s shows I know many people like are Kirsty Allsop. Her craft shows and Location, Location, Location have buttons ready for you to click and add some ideas and information on moving house. Even Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud has a page dedicated to the breath taking properties he has visited and those that have been featured on the show. I wonder if Penny and Paul Denby’s house that had a Bath-Knight bath lift fitted in is still featured…

How to make a Channel 4 Scrapbook#

I have started my own Scrapbook and it’s currently all things crafty ready for handmade Christmas gifts with a few Come Dine With Me recipes thrown in for good measure. All in all it will be quite a collection! I do love the idea of saving all the best tips and recipes from my favourite Channel 4 shows.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Websites of the Week for the Bath-Knight blog

International Day for Older People – On Tuesday, 1st October 2013, it is the International Day for Older People, a day to recognise and celebrate the contributions and achievements that older people have made to our economy and society.

Full of lifeFrom the stories in the media this year about elderly people such as the adrenaline junkies I have posted about and the people finding love later in life, I think people’s attitudes of old age and the elderly have become more positive. Recent surveys of older people have shown that their own attitudes towards aging have become more positive and they still feel young at heart.

older persons day

As part of the celebrations, the Ping Pong Care Campaign is teaming up with the Department for Work and Pensions to encourage active ageing and community activities. They are also attempting to break the ping pong World Record for the most people over the age of 65 taking part in an on-going game of ping pong and they want it to last as long as possible! Good luck to everyone taking part in this record attempt!

Charity aimed at helping rescue dogsDog’s Trust – If your chores list is looking a little bit blank this weekend, it may be a good idea to look into getting your dog microchipped and take advantage of free microchipping from the Dogs Trust. It is now becoming more and more common for people to microchip their pets and it has many benefits such as reducing problems like puppy farming where it is very common for dogs to inherit unnecessary illnesses, dogs are easily traceable if they go missing or are stolen and arrests can be made for animal cruelty.

Microchipping for dogs

The Dogs Trust charity are currently offering free Microchipping for all dogs as it will become compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped by 1st March 2015. To find out more about getting your dog microchipped at your nearest Dogs Trust centre, click here.

Jamie Oliver's Website

Jamie Oliver – Over the last few weeks, I have been blogging about Jamie’s Money Saving Meals, a programme presented by Jamie Oliver which aims to help people reduce food waste and create delicious meals for less than £1.50 per portion. The series so far has been brilliant with tips on making the most of left overs and using store cupboard ingredients which would usually go ignored or foods that would go out of date quickly.

Jamie Oliver’s own website is also a wonderful hub of all things food. From luxurious foods, his 30 Minute Meals and of course, his meals on a budget, there’s even a page dedicated to his books and restaurants so you will never be lacking in ideas for dinner.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie’s latest book to accompany the Channel 4 series, ‘Save With Jamie’ is also featured on his website and much like his current programme, it encourages quick, easy and purse friendly meals for all diets; the perfect Christmas present for anyone on a budget or those of us who hate being wasteful.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

We’re all a little bit guilty of throwing away food that we’re not quite sure what it is after freezing it, especially meat.

This week on Jamie’s Money Saving Meals, he visited a young lady who would spend up to £150 a week on food and would freeze her meat but would get confused as to what she has frozen; her freezer would become a bin. Jamie’s top tip was to wrap the meat she wants to freeze in baking paper and Clingfilm and clearly label it with what the cut of meat is and the day it was frozen. This is a fool-proof way to ensure that you use those expensive cuts of meat and you will be less inclined to throw them away.

The freezer is the perfect companion to anyone who lives alone, especially if you always make a little too much or you are meal planning for the week ahead. Labelling tubs of homemade soups, cuts of meat or stews save a lot of money and time, especially if you’ve had a hectic day.

Jamie’s meals this week featured a tasty shoulder of pork and with the left overs, he made Dim Sum Buns.

A shoulder of pork can be quite pricey, it can be approximately £28 but, if you are cooking for your whole family, you can feed up to 8 people and still have over 1KG of meat left over.

Selection of meals from Jamie's Money Saving Meals

Jamie made a delicious roast with the pork shoulder and served it with all the trimmings. The cost per portion was just £1.99.

With his left over meat, he made Dim Sum Buns. He made dough from scratch and then stuffed in the pork which had also been seasoned with oriental flavours. He then placed the buns into a steamer for approximately 15 minutes and this turned the buns into dumplings. Served up with some hoisin sauce, sesame seeds and a fiery salad, the Dim Sum buns worked out at a very pocket friendly 83p per portion.

You can make either of these meals with any meat and the left overs can be used for all sorts. Jamie recommended spicy tacos with pork, chicken or beef fried off with peppers, chilli, mushrooms and onions.

The twist on the takeaway this week was a Sweet Potato Korma. A curry from a takeaway is a lovely treat for a Friday or Saturday night and is a firm favourite with a lot of people. It can, however, be quite costly and on average can cost up to £24 for the family and catering to fussy grandchildren. Jamie’s Sweet Potato Korma looked simply delicious and rather than using rice, Jamie used cauliflower as a low-calorie alternative. The cost for the entire meal was £2.14, nearly ten times cheaper than a local curry house!

So far I am really enjoying Jamie’s Money Saving Meals. He really does prove that no matter what your budget, you can eat healthy, tasty food.

To catch up on this week’s programme, click here.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Jamie Oliver is back on our television screens with another programme dedicated to cooking nutritious food suitable for all budgets!

Starting the series off yesterday evening, Jamie cooked four money saving meals, one of which came from the first meal.

Selection of meals from Jamie's money Saving Meals

The first meal was a Mothership Sunday Roast Brisket. Brisket is a cheaper cut of beef; it’s approximately £14 for a cut, and the joint Jamie used fed six people with over half of the brisket left over. Each portion of the roast dinner worked out at £1.80 and that included Yorkshire puddings, vegetables and roast potatoes, lovely!

With the left over brisket, Jamie made a Korean Stir-Fried Rice dish, the perfect left-over dinner for the next day. Again, with half the brisket, rice and vegetables, this could feed up to six people.

A  Sweet Pea Fish Pie was also on the menu and Jamie suggested using frozen fish over fresh fish as it is equally as good when cooked in a pie and frozen foods are always cheaper than fresh.

The final dish, and the Bath-Knight team’s favourite, was the American Hot Pizza Pie. Pizzas from a takeaway are a lovely treat once in a while but they can be very expensive, sometimes up to £16 for a family sized pizza. Jamie’s recipe shows you how to make your own dough and freeze any left over for when you want to make it again as well as adding your own toppings. Pizzas are great fun to make with grandchildren and they will definitely appreciate a pizza they have had a hand in making themselves over one from the takeaway.

I was shocked to learn that people in the UK throw away £680 worth of food per household a year, especially as the cost of living and food prices are soaring. So that people do make the most of what they have in their fridge and cupboards, throughout the series, Jamie will be visiting people who admit to throwing away huge amounts of food. Last night, he focused on fresh herbs.

By freezing herbs in ice cube trays with olive oil, this can make a very convenient and tasty addition to a sauce, soup or meat dish. Making herb and garlic butter is also a great idea to stop wasting expensive herbs and it works so well as a spread on a fresh baguette.

I really enjoyed watching the programme and can’t wait to see what meals Jamie makes next week.

To catch up on yesterday’s episode, click here.

Jamie’s Money Saving Meals is on at 8pm Channel 4 every Monday.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather