Winter means cooking long and slow and turning up the heater. Here are some tips to help keep your power bill under control, and be kinder to the environment.
If you're heating up the oven to make a roast or casserole, try and fill it up: make a double batch, or roast veges at the same time. This will make the most of the energy you're using.
Another way to make the most of otherwise 'lost' cooking heat is to use the residual heat – after you've turned the oven off – to slow roast veges like tomatoes and capsicums. Save them in the fridge and use in pastas and salads.
Remember to put the lids on your pots when you're heating water for pasta and vegetables, so it comes to the boil quicker.
Cook rice by the absorption method rather than rapidly boiling it; you'll use less energy.
Make use of low-energy appliances like crockpots and microwaves. Microwaves use 30-40% less power for heating than conventional electric ovens.
Keep your fridge cool; fridges and freezers work best in cooler areas of your house, e.g. on the south side and not when right next to the oven, a heater or a sunny window. Keeping the coils at the back well ventilated and free of dust will help efficiency, too.