Welcome to Frugal Living in the UK!

Frugal Living in the UK went online in 2003 and has gradually grown into quite a collection of advice and articles. You’ll find recipes, food shopping tips, household savings, advice on cheap days out and holidays, ways to make a few pounds, get freebies and even sales and Frugal Christmas 🙂

Whether you want to reduce your debts, save for a holiday, stay at home with your children, live more simply or just beat the system a little and end up with more cash, we hope you find something here to help. Consider yourself as in a clothes shop – look around, try the ideas on for size, take what’s right for you and leave the rest for someone else.

You can read our latest newsletter detailing all that’s new here

Latest posts: Growing a Food Forest, Sourdough Bread for pennies , The 25p Meal and Upcycling Pallets

Frugal Living in the UK - the pink bench!

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook or subscribe to our mailing list.

Latest additions to the site:


Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

Bargain Alert: Cheap Seeds and Grains

Bargain alert for Asda - vegetable cheap seeds

Bargain alert for Asda: seeds are 15p each, and will still be fine for next year. Barley and broth mix are 20p (not sure if that’s a Scotland only situation).

Perfect for our Vegetable Barley Soup recipe!

Bargain alert for Asda - cheap barley and broth mix.

Don’t miss Low Price Foods for more food bargains.


Growing a Food Forest: lawns to food

a herb garden in the food forest
Herb garden of oregano, lemon balm, self-seeded borage, lovage, sage, bronze fennel, chives, parsley, rocket.

Growing your own food forest does not have to be hard work, nor do you have to own a massive garden to achieve it. You work with what space is available – you can even make a mini ‘forest’ of herbs and sprouts on a windowsill – and do what you have time for.

We’re gradually changing the grass/food ratio in our own garden. We built some raised beds out of old roofing tiles.

Sunflowers, kale, turnips, and flat leaf parsley that basically went rogue.

Kale is one tough cookie. It does well here in Northern Scotland and continues to produce leaves for two years.



A cheap packet of lettuce seeds from Lidl was sprinkled all over this (non-raised) new bed this year and two courgette plants were popped in among it. They’re doing really well. We use the lettuce in a ‘cut and come again’ way as you get a higher yield that way. It just keeps going.

bed of lettuce and courgettes (zucchini)
Lettuce, courgettes and nasturtium.

Potatoes are a really easy crop to grow. This year we planted mainly shops ones that had sprouted at the back of the fridge so they really didn’t cost anything and they have produced well. Admittedly, the Pentland Javelins we bought as seed potatoes have been somewhat more abundant.

Pentland Javelin potatoes freshly dug up
Freshly dug tatties.

Potatoes can also be grown in containers or even a bag of compost. We know one lady who threw some old sprouted ones into a half used bag of compost and left them all summer to find masses of lovely new tatties in the autumn.

Russian Red Kale – self seeds all over the place once you have it, and produces leaves like crazy.

We like to mix things up and plant a few flowers between. They’re good for attracting bees. Nasturtiums are also edible. Pallet bench in background…

Beets, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, sprig cabbage, chard, black kale, savoy cabbage growing in the food forest
This thickly planted bed contains beets, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, spring cabbage, chard, black kale, savoy cabbage (all grown from seed straight in the ground) and even a few strawberries.

Fruit bushes and trees are well worth the initial investment as they go on giving forever more and create shelter and the ‘foresty’ aspect of your food forest. Birds seem quite good at ‘planting’ the blackcurrant seeds; we’ve had some new ones come up in odd corners of the garden. They’re very low maintenance.

Apples and red and black currants in the food forest.
Apples and red and black currants

Latest seeds planted:

Planned next in the garden: a polytunnel to be constructed of recycled pallets and reclaimed plastic, and a big patch of Jerusalem Artichokes!

Also see our article Free Food for information on foraging.

Recommended reading:

‘How to Grow Your Own Food: A Week-by-week Guide to Wild Life Friendly Fruit and Vegetable Gardening’ by Dirty Nails. This fabulous book takes you through the year, detailing what you can be planting, preparing, harvesting etc. each week. Humorously written, lots of information on wildlife is given throughout such as facts about badgers, woodpeckers and cuckoos. The book is very well indexed and has some lovely fruit and vegetable recipes too. A user-friendly title that’s sure to help you maximise your garden’s food production. Buy UK

Image93

‘Forest Gardening’ by Robert A de J Hart. Here the author details his garden – a miniature forest filled with an abundance of things to eat. This is low maintenance gardening once established with trees, bushes and perennial plants which provide both shelter and food. Included are recommended plants for different regions of the world – this book is a huge resource of information and inspiration. Buy UK


Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

Clearance Food and Frugal Sourdough

Clearance Food

It’s all a bit short and sweet from us today, just like the choccies pictured above! They’re from new clearance food outlet Low Price Foods, and though the front page is focused on snack items we found really cheap pasta, tins and dried fruit there too. Definitely worth a regular check as they get new things in often.

Sourdough and Gardening: We have a new post on making Sourdough for Pennies here. It also details some of our recent gardening exploits and which seeds are still good to plant in July.

Cheap Clothes: Everything5Pounds are selling three pairs of shorts for £5 at the moment!

Frugal Recipes:
All our recipes gathered together for you here: soups, mains, sides, cakes, puds, Christmas and weightloss!

May your sourdough ever rise high and your clearance food prices constantly be low…

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Sourdough Bread for Pennies – easy too!

sourdough bread decorated with parsley
A somewhat volcanic loaf, decorated with flat leaf parsley

Sourdough bread is absolutely delicious and can be really easy and cheap to make. It’s the way bread was made for thousands of years, containing healthy bacteria for the gut, and the long fermenting process partly breaks down and digests the gluten. We’re not experts by any means, and are quite lazy bakers, but we’re successfully making lovely sourdough for pennies. Tesco sometimes sell off 1kg bags of plain flour for 15p (in baskets round the store) and those are what we’ve been using here, each one making just over two loaves.

We made this starter recipe using grapes and it certainly created a wonderfully frothy active starter that sits on a windowsill and is called Herbert! There was no wasting the discard when we first fed Herbert; we made pizza dough and left it to sit all day, then topping with tomato sauce, tomatoes and Asda free from Mozzarella (they have much cheaper free from cheese than the other supermarkets). It was gorgeous.

sourdough pizza

There’s a basic sourdough bread recipe here. What follows are our lazy variations!

The first bread we made was a herby olive oil focaccia. We kneaded the dough once, coated in herbs and olive oil and left it to rise all day in a tin before baking late afternoon along with dinner. It tasted amazing.



Then we tried olive bread, and returned to the dough after a couple of hours and gave it a second kneading and shaping. This one was left to rise overnight and baked in the morning. Again, the taste of this stuff is delectable.

It was great sliced up and served with our tomato rice soup.

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

The loaf pictured at the top of the page was the result of putting it into an oven that was not pre-heated (told you, no expertise here). The high rise happened during the lower temperatures, and we love it.

For a more expert view and LOTS of ideas, we highly recommend the book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading. We’re going to be trying a jalapeño bread from there soon.

And in the garden we’ve been sowing some seeds that are good to put in during July:

potato patch poppy
A frilly red poppy popped up in the potato patch!


Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

Hot sunshine and cheap clothes…

Cheap clothes! The £2.50 sale from Everything5Pounds

It’s hot. It’s sunny. Can it be Scotland? Amazingly enough: YES!

Top summer recipes:
Radish Top Soup: a great way to use the commonly thrown away part of these super easy and quick to grow vegetables.
Minted Noodle Soup is another simple and seasonal dish.
Great cold in a picnic, see our basic pasties recipe.
A perennial favourite side at all times of year are the Beer Battered Onion Rings.
Rhubarb and gooseberries are go in the garden. Try them in a Crumble.

Cheap clothes and shoes: Everything5Pounds have their £2.50 sale on: go grab a bargain here!

Featured posts:
The 25p Meal – what it says on the tin.
Frugal Days Out and Holidays

For food and household bargains and bulk cupboard stocking, see Approved Food

Wishing you many relaxing long summer days…

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

soused red cabbage

Recipe submitted by Colleen.

red cabbage

We were really pleased to receive this sweet and sour red cabbage recipe just now (during the Corona Virus crisis) as red cabbage is a really cheap vegetable that is rich in nutrients and good for the immune system. It’s also unlikely to be sold out due to bulk buying!

Goes with most things and ingredients can be altered to suit e.g. use any cabbage, vinegar, sugar, (what you’ve got).  

This recipe also freezes well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons marg or veg oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 apples peeled & grated
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • salt & black pepper

Method:

Heat marg/oil in saucepan. Add cabbage & apple. Cook for 5 mins. Stir occasionally. Add vinegar & brown sugar. Season to taste. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Serves 4-6.

Optional: add 1/2 sliced onion with cabbage & apple + pinch fennel or caraway seeds when salting (or whenever).

If you do want to stock up your cupboards, the place to do it is Approved Food. They sell clearance food, drink and household items online. They’re a fantastic source of bargains and are set up to cope with bulk buying, so you’re not depleting resources.

See all our frugal recipes here

***

The Mermaid and the Bear Cover

Ailish Sinclair‘s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, and featuring the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, is out now.

On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.

Frugal Cooking with an onion!

onion and potato pie

Such a frugal ingredient. So tasty and nutritious too. Pictured above is a potato and onion pie. The recipe can be found here with links to other pie recipes too. And don’t forget those delicious beer battered onion rings or this beautiful earthy stuffing and the related leek and potato soup.

Wild food season is well underway now. Here are our recipes:
wild garlic pesto
wild garlic and carrot soup
Dandelion Fritters or Pancakes
Nettle Soup

For foody bargains and bulk cupboard stocking, see Approved Food

Featured post: Upcycling Pallets

Our founder’s new novel FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE launches today. Inspired by the 600 children and young people who were kidnapped from Aberdeen during the 1740s and sold into indentured servitude, the story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s proper derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate! 

A frugal, onion-cooking quote from the book:

“I look in the pantry. In truth it is all but bare, but I find flour and fat and an onion. I hold the onion in my hand and stare down at it for a wee minty, feeling all mixed up and strange. The last time I held an onion was in Scotland. It was part of the last meal I ever prepared there. This is the first time I’ve held an onion in America. They’re pretty much the same here or there, so I dinna ken why I’m feeling so odd, but the onion feels important, like it’s a link to home. And then I decide it’s going to be a part of the first meal I ever prepare here.”

Keep cosy! Eat onions! And enjoy the sunshine!

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frugaluk
and now, Facebook!

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

nettle soup

Don’t worry – they don’t sting when cooked! Nettles are very nutrient rich and of course – free! Don’t gather them beside a busy road where they will have been contaminated by traffic fumes. If you keep cutting them from springtime you get a regular supply of fresh leaves, though they can get a bit insect infested during the summer! Below are two recipes for soup:

Version 1 – a “cream of” style soup:

Ingredients: nettleschives

2 tablespoons of vegetable margarine or oil
2 tablespoons of white flour
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Freshly picked and washed young nettles (several good handfuls – picked with gloves and caution!)
2 cups soya milk (tesco value is cheap and organic too)
1 cup water or stock
salt and pepper to taste

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil or marg. for a few minutes then stir in the nettles (no need to chop or remove stalks) until they soften. Stir in the flour and gradually add the soya milk and water or stock, stirring all the time. Add seasonings and liquidise. Delicious…

 

Version 2 – a versatile recipe using potato to thicken, ingredient quantities are totally adjustable:

Do an onion and 5 garlic cloves in some oil, add half head of celery, 2 potatoes, cover with water, bring to boil and simmer til soft then add bowl of gathered nettles, some chives and parsley (optional – feel free to experiment with other herbs), stock cube, salt for a few minutes and blend.

Other wild food recipes on site: dandelion fritterscreamy carrot and wild garlic soup and wild garlic pesto

Another good nettle recipe, Minty Pea and Nettle Soup is to be found here on the vegan family house site.

 



banana raisin flapjacks, no refined sugar

Flapjacks with no refined sugar.flapjacks

Ingredients:
2 cups of porridge oats
1 large tablespoon of vegetable margarine
1 banana, mashed
a handful of raisins
a splash of unsweetened soya milk

Melt the marg in a pan and then stir in the oats. Mix in the banana and raisins, add the soya milk and stir well. Press the mixture into a flat cake tin or oven proof dish (10×10 inch did well) and bake for 10-15 minutes in a hot oven. Score while still warm, leave to cool and cut into squares.

If you would rather have a more traditional sugar laden flapjack, add a tablespoon of golden syrup to the mix, but really, they’re delicious without it!

Chocolate variant: add two heaped teaspoons (or more!) of cocoa in with the banana and raisins 🙂

Recipe inspired by Lucy who always adds banana to her flapjacks 🙂

See all our other recipes here.