Feed a family of 4 for less than £9/week: Breads & Breakfasts

My favourite breakfasts are the grab and go variety, although I’m partial to a weekend pancake, which can be made easily from the simple ingredients already on your shopping list. I like to smuggle fruit into my breakfast to get one or two of my five a day underway without giving it much thought! I’ll bake a banana bread on the weekend and slice and freeze it ready to toast in the morning, and the berry pots keep for three days after making so can be made in a batch, making mornings easier. The granola keeps for a month in a sealed jar. Of course, you can always just buy a packet of cheap cornflakes (35p for 400g) and be done with it and skip this section entirely, it’s down to you.


SODA BREAD – can be used for breakfast toast, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, pork sandwiches, etc. You can make two of these loaves through the week from your bag of flour. No breadmaker or rising time required. I pop mine in the oven whenever it’s on for roasting anything, like the pork or when cooking the granola – to save me turning it on again just for bread. Make two at once and freeze one, pre sliced, for later in the week.

2 tsp bottled lemon juice

300ml milk

400g self raising flour

1 ½ level tsp bicarbonate of soda

a fistful of sultanas – optional

Preheat your oven to 180C. Put the milk powder in a jar with 100ml water, screw the lid on tightly and shake it well to dissolve – it’s much nicer than stirring it, which can leave it a bit lumpy! Add the rest of the water, and the lemon juice, and stand it to one side to curdle slightly and start to separate. It looks a bit gross, but that’s normal.

Weigh the flour into a bowl, add the bicarb and mix through. Make a well (dip) in the centre of the flour and pour in the milk-and-lemon. Mix well with a spoon to form a sticky dough. Grease and lightly flour a loaf tin or cake tin, and pour the dough in from the bowl. Score a line down the middle with a sharp knife and dust with a little extra flour. Place in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes. Once baked through, it should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, and feel light. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Spread with jam, peanut butter, mashed bananas or cheese to serve.

Banana Bread:

3 old bananas

75ml sunflower oil

225g self raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

80g sultanas

Preheat your oven to 180C, and lightly grease your loaf tin. Peel the bananas, slice and mash with a fork in a large mixing bowl. If the bananas aren’t of the old, squishy variety, add a little of the oil to start them off (or ping them in the microwave for 10 seconds, peeled and in a microwave-safe bowl). Add the oil and sugar to the bowl and mix well. Tip in the flour, baking powder, and sultanas if using, and stir well to form a lumpy batter. Pour it into the loaf tin and bake for an hour, until risen and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. It freezes well, slice it first for convenience, or keeps in an airtight bag or container for 3 days.

Peanut Butter Granola – again, can be put in the oven when something else is cooking, most of my recipes are 180C for that very reason, so I can cook things together and save on energy bills. A flat baking tray will sit at the bottom of the oven but will cook more slowly than the specified recipe time as heat rises, so just check it and give it as long as it needs.

25ml sunflower oil

4 tbsp peanut butter

4 tbsp sugar

300g porridge oats

Preheat your oven to 180C. Lightly grease your baking tray with a little oil. Melt the peanut butter and sugar together – either in a saucepan on a low heat or ping it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir in the oil. Add the oats and mix well. Tip it onto a baking tray, flatten roughly with a spoon, to spread approx 1cm thick. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 mins until golden (lower shelves will take longer!). Remove and allow to cool for a further 15 mins, before roughly breaking up any large pieces with the side of a spoon (or sharp knife). Allow to cool completely before transferring to a jar or airtight container.

Berry Bircher Pots:

100g mixed frozen berries

250ml natural yoghurt

150ml milk

100g porridge oats

sultanas to garnish

Combine the oats, yoghurt and defrosted berries in a bowl. Make up the milk by pouring 100ml water into a jar, add the milk powder, seal tightly and shake well. Add the remaining 100ml milk to thin it. Pour this in gradually and stir well. Spoon into small dishes for convenience or one large one (you can turf the remaining yoghurt into a glass or cup, cover and put back in the fridge and put the berry bircher back into the yoghurt pot, if you like – it just about fits!) Make in advance and the oats will soften and swell and it will thicken back to a yoghurt consistency, magic!
Berry Good Smoothie

100g frozen berries

a handful of sultanas

30g oats

1 banana

600ml milk

Slice the banana and pop in the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blitz until smooth, and serve.
Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie:

2 bananas

2 tbsp peanut butter

4 tbsp oats

600ml milk

Slice the banana and pop in the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blitz until smooth, and serve.

You can follow me on Twitter @DrJackMonroe and Instagram @MxJackMonroe

Jack Monroe. November 2015.

Categories: Blog, Recipes & Food


  1. Hello darling, in your banana bread recipe you say mix oil and sugar, how much sugar please ? Glad to see some people concentrating on your cooking not your bod !

  2. Hi I’m really keen to try the banana bread. Particularly because I have one child who can’t have dairy and another that can’t have eggs. Can you tell me how much and what type of sugar you use? I wasn’t sure from the recipe.


  3. The soda bread recipe talks about milk powder but that’s not on the shopping list? Or did I miss it?
    By the way, I think you are amazing.

  4. The banana bread recipe mentions adding sugar but I couldn’t see it in the ingredients. How much should it be please? Thanks for sharing all these great ideas, I’ve been stuck in a rut for breakfast lately.

  5. Yes how much milk powder I. The soda bread pls it says 300mls milk, but in the directions it says mix milk powder with 100mks water…??? I cannot figure that out, but love these recipes and I could use in Australia also thanks

  6. We’ve just made the soda bread with 2 different gluten free flours. We may never buy the awful gf “bread” ever again…… (and the supermarket own brand flour was fine, not as good as the expensive Dove farm one but perfectly acceptable for smearing with jam!)

    • I know I am slow, but my question is, the recipe says 300mls milk then it says mix milk powder (which is not shown in the recipe) with 100mls of water so how does the 300 mls of milk made up of powdered milk and 100 mls of water turn into 300mls of milk?? sorry but I was never any good at maths and now 70 so a lot slower!!! LOL we have a saying in Australia “Please Explain” from one of our politicians LOL

      • Thanks so much I can buy some milk powder and mix up a litre then it 300 ml so, thanks so much, but could I use milk that I already have also, sorry to be such a pain, but thinking maybe the same just powdered milk must be cheaper??

  7. I improvised with the sugar, husband read it out and I said wait, how much sugar? he said dont know, cant see, so I chucked in a 100g! :-O could be very interesting when it comes out of the oven… mind you I did use extra large bananas and less oil so…! oops!

  8. i really admire the idea of cooking like this, but, i am a mum of two teens and a toddler and meat and 3 veg is what they like, they hate mushrooms and most fruit. i have read and taken on board what you have done and reduced my shopping bill from £120 to £80 (go me!!!) but feel like i need to do more so look forward to reading future posts.
    ps, our fav meal is the masala/korma! perfect every time so thankyou!

  9. For the berry bircher would a milk substitute or more yoghurt work in place of the powdered milk? I’m not a big milk fan so it’s not usually something I buy although if I can make a decent cheese sauce with it milk powder may yet find a place in my cupboard! Thanks

  10. Please could you have a look at the bircher recipe – there is reference to milk powder but it is not in the ingredient list. I’m very keen to try this so grateful for any clarification you can give. Thanks.

  11. I was so desperate to try banana bread this afternoon (attempt to utilise slightly off looking bananas I picked up at supermarket this morning for 30p a kilo) that I completely missed the part about the sugar. I changed the recipe a bit by adding few heaped tablespoons of dark chocolate powder and replacing about a third of a flour (run out) with porridge oats. I can tell you, that even without sugar it tastes absolutely delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

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