Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Saving Energy when Cooking

During the past three years where OH has been out of work and what little money has been coming in has been at a premium and due to the fact that the gas and electricity metres were not read we ended up in severe debt £1,000 on the gas and £750 on the electric. I was not amused especially as we had been paying in £100 per month direct debit up until then on both the gas and the electric.  Not having the funds to deal with it we went on to the card metre which costs more but it taught us to budget on our electric and our gas and I was budgeting £15 per week on the electric and £25 a week on the gas (during the winter months) and even during the summer months we were still putting in the same as it gave us a little credit to play with on weeks where there just wasn't much to hand.  Needless to say I am very pleased that the outstanding bills have now been paid off in full.    I found then that the gas cooker unless you are going to fill it wasn't worth putting on just for one thing and I being a gadget person turned to using the other equipment we had to hand like a grill, slow cooker, chip pan, electric steamers (I have one oval one for fish and a round one for puddings).  The electrical equipment was cheaper to run and I also have a small electric oven as well.  The gas was primarily for the heating as because of my medical conditions I feel the cold extremely badly.  There are ways of doing things if you are prepared to think a little laterally.  However this did not stop me using the oven.  I just decided that  when I was going to use it it was going to pay for itself and so before putting the cooker on I would have several things ready to cook in a chain fashion and end up with some cake in the tins as well as a good satisfying warming meal.  However it is extremly surprising what you can and cannot do in a slow cooker.  It is cheaper to run the slow cooker say for making a stew or making stock and there are loads more things you can make  like lemon curd and rice pudding without having to use the main cooker.  If you haven't got a slow cooker get one and get a book to go with it and research on line to see what you can and cannot do.   You can make yogurt too. Its lovely to come in on a winters night to a nice hot stew.

For using the Gas Oven on a standard basis
I only have a half sized oven  and that does not stop me cooking.  In fact I have gone a slightly different way round things.  I bought some Tefal long tray bake tins and I don't just use these for baking cakes I use them for doing roast potatoes, roast parsnip sweet potato, onions etc, yorkshire puddings etc.  Two of these trays will fit on one shelf snugly but they fit which allows for my roast joint to go in a bigger tray with yet more veggies down below (I only have two shelves).  I cook extra when I do a Sunday lunch so we just have to microwave tea the following night.

I also use triple tier steamers on just one ring  I do have these in various sizes just in case the family come for a meal.  I also use the saucepan lids and quite frequently start a pan off say for boiled eggs bring to the boil and then switch off within a few minutes the eggs are boiled.  I do however more often than not tend to use the electric steamers or in the alternative my pressure cooker.  It all helps keep the bills down.

So before you switch the cooker on make what you want and make sure that stuff to be cooked at a similar temperature goes in together.  I also alternate the trays of food on the shelves so that the contents get evenly cooked and I also turn the tins around.  The only time I tend not to open the oven door again is if I make Yorkshire puddings or bread.

And if you can get a small electric cooker to use during the week.  I am lucky mine is small but has a rotisserie inside as well as a kebab wheel.

There are loads more tips out there but these are the ones that I tend to use more than anything.  Depends on what I am cooking as to what equipment I use.

Happy cheap cooking




  1. How awful Tricia, I can imagine how you must have felt suddenly finding you were in debt for gas and electricity.
    It's most sensible to use the oven better and you've given very good advice I'm sure we could all take to heart.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Rose H

  2. You are welcome Rose - having to think about what you actually need really does colour what choices you make at the end of the day and when you are used to putting the cooker on just as and when and then having to decide when you are going to use it really puts things into perspective.

    Hope you are keeping well

    Take care




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