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  • FIRST POST
    • caronc
    • By caronc 13th Jan 17, 7:32 PM
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    caronc
    Cooking for one
    • #1
    • 13th Jan 17, 7:32 PM
    Cooking for one 13th Jan 17 at 7:32 PM
    ****There is now a new thread "Cooking for one (Mark Two)" which can be found here http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5680849

    Hi, newbie poster though long time lurker trying to adjust to being an empty-nester and due to some substantial changes income-wise in the next couple of months trying to cut my costs and adjust my shopping to mainly solo dining. I abhor waste so good that way and do cook from scratch/batch cook the vast majority of the time. I do "sort of" meal plan but it can be a bit hit or miss depending on my health is on any given day. I'm reliant on on-line shopping so can't take advanage of aldi/Lidl etc. What (if any) changes did you make when changing to a single-person household?



    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!
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    Last edited by caronc; 17-07-2017 at 6:56 PM.
Page 196
    • kittie
    • By kittie 17th May 17, 8:17 PM
    • 11,299 Posts
    • 63,911 Thanks
    kittie
    I love my kitchen, its very small galley shaped but has units up to the ceiling. PN is on the right track, the best unit and the most used, is the one with two pan drawers. They are under the hob and I have a shallow drawer above them, holding all my utensils. I have masses of storage and an oven at waist height because I was sick of kneeling on the floor to get hot stuff out, a stupid design for older people especially. It was on order when my husband died and I quickly realised that I wouldn`t want to use a big oven on a day to day basis, so I had a small oven/microwave put in above the main oven. The upside with a small kitchen is that I hardly have to move my feet, so it isn`t exhausting

    I did the marie kondo with my kitchen some months ago and got rid of anything I wasn`t using, including electrical appliances. I don`t have an electric kettle, just a hob kettle as it takes up less space. I got rid of my slow cooker because I have an induction hob and good pans that use heat efficiently, so I can have a pan on number 2 all day

    I have a very good dishwashing bowl, its narrower and the drainer can sit in the bowl, so it leaves the draining board area free
    http://www.lakeland.co.uk/25409/Joseph-Joseph-Wash-%26-Drain-Plus-Grey-and-Grey

    I must admit that I am trying hard to keep the kitchen clear, especially in the evening, so its nicer when I come down in the morning
    • kittie
    • By kittie 17th May 17, 8:20 PM
    • 11,299 Posts
    • 63,911 Thanks
    kittie
    The upside is that the fuller the freezer is, the more efficient it is regarding cost and it will survive better in a power cut
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 17th May 17, 8:29 PM
    • 60,718 Posts
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    PasturesNew

    I did the marie kondo with my kitchen some months ago and got rid of anything I wasn`t using, including electrical appliances.
    Originally posted by kittie
    I've not got much money - and that won't change. Eventually I will end up alone on single state Pension (when I'll probably be better off than at most previous years in my life!). Most things I already own will be "enough to last me for life" - and some things I bought because they'd be "handy", but not all the time.

    What I've started doing is spotting kitchen items I've not used recently and trotting them upstairs... they're currently in a pile and at some point in the next year or so I'll gather them together into a box. Then I'll know "I've got one" .... that I might be able to use in the future, but not now. I accidentally bought a new Pyrex jug the other day - I mistakenly thought it was smaller than the two I usually cook in ... but once home I realised it was the same size; that's in the pile. At some future point I'll no doubt break one of my existing two and I'll already have a spare in the box

    I don`t have an electric kettle, just a hob kettle as it takes up less space. I got rid of my slow cooker because I have an induction hob and good pans that use heat efficiently, so I can have a pan on number 2 all day
    Originally posted by kittie
    My biggest waste of space are the hob and oven I have never used... but I won't take them out as I'd need to replace them in order to sell the house, so it'll save £400-500 in the long run by just ignoring them.

    I have a very good dishwashing bowl, its narrower and the drainer can sit in the bowl, so it leaves the draining board area free
    http://www.lakeland.co.uk/25409/Joseph-Joseph-Wash-%26-Drain-Plus-Grey-and-Grey
    Originally posted by kittie
    I don't actually understand what that is ... or how it's used

    I must admit that I am trying hard to keep the kitchen clear, especially in the evening, so its nicer when I come down in the morning
    Originally posted by kittie
    My kitchen is a bit of a bomb site most of the time. The bin and all the recycling are on the floor under a temporary table.
    The mini oven is on top of a bread bin on top of the temporary table.
    There's fairly clean washing up beside the sink, there's "in soak" things in the sink, there's washing up drying in the drainer - and to the right of that there's a drying mat that holds "washing up that was nearly dry when I next decided to do the washing up so I needed to put them somewhere so as to free up space on the drainer".

    Last edited by PasturesNew; 17-05-2017 at 8:32 PM.
    • Hollyharvey
    • By Hollyharvey 17th May 17, 8:54 PM
    • 1,113 Posts
    • 9,224 Thanks
    Hollyharvey
    The upside is that the fuller the freezer is, the more efficient it is regarding cost and it will survive better in a power cut
    Originally posted by kittie

    See, I knew there must be a positive in this somewhere, I just needed to find it
    • Hollyharvey
    • By Hollyharvey 17th May 17, 9:02 PM
    • 1,113 Posts
    • 9,224 Thanks
    Hollyharvey
    I try NOT to freeze anything in the main, I see it as a "last resort short term store of food" else you just run out of space and then want a 2nd freezer....

    It costs, I think, £30-40/year to run an appliance, so it would actually make sense for some things to simply be binned occasionally ... e.g. if you binned half a loaf twice a month ... on the basis it's cheaper to do that than to buy/run an additional freezer.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew

    Or in my case a third freezer


    I think that I will just have toast for breakfast for the next few days and use up some of the bread mountain.


    I agree about the running cost of an additional freezer. I think I just need to get things back under control, This has built up since January, I can't remember them being this full just after Christmas. I think a lot of it has to do with me adjusting to having more time to go to the shops and pick up y/s items and batch cook more. I do think that it will take me a good few months to eat enough to make a real dent in eating the contents of them.
    • caronc
    • By caronc 17th May 17, 9:25 PM
    • 2,626 Posts
    • 17,164 Thanks
    caronc
    I had a lovely, lovely dinner tonight and perfect CFO as no leftovers and it used bits up:-
    70 g spaghetti,
    tips from 4 asparagus,
    slice smoked salmon (approx 30g) cut in slivers
    tablespoon cream cheese
    2 spring onions
    knob of butter
    black pepper
    chopped parsley.
    I cooked the spaghetti, took a ladle of the water and added the water to a pan with the asparagus, spring onion, cream cheese and butter. Let it bubble a bit, mixed in the spaghetti, smoked salmon, parsley and pepper it was so tasty ....
    July £185/£170, August £108/£120, Sep GC £121/£120, Oct GC £141/£200, Nov £96/£120
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 17th May 17, 10:18 PM
    • 13,957 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    I'm fortunate in that when the ex and I split I had to replace the full kitchen (walls, floors, electrics and everthing) due to his botched DIY job. The "silver lining" was I could design my cupboards units round what I knew I needed. A few things don't work so well for me now I'm not so mobile/bendy but mainly it's grand. If/when I ever move I'd prefer to pay less for something that needs "doing" up despite the nightmare that is rather than try and work around someone's elses "ideal" kitchen...
    Originally posted by caronc
    I know exactly what you mean by working around someone else's kitchen.

    To me - I could look at a kitchen that was brand new/decent quality and even in my taste and still want to replace it. Obviously I'd be all the quicker to replace one that was tatty and old.

    We all use kitchens differently. Some people will take a ready meal out of the freezer and put it in the microwave and that's their definition of cooking. Others will cook from scratch to some extent - eg buy ready-made pasta and make a sauce themselves to go with it.

    My own definition of "ideal cooking" goes:
    - make the pasta myself
    - make the sauce myself
    - make the cheese to put on top of it myself
    - make garlic bread to go with it right from scratch (as in literally making the bread myself in the first place)
    - maybe have some icecream afterwards - yep = made by me

    I'm working my way gradually towards my personal version of "ideal cooking". For that - I need more storage space and worksurface space than a level 2 cook (ie bought pasta and made the sauce themselves) and way more of both storage and worksurface space than a level 1 cook (freezer to microwave).

    Add things like:
    - I don't even want a microwave or dishwasher
    - I do want a dehydrator and couple of food processors

    and so it goes on.

    Hence why I think each kitchen is so individual and needs to be designed from A-Z by the particular person that is going to be using it. That's before we start going into things like the number of so-called "kitchen designers" that will "design" dead/unusable corners into a kitchen.
    #MeToo

    Why should our needs override the needs of all other living species? What makes us so special? (Brigit Strawbridge)
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 17th May 17, 11:08 PM
    • 60,718 Posts
    • 354,899 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    ...
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    My basic requirements would be to have a long stretch of workspace, say 3 base units long minimum - and a big cupboard/pantry where everything lives on open shelves, so you can move things around no matter how big/awkward things are, or no matter how many items of that sort/similar you have. So you can see everything you've got.

    Buy a sack of spuds? In there, on the floor.
    Want to keep all your saucepans/frying pans together? Long shelf means you can and they'll take up just the right amount of space they need.
    Happen to have bought 6 large bags of pasta where you previously had one? Just move some things along a shelf to open up the extra space needed for now.

    My parents had one of those "typical 1970s style triple base units" - open up the doors and inside there was one continuous floor and one continuous shelf. No dividers. That was quite handy. Their kitchen just had two of those, one with a long worktop bit and one with the sink/double drainer on top.

    I struggle to remember what I've got as things are tucked here/there and squeezed into where they'll fit, so there's no system or coherence to what I've got.

    I've a large floor footprint in my kitchen, but it's poorly planned and only has 3 walls (for the fourth, think patio windows). So you have a galley-style kitchen, with 8' of floor space to continually trot back/forth over as you're trying to do something.

    Beans on toast? Should be simple.... I sometimes think I walk 1/4 of a mile to make that

    Into kitchen, get beans, cross the kitchen to nuker.
    Start to nuke beans, now you need toast, cross the kitchen to toaster.
    Toast in toaster. Beans pinged/need a stir, cross the kitchen to nuker.
    Toast popped, needs turning, cross the kitchen to toaster.
    Beans pinged a 2nd time, cross the kitchen to nuker.
    Toast popped, cross the kitchen, to toaster.
    Bring toast to where beans are, cross the kitchen to nuker.

    I've been 7x across the kitchen just to make beans on toast!

    And that's without extra journeys for the washing out of the bean tin, getting a bowl, knife, fork, back to the fridge for brown sauce, back to the sink to put dirty dishes in.... or even think about grating cheese for the top!

    Ideally the nuker and the toaster would be close together - but that's not workable either because I have 3 single "worktop spots" I'm trying to work from. The nuker only fits where it is - and the space beside it is where I put the mini oven, or the slow cooker, or use the space to stir/mix/sort out what I'm nuking. It'd be a tight fit to even put the toaster beside the nuker just when I was making beans on toast.
    Last edited by PasturesNew; 17-05-2017 at 11:10 PM.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 18th May 17, 8:08 AM
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    • 37,926 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    Basically - "time and motion" done on the kitchen Pastures

    That's very much how I was thinking when I planned mine. So it now runs along from take cookbooks off shelves to decide what I'm going to cook - along to recipe book holder to put book on and the salt/pepper grinders nearby - to cooker hob - to place to put dirty dishes - to sink/draining board space. On another wall is breakfast bar - where I keep kettle and toaster and the drinks stuff and mugs/glasses is in cupboard directly over that.

    Now got breakfast bar stools and I must get them out of packages. Then I'll be able to sit at breakfast bar if I want a snack there or to use the space on there to spread out cookbooks to decide what I'm going to cook.

    I've got a walk-in pantry. Yep...I do think they are a good idea and I can see at a glance what store cupboard food I have. Time/motion = I can hoick what stuff I want there down onto a wide shelf/transfer to breakfast bar from there.

    But - yep...I'd have liked a bigger and better-designed kitchen room. However, I've now done the best I can with the kitchen this house has.

    But - I can see that someone else would panic that there is no room imo for a dishwasher for instance.
    #MeToo

    Why should our needs override the needs of all other living species? What makes us so special? (Brigit Strawbridge)
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th May 17, 8:52 AM
    • 60,718 Posts
    • 354,899 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    ...
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    What's the bare floor kitchen measurements there? It sounds huge!

    If everything were ripped out of mine it'd be 12' x 8'2". But due to one wall being completely out of the equation (e.g. patio doors say) ... it's just awkward. For all the use of it it might as well be 6'x8', there's just a big empty void in the middle.
    • caronc
    • By caronc 18th May 17, 8:53 AM
    • 2,626 Posts
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    caronc
    Good morning,
    I'd love a proper walk in pantry but no space unfortunately.
    A dishwasher is a must for me and a microwave (used mainly to heat wheat packs for my dodgy neck & back!)
    Forecast is for dry weather today so I'm going to waft the weedkiller....
    Not sure about food, breakfast will be toast with banana and lunch probably a sandwich.
    July £185/£170, August £108/£120, Sep GC £121/£120, Oct GC £141/£200, Nov £96/£120
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 18th May 17, 9:09 AM
    • 13,957 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Kitchen size - just got my rule out.

    It's deemed a small kitchen I gather. I tend to regard it as medium-size but awkward.

    It's only 112 square feet and the pantry is 5' x 4'2".

    I couldnt manage without that pantry I feel - as there isnt actually much room for units per se in the kitchen itself. So base units:

    - set of 4 drawers
    - double cupboard worth (ie with "magic corner" in)
    - single cupboard worth under the sink

    Wall units:
    1 single - 3 shelves height
    2 doubles - 3 shelves height
    some shelving

    So I definitely need that pantry - as I'd struggle to get any space to store food in the kitchen itself (apart from my fridge and freezer).
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 18-05-2017 at 9:11 AM.
    #MeToo

    Why should our needs override the needs of all other living species? What makes us so special? (Brigit Strawbridge)
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th May 17, 9:09 AM
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    • 354,899 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    I'm out of a lot of food ... but I shouldn't go shopping for more 'basics' as I'll get lured by the other stuff I pass.

    I should be staying in and eating something from the freezer. Have to see how that works out.
    • Livelongandprosper
    • By Livelongandprosper 18th May 17, 10:42 AM
    • 549 Posts
    • 1,636 Thanks
    Livelongandprosper
    My kitchen brings me joy

    We were very fortunate in that we had a new kitchen put in five years ago. My first ever kitchen designed by me, for me, and it works

    Very lucky as well that DH is a builder so he done all the knocking walls out, putting in the door openings, blocking some Windows, opening up others, so I wasn't constrained by existing layout. Was a complete building site for 3 weeks, but I still love it as much as the day it was completed

    ive cupboard space for everything, the only thing that lives on the counter other then the kettle and microwave it's my magi mix so I've always got room to work. If I decide on a cooking session, away I go, no having to clear space or go hunting around the house for a bit of equipment , everything is at hand

    I happily potter away half a day in there
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th May 17, 11:51 AM
    • 60,718 Posts
    • 354,899 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    ... new kitchen put in five years ago... DH is a builder ...
    Originally posted by Livelongandprosper
    With more money and a builder "on tap" I'd change the kitchen I've got. But, as it is, I'll leave it.

    I'd like a breakfast bar - but in this house that's impractical as it'd be at the base of the stairs to the bedrooms - so potentially not a great idea

    My small extension COULD have been an open plan kitchen/diner with a breakfast bar between, then combine the existing kitchen with the hallway to be a lounge.

    But all of that work, including taking down a wall, would be too expensive for something I "don't really want" and certainly don't need. Unless it were "done for free" with an on tap builder it'd never give back the amount I spent on it probably either.

    I had a breakfast bar in the place I rented before here - it was very wide and a great spot to dump down shopping to sort it all out, or to spread out paperwork to sort out - and if I owned a breakfast bar I'd probably also use it for all sorts of reasons.

    But you have to balance out money you have, the cost, the hassle and what you're really gaining from it.

    For me, for this house, right now, doing major work to reconfigure something just isn't worthwhile on a number of levels.

    Everything has a cost, so it's "want" -v- "desire/go mad".

    My parents kept their plates, glasses, cutlery in a sideboard in the living room, where the table was. Maybe others do that. All mine's in the kitchen and I've no table (yet).... table and some built in window seats are "on the plan" to do next year.... as part of the "jiggle stuff around in the kitchen" project. Those seats will be storage-unit based... giving room to store god knows what... as by then I should have pan drawers.

    It's deemed a small kitchen ..... It's only 112 square feet and the pantry is 5' x 4'2".
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Mine's 96 square feet. Is your pantry "and" or in that measurement?

    - double cupboard worth (ie with "magic corner" in)
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    If I planned one, it'd have something like this:
    https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/howdens-howden-prod/web_content/content/image/2808-5147-1.jpg

    Plain and simple, open two doors and be able to see everything in there. No daft carousel cluttering up the space, that nothing fits onto and things drop from... just simple doors, shelves, accessible, visible.

    But I notice the door on that looks a bit funny.... looks like it has a fiddly edge on it, I'd not want a fiddly edge
    Last edited by PasturesNew; 18-05-2017 at 12:05 PM.
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 18th May 17, 12:04 PM
    • 12,217 Posts
    • 215,961 Thanks
    greenbee
    PN - Ikea (and probably other places) do a moveable kitchen island which you could put in the centre of your kitchen and would give you more work surface and more storage without the cost of redoing the kitchen. It has the added advantage that you can move it around to where you need it or if you need it out of the way.

    I have no units in my kitchen, and all my stuff is stored in crates. It's been like that for nearly 4 years now. Hopefully I'll the builder back to sort out the rest of downstairs sometime soon...
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th May 17, 12:08 PM
    • 60,718 Posts
    • 354,899 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    PN - Ikea (and probably other places) do a moveable kitchen island which you could put in the centre of your kitchen and would give you more work surface and more storage without the cost of redoing the kitchen. It has the added advantage that you can move it around to where you need it or if you need it out of the way.

    I have no units in my kitchen, and all my stuff is stored in crates. It's been like that for nearly 4 years now. Hopefully I'll the builder back to sort out the rest of downstairs sometime soon...
    Originally posted by greenbee
    I've got it in my list to investigate movable islands as I thought the new utility extension might be somewhere to pop one of those to provide storage/table top.... but I'd not gone looking for them (yet).

    The one you linked to doesn't look large/functional enough to be use nor ornament for me though

    I was thinking more of something "full breakfast bar sized" containing pan drawers... but on wheels.
    • Livelongandprosper
    • By Livelongandprosper 18th May 17, 12:08 PM
    • 549 Posts
    • 1,636 Thanks
    Livelongandprosper
    With more money and a builder "on tap" I'd change the kitchen I've got. But, as it is, I'll leave it.

    I'd like a breakfast bar - but in this house that's impractical as it'd be at the base of the stairs to the bedrooms - so potentially not a great idea

    My small exentension COULD have been an open plan kitchen/diner with a breakfast bar between, then combine the existing kitchen with the hallway to be a lounge.

    But all of that work, including taking down a wall, would be too expensive for something I "don't really want" and certainly don't need. Unless it were "done for free" with an on tap builder it'd never give back the amount I spent on it probably either.

    I had a breakfast bar in the place I rented before here - it was very wide and a great spot to dump down shopping to sort it all out, or to spread out paperwork to sort out - and if I owned a breakfast bar I'd probably also use it for all sorts of reasons.

    But you have to balance out money you have, the cost, the hassle and what you're really gaining from it.

    For me, for this house, right now, doing major work to reconfigure something just isn't worthwhile on a number of levels.

    Everything has a cost, so it's "want" -v- "desire/go mad".

    My parents kept their plates, glasses, cutlery in a sideboard in the living room, where the table was. Maybe others do that. All mine's in the kitchen and I've no table (yet).... table and some built in window seats are "on the plan" to do next year.... as part of the "jiggle stuff around in the kitchen" project. Those seats will be storage-unit based... giving room to store god knows what... as by then I should have pan drawers.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew

    Believe me, I know I'm lucky and buying flat pack and building ourselves really made it affordable. But I appreciate affordable to us is completely different to another.

    I too have a sideboard with the dinner service, every day stuff is under the hob so easy to serve up onto

    The storage seating sound like a great job, you really can't have enough storage. I have a tall very narrow cupboard that filled a gap and whilst it looks like it's not really useful, it's full of stuff like half tins of paint that would ruin if in the garage,vegetable seeds, the cat food and old towels and cloths which I mop the wet foot prints up with

    It's funny that I'm not a tidy person, but I can't stand clutter, it has to be put away and hidden from sight. My rooms may look tidy, just don't open the wardrobes or cupboards
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th May 17, 12:15 PM
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    • 354,899 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    I've got a pack of sweet mini peppers... mixed colours, four 2" long and one big-toe-sized. I keep staring at them. Yes I have a ton of ideas of how I could use them, but most are an unsatisfying end result.

    I'll probably end up just knocking up a rice/chilli mix and stuffing them then baking them .... get it over and done with.



    On the other hand, they're not floppy yet.... so can wait a few days.

    Might have a fish finger wrap ... wraps need using up, they've got a date of January on them I think ... or February. Long time ago anyway
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 18th May 17, 12:21 PM
    • 60,718 Posts
    • 354,899 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    I have a tall very narrow cupboard that filled a gap and whilst it looks like it's not really useful, it's full of stuff like half tins of paint that would ruin if in the garage,vegetable seeds, the cat food and old towels and cloths which I mop the wet foot prints up with
    Originally posted by Livelongandprosper
    My little extension will free up the downstairs loo/hall space (so living room is 1.5x the length) - and the loo with a shower will go into the extension - and the rest will be a utility area with a big sink and washing machine. The rest will be space for stuff... so some form of cupboarding.

    Stuff that's randomly around and needs its own space includes: Wellies, shoes I've worn recently so might use again soon, two airers, some rubber tubs I use for handwashing and window washing, dusters, bleach, cleaning stuff, spare stocks of loo roll etc, small handtools, my planned crafts/hobby collections, pegs, bike panniers, the folding garden chair and lounger, old rags and old sponges and old toothbrushes for cleaning, all the recycling sorting out.

    The new "spare space that will include a washing machine/sink" will be about 10'x8' ... but I can't visualise, so in my mind's eye it's about 30'x20'
    So I'll have to go easy as there won't really be "that much" space to play with in the end.
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