The Cottage Smallholder

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How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced Diet, with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time by Gill Holcombe: a review


Photo: How to feed your whole family a healthy balanced diet

Photo: How to feed your whole family a healthy balanced diet

I woke this morning feeling low and dispirited. I haven’t felt inspired in the kitchen for days. After a large mug of tea I reached for Gill Holcombe’s book – How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced Diet, with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time. I was looking for inspiration and a much needed lift. We don’t have a family but Danny has a huge appetite. So I follow family recipes.

I got this book a few months ago. After a brief enjoyable scan it has lain on the bed, waiting for the intense treatment that it deserved. This morning I spent a happy two hours pottering on its pages. If you want to save money on your weekly shop and still enjoy eating great food this is the book for you. In fact, this blog’s motto is “Eat like kings on a pauper’s budget”, so a perfect match.

Having been a “spend to mend” freak for years I am still coming to terms with spending less and living better. Gill Holcombe’s recipes and tips brought a warmth to my heart. If you want to cut costs you needn’t suffer. There’s no need to just grit your teeth before tucking into yet another lentil pie.

This is a great book – absolutely up my street. Her recipes are easy and the ingredients are cheap. Forget the Saturday morning TV chefs promoting an easy lobster soup. My brief sojurn had me planning tonight’s menu with glee. It’s a toss up between fishcakes or fish pie. But the idea of a meat pie topped with a cheese crumble topping also has my mouth watering – perhaps this would also be good on a fish pie? And then there are the devilled kidneys and Spotted Dick. I’d love to make these for Danny at the weekend.

Gill’s book has a comprehensive range of recipes covering everything from breakfast dishes to suppers and packed lunches. There is a vegetarian section and recipes for preserves. I particularly liked the Quick Fixes section – meals that are really quick to prepare.

At the back of the book is a five week meal plan for a family of four. She shoped at a different supermarket each week spending between £22 and £31 for the week’s main meals. You can even study the till receipts!

Gill’s recipes are simple and straightforward but they all sound delicious and tempting. Check this book out – it could be a lifesaver.

Very Highly Recommended. Five stars.

  Leave a reply


  1. Thanks Lucy, what a find, only £2.99, brilliant! I’ll be off to ‘The Works’ 1st thing Monday morning, hope there’s some left!
    Isn’t this a brilliant site, we can share our bargain buys, finds and tips, love it.
    Thanks again Lucy, shall let you know if I manage to get a copy, prob.with me, I go in have a good look around, oohing and ahhing, list in hand, drop it somewhere in the store and forget what I went in for in the first place!
    Not this time, I shall write it on my hand lol, no I’m not joking either, memory like a sieve…..
    Many thanks, Odelle X

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