All posts tagged: cooking on a budget

Chickpea, Carrot & Coriander Falafels [A Girl Called Jack]

This recipe uses tinned chickpeas, but can also use dried chickpeas if you have them available. Dried chickpeas work out cheaper but will need to be soaked in cold water for at least 8 hours before starting the recipe, and then need to be cooked (put in a pan, cover with water and boil vigorously for at least 10 minutes before draining and using). If you have dried chickpeas, use half the quantity of tinned, i.e. 200g. I like to serve the falafels accompanied by couscous made up with vegetable or chicken stock, lemon juice and coriander, and with green beans or another green vegetable. Makes 12ish falafels (4–6 per person) (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) 1 onion 1 carrot a generous shake of ground cumin 1 tablespoon oil, plus 2 tablespoons to fry the falafel 1 x 400g tin …

Salad-Bag Pesto, 13p

Bagged salad is one of the most wasted foods in Britain, with over half of it ending up in landfill. I have had this recipe in mind since my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack, and although it is something I make for myself on a regular basis, absorbed into my household as a common staple, it has never been committed to paper (nor screen) until now. Bags of salad can be expensive to buy full price, but can often be found in the reduced chiller at the supermarket, which is where I nabbed the first one I ever made this with. (I have priced it as a regular bag of salad to hold off the stampede to my local cornershop supermarket; it’s a long way to come for a half price half wilted bag of leaves!) I like using salad leaves for pesto for variety, too, the peppery tang of rocket, the pop of colour from a beetroot leaf or baby chard, the sweet crunch of a tiny piece of spinach – and as …

Pinwheel Biscuits, 9p each [A Year In 120 Recipes]

A few years ago, the Guardian asked me to write a recipe feature on a Christmas dinner inspired by Finnish traditions. I was a new food writer, and a little green around the edges, and I attempted it with gusto. Needless to say, it wasn’t the most authentic or brilliant of my recipe collections, and if I’d been asked again today I would have gently pointed them in the direction of a Finnish food writer, instead of trying to do it myself. However, I did learn to make these adorable pinwheel biscuits in the process, and although the liver and sultana casserole effort made headlines for all the wrong reasons, this recipe has stayed in my Christmas favourites. Makes 10, (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) 100g sultanas or prunes or 50g of each, 20p (99p/500g) 2 tablespoons marmalade or honey, …

Carrot Cake Rice Pudding, 33p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

I make my rice puddings with long-grain rice as I don’t often have pudding rice in the house, but you can make it with either. This recipe came about from a pile of carrots that needed using up (even with a rabbit in the house!) and ever more inventive ways to do so … If you’re a carrot cake fan, you can add a handful of sultanas as well, and some chopped nuts to the top. Serves 4, from 33p each. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) 2 large carrots, 6p (approx 300g), (20p/kg) 410g evaporated milk, or thereabouts, 64p (64p/410g) 500ml whole milk, 25p (49p/litre) 2 tablespoons sugar, 3p (£1.19/kg) 120g long-grain rice, 5p (45p/kg) a few pinches of grated nutmeg, 1p (84p/42g) 25g butter or equivalent, 15p (£1.45/250g) 2 tablespoons honey or golden syrup, 12p (£1.24/425g) First preheat your …

Tree Biscuits, 5p each [A Year In 120 Recipes]

My Small Boy and I make these every year – although they don’t always make it to the tree..!! (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.)   Ingredients (made 24 assorted sizes for £1.11) 300g plain flour, 9p (45p/1.5kg) 100g butter, 58p (£1.45/250g) 100g sugar, 12p (£1.19/kg) 2 eggs, 27p (80p/6 medium free range) 1 tsp cinnamon, 5p (59p/34g) First, the butter – because I make these with my son, I melt it in the microwave for a minute to make it easier to stir in. Traditionally, you would rub it into the flour with your fingertips, but once I started melting my butter in the microwave, I’ve never looked back. Whatever method you choose, you need to combine the butter and flour to form a breadcrumb consistency. Tip in the sugar and cinnamon, and beat in the eggs to combine to …

Red Wine Poached Pears, 46p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

This recipe is so easy that it’s hardly a recipe at all. I use tinned pears, because they’re cheaper and easy to tuck away at the back of a store cupboard, and serve them in a bowl with ice cream and a little grated dark chocolate. Serves 4, from 46p each (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) 1 x 400g tin of pear halves, 79p (79p/410g) 1 large glass of red wine, 92p (£2.75/750ml) 100g sugar, white or brown, 12p (£1.19/kg) a scant 1⁄4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1p (59p/34g) dark chocolate, to serve, optional Drain two-thirds of the juice from the pears and pour the remainder into a saucepan with the pear halves. Pour over the red wine, then add the sugar and cinnamon. Cover and poach for 15 minutes. Remove the pears and set to one side. Bring the cooking …

Boxing Day Pasties, 13p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

An ideal place to smuggle leftovers – for today or for the freezer, these pasties are as versatile as the scraps of whatever you have left over from your dinner – just knock up (or buy) a quick shortcrust pastry and you’ll have lunch in a jiffy for not very much at all. This recipe was first featured in my second book, A Year in 120 Recipes. Serves 6 at 13p each, (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) 250g fat (butter, marge, or a combination), 60p (Vitalite, £2.40/kg) 500g plain flour, 18p (55p/1.5kg, Sainsburys Basics) a few teaspoons ice cold water Any quantity of leftovers: finely chopped veg, potatoes, stuffing and a good slug of fresh extra thick gravy   Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. First make the pastry. Dice the butter or marge. Tip the flour into a large mixing …

Four Ingredient Christmas Cake, 16p [Jack Monroe’s Advent Recipes]

Christmas for me is a disparate and disorganised affair – zipping between various peoples houses, delivering a Small Boy to all the relatives that want to pinch his cheeks and ruffle his hair, like an exasperated sugar-high parcel. Popping in on parents and grandparents, gathering waifs and strays at mine for my almost-annual ‘Make Christmas A Bit Less Shit’ gathering, and in all of that hullaballoo, well, I forgot to make a cake this year. I think I’m the only person that likes it, anyway. So this time last year, I dug out some old recipes of mine, from days yonder when buying three kinds of nuts and obscure dried fruits was de rigeur, and gawped at the sheer length of the ingredient lists. I set myself a challenge to make a Christmas-ish cake with fewer than nine ingredients. That was pretty easy, so I tried for eight. You can see where this is going! I ended up here; to be honest, the five ingredient cake was my favourite, but I can’t resist the simplicity …

Turkey & Chickpea Burgers, 21p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

This recipe makes a LOT of burgers. I use the chickpeas to pad them out and make them cheaper, and fling any leftovers on to a baking tray to open-freeze, bagging them up 24 hours later. They’re a handy standby for barbecue season, or for those evenings when you don’t fancy cooking from scratch. I used to make them for myself when I was working out a lot (a long time ago now!) as they’re packed with protein too. Makes 8–10 burgers from 21p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 400g chickpeas or any white beans, 40p 300g turkey mince, £1.62(£2.70/500g) 1 rounded teaspoon cumin or paprika, 3p (£1.15/100g) 2 rounded tablespoons flour, 2p (45p/1.5kg) salt and pepper a splash of oil, for frying, 3p (£1.10/1l) To …

Bubbles and Squeaks, 9p [A Girl Called Jack]

Traditionally a Monday mash-up of the Sunday roast, a comforting, easy bubble and squeak is something I have been making for years. It’s one of the first things I taught myself to cook and is still a firm favourite. If you don’t have a leftover Sunday roast lying about, here’s how to make it from scratch. I eat mine with a pile of mushrooms and some ketchup, but depending on your budget and preferences, you can serve bubble and squeak with sausages, or leftover roast and veg, or on its own as a lunch or snack. Makes 8 patties (2 per person) from 9p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 1 vegetable stock cube, dissolved in 500ml boiling water, 3p 2 large potatoes or 1 tin of …

Sneaky Sprouts, 15p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

Brussels sprouts: you either love them or you hate them, but if your only experience of them is as a bland yet sulfurous accompaniment to your Christmas dinner, you should definitely give these a go. Sliced and pan-fried with cabbage and butter: this is how I smuggled them into my Small Boy when he was younger, and now he requests it as a side dish to a Sunday roast. Serves 4 as a side dish from 15p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 200g Brussels sprouts, 38p (95p/500g) 30g butter or a splash of oil, 2p (£1.10/1l) 1 onion, 5p (54p/1kg) 4 fat cloves of garlic, 8p (69p/4 bulbs) ½ savoy cabbage or a handful of greens, 6p (62p/500g) salt and pepper, <1p a grating of nutmeg …

Festive Feast Granola, 30p [Jack Monroe’s Advent Recipes]

Makes 8 portions, from 30p each. (I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients.) 2 tbsp light cooking oil, 3p 120g golden syrup or honey, 21p (£1.34/750g) 4 tbsp marmalade, 4p (27p/454g) 1 tbsp cinnamon, 5p (59p/34g) 300g oats, 23p (75p/1kg) 50g sunflower seeds, 30p (90p/150g) 75g mixed chopped nuts, 49p (98p/150g) 100g dried cranberries, £1 (£1/100g)   First, set your oven to 140C and ensure there is a shelf in or just below the centre. Lightly grease a large roasting tin, and set to one side.   Measure the cooking oil, golden syrup, cinnamon and marmalade into a small saucepan, and set over a medium heat for around 5 minutes, to melt and combine. Remove from the heat and set to one side for a moment.   Measure the oats, seeds, nuts, and cranberries into a large mixing bowl, and pour over half of the hot liquid …

Vegan Nut Roast, 42p

I have made over a hundred variations on this nut roast since meeting Mrs J, who, along with my mother in law, is a lifelong vegetarian. This festive version is one of our favourites – and I make enough to share with the carnivores at our table, because everyone invariably wants a bit! (I’m typing this on my phone on the way out of the BBC Woman’s Hour studios where I realised in a panic that I had just banged on for 15 minutes about my nut roast but hadn’t published the sodding recipe anywhere, so please forgive any spelling errors or whatnot). Serves 8 from 42p each 200g mixed shelled nuts, 70p (70p/200g, Asda) 180g vacuum packed chestnuts, £2.25 1 tbsp oil (£1/1l, Asda) A pinch of salt, <1p 1 large onion, finely chopped, 9p (60p/1kg, Farm Stores at Asda) 4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped, 6p (50p/3 bulbs, Asda) 6 tbsp sage and onion stuffing mix, 15p (38p/170g, Asda) 4 tbsp cranberry sauce or marmalade, 5p (27p/454g, Smartprice at Asda) 100ml apple or …

Mulled Rich Fruit Tea, 31p [Jack Monroe’s Advent Recipes]

I have tried many times to recreate a decent mulled ‘wine’ that is alcohol-free – because despite what legend may otherwise tell you, boiling alcohol doesn’t eliminate it completely, it just reduces it – and by how much is so comprehensively variable that I dare not even try to tackle it. Mulling alcohol-free red wine would seem like the obvious choice, but I’m yet to find one that stands up to the challenge. If you know of a good, jammy Shiraz in the alcohol-free section, do let me know! Until then, this experiment with my slow cooker has proved to be the favourite; the deep smoke from the slow-brewed Lapsang and the dark, juicy fruit flavours combine with the traditional mulling spices to make a hot, rich, grown-up drink, without the headache. Some of the ingredients may seem a little odd – so let me explain. The ginger and sultanas are to replace the traditional ginger wine that forms the base of mulled wine. Ginger wine is made from raisins and ginger, so I simply …

St Clement’s Chicken [A Year In 120 Recipes]

I named this one St Clements chicken after the old nursery rhyme, ‘Oranges and lemons, sang the bells of St Clements…’ Although I use mandarins in mine, a mere technicality… Serves 4, (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) 1 x whole chicken Zest of 1 lemon 1 x 200g tin of mandarins 75g butter (softened) 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs a fistful of flat-leaf parsley First, preheat your oven to 190C. Then weigh your whole chicken to calculate the cooking time. You need to cook it for 20 minutes per 450g, plus an extra 20 minutes at the end. For example, a 1.4kg bird will need just over an hour and 20 minutes in the oven. Grate the lemon zest into the bowl and combine it with the drained mandarins, using a fork to break up the …