Over the last few years I’ve been helping out at our local foodbank and one thing I’ve noticed over that time is so many people (especially younger folks), just don’t know how to make a meal from scratch.

An enduring memory whilst serving at foodbank, is asking a young mother if she’d like a bag of flour that had been donated and she looked at me in puzzlement as she asked me what she should do with it. I was a tad flabbergasted to say the least. (It’s one of the first things I would have picked up).

Obviously not everyone is as hopeless as that when it comes to cooking, In fact a lot of my younger friends can put me to shame with their hints and tips on how to make a little bit stretch a long way. I do find it truly worrisome though that many people especially with young children, struggle to put a nutritious home cooked meal on the table yet have no compunction in going to their local fast food outlet to buy their children a ‘happy meal’

Many of us live in hard times at the moment with not a lot of money to go round. Often, there’s just too much month left at the end of their money. I know it can be difficult, We’ve been there ourselves.

Yet I often wonder if some people were to manage their money better and make wiser choices with what they do have to spend, the levels of debt and hardship they endure would decrease, even if only slightly. I know a number of people who manage very well on a very limited income because of the wise choices they make when it comes to managing their money.

A lot of the food we eat is processed. I hasten to add I don’t have a problem with processed food, because it certainly has it’s place. I have plenty of tins in my store cupboards, but I use them to supplement other meals as added ingredients etc. I’m talking baked beans, tinned tomatoes etc.

What I have a problem with is when it becomes a person’s staple diet. Sometimes in an emergency it can’t be helped, (Such as emergency foodbank food). But long term eating just processed food isn’t conducive to good health. There have been a variety of study’s recently showing a diet based on mostly processed food can lead to long term health problems.

The same goes for takeaway food which is usually saturated in unhealthy fats and suspicious additives. We’ve had our share of takeaways over the years, but I had an epiphany several months ago realising exactly how many we’d had over a monthly period and how bad they are for us. So I made the decision to cut them down if not out completely.

Now we have fakeaway’s. We make our own pizza’s, once or twice a month rather than buying from the local pizza place. I make pizza dough from scratch, roll it out into pizza trays and let the kids build them up themselves. It’s not only a lot healthier than buying them as a takeaway, they also get actively involved in making and cooking them. They love pizza night even more now.

I also make up recipes for Chinese and Indian style food. which also go down a treat. We still have the odd takeaway, but it’s probably only every other month or so. Hubby and the kids much prefers my versions which are a lot more healthy.

It makes me cringe when on the very odd occasions I go to McDonald’s I see small children diving into their happy meals. I see nothing happy about them. As a treat once a month it’s tolerable, but after working with some parent’s who attend our foodbanks I’ve come to realise these 99 pence meals are often the main meal of the day for some children because their parent’s have no idea how to cook. Those 99 pence’s add up and could be used to buy the ingredients for a healthy meal for the whole family.

So it’s my mission to share some of the recipes I’ve not only been using for years, but also investigate new ones. I want to prove how easy it can be. And guess what, if you make the odd mistake, it doesn’t matter.

Hope you enjoy cooking from scratch, I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions for any favorite recipes you may also have.