A thrifty mum who turned to Aldi to slash her shopping bills has published a cookbook – featuring only ingredients from the budget chain.
Amy Sheppard, 36, had to tighten her belt when she quit her London job to become a full-time mum.
But she fell in love with the brand and soon began whipping up delicious meals with the budget goods on offer.
She started a blog to showcase her meals, such as Fiery Peanut & Honey Chicken Noodle Salad and Baked Camembert with Garlic & Rosemary Fougasse.
Mum-of-two Amy built up a loyal following on social media and has now published a digital cookbook – The Aldi Lover’s Guide to Cooking.
The book has been produced completely independently of the German supermarket, which she says has revolutionised her shopping.
“It’s just a different kid of shopping – it has streamlined products and smaller shops,” she said.
“It might take a bit of getting used to at first but you soon realise that having less choice is actually quite liberating.
“You just don’t need 10 types of pickles – it makes decision-making a lot easier.”
Describing her decision to switch to the budget retailer, she said: “We had to live a more frugal lifestyle so we tried Aldi and saved a huge amount on our shopping.
“I used to shop at Tesco and Sainsbury’s. When we first switched to Aldi, I would have to end up getting a few things from the other supermarkets as I couldn’t get everything I needed.”
But soon the mum-of-two was challenging herself to create dinners made just with products from Aldi.
Starting in October last year, Amy experimented with recipes while being a full-time mum to her two sons Elliot, eight, and Sam, six.
She said: “Most people who write cookbooks have the benefit of a test kitchen – I obviously didn’t! So I had to do it all in the family kitchen.
“My children had to be very patient – most kids don’t have to wait for their mum to photograph all their food before they eat it.
“There was a lot of microwaving meals if they got a bit cold while I was trying to get the perfect shot!”
Meals didn’t always go according to plan, but while there were a couple of disasters, most were “works in progress”.
Amy, of Chesham, Bucks., added: “A couple have just gone straight onto the rubbish heap, but most of them I just view as a work in progress and decide how to tweak it for next time.”
Fortunately for Amy, her family embraced her experiments with gusto.
“I’m really lucky because both of my boys are really adventurous eaters, real foodies.
“Their favourite meal I make is a stonebaked goat’s cheese pizza – it’s a healthier version.
“I was also trying out recipes for an Aldi BBQ at the weekend – which they absolutely love.”
And it’s not just her family who enjoy her meals – Amy has a devoted social media following and has received many positive reviews from blog readers.
“When I started this, I found out that Aldi is a really loved brand. I only started up my Instagram last month but I’ve already got 800 followers.
“People comment saying how much they enjoy the recipes. I also get asked for a lot of advice – for Father’s Day for example, Aldi were doing a budget version of the world’s most expensive steak and were asking for tips on what to do with it!”
Her favourite Aldi product is a pesto rosso, which she says she puts in everything from the kid’s sandwiches to pasta.
Amy’s cookbook is completely independent from Aldi but she’d like to work with them one day.
“They keep liking my posts on Instagram, so I hope they’ll notice me one day! It would be great to work together.
“The next step is getting the cookbook into print!”
Amy’s recipes can be found at http://thealdiloversguide.co.uk, where you can also buy her cookbook.