THE recent warm spell sparked thoughts of summer holidays. But eating out on holiday can cost a small fortune. It’s no wonder then that this summer has seen a surge in demand for self-catering holidays.

These holidays could give us all a chance to save money by cooking inexpensive and enjoyable meals – and not wasting a morsel.

A recent survey shows demand for self-catering holidays in England is up by a third, with 42% of those questioned citing “money saving” as the reason.

Better summer weather coming our way will also provide lots of opportunities for those at home to dust off the picnic hamper and fire up the barbecue.

“Times are tough and we’re all feeling the pinch at the moment,” says Jane Little-Smith, from Love Food Hate waste campaign. “But the good news is summer food tips from will help all of us going on a self-catering break – or simply enjoying the long light days at home – to turn leftover food we already have into some truly fabulous seasonal dishes and save money at the same time.”

Top holiday tips:

If you’ve cooked too much for a meal such as fish pie, chilli or lasagne, simply pop it in an airtight container and store in the freezer as a homemade ‘ready meal’ or take with you for an easy first night supper.

If you take some lettuce or salad leaves with you and they’re looking tired and wilted after the journey, put them in a bowl of water with a couple of ice-cubes and they will become nice and crisp again.

Quiches are an ideal way to help use up eggs and spare cream before you go. Add flaked, cooked fish or fry that last rasher of bacon and some onion for classic quiche Lorraine; a perfect, simple dish to take with you, in your cool box, for the first meal of your holiday - lunch or supper.

Filling sandwiches with tasty and unexpected combinations of leftovers, such as chicken, bacon and mayonnaise, lamb and mint sauce or cheese and coleslaw.

Making leftover potatoes into a tasty potato salad with sliced red or spring onions and mayonnaise – a tasty salad that also travels well.

Larger summer gatherings at home can be particularly challenging for hosts that are not used to cooking and storing food for bigger groups of people. Follow these few handy hints and you shouldn’t go wrong!

Tips for BBQ’s include:

If you are cooking barbecues keep it simple and resist serving food before it is cooked thoroughly. Keep guests happy with crisps or salad to pick at while you cook.

If you are having a buffet, only bring it out of the fridge at the last minute, so it stays fresh for longer.

If there are any leftovers from the buffet or barbecue put them in the fridge as soon as you can.

Use your leftover produce in other recipes. Try a Spanish potato tortilla or use left over meat in a sandwich or curry the next day.

When you take leftovers out of the fridge, eat them immediately or reheat them thoroughly straight away – don't leave them standing at room temperature.

Keep a thermometer in your fridge to make sure it is always running at the proper temperature. Store raw meats on the bottom shelf and separate from other cooked foods to avoid cross contamination.

Visit for more invaluable tips for a cost-effective enjoyable summer home or away. There is something for everyone, whether you are a keen cook, or simply want to reduce the amount of food which you throw away.