- a blog about food and value

Win! The Frugal Cook book

frugal_cook“Buy cleverly. Waste less. Eat well.”

That’s the slogan of The Frugal Cook, a book by blogger Fiona Beckett. Published late last year, the book is full of great advice: how to cut your food bill, the art of using leftovers, the skill of stretching food, how to be more efficient, portion control, waste disposal, and storing food safely. It also contains great recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and, best of all, an A-Z of ingredients and leftovers. I’ve been using it a lot lately and it’s great.

To Win

Simply leave a comment on this post telling us  your own top frugal cooking tip or tips. As usual, we will choose one comment completely at random and the writer of that comment wins that prize.


  • This competition is only open to residents of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Do not enter this competition if you are outside the island of Ireland.
  • Please make sure you leave a working email address with your comment (email addresses will not be publicly displayed) so we can contact you for your details.
  • Please do not comment more than once, if we see more than one comment from the same address we will delete all your comments and you will no longer be eligible for the competition.  If you have questions about the competition, use our contact form.
  • The competition will close at 5pm on Monday April 6, and the winner will be announced the following day.
  • There is no cash alternative for this prize.


  1. Always give something a go when doing a meal, add an extra spice or herb to, chop in another veg, try a dollop of cream to mak it richer or even a splash of wine!

    I mix these kind of ingredients into stews, soups, casseroles, stirfrys, tapas, salads, even your basic rice, pasta or potatoe dishes!

  2. A good saver must be one with their freezer. These days, it’s not uncommon to find half-price deals on meat, so stock up and freeze right away as opposed to buying only what you’ll use that week. Plus, the more you have in your freezer, the less work your freezer has to do, so you’ll save a little on electricity, too!

    Also, keep any kind of bread fresh longer buy popping it in the fridge. A half pan costs more per slice than a full loaf, but if you won’t use it before it gets moldy, just keep it in the fridge – you’ll get much longer out of it. Great for wraps, too.

  3. try to win a cookbook that gives guide on how to be a frugal cook? 😉

  4. Plan ahead, cook at home, and keep track of special offers.

  5. Invite friends over! Cooking for a handful of people is much cheaper than all of you cooking separately. And more fun. You can round off the frugal evening with a good board game for cheap home based entertainment!

  6. Eat more eggs! Eggs are cheap and nutritous – and very filling. From breakfast (scrambled, poached, fried) to dinner (tortilla omelette, frittata) not forgetting lunch (hardboiled egg mayonaise with salad) there is an egg dish for every meal.

  7. Reduce waste. Plan ahead. Cook in bulk. Buy fruit & veg in Lidl – superb quality, great choice, amazing value.

  8. make your own brown bread and scones, there’s nothing lovier than the smell of baking wafting through your house! And it’s cheaper than buying bread and scones.

    I always cut the bread when it has cooled and freeze the slices in 2’s so that I don’t have to hack at the bread when it’s frozen 🙂

  9. Go to your local tesco’s on your way home from work everyday. The going out of date section is usually full of little treasures. And always have a bag of spuds in the house.

  10. When mince is cheap (Aldi doing 450g for €2.99 at moment and Dunnes doing large tray for €6) buy extra then make up a huge pot of bolognese using up whatever veg you can to bulk it out (Dunnes doing two courgettes for 79c this week and Aldi always have some 49c specials every month). Have bolognese one day then add cans of beans or cooked dried beans to the rest with some chilli powder for a lovely chilli for another day. There will be loads left so put into a lasagne dish, top with frozen peas then a layer of mash (make out of potato and parsnip for extra veg) to make a spicy cottage pie. All these dishes can be frozen so make as much as you like when the offers are on. Aldi also doing medium free range chicken for just 4.99 which is very good for free range – buy two, roast as normal then use leftovers to make chicken curry (just add enough chicken for four people to some sauteed garlic, onion and courgette, add some thai curry paste (three tablespoons)or regular curry powder, a pint of chicken stock from a cube and a can of coconut milk – simmer for a few minutes then add a drop of lime juice (bottles available cheaply in tesco) to finish. If you have any chicken left, sautee some veg (mushrooms, courgette, pepper etc) and add the chicken with a jar of cheap pasta sauce and a can of chopped tomatoes (tesco or Lidl good value for both) and a can of kidney beans and some chilli powder to taste and simmer for a while for chicken chilli. Again these can all be frozen.

  11. Go to Moore Street for fruit and veg,its ridiculously cheap!

  12. Cooking dinner for a gang of friends at home….would love a few tips on tasty food for a group, sounds like just the book.

  13. Always try to have frozen peas and/or sweet corn in your freezer. They can be used for almost any dish you cook including pasta, rice (esp fried rice), risotto, noodles, cuscus, pastry pies, Sheppard’s pie or fish pie (especially delish) and a meat potato dinner. They are nutritious and colourful so help to brighten any meal. They are incredibly easy to prepare and always handy if you don’t have much fresh veg left in your kitchen. And a very cheap alternative to the fresh variety which I find difficult to buy and if I do buy them, I end up eating them straight out of the pods are they are too hard to resist.

  14. Eat bread. A good loaf means:

    – fresh bread on Saturday
    – toast or bruschetta on Sunday
    – a trencher on Monday: a thick slice of bread with stew on top of it means no need for spuds or other stodge
    – French onion soup on Tuesday, with a thin slice of bread carrying the cheese to be melted on top
    – a salad with croutons on Wednesday
    – pasta with herbs and crumbs on Thursday
    – Welsh rarebit, to use up any leftover bread and cheese, on Friday.

  15. Eat smaller portions! It’s healthy for both you and your pocket

  16. Buy what’s in seaso and cheap, the use it in soups and casseroles and always make some extra to freeze away for later.

  17. – make breadcrumbs from stale bread and freeze them.

    – make your own delicious granola with porridge oats and seeds – mix in some honey and toast in the oven. Add dried fruit such as apricots and raisins.

  18. make friends with your butcher instead of buying expensive supermarket meat.

  19. Take away moratorium!

  20. I have no tips..thats why I need to win this book.

  21. Nearly all the supermarkets these days have a section where their stock is nearly out of date and is reduced.

    I buy about 4 or 5 packets of meat at a time, usually i cook one that day and freeze the rest for another time.
    Great food at a fraction of the price!

  22. I love the fresh zing of ginger but used to resent buying a fresh root of it every time I needed a hit. Now after I’ve chopped an inch, or whatever is required, I pop it into the freezer ready to grate over stirfries when it’s called for again.

  23. Spar and Londis’s frequently charge 70c for Cadbury’s fudge bars. Dunnes sell them for 40c. A steal!

  24. my granny made “lucky bag pie “for us as children and we loved it , simply add some left over chopped ham or rashers, chopped scallions, grated cheese ,a little butter , milk and seasoning to mashed potatoes and mix well, turn into a pie dish ,score with a fork and cook in the oven for 25mins, serve with a runny egg, delicious!any combinations of left overs works well thus the name “lucky bag pie”

  25. I buy special offer meats, like 2eur salmon in superquin at the moment – and freeze them. You just have to remember to take the meat out the night before you intend using it to defrost, which I often forget!

  26. Make huge pots of thick vegetable soup and freeze in portions. There’s no limit to what you can throw in to vary the taste. A green apple works great with squash and carrot, for example.

    Best of all it takes no time or skill.

  27. I find buying ingredients like rice and herbs (meaning mint, coriander etc) in ‘ethnic’ supermarkets is a lot cheaper than getting them in supermarkets. You get a lot more for your money but most freeze pretty well and if you’re just adding them into a curry or something like that I don’t think there’s a lot of difference in taste. In Italy a lot of herbs are sold in supermarkets in frozen form.

  28. write little, eat less, think more

  29. The best way to spend less when shopping is to eat before you go, plan your meals for the week ahead and write up a list. While it’s important to stick to it, I always pick up one or two special offers which are either not very perishable (e.g. 3 cans of tomato reduced) or can be frozen in portions (e.g. €6 dunnes mince). Great to fall back on when having a lean week near the end of the month!

  30. Be more imaginative with your cooking, buy what’s on special offers and design your meal around that rather than sticking and buying you favourites irrespective of the price.

  31. Make cheapass hummus-style bean dip even cheaper by using Tesco butter beans (56c per can), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and olives, salt and pepper.

    Serve in sangers, dips, on toast, mix with leftover rice to make rissoles, whizz together with cooked cauliflour to make low gi “mash”…endless!

  32. Left over ham and cabbage from the ever popular bacon cabbage and potatoes, can be used to make a very tasty quiche lorraine. all you need is easy to make pastry and eggs.

  33. Any leftover wine, yes I did say leftover wine, can be poured into ice cube trays and frozen and used for cooking at a later date.

  34. Scoop leftover creamed potatoes onto a tray and open freeze, then pop into a freezer bag. You can always grab a few scoops, zap in microwave, lash on a chop/fishfinger/sausages and a tin of peas/beans and voila dinner for kids in a few mins.

  35. For great pizzas which my kids adore make the base using dried yeast,strong flour,olive oil and water not forgetting a pinch of salt and sugar.Top off with Lidl Passata and toppings of choice,fab!

  36. Buy all your meat in the butchers and buy everything else in Lidl

  37. Frugal to me means you cut spending on food items. I think we should think outside the box and my tips are … Buy good quality food at the best price you can get, but we all have our portion sizes too big. Eat something good & tasty is better than volume. Feeling hungery and empty, then try looking at the GI diet suggestions, eat porridge for example, it is a great filler and lowers cholestral. I think we should think what do we want from our diet? we want and need to feed ourselves with food that keeps our mind and body healthy, thus cutting visits to doctor, buying medcine and not feeling well enough to get the most out of our day! Variety is important so try and buy one item of food that you have never tried / tasted before (replacing something else) a different veg or fruit. I think it is important to enjoy cooking and a good varied diet and also to pass this healthy view of food on to your children