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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

im new to the forum and have enjoyed learning bits so far ! I’m a landlord of a pub in Herefordshire UK.
im not qualified in any sort of chef way but love cooking making food and have been cooking successfully for a few years. Watching videos online and learning everywhere I can.

as the cost of living crisis continues in the uk I want to do cheaper food options to keep our place affordable.
any recommendations for cheap but nice food for the winter ? Nothing too fancy as they just don’t go for it round here but I want to help keep the dinners out a thing for people to be able to afford and enjoy. Smaller plates are a thing I’ll be going for as an alternative to our larger meals at current.
 

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Reimagine the obvious. The ingredients you have on hand don't have to be used for what you are doing with them now. There are endless ways to serve potatoes. Be seasonal and use winter vegetables, especially any local ones like turnips, squash, etc. Stews, casseroles and other hearty comfort foods are popular in cold weather and can be simple or fancy but made from inexpensive ingredients. Salads don't require lettuce all the time. Soups, chowders can be made from just about anything.
Someone once said that as a chef, you serve the familiar in unexpected ways and the unfamiliar in familiar ways.
Stay away from anything requiring long shipping. I don't know what the laws are in the UK but can you serve local fish and game supplied by the local sportsmen? What local items are available that you aren't using now?
Use ingredients you already have on hand to make things new and different, like adding liquor and beer to various dishes.
In Jacques Pepin's autobiography he relates how his mother in her restaurant during the war, would serve turnips for lunch and dinner, as soup at lunch then roasted for dinner because that's what they had available. She did the same with whatever else was around but in clever ways to keep the menu interesting.
You don't need to be a chef to come up with new ideas.
 

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As always, increase the vegetables and starches, decrease the meat, butter and cream. Usually frozen are cheaper than fresh.
But here in the States....labor is our highest expenditure in foodservice....the pricing of plates are loosely based on food but the labor going into them is always higher.

Soups/stews in a bowl made out of bread is always a hearty meal without breaking the bank and fairly quick. Just as an idea.
 

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Yeah, soups, stews, curries come to mind.
Also look at beans & pulses. They are cheap, keep well and you can do.more with them than just soup.
Check the "peasant" dishes. They generally used cheaper items, but took/take longer to prepare.
Stir fries maybe. You can use less meat. Slice the meat real thin. Every bite has a piece of meat and it feels like plenty.
Something with dough could work. Like a pie. Maybe onion pie as a side, or veg pie as a main. Or bunny chow?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all of your responses ! I knocked my iPad off the side last week and it bent and smashed I’ve not been able to get on here to flick through your reply’s ! I like the familiar unfamiliar idea I’ll write up a list of my available ingredients to try some new and exciting things !
 

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Thanks for all of your responses ! I knocked my iPad off the side last week and it bent and smashed I’ve not been able to get on here to flick through your reply’s ! I like the familiar unfamiliar idea I’ll write up a list of my available ingredients to try some new and exciting things !
Ugh, I did that to my iPad a year ago and it really messed up a lot of comfortable patterns in my day.

With the economic situation in the UK, I suggest you think a lot about "comfort food" as a notion. If you can provide a hearty, warming meal for a reasonable price, people are going to flock to your place just to sit somewhere warm with friends. You can probably go fractionally more expensive on ingredients than you usually would, because with a rough economy people will likely drink more.

You might also think about whether there are favorite British foods that have become unwieldy and expensive to do in small batches but which remain readily accessible to the professional kitchen. In the US, at least, a big beef roast is wildly less expensive in food cost for a professional kitchen than a home cook, as well as being a lot easier to handle because its mass insulates it against overcooking quite well. Yorkshire puddings are another example, where my impression is that they're finicky and often only make sense if you can crank them out by the dozen. I'm thinking that a steaming plate of British comfort foods -- cauliflower cheese, roasted potatoes, turnips and swedes, a little sliced meat, gravy, and a big Yorkie -- would bring in the punters and really shouldn't cost you all that much. Then you sell them a whole bunch of slightly marked-up beer and you're golden.
 

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I hear you @chrislehrer
I think the way to go is the original peasant food. Cheap(ish) ingredients, but long prep/cooking time. A lot of people don't want to wait for hours for dinner to be ready.

I don't know what your set up is, but if you got any way to get those delicious cooking smells coming out, people just can't resist.
I remember varsity days, going home in the early hours and coming past the baker's... Man, 4 in the morning and we would knock on the door and devour that first load of fresh bread
 
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