Foodcheats is mostly a “Cooking for One” blog – but there’s information for others who are looking for quick cheats and ways to do things more efficiently or with fewer ingredients and fewer collections of gadgets and equipment.

I have a “tiny kitchen” – limiting prep space and storage space.  Although the room itself has a good sized floorplan, of about 8’x12′, there is a bay window along one wall and so the effect is it’s a galley kitchen, with a huge expanse of nothing in the middle 🙂

I possess an oven and a hob, which I don’t use, because, quite frankly, they petrify me due to some quirks in my personality and irrational fears.  I mostly cook with the microwave, I have a small toaster oven for pastry items and pizzas and small bakes and I have a slow cooker that is pulled out and used at least once a month.

I do not want to build a cult following, I won’t be writing any cookbooks, nor inviting you to “subscribe” to my feed and latest newsletter – because I don’t wish to follow that path of commercialism.  I cook for one person, I live alone, I have limited cooking facilities in a tiny kitchen and a miniscule budget for food.  What you find here will be quick and easy solutions to problems you’ve got!

We are all different, with different tastes and food likes/dislikes, my taste buds liked it so much in the 1970s/1980s they stayed there!  I will very very rarely venture into any modern or “fad foods” as I call them, leaving the likes of avocado and quinoa to others 🙂

I cook the foods I like, the food my grandmother cooked and the food my mother cooked.  Potatoes, root vegetables and puddings.  If you like my food, my way of cooking, the food cheats I use, then that’s great, I’m glad to have solved your “what to eat today” problem 🙂

I make quick and tasty food to make, that’s not going to take too long, or be too complex.  A lot of the time this food could be used to produce “£1 per day for one person” menus, but as I’m not doing any challenge I don’t try to restrict myself to set weekly patterns like that… we’re also all different, so to produce a weekly meal plan for one wouldn’t be much help to many others.  We’re all driven by what we like, what we have access to … and a dozen other foibles and constraints.

As a single person, cooking for one isn’t really about the recipes – it’s what on earth to do with the rest of the packet!  So often ingredients have to be shunned as you’ll not use the rest and nobody likes to throw away good food.  Single people also tend to cook in tiny kitchens after a full day’s work.   You might be surprised to discover that many cooking blogs are actually sponsored by big brands – what they produce is driven by what they are paid to cook! This cooking for one blog is real, it’s what I eat, and was started by me in an attempt to make a bit more effort. I often forget great meals I’ve eaten in the past, so this blog helps me to remember.

Everything I cook is regular food, with standard ingredients, that can be mostly bought at the UK budget supermarkets and mainstream supermarkets – my two closest food shops are Lidl and Aldi. My nearest supermarket is a VERY disappointing Sainsburys – and to get to other supermarkets involves a 15-20 mile round trip, so happens rarely.

I don’t want to slave over a hot stove for hours, just for me. But I DO want great food!  I also want frugal food too as cooking for one and general single person living costs are not cheap and you have to economise somewhere. I have a retro and simple palate, I was a lover of school dinners in the 1960s and 1970s and if you like something, then stick with it 🙂

I’ve been mostly cooking with a microwave on a daily basis for over 35 years, so have really benefitted from the marvellous fast food it can bring!

Zero Waste!

I also don’t want to be filling the cupboards with expensive, hard to get, unusual ingredients that simply take up cupboard space and never get used.  I have a ZERO WASTE policy.  If I buy something, I HAVE to eat it, and eat it all.  This does limit the variety of foods which can be available – so I do continually think about which one, single, obtainable extra I can add in to expand the variety – but it has to be used!

I also want some quick and easy ways to feed friends or family if I suddenly find I’m having to do the entertaining!  Although, to date, this has never happened 🙂

This type of cooking isn’t for everyone, if you’re a “keen foodie”, looking for expensive ingredients, long ingredient lists and complex cooking skills recipes for your next up-market dinner party, then I’m afraid you won’t find much to whet your appetite; if you’re somebody who suddenly finds yourself without your kitchen (maybe it’s being refitted), or you’re looking for holiday food and easy meals to prepare, then it might just open your eyes to how a few simple ingredients and a few minutes can get hot food onto a plate fast!

Why Would You Do That?

There are many reasons people might find themselves needing, or wanting, to make food ‘from scratch’, but without the mess and faffing around.  Maybe you’re having your kitchen refitted, or maybe you’re living in a shared house and don’t have much space that’s yours.  Perhaps you’ve no interest in cooking whatsoever, but still want to eat simple food you’ve made yourself.  This cooking for one person blog might open your eyes to a new way of thinking and inspire you to find your own cheats and solutions!

A lot of the ‘inspiration’ of my food is ways to make my own fast DIY “ready meals for one” at home, cheaper than buying them in the supermarkets.  These recipes are much better than the cheap/basics ready meals for one and I am more in control of what choices I have.

I often don’t use the oven or hob at all – it’s such a waste (of time and money) to wait and heat up a whole oven for one small dish.  I also have a strange fear of ovens, so there have been limited times in my life when I’ve felt able to use the oven due to oven anxiety.  I am currently able to use a mini oven, as I really DO miss that “just baked” texture of pies, quiches and pasties, but if I don’t keep using it I’ll get scared of it again 🙂

A high proportion of this cooking can be achieved simply using a toaster, a microwave and a slow cooker!  Slow cookers are great for minimising time standing over the hob waiting for something to cook as you can just leave it.  You don’t HAVE to do it in the morning and be greeted with a meal when you come home at tea-time – I tend to do most of my slow cooking when I am at home still…. it’s just more convenient to cook food when I feel like putting something in it and having a hot meal later in the day when I fancy eating.

How I cook, as laid out in these pages, can also be great for students or self-catering holidaymakers to view ways of cutting costs and time with limited space or equipment.  Or, if you’ve just come home from hospital and need to feed yourself, or are feeling generally poorly and don’t have the energy.

My Motivation and My Inspiration:

I thought if I wrote down what I write, then I’d be less likely to forget great meals I enjoyed – and, having to find new things to write about it’d “force” me to eat differently too – to make a tiny bit more effort some days.  One thing I will be thinking about is cooking foods I grew up with but haven’t bothered to cook for donkeys’ years!

How is Foodcheats Made?

Well, I’ve cheated – and you can cheat too. You can build your own website just like this one easily enough – sharing your recipes with the world, or your families.

If you run a cafe or a restaurant, or even a sandwich shop, then sharing recipes with people is a great way to raise awareness of your business – and it’s quite easy to do.  Or maybe you simply wish to create a record of what you’ve cooked, so you can share your recipes among people you know!

Local foods, regional foods, vegetarian recipes, gluten-free …. whatever your interest, you can devote your own website entirely to that food niche.

Here’s how to do it:

  • First, you’ll need a domain name and hosting. You’ll want control over how your space looks and feels – so get your domain name now. I’ve used Blue Host because it’s affordable and a highly regarded hosting company. Once you’ve registered your domain name and got your hosting, it’s your space.
  • Next, install WordPress, this is easily done with Blue Host because you simply log in and it’s one of their free scripts you can install with just a few clicks. Now you have your own website and space to create your own identity.

Obviously you’ll have a learning curve, but you should be able to do all of the above and have several recipes published and be well on your way within just a couple of days…. after that you’re simply adding more content and more recipes, tips and information over time!

What could possibly go wrong?  You probably already photograph your food – why not blog it too, “just for you” is reason enough!