All posts tagged: frozen spinach

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 …

Ultimate Lasagne, 35p [from ‘Veganish’]

This beautiful lasagne barely needs an introduction, as when I posted it on my Instagram, it received rapturous demands for the recipe. Good things come to those who wait, and here it is. Making lasagne from scratch is always a bit of a fanny, so I have deliberately made this recipe enormous so you can freeze it in portions for a quick ready meal, to make all of the work involved worthwhile by rewarding yourself with days where you won’t have to cook. Simply portion it into foil containers with those cardboard lids (around 8 for £1 from most supermarkets and factory outlet type stores, and reusable dozens of times if you wash them carefully) and pop into the freezer for a lazy day. For those of you who don’t have wine kicking about the place or don’t want to slosh it into your dinner, simply add stock or extra tomatoes in place of it. I have opted not to put cheese on mine, but you can if you want – for my vegan readers, …

Self Love Stew, 38p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

This recipe first appeared on my Instagram account (for readers clutching this book [Cooking on a Bootstrap] in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Instagram is a photograph-sharing network where people mostly show off their dinner and houses that are much larger and cleaner than mine). It was a rough night, in the middle of a tough week, embedded in a hellish year, and I wasn’t cooking. Overwhelmed by life and sadness, I hadn’t been in my kitchen for days. I needed comfort, and nourishment, and I forced myself to the stove. This revelation may come as something of a surprise, but even I can’t cook sometimes. This did the trick – and you can use a handful of frozen veg in place of chopping anything, if you like. (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 2-4 from 38p each oil, for frying, 3p …

Mushroom Mac ‘n’ Cheese, 42p [from ‘Veganish’]

This is one of my favourite comfort meals, quick to assemble, using ingredients that I generally have kicking about the house, and can just be slung in the oven and forgotten about, left to slowly pull itself together in a haze of blissful creamy soft salty rich glorious goodness. I’ve just polished off my second bowl of it, and frankly, it’s too good not to share with you all, so here it is. It’s easy to make it vegan – replace the hard strong cheese and mozzarella with Violife or something similar, and the milk with coconut or almond or soya milk, depending on what you prefer. It’s easy to throw together, and the reward of a deep bowl of melting goodness far outweighs the minimal effort involved in making it. I consider this an essential part of my repertoire these days, and barely a week goes by without it. It freezes beautifully, too, so do double the recipe and sling some of it to one side for a lazy day. Serves three people, or …

Mac n Blue Cheese With Bacon, 54p

This is an idea that has been kicking around in my head for a long time; combining the soft salty kick of a blue cheese sauce with a classic mac n cheese recipe. I made it for my colleagues for lunch today, and it went down an absolute storm. Simple, classy, comforting – and sure to become a quick staple for feeding a crowd. Veggie readers; replace the bacon with mushrooms tossed in a little paprika. Vegan readers, this ‘free from’ blue cheese and any plant milk of your choice would work here. Serves 4 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. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 3 tbsp butter or soft spread, 3p (75p/500g) 300g macaroni or other pasta, 29p (95p/1kg) 2 tbsp flour, 3p (45p/1.5kg) 500ml milk, 24p (£1.09/4 …

Lentil & Spinach Daal, 37p

So, if you’ve made the Beetroot, Feta and Lentil salad that I kicked off my Guardian recipe column with – or you have some lentils and spinach still kicking about, here’s a recipe for a quick warming winter dinner. It’s easy and filling – I love mine with pitta breads dunked in… Serves two at 37p 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 onion, 5p (54p/1kg) 1 red chilli or pinch of dried flakes, 1p (£1.15/100g) 1 tbsp oil, 2p (£1.10/1l) 2 tsp cumin or turmeric, or a tsp each if you have them, 3p (£1.15/100g) 100g red split lentils, 18p (£1.80/kg) 1 stock cube, 3p  200ml water 200ml natural yoghurt, 16p (80p/1kg) 130g spinach, 22p (£1.50/900g) 1 tbsp lemon juice, 3p First, peel and finely slice the onion, and finely chop the chilli, and add to a large frying pan …

Tinned Fishcakes, 17p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

A couple of years ago, I was later asked to do a stint on a BBC programme, Inside The Factory, on tinned food , and went for the day to a four-star hotel to play head chef to unsuspecting diners, who believed they were trying out the upmarket hotel’s new menu. This was their starter, and they all enthusiastically loved it, even when the ‘big reveal’ at the end proved that it had been made with value range tinned potatoes and a 40p tin of sardines. At the time of filming, these fishcakes worked out at 17p per head – prices change all the time, of course , but they remain a nifty, inexpensive, filling little number. And good enough for a roomful of self-styled food connoisseurs, too. (I’m currently trialling a partnership program with the budget supermarkets that I shop in for my recipes. If you click the links in the recipes I may earn a small commission, but don’t just click for the sake of it as they’re wise to that! As ever, …

Spinach, Lentil & Lemon Soup, 34p [Cook For Syria]

This easy, comforting spinach and lentil soup was inspired by a recipe in Saha, by Greg and Lucy Malouf. I made it a few times as a quick late-night supper, before I lost the notebook with the details in one of my many house moves. For a long while, as a single mum on benefits, I all but lived out of a pile of boxes as I ran from rent arrears to damp and mould to a single mattress on a floor in a shared house, and a lot of pieces of paper – and nerve endings – got lost along the way. Here’s what I remember of it, in happier times these days, with a few blanks filled in. Homely, comforting and filling, it can also be made with tinned lentils and frozen spinach for the ultimate easy, inexpensive lunch or dinner. (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 …

Red Mushroom Curry, 40p

This hot spicy little number is a favourite in my household for dealing with the dreaded cold and flu, or when feeling a little run down. The combination of garlic, ginger, chilli, tomatoes and a kick of citrus is a feisty relief for the symptoms of even the most grim winter germs. I make a double batch of the paste and pop it in the freezer for future use. Of course, you can use a jar of shop-bought curry paste too, if you are feeling really rough; I’ve been there and I absolutely sympathise. I blitz mine in a blender to get the paste super smooth, but it’s not essential, you can just throw it all in a pan for a similar effect, just with a little extra texture, which is fine. Serves 2-4 from 40p each 1 large onion, 9p (90p/1.5kg, Sainsburys Basics) 4 cloves of garlic, 6p (35p/2 bulbs of garlic, Sainsburys Basics) A small piece of ginger, 3p (30p/100g loose ginger, Sainsburys) ¼ tsp red chilli flakes, 1p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC …

Black Bean & Peanut Stew, 26p

The original version of this dish contained chicken, so I have substituted it with black beans here. It makes for a more filling meal, and a cheaper one, too, as beans and pulses are generally far cheaper than meat and pulses. Dried beans work out even cheaper, but they require a degree of organisation to remember to soak them the evening before, or even to know what you will be eating in advance. I have never managed to be quite so organised, so it would be disingenuous of me to urge you all to do so, but if you are a meal-planning person, bear in mind that dried pulses are a lot cheaper than the convenience of popping open a tin of pre-cooked ones. If you find black beans difficult to get hold of or not to your taste, you can use kidney beans, green lentils, or really, any bean will do. The cooking time given here is a minimum, not an absolute, as with any pulse-based stew, it will simply improve the longer it …

Caribbean Style Chilli, 28p

Winter is coming, the time of year where perpetual colds and snuffles are imminent, the nights draw in darker, and I start to crave a little bit of heat and spice. Usually I spend my winters making long slow curries, but, ambling around the Caribbean section of a supermarket I don’t usually manage to get to, I started to rifle through the unusual (to me) goods on offer, and muse about what to do with them. I enjoy a new culinary adventure, and I picked up a few tins of gungo peas, callalloo (a little like spinach), ackee. I wrote down ‘cornmeal porridge’, threw a large bag of rosecoco beans into my basket, and made notes in the little back-pocket notebook I am rarely without. I went home and tweeted about my haul, and Twitter followers with a lifetime of experience in cooking with these ingredients kindly sent me recipes and ideas. A new adventure is beginning, and I am super excited to explore it. This chilli was my first foray, not dissimilar from my …

Don’t Throw That Away! An A-Z of leftovers, tired veg, etc and what to do with them.

This piece started after an article in the Independent about the top 10 foods that we apparently throw away in the UK. I took to Twitter to ask people what usually ended up in their bin, and then spent a whole day and night answering hundreds of queries – some of them came up a lot, like bread and mushrooms, and some were rather more surprising, like ‘half a jar of caviar’ (not a problem I can say I have ever had, but I am here to help, and inverse snobbery is as ghastly as the original kind so please, resist the urge.) I have compiled them all here as an A-Z, and will keep this list going, and add to it regularly, as a handy reference point – so keep checking back! And add your own tips at the bottom, our ‘hive mind’ is a much better thing than my admittedly limited experience!! Also remember you can always use the search bar on the blog to find recipe ideas too, for that stray carrot, …

Mushroom & Spinach Bolognese, 38p

I’ve been meaning to write about my ‘mushroom mince’ for months now – I use it instead of soya mince or Quorn as a cheaper alternative that isn’t full of unpronounceable ingredients or a gazillion processes. It’s simple, quick, and actually tastes like food, and can be dried out and stored in a jar for months, or frozen to use as required. Basically, finely slice your mushrooms, then chop them up like billy-o until they’re finely diced. They’ll shrink a bit in the pan as they lose moisture anyway. Then either use them straight away, or freeze, or spread thinly on a baking tray (or any tray) on a layer of kitchen paper and leave to dry for a day or two somewhere safe and not moist (not the bathroom, for example). Now for the fun part – a bolognese packed full of veg, costing pennies, suitable for your vegan friends but convincing enough for the carnivores – enjoy! This is my new favourite winter comforting bowl-food. Serves 2 adults and 2 children at 38p …

How To Shop On A Budget – from A Girl Called Jack

These are the handy hints in the front of my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack and are as useful now as they were then – it’s advice I give readers all the time, old and new, so I thought it would be handy to pop it here too: WRITE A LIST AND STICK TO IT. It sounds obvious, but I only generally have two kinds of shopping experiences. Those where I walk into the store, list in hand, doggedly stick to it and come out with everything I need and no money wasted. And those where I run in in a hurry, flail about, grab things I don’t need, and berate myself all week for wasting money and forgetting certain essential items. The first few times may feel awful. Many a time, as a single mum on benefits that were suspended or delayed, with no spare money in my bank account and just a handful of change, I found myself standing in the freezer aisle staring at luxury ice cream. Picking up the posh coffee …

Courgette, Tomato & Cheese Gratin, 34p [A Girl Called Jack]

This recipe from my microwave series is based on a recipe from my book, A Girl Called Jack, that I see popping up on my Twitter feed and Facebook pages time and time again – it seems to be a definite favourite among my lovely readers! And so, I wondered if it was possible to make a portable microwave version, either for busy evenings, energy saving cooking, or even to pop into a jar in your work bag to stave off the boredom of yet another soggy cheese sandwich or expensive takeaway lunch. The microwave version has fewer ingredients than the original, oven-bake recipe – trying to keep it simple. I’ll also confess that I’ve made it with a few different rices as an experiment; although the simple basic 45p-a-kilo white rice will always be my go-to budget staple, this dish IS delicious with nutty brown rice too, if it’s the kind of thing you keep in the cupboard, and if not then don’t worry about it. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links …