Frugal Foods

Reporter: Jackie Quist

A pinch of planning, a dash of common sense - 69-year-old Nola McLeod says cooking from scratch is the only way -- always has been.

Nola has passed her frugal ways on to daughter Margaret, who feeds her own family of five for just $150 a week. "A lamb roast and whatever is left over, I'll make a shepherds pie and that stretches that for 2 nights", Margaret said.

"I really believe with the financial crisis, one of the easiest ways to cut back on any family budget is to actually do more cooking at home. If you have the basic skills of cooking, you can turn just about anything into a fabulous meal", said home economist Veronica Cuskelly.

Veronica and Gail Clarkson have turned the clock back nearly a century, revamping a classic -- "The Commonsense Cookery Book". "Its almost like the Australian bible because it has all of the basic cooking styles in it, all the basic skills that take you onto being able to cook anything really", she added.

It's a perception that's allowed chef Delia Smith to also take advantage of difficult economic times, relaunching her 70's cookbook "Delia's Frugal Food"

"I think we are seeing a return to some of the foods that our grandparents cooked because of their reliability", Gail said.

The latest Neilsen Grocery Report found in the past year we've shunned packaged convenience foods in favour of fresh produce -- dairy products achieving the highest growth of any sector, with householders buying up staples like cream, flour, butter and baking aids, generic branded products flourishing with shoppers flocking to Aldi.

Chef Adrian Richardson claims frugal doesn't have to mean boring. "You can take a simple recipe -- and that what chefs do a lot of -- we add a little bit of spice here, some different ingredients and we can make with a bit of presentation, a simple recipe into a masterpiece", Adrian said.

"I've had four grandparents that have lived beyond their 90's, they've all been very, very healthy eaters and I think that's the secret", he added.

"The Commonsense Cookery Book" and "Delia's Frugal Food" cookbooks are available at all good bookstores.