What is Operation Jam Jar?

Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, July 11, 2010

3 ways to save money without anyone else knowing

OK so my secret saving is out in the open now that I am writing this here but I figure it’s worth sharing. It’s funny how sometimes you can get into a habit of only catching up with friends over drinks at the pub, at a café for coffee, or dinner at a restaurant. Here are some ideas to try:

1) Invite people over for afternoon tea

Aaaah good old afternoon tea. Those old people had it right all along, it’s lovely. It also means you can enjoy a yummy cake and know that you won’t end up eating it all yourself (I think we’ve all been there). You can get as fancy as you like, but most of my friends are happy with a nice coffee & a big slice of cake. You will normally get a big thumbs up for home made cake, but if you don't have time you could always grab something from the bakery

2) The joys of home made fast food

I was always a big fan of grabbing some fast food, especially on a Friday night when you are ready to sit on the couch. But there’s actually a few good options for making your own that taste pretty good. My favourite is home made pizza (yes even the base!). It’s easy and tastes unreal. Jamie Oliver has a good recipe that works every time.


The main thing my pal Jamie always says is not to overload it with too much topping. You can keep it simple with just tomato paste for the base, then ham, pineapple and cheese on top.

3) Dinner parties

A fun way to do this is taking turns cooking themed dinners for close friends. So for instance you could do Mexican, Thai, Italian, etc. For the Mexican night you could make some spicy guacamole & corn chips, burritos, and then make some sangria to serve when everyone arrives.

I have a sort of made up sangria recipe that always goes down a treat and is super cheap to make (lemonade makes cheap red taste awesome!). The good thing with sangria is that anything goes, so throw in whatever fruit you have - peaches or strawberries would be nice too if they are in season

* 1.5L red wine (I usually use cask wine, or 2 cheap bottles of any variety)

* 500ml lemonade or soda water

* 1 apple and 1 orange in small pieces (leave the skin on)

* A handful of mint finely chopped

Just stick it all in a jug and serve chilled with ice.

When you entertain at home you probably have just as much fun as going out, but other benefits include:

a) it costs less

b) you can stay in your trackies if you feel like it

c) you can make as much noise and hang around for as long as you like

d) you can reduce calories as you know what ingredients are going into it (I think we all know that the main reason restaurant food tastes so damn good is because of BUTTER) and

e) you can drink more and not have to worry about bouncers kicking you out for having too much fun

Does anyone have more tips for entertaining at home?

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