Skip to main content

Cooking smart: ‘Bake Off’ star shares his recipes for saving money and energy

'Great British Bake Off' finalist Ian Cumming used his smart meter to develop low cost, tasty meals

bake off smart meter cumming

The smart meter rollout is set to be completed by the end of 2020, meaning that soon estimated energy bills will become a thing of  the past; instead these meters send your energy usage directly to your chosen supplier.

Another perk to smart meters (especially for those who are looking to cut back on energy usage and spend) is that they show energy usage in near real time and in pounds and pence using the in home displays (IHDs).

Cooking smarter with energy-saving recipes

Armed with a smart meter and display, GBBO finalist Ian Cumming has been busy combining his love of cooking with his desire to keep energy costs down in his “energy disaster of a house.”

“I recently had a smart meter installed,” Cumming explains.  “It shows me how much energy I’m using, and how much it’s costing. One of the first things I noticed was that the oven was really pushing my energy costs up.”

The result? A block of delicious, low energy recipes and plenty of tips for alternative methods to making everyday meals without gorging on energy.

From a Scottish salmon macaroni cheese to a no-bake elderflower and blueberry cheesecake, Cumming’s recipes cover a breadth of tastes and geographical influences — and all for under 10p’s worth of energy to make.

smart meter recipe chicken tagine

We’ve included one recipe below — which uses only costs 8p of energy to create — and you can download all of the recipes Cumming has developed from the Smart Energy GB website.

You can also watch how easily these meals can come together in this instructional video series.

Ian Cumming’s Energy Saving Scottish Salmon Macaroni Cheese


250g macaroni pasta

Apprx 900ml water

40g unsalted butter

40g plain flour

450ml whole milk

100g Mull of Kintyre Scottish mature cheddar (or similar), grated

2tsp wholegrain mustard

4tsp chives, finely chopped

150g Scottish smoked salmon

Salt and pepper


1. Boil just over 900ml of water in the kettle and transfer to a saucepan. Energy saving tip: Measuring out what you need prevents heating excess water or boiling the kettle twice, both of which waste energy.

2. Ensure the water is boiling on the hob before adding the pasta and a pinch of salt. return the water to the boil again, stir the pasta, cover with a lid and switch off the heat. Leave the pasta to stand in the hot water for the cooking time on the packet, stirring once halfway through. Energy saving tip: This method cooks the pasta just as well as keeping the hob on throughout the cooking time. 

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized pan. Once it has melted, add the flour and mix it into a paste. Heat this for about 60 seconds before slowly adding the milk, a little at a time. Stir continuously, ensuring the mixture is blended before adding more milk.

4. Once you have added all the milk, turn off the heat and add half the grated cheese and all the chives, mustard and chopped salmon.

5. Drain the pasta when it’s ready, but keep back 100ml of the hot water in a jug. Mix the pasta into the cheese sauce, adding the hot water to loosen the mixture if necessary.

6. Tip the macaroni mixture into a large, ovenproof dish. Grind some pepper on top and sprinkle over the remaining cheddar.

7. Pop the dish around 5cm under a grill, switch on and turn to maximum. Leave to cook for about 8 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Energy saving tip: Grilling this dish instead of baking gives the mac and cheese a crispy top and allows it to finish baking without unnecessarily wasting energy.

Read More

When will you get your smart meter?

In depth: smart meters and how they work

  • Harryagain

    I was an energy efficiency engineer.
    The key to energy saving in catering/baking is the microwave oven.

  • oldhenry

    I reckon he should get a gas cooker. I pay £0.02121 per KW for gas but £0.1185 per KW for day time electricity. The latter fuel is expensive and will get much more so when EDF build their nuclear power station!