All posts tagged: green veg

Pearl Barley, Mushroom & Lentil Risotto, 44p

I have a feeling I should be calling this a ‘barlotto’ rather than a risotto, as the ‘ris’ in risotto refers specifically to rice, and I take enough liberties with that particular medium as it is, with my use of long grain rice in place of arborio to keep the costs down. But risotto, barlotto, whateverotto, this combination of pearl barley and brown lentils is fast becoming my new favourite, having had it in various guises for dinner for the last three nights running. I was once quite intimidated by pearl barley, not being entirely sure what to do with it, how to cook it, if it needed soaking beforehand, and thinking it was more of a ‘waitrose type’ ingredient than something for me, but my Mum, who is a Northern Irish lass, scolded me for my preconceptions, telling me that it was one of the main ingredients in her Irish Soup that she would make for herself, her eight brothers and sisters, and her Mum and Dad. Chastened, I decided to investigate it for …

Sausage & Beer Casserole, 74p

I love how the cheapest can of beer can be enriched by half a dozen sausages and a few other ingredients for a homely, comforting, classic dinner – delicious with a pile of mash and some green veg. This recipe first appeared in A Girl Called Jack, and an adapted version was published in my Guardian recipe column in 2014. For vegetarian and vegan readers, I have found Linda McCartney Red Onion & Rosemary Sausages are the  best here, but you may have another preference!   Serves 2 generously from 74p each. (I may earn a small fee if you click the links or purchase any recommended products below) 6 sausages, 27p (91p for 20, Smartprice frozen sausages, Asda) a splash of oil, 2p (£2.94/3l, vegetable oil at Asda) 1 onion, 9p (90p/1kg, Farm Stores at Asda) 2 cloves of garlic, 4p (20p per bulb, Asda) 250g mushrooms, 54p (54p/250g, Farm Stores at Asda) 1 x 330ml can of beer, 23p (90p for 4x440ml Bitter, Asda) 1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes, …

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 …

Ham, Pea & Mint Casserole, 30p [A Girl Called Jack]

This delicious ham casserole is adapted from a favourite old recipe of mine – where I would boil the ham joint whole to make a stock, before shredding it into the casserole. This faster version is no compromise, making a delicious hearty dinner in less than half the time. For an extra special twist, serve with crusty bread topped with melted cheese and green vegetables. Serves 4-6 depending on age and appetites, at 30p each 500g cooking bacon, 85p (or ham joint or streaky bacon) 2 small onions or 1 whopping one (about 250g all in), 15p 1 tablespoon cooking oil, 2p 400ml chicken stock, 3p 100ml apple juice, 7p (or white wine if you prefer) a handful of fresh parsley, 4p a handful of fresh mint, 4p 350g tinned potatoes (drained weight), 20p or other small white potatoes 160g tinned carrots (drained weight), 20p or 2 small fresh ones 150g frozen peas, 18p Dice the ham or bacon and peel and chop the onions. Put into a frying pan with the oil and fry …

Minestrone Soup, 19p

I often receive letters and emails from friends, family and readers asking for ideas for cheap lunches. Aside from the ubiquitous cheese sandwich or home made scone-muffin-type-thing and an apple, banana or pear, one of my favourite staple lunches for this time of year is A Good Hearty Soup. And nothing says hearty soup quite like one packed with pasta and beans and chunky vegetables! I’ve been making minestrone soup for so long, I’m amazed it didn’t make it into either of my books – but I guess I’d never taken the time to write the recipe down and think about it too much. It’s one of my staples for a leftover half can of beans or chopped tomatoes, a scraggy little carrot or half an onion in the bottom of the veg drawer, tired greens, and those little broken bits of pasta in the bottom of the bag, or odds and sods of pasta that aren’t quite enough to do anything with. I keep all the last few bits of pasta, and the broken …

Moroccan Not-A-Tagine [A Girl Called Jack]

This tagine uses my three staple spices – turmeric, cumin and paprika – to deliver a gorgeous sweet and spicy dinner. I made it for Xanthe Clay from the Daily Telegraph when she visited for an article called ‘My 49p Lunch With A Girl Called Jack’. In her words: ‘the food is very fine, and it’s also healthy’ – so what are you waiting for? I like to serve mine with couscous and rice, and green vegetables. 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 large onion 2 fat cloves of garlic 1 red chilli a splash of oil zest and juice of half a lemon, or 1 tbsp bottled lemon juice 1 heaped tsp turmeric 1 heaped tsp cumin (ground or seeds) 1 heaped tsp paprika 1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes 1 tsp sugar a …