Eat home cooked food & make new friends
by Afro (follow her on Twitter: @foustoon)
Chances are you live in London and you love it. You most probably follow the motto: work hard, party hard. Waking up at 7am, going back home at 7pm, quick drink with friends and going to bed feeling you are not getting enough hours of sleep. Does this sound awfully familiar? Among everything else, you are tired of meal deals, sushi and spending a fortune eating in restaurants.
Here are 5 tips for getting a good quality meal without breaking the bank:
1# Share your meal with Cookisto & Casserole Club
The new way of living is called sharing because after all it is carrying , in this case for your pocket. You’ve learnt to share your couch (couchsurfing) and your car (car sharing). Now you can share that fish pie that is always too much for you!
Cookisto is a greek born idea that recently made its appearance in London after a huge success in Athens. It works in either of two ways. You either sign up, browse what people are cooking near you and pick up your meal; or if you have the time to cook but don’t fancy cooking just for yourself (really, you wouldn’t just make a stew and not share the joy, would you?), you could share your spare portion with a hungry foodie and make some extra money on the way.
Do you want to share food but also increase your karma points? Then visit Casserole Club. This is a food-sharing volunteering project live now in certain London neighbourhoods (Tower Hamlets is among them). You cook a meal as you would do and then deliver your extra plate to a neighbour who could benefit from one. People who have taken part in this initiative confirm it is an excellent way to meet people you would not normally meet and make some new friends.Win-win!
2# Dine with others with Eatwith and grubclub.com
Grubclub is a platform that connects hosts and diners. If you love cooking and you think you have an original idea, you can host your own dinner and make a bit of money. Alternatively, you can browse Grub clubs and spend a Saturday evening enjoying a nice home-cooked meal, exploring different cuisines and meeting new people.
Eatwith is an international version of this concept which you can bookmark and use anywhere you are in the world (London as well!)
3# Bring out your smartphone for BigOven!
BigOven is a mobile app I discovered through Asos magazine (totally random this one! I think it was their app of the month a couple of issues ago) and it has saved my life. You enter the leftovers in your fridge and discover new recipes that use those ingredients. I love it as it has helped me reduce food waste and spend less money in the supermarket!
4# Tesco meal Planner to the Rescue
Tesco Meal Planner does exactly as its name suggests. Helps you plan your meals! This is a website I use every weekend (at least I would do if I was the organised person I wish I was!) ahead of my weekly visit to the supermarket. You answer some easy questions like how many meals you eat during the day and how long you like spending cooking and you can opt to use seasonal ingredients. It even lets you exclude things you don’t like (artichoke is a good example in my case!) and you can tick the box to get your 5 a day. Very well-thought!
You can swap recipes you don’t like and you can get the grocery list for your favourite ones (with Tesco prices next to each ingredient).
If you cannot avoid going out for lunch then how about trying Books for Cooks in Notting Hill? Books for Cooks sell cookbooks and also test those recipes in their kitchen daily. Every day a different menu appears on the counter and we found the prices quite sensible especially for West London.
Finally, don’t forget to check out what your local community café is serving as most of the times they are bound to use organic fair-trade ingredients. Read all about London’s best community cafes!
Good luck with that New Year resolution (anyone remembers those? I always forget mine half way through January) of eating more healthily!
You may also want to check how to become a Mystery Diner in London.