All posts tagged: cooking with cans

Vegan Rainbow Dhansak, 31p

Authentic dhansak recipes that I’ve found sometimes include tamarind sauce or fresh tamarind, which I didn’t have to hand, so I replicated the slightly sour note with a dash of lemon juice instead. I am aware that I am extremely lucky to have found this particular bag of stir fry veg so cheaply, but I am often asked by readers what to do with them that isn’t a stir fry, so when I swagged this one from the markdown chiller today I thought it an ideal opportunity to address this particular conundrum. If you don’t have a similar bargain to hand, you can make similar by adding roughly equal amounts of red and green cabbage, thinly sliced or thickly grated carrot, and some sweetcorn. Or use whatever veg you have to hand, of course. If serving between four, this recipe contains four of your five a day. It keeps in the fridge forum to three days, or in the freezer for three months. Reheat to piping hot before serving – it is not advised to …

Cheesy Tuna, Courgette & Mushroom Gratin, 65p

This recipe is a riff on the Courgette, Tomato and Brie Gratin from A Girl Called Jack, with some extra veg and protein added, and mushrooms for Vitamin D as the darker evenings draw in. You can use pretty much any veg you like in this; I toyed with a wrinkly red pepper in the fridge and fingered half a leek before deciding I could use them elsewhere and plumping for this particular combination. If you’d prefer a veggie version, simply swap the can of tuna for a can of beans or chickpeas to keep the heartiness and protein intact.   Serves 4, from 65p each. Prices correct at time of publication. Other supermarkets offer similarly competitive pricing – this is just my closest right now. (This post contains affiliate links – I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any products.) 140g onion, 12p (80p/1kg, Growers Selection at Asda) 140g carrot, 14p (30p/500g, Growers Selection at Asda) 125g mushrooms, 25p (49p/250g, Farm Stores at Asda) 1 medium courgette – …

Instant Moonshine Mash, Tiny Veg, & Sausages, 58p

Moonshine Mash first appeared in Cooking On A Bootstrap, a bootleg riff on polenta made with potatoes and corn. I so named it because ‘hooch’, or moonshine, is typically made from potatoes or corn, and the idea of my own sneaky irreverent take on something usually considered quite special rather tickled me. This version takes the idea even further into the depths of culinary depravity, firstly by blending canned corn with its brine, with milk, to create a ‘corn milk’ – not dissimilar to the ‘carrot milk’ theory in the carrot cake oats in Tin Can Cook that equally delighted and horrified viewers of Daily Kitchen Live when I demonstrated it in lockdown. I then add instant mash, and the cheapest available variety, to this corn milk abomination, and you know what? It works really well. My son, who can be a frustratingly fussy eater at times, absolutely loved it. The corn gives an underlying sweetness, the skins that get stuck in our teeth are blitzed away to a much more manageable nothing, and the …

Sausage, Bacon & Many-Veg Casserole, 39p

For many reasons, I am returning to a very strict groceries budget for the foreseeable future. Yesterday I went to the supermarket – in two separate trips, as I was on foot with a backpack – with a budget of twenty pounds. I uploaded my receipts on Twitter, but for those of you not on Twitter, I will post them as a separate post here later on. I will try my best – other work and commitments permitting – to write up as many of the new recipes I make from that list of ingredients as possible. This one was made both with the sausages and bacon for my son, and without, for me. Although I am no longer vegan, I do eat more plant based meals than not these days, and as I tighten my budget again, that will continue to be the case. This recipe was originally designed to fulfil five out of five of our five a day, making three portions, but it made such a large pan that I easily got …

Vegan ‘Egg’, Tomato & Cress Sandwich, 68p [from ‘Veganish’]

This recipe is based on my favourite ever egg sandwich – the M&S Egg, Tomato & Salad Cream – but I challenged myself to create it as a vegan version when I was writing Veganish. My readers had specifically requested sandwich recipes for this book, seemingly unanimously tired of the solitary falafel offering in the supermarket compared to the dozens of meat and cheese options. So I made a list of both my personal favourites, and asked people for theirs, and tried to recreate as many of them as possible, as closely as possible to the originals. And this was FUN. A whole lot more testing and retesting than most of my recipes, as well as side-by-side comparisons with the original. Literally a bite out of the M&S one, a bite out of mine. Proffering both at friends and asking them to guess which was which. Tweaks and adjustments and adding specialist ingredients in and taking them out again, until finally, satisfied, I ended up with this. I’m still undecided on the nutritional yeast, so …

Tomato, Bread & Butter Pasta, 24p

This pasta sauce started off as a pappa al pomodoro, but quickly veered towards a tomato butter sauce as I craved comfort on an increasingly blue day. I don’t know about you, but lockdown is playing havoc with my already unreliable emotional weather vane, clattering it all over the place, and I am learning to take things hour by hour, meal by meal, and take pleasure in moments of simple comfort in this strange new world of unknowns. I am grateful that all members of my household are healthy and well, and that we are able to do most of our day jobs under lockdown, even with the challenges that presents, and that my young son seems to have adapted well to the changes. He Facetimes and Zoom calls his friends and family every day, keeps a diary of his thoughts, feelings and experiences, does some educational work each day, and seems to be faring the best of all of us. Anyway, back to the pasta sauce. I have a recipe for a three ingredient …

Beet Wellington, £1.34 [from ‘Veganish’]

This is one of my more difficult recipes, but I approach it in stages, treating the duxelles as a separate recipe on its own and making it in advance to lessen the workload a little. I can promise you that the end result is completely worth it – a vegan ‘special occasion’ dinner for Sunday roasts, festive feasts, date nights, or any other occasion where you really want to push the boat out. I have made many a vegetarian wellington, ranging from whole flat portobello mushrooms wrapped in spinach, to a black bean and chestnut version, but my favourite by far is this beet wellington, and not just for its nomenclature. It requires a little care in the assembly process, but then so does a standard fillet beef wellington, and this keeps as close to the original as possible with the inclusion of a mushroom duxelles and a crepe layer. The duxelles provides a distinctive depth of flavour, and the crepe layer, although it may seem overly fancy, acts as a barrier between the vegetables …

Come-To-Bed Parmigiana, 74p [from ‘Veganish’]

Almost three years ago now, I turned up to work late, sleepless, an incoherent babbling wreck chewed up by an 18 month landmark court trial and with bright copper dye fading from my wiry, tousled mania of hair. I left my walking stick in the lobby, and limped in to work…to find a hand thrust towards me in a polite gesture of welcome, a smile, a curt hello. She introduced herself. I apologised seven times for my lateness and my pulled-from-a-car-wreck appearance. She was firm and professional, and she smiled at me again. And I felt that self-same car wreck collide with my solar plexus and toss me down a rabbit hole of giddy head spinning highs and that soaring, almost nauseatingly disorienting feeling of time stopping and slowing and turning on its head. I stumbled away, a new crush ablaze across my cheeks and in every tip of my fingers, burning coiled springs in the soles of my feet, a song whispering in the cold, grey, slumbering chamber of my strange little heart. And …

Diet-Coke Chicken, 54p [A Girl Called Jack]

You don’t have to use Diet Coke to make the barbecue sauce for this recipe; if you don’t mind the sugar, ordinary full-fat will do instead. And of course, I have priced mine as supermarket own brand saccharine sticky cola, because that’s my jam. Serve with rice, chips, a buttered bun, or slaw – however you like. (For vegan and vegetarian readers, this recipe was first published in A Girl Called Jack in 2014. The same sauce works brilliantly with a large flat mushroom, and when I have got around to uploading my back catalogue, I will do that recipe too! For now, just scroll past and mutter rude things about me, if you must.) Serves 2 from 54p 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.) 2 tbsp oil, 3p (97p/1l, Asda) 4 chicken thighs or drums, 73p (£2.20/12 drumsticks, Asda) …

Creamy Mustard Chicken With Root Veg, 48p [A Girl Called Jack]

This creamy mustard chicken recipe is adapted from A Girl Called Jack and contains four of your five a day! If you’re veggie, replace the chicken with butter beans for a similar protein hit, and if you’re vegan, use your favourite plant-based milk in place of the usual stuff. Serves 4 from 48p each. Prices calculated at major supermarkets and correct at the time of writing. This post is not sponsored though I may make a small amount if you click the links and make a purchase. 600g chicken thighs or drums, 95p (£1.58/kg, frozen at Tesco) 2 tbsp cooking oil, 3p (£1/1l, Asda) 500ml chicken stock, 3p (39p/12 stock cubes, Asda) 200g carrots, 10p (50p/1kg, Sainsburys) 200g onion, 10p (50p/1kg, Sainsburys) 250g swede, 26p (30p a jar, Smartprice at Asda) 1 tsp mixed dried herbs, 3p 200g long grain rice, to serve, 9p (45p/1kg, Sainsburys) 2 tbsp plain flour, 5p (45p/1.5kg, Stockwell at Tesco) 2 more tbsp cooking oil, 6p (£1/1l, Asda) 1 tsp mustard, 1p (35p a jar, Sainsburys) 125ml milk, 6p (52p/1l, …

Salmon, Lemon and Pea Pasta, 22p [ITV]

This recipe was adapted from the Creamy Salmon Pasta in A Girl Called Jack – I’ve simplified the cooking method a bit and added a generous fistful of frozen peas to make it even healthier. Serves 4 from 21p per head. Prices calculated at major supermarkets and correct at time of writing. 300g spaghetti, 12p (20p/500g, Asda) 150g salmon paste, 54p (27p/75g jar, Stockwell at Tesco) 60ml milk, 3p (52p/1l UHT, Asda) 200g frozen peas, 14p (68p/1kg, Asda) Lemon juice, 3p, and plenty of black pepper, <1p Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, and add the pasta. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the peas halfway through to defrost and cook so they’re lovely and tender. While the pasta and peas cook, grab a small bowl, and beat together the salmon paste, milk and lemon juice. Season generously with black pepper. When the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat and drain. Tip the pasta into the pan and coat with the sauce, and …

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 …

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 …

Mushroom Rogan Josh, 31p

Last night I fancied a curry, a nice hot curry to warm the very cockles of my draughty flat, but like so many evenings of the dreaded ‘cooking for one’, I just couldn’t decide what curry to have. I opened the fridge, glowered at a bunch of onions and a handful of mushrooms, and took to Twitter with a poll. It’s my new favourite way of, to coin a phrase, Making Your Mind Up. (I challenge you, Brits of a certain age, to not take that on as an earworm now. I make no apologies.) The poll returned me a mushroom rogan josh over a korma or vindaloo, and I set about making it. Recipes online vary wildly, from the eyebrow-raising ‘take a jar of madras paste’ on the BBC Good Food website, to paprika, to Jamie Oliver’s cloves and allsorts. I picked all the bits I liked from about seven different recipes, made it vegan, adjusted it to taste as I went along, and when done, carried the pan to bed and devoured the …

Roasted Carrot, Chickpea & Garlic Soup, 20p

I first made this soup a couple of years ago, a bit snuffly around the edges, with a sore throat and generally feeling a bit sorry for myself, and limping around tragically on a broken left foot. This may be the most self-pitying recipe introduction to date. But basically, I fancied something warm, and sweet, and comforting, and easy to do. Something I could fling in the oven and forget about, and get something good inside. Carrot led to roast carrot, and garlic, and some chickpeas for protein and good measure – and the result is a subtly spiced, hearty, sweet and delicious soup. It’s like the soup equivalent of a cuddle, this one. And suitable for all my lovely vegan readers, too. (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.) Serves 4 at 20p each: 300g carrots (approx 3 medium ones), 13p …