Food costs are on the up – along with dozens of other expenses and bills.
So at a time like Christmas, when every penny is already being stretched, purse strings are going to be extra tight.
With that in mind, a Michelin-star trained chef revealed his secret to getting a luxury Christmas lunch on a tight budget.
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Chef Mickael, a Michelin-star-trained private chef at HOMETAINMENT, gave 15 pieces of advice to make the most of this festive season.
Use turkey thigh instead of a whole turkey
While turkey is a Christmas tradition, getting a whole turkey isn’t a practical option if you’re trying not to break the bank.
The chef says: “We tend to cook more than we actually need, so to avoid waste (unless you’ll be using the leftovers for other meals) try going for turkey thighs instead.
“You can still have stuffing and season the thighs with your usual herbs and garnishing, but it’ll be much cheaper.”
The chef also wants not to buy bad quality/cheap meat as this can make or break the Christmas dinner.
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Bulk up on the vegetables, and buy them loose
It isn’t the perfect meal without all the trimmings, so bulk up your plate with veggies – they’re cheap but when paired with the right seasoning they can make a dish.
The chef added: “Don’t buy ready-prepared Christmas vegetables in a tray or packet, instead buy them loose as this is much cheaper, and you get more for your money.
“Ready-prepared vegetables are usually around £2.30 from a supermarket, and usually you have to buy two for four people, costing £4.60.
"However, you can pick up better alternatives from your local grocer, such as 5 loose potatoes for £1 (0.21p each), 4 carrots for 28p (0.07p each), 4 parsnips for roughly 80p (0.19p each). And that’s double the quantity you’d get in prepackaged bags.”
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Buy a cheaper wine… and blend it!
You don’t need to buy expensive wine – especially at Christmas.
The chef continued: “It might sound crazy, but blending the wine (also known as hyper-decanting) allows it to breathe, creating a mellower and fruitier tasting wine”.
Some further tips…
- Never buy out-of-season veg as it’s a huge waste of money as the veg will go off quickly and just taste awful. Go for seasonal, and locally grown to ensure the best flavour.
- Shop in advance and freeze to avoid the price hikes as it can help bag cheaper essentials. Naturally, as demand for items increases, so does the price, so shopping 1-2 months in advance is always advisable! You can easily defrost these in the fridge, 24 hours prior to cooking and brine the meat with water, lemon and sage.
- You can buy cheap wine which can be used for both drinking and gravy! Have a look around speciality wine shops as they have a great selection, and always have offers on. Never scrimp on meat, just buy less!
- Ditch the Christmas pud for something cheaper and different, like lemon posset and apple pie.
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