Thai-inspired meatballs with coconut slaw, 97p (MICROWAVE)

Bear with me folks, because this baby sounds a lot posher and more complicated than it actually was. You can make it go further by blitzing a slice of bread in the blender or grating it, and mixing it with the mince to pad it out. There’s a scarce amount of onion and garlic in this, because of the short cooking time, so can be left out if you don’t have them lying around, I just always add them to my meatballs because that’s the way my Grandad taught me to do it. I’ve recently fallen in love with the small cartons of coconut cream in the World Food Aisle at the supermarket, especially since coconut milk seems to have doubled in price over the last few years. Coconut cream is cheaper, and condensed to a thick paste so it goes much further – bit of a no-brainer once you know what you’re looking for! I only use a small amount at a time, so freeze the rest in an ice cube tray for handy portions to use in the future…

Serves 1 for a light lunch, 97p

100g turkey mince, 70p
1 clove of garlic, 3p
20g onion, 1p
a very scant barely-there pinch of chilli, <1p

For the slaw:
Green leafy veg, cut very very very finely – I used green cabbage, but not the outer leaves, 8p
2 tbsp coconut cream (cheaper than coconut milk as it’s condensed so goes further), 11p
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice, 3p
pinch of salt <1p

First combine all of your slaw ingredients and get that sitting in the fridge or on the side if you’re going to eat it within the next 20 minutes. Finely mince ¼ garlic clove – you really don’t need that much of it as it’s going to be raw so will taste super strong, leave it out if you’re nervous but I love it… Mix it with the coconut cream and lime juice. Very very very finely slice your leaves. The easiest way to do it is to roll them up in your hand, then slice from one end the the other like you’re cutting the world’s thinnest, greenest Swiss Roll. Note it’s a slice, not a fancy-bollocks chopping action – slow and steady wins all your fingers left at the end here. Mix the coconut cream sauce with the greens, and stand to one side. You’ll see in the pic that I served the sauce and greens separately, but actually then I mixed them all up and it was YUMMY so scrap the separate thing and ignore the pic.

In a bowl, mix the mince with the garlic and very finely sliced onion, and the pinch of chilli flakes. Mash it all together in your hands to evenly distribute the ingredients; you don’t want to end up with one blow-your-head-off meatball and the rest bland and flavourless. Divide your mixture into 6-8 balls, erring on the side of smallness as they’ll cook quicker! Pop them on a plate and microwave at full power for two minutes. Leave to stand for a minute to calm down, then microwave at a slightly lower power for two more minutes. Leave to stand for another minute – stuff carries on cooking for a bit once it’s come out of the microwave. Drain off all the juices that come out, cut one in half to see if it’s cooked through (it should be, unless it’s ENORMOUS) – if it is, serve it with the slaw, and if it’s not, well, pop it back in for a minute.

And enjoy! This is my favourite so far. I had it for a light lunch, but if you want something more substantial it would be delicious with some rice (any colour, we aren’t prejudiced about our rice round here, it depends on what your budget is.) Cook the rice first and get it out of the way – basic white rice takes around 8 minutes in a bowl in the microwave covered in water and clingfilm, in 2 minute bursts to stop it from exploding. Remember to pierce the clingfilm to let steam escape and peel it off carefully to prevent steam burns. You can pop the meatballs in for the last few minutes of the rice cooking, but remember the more things there are in a microwave the longer they take to cook because the ‘micro waves’ need to work a little harder to get round everybody. Phew. This is definitely requiring a lot of thinking. Who knew?

Prices based on my most recent Sainsburys shop and correct at the time of blogging. It’s worth noting that I use free range meat (which is why I don’t eat very much of it and where all the veggie and vegan recipes come from) – if this is something you don’t do yourself then you will find much cheaper options available.

Free range turkey thigh mince £3.50/500g. Basics garlic 35p/2 bulbs. Basics onions 85p/1.5kg. Chilli flakes £1/32g. Green cabbage, 80p . Coconut cream 90p/250ml. Lime juice 55p/250ml.

I’ve given up my oven for Lent and am cooking in a microwave. It’s like learning to cook all over again. You can follow my progress at or on Instagram at and Twitter at

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