We all buy stuff from the shops for ease, I do too! But there are some things that are easier to make than you may think. And once you’ve made them a couple of times it becomes even easier. Set yourself a challenge to make one new thing this week. And let me know how you get on!

1. Nut milk

I always used to buy my nut milk and I still do. But when I get a chance to make it I always make cashew milk. You don’t have to strain cashew milk which makes it even easier to make. Simply soak 1 cup of cashew nuts overnight, drain in the morning and blend with 4 cups of water (or any amount that’s a ratio of 1:4), add the seeds of a vanilla pod and a date if you want some sweetness (this is optional) and you have your own homemade nut milk. Keep it in the fridge for a few days.

When you make your own nut milk the flavour of the nuts really comes through.  I like to make mine a quite creamy. If you want a thinner milk, just add more water.

2. Porridge

No need to buy those sachets that often have other stuff in them. Just buy good old fashioned porridge oats, pop them on the hob with some milk of your choice and then start adding flavours. I try all sorts of flavour combinations. I add fruit or cinnamon. Sometimes I use coconut milk and coconut oil to give it a tropical flavour. It takes about 8 minutes to make (so it’s nice and quick too) and it’s nice and nutritious. Even more nutritious if you add lots of other good stuff to it.  Muesli is easy to make too!

3. Soup

So very easy! I’m going to plead with you now not to buy tins of soup; generally they’re not very nutritious and they usually have lots of stuff in that you don’t need. Try making your own.  It only takes cooking vegetables with some stock and leaving it to simmer away until the vegetables are cooked, it’s that easy! Have a search for a good recipe online and have an experiment. My favourite soups at the moment are broccoli (made with coriander and lemon), sweet potato and butternut squash (for a really filling, comforting soup) and you can’t beat a traditional tomato soup. As we’re coming into summer now you may want to try a gazpacho.

4. Nut butter

You do need a high speed blender/food processor for this but other than that all you need is nuts. Simply blend the nut of your choice until it forms a butter; you can see the oil come out. And that’s it!

5. Pesto

I’ve always loved pesto ever since my friend introduced me to it at university. But I used to buy it and it’s amazing how a jar of pesto has so many other things it doesn’t really need! This really is one of the easiest things to make and it’s super quick too. Just pop everything into a mini blender and voila! Try my basil and spinach pesto.

6. Humous

The humble humous! I’ve had a love hate relationship with humous! I love eating it but have never quite been able to find a recipe I love. This weekend I made the best bowl of humous! And the key was wild garlic. I’m not a huge lover of garlic in my humous but I actually think it needs it!

7. Guacamole

I’m still on my guacamole bandwagon! Make it don’t buy it, it’ll change your life! Well may be not but it’s so much more delicious, it’ll make you happier than eating the shop bought ones! Here’s my recipe.

8. Salad dressing

As always shop-bought salad dressings can contain a lot of stuff you don’t need and can be high in sugar too. I always start with oil, usually extra virgin olive oil and then I add to that. Adding something acidic like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice actually makes the dressing thicker and creamier, you can also use something like dijon mustard or tahini. And then you can add any type of flavour your like such as garlic, chives, coriander, ginger and even chilli. Another trick if you want a really creamy dressing is to start with an avocado and make an avocado cream. I often simply blend avocado with lemon juice and a bit of salt and dip my sweet potato chips in it.

Have a look in your cupboard, pick something you use a lot, that you would usually buy and then try and make it yourself. It could be tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, pasta sauce or pesto. I hope you’ll be surprised at how easy some of this is to make yourself.

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