By Foodwitch, 30th November 2008

DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND, with thanks to YOU! Foodwitch has gone weekly! You can now get more free recipes and a new healthy meal plan every single week at the new location of

Try new gorgeous healthy vegetarian recipes that don't cost the earth including Italian Bean & Pesto Tagliatelli, Hearty Farmhouse Minestrone and Brocolli & Leek Chow Mein. PLUS a new weekly meal plan and shopping list NOW!

Credit Munchers: Get your weekly food shop for under £20

By Foodwitch, 23rd November 2008

We've all reined in our spending since that news and some of us, have even felt the effects of the credit crunch first hand.

But do not fear, we didn't want that consumer-culture lifestyle anyway! What we do need is a way to transform low-cost and seemingly uninspiring food in to gorgeous, healthy meals that can be whipped up quick as a flash.

Let's face it, eating is an enjoyable necessity, so if we can spend less on it, whilst improving the experience, now of all times, is the time to give it a whirl?

As the Majesty of Money-Saving himself, Martin Lewis recommends the first step to saving a fortune on the one essential you can't live without, is to plan your meals. Then he advises making a shopping list and sticking to it. That way you won't be tempted by any loss-leader offers in that mecca of consumerism, the supermarket. How often have you bought something on special offer, only for it to end up languishing in the fridge, just to be thrown away? What a waste, just buy what you need. Simple.

If you've ever tried to put one of these meal plans and lists together, however, you'll know it can be a bit daunting and very time consuming. So, as a woman whose practised in the art of meal magic and with a bit of extra time on her hands at the moment, I've put together a weekly meal plan and shopping list from my own recipes, just for you. Of course, in true credit-crunch-busting spirit, it's totally and utterly free. So don't be shy in sharing!

Now, for all you carnivores out there, don't be scared off by the lack of meat on the menu. Just give a thought to what goes in to producing it. That's why meat's more expensive. I'm not asking for you to become a vegetarian or even a meat reducer, just to give a menu like this a go for a week and just see if you notice anything different. As always I'd love to hear your feedback, comments and suggestions.



Fastest Way to Crush Garlic

By Helen Trendell (AKA Foodwitch), 16th October 2008

The fastest and possibly the easiest way to crush garlic is... NOT what you're thinking!

Now first things first; the fastest way to peel garlic is to take a knife and a chopping board and chop the flat end of the garlic almost off (now this is important), so it's "flapping". Use this flap to pull the skin back on itself and gently round the garlic clove to unwind the skin to the very tip. Et voila - one peeled garlic clove! If you find it breaks, use the business end of the knife to knick the skin and start it off again.

The easiest way to crush the garlic clove without using a garlic press, is simply to take a knife and fork; place the garlic clove on the chopping board and hold it steady by piercing the edge of it with a fork. Then holding the knife upside down, gently use the heel of the knife to crush the garlic against the chopping board and fork. I find that after my anger has accumulated during a particularly stressful day at work there is immense satisfaction in bashing the garlic, however this can result in propelling pieces of garlic at my unsuspecting cat and so is probably best done more serenely.

Now the reason why I think (and I'd love to hear your opinions on this), that this method is not only the fastest but probably the best method of crushing garlic is because, unlike the Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey method, at no point do you actually touch the garlic with your hands. Yes people, my method eliminates the "stinky garlic hand effect" and as a special bonus, there's no fiddly garlic press to contend with, reducing time spent washing up as well!

How to save £70,000 and reduce food waste

By Helen Trendell (AKA Foodwitch), 12th September 2008

As a nation, the UK sends a whopping 6.7 million tonnes of food to be buried in landfill every year. This equates to every one of us discarding around a third of all the food we buy.

About half of the food we bin comprises of vegetable peelings and teabags. This has the potential to make compost, returning essential nutrients to the soils so they can be absorbed back in to the food cycle. All ready for our bodies to extract what they need to stay healthy.

Yet the UK government is only just beginning to trial food waste collection schemes, meaning that huge volumes of vital nutrients will continue to be permanently removed from UK soils, unless individuals start changing their habits.

More shocking, is the fact that half the food we throw away every week is edible food! Buying more than we need; busy lifestyles and changes to plans are all reasons behind why so much food is wasted.

The good news is that we can all save money and help the environment simply by making a few small changes. Imagine saving up to a third off your food bill every week. Go on, do the sum (what you spend divided by 3 x 52 weeks). If you spend £100 a week on food, and spent a third less by better planning, you'd save £1733 every year. That's enough for a mortgage deposit in 5-10 years, simply by wasting less food! To put it another way, you could save a whopping £70,000 across a food shopping lifetime of 40 years, just by planning your meals each week! Maybe you're not as worse off as you thought?

With food prices continuing to soar, spending a bit of time planning meals and finding tips on creating dishes from leftovers is a great place to start. Thankfully, WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has devised a great little online resource to help us all do just that. It's even got a facility where you can search for recipes for foods gone past their prime:

Plus, don't forget about Foodwitch recipes. By making fast healthy recipes using fresh ingredients you cut down on excess packaging straight away.

Do something different today
Here's 3 ways you can take action:

  1. Start collecting food waste separately
  2. Create your own compost heap (great if you want to start growing your own food) or find your local allotment growers (everyone's a winner!)
  3. Ask your local MP to lobby for food waste collection services by using this handy website:

Research figures courtesy of (2007 research)