Perhaps you’ve seen their pictures on Instagram and drooled over their enticing concoctions. Food bloggers do food like nobody else. Everything looks immaculate, styled to perfection. It would almost be a shame to eat it.
And perhaps, like me, you’ve wondered how on earth they afford these exquisite dishes. Smoothies packed full of berries that come in at £4 a punnet; wildly expensive vegetables; delicacies that would have most of us reaching for a second mortgage.
But the truth of it is that ordinary people can, with a little planning and a cheeky bit of trickery, eat just like the Instafoodies. Here are some clever cheats to help you eat like the food bloggers do, but without the budget.
1. GO FROZEN
So a punnet of blueberries costs an arm and a leg – I get that. But you don’t need to buy them fresh. Most supermarkets have brilliant berry deals in the frozen section. Don’t scoff at the cheaper supermarkets, either – they offer great quality that will keep you in posh smoothies for weeks on just a couple of ££. For just over £6 I bought this haul of frozen berries that will last me at least a month, even with a daily breakfast smoothie.
2. SHOPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
If you keep your eyes peeled you’ll find some amazing, seasonal bargains. Snap ’em up whenever you see them – most things can be shoved in the freezer if you can’t use them straight away. On this sortie into the bright lights of my local town, I picked up some knocked-down mangoes about to pass their sell-by date (perfect for turning into sorbet), a confoundingly cheap £1 packet of cherries (mmm, cherries…), a couple of half-price avocados, some super-posh-but-budget figs and a huge packet of goat’s cheese randomly retailing at just £1.49. Result: a fancy-schmancy lunch for not much more than my usual sandwich and plenty left over for later.
3. GET OUT OF TOWN
How I adore Costco. So it’s not glamorous and it’s a bit of a schlep, but oh, the bargains! And you may be surprised to learn that this mostly unlikely of places sells a big range of distinctly untrashy foods. On my last visit I scored a bumper pack of even-further-reduced coconut water (normally totally beyond my budget), a huge tub of chewily delicious Medjool dates, a giant tub of coconut oil, a big packet of coconut flour (obsessed with coconut, much?), and a gallon of olive oil.
In the interests of balance I should also reveal that I bought a mahoosive bag of marshmallows, a family pack of gummy sweets and a 12-pack of Monster “energy” drinks, ‘cos that’s how I roll.
4. DON’T SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST
You can’t have failed to notice that food bloggers carefully display their creations on ultra-fabulous homeware (with appropriate garnishes, natch) rather than plonking it on that chipped plate you should have thrown out years ago. But here’s the thing. Most of us have some Nice Crockery hidden away somewhere, being saved for best. I know I have wedding presents still waiting for the marvellous dinner party I’ve somehow never quite got around to hosting.
So use it now. Dig out the posh plates. Dust off the otherwise-useless wooden display board you were shamed into buying at that Pampered Chef party. Rummage for the wedding gifts. If you don’t use it now, really, when are you going to use it?
And if you don’t have anything fancy lurking in the cupboards, just use anything white. Look at this very ordinary salad – it looks kinda fabulous served in a plain white bowl.
5. BE A FLOWER GIRL
Food bloggers know that everything looks prettier with flowers in the background. Now I’m not suggesting you hot-foot it to the florist’s and spend a fortune on a bouquet to display with your breakfast. But if you happen to have a few flowers in your garden or windowsill, put them in a vase on the table and they’ll make your meals look beautiful.
So now you know. And don’t forget to tell me your own top tips for eating like the fitterati.