All posts tagged: Spaghetti

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Oh My God Dinner, 28p [A Girl Called Jack]

Oh My God Dinner (or, ‘I Was Going To Make Pasta Alla Genovese And Then I Remembered That Sodding Courgette Rolling Around In My Fridge…’) 55p for 2 portions, or just under 28p 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.) 70g bacon, 11p (£1.09/670g) 1 chilli (free, grows on my window ledge) 80g spaghetti, 6p (39p/500g) Fistful each parsley, mint, basil (free, grows on my window ledge) 10ml lemon juice, 2p (60p/250ml) 50g green beans, 7p (£1.40/kg, frozen) 20g Brie, 11p (£1.09/200g) 1 garlic clove, 3p (46p for 2 bulbs with average 8 cloves each) 1/2 courgette, 15p (£1.80/kg, 6 in my bag) Chop the bacon into small pieces and add to the sauté pan with the lemon juice (10ml is 2 teaspoons), diced courgette and chopped chilli. Cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally to turn. In the meantime, break …

Use-Me-For-Anything Tomato Sauce, 13p [A Girl Called Jack]

This tomato sauce is exactly what its name says – a wonderfully versatile sauce for all occasions. I make a large batch and freeze it in small jars or ice cube trays to use as the base for pasta sauces, soups, stews, or anything that could do with a bit of pepping up. It stands alone as a pretty decent pasta sauce, too. This recipe first appeared in my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack, in 2012, but I have updated it slightly here to reflect the rise in basic food costs, eliminating the red wine vinegar and tomato puree for a simpler splat of tomato ketchup – which does the same job, but far more cheaply. Every day is a school day round here. Makes approximately 6 generous portions 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.) 2 tbsp …

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 …

Carrot Ribbon Pasta, 30p

This recipe was one of my favourite, simple ones from my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack. Originally borne of a way to use up a bulk-buy bag of carrots (in the days before the guinea pig!), and to make veg exciting for a then two-year-old boy, it’s a simple, bright staple in my home today. In fact, I’ve just had it for my lunch. It’s beautiful, simple and delightful, and can be enjoyed all year round. Use whatever herbs you have to hand for the green sauce, I usually like basil or parsley in this one, but the Chief Herb Buyer in our house accidentally bought a ton of dill last week for a cooking project, and I’m reluctant to buy anything else until I’ve made a dent in the dill mountain in the fridge. Turns out it’s really yummy with dill, but if you don’t have it in or won’t use it in a week or two, don’t buy it specially – stick to a failsafe herb that’s easier to use up, like …

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 …

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca [A Year In 120 Recipes]

My take on Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is a little different – I prefer tinned sardines to the more traditional anchovies, and I like to add some of the preserved oil for a distinctive flavour. This dish is a hot, fast joyride for your tastebuds with its fiery chilli, soft chunks of fish, vinegary capers and salty aftertaste. (Serves 2) 4 fat cloves of garlic, peeled 1 fresh red chilli, chopped 2 tbsp oil 400g chopped tomatoes 100g tinned sardines in oil 200g dried spaghetti 1 tbsp capers 1 tbsp olives, pitted and diced Roughly chop the garlic – I like mine chunky in a dish like this, but if a mouthful of slightly crunchy garlic will put you off, chop it finely. Put it into a large saucepan with the chilli and oil and saute on a low heat for a few minutes. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and the oil from the sardines, and turn up the heat to bring it to the boil. Carefully remove the bones from the sardines by splitting them, …

Cauli & Bacon ‘Carbonara’

This is part spaghetti carbonara, part cauliflower cheese – and deliciously golden and moreish. Baking it at the end to melt the cheese isn’t essential, but does lift it to a better place. Using hard, strong cheese means that you don’t need very much of it, a trick I use quite often. I mean, what is the point of mild cheddar other than for kids packed lunches? (Serves 2) 150g spaghetti 1 tbsp oil 100g cauliflower, broken into small florets 100g streaky bacon, chopped 2 eggs 100ml milk Black pepper 30g hard strong cheese, grated Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, gently heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the cauliflower and bacon. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and beat in. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add to the pan with the cauliflower and bacon. Pour in the egg mixture and mix …

Liver & Lentil Bolognese

Tonight’s dinner came courtesy of some chicken liver at the back of the freezer, and some veg left over from a photoshoot yesterday. Idly flicking through my cookbook collection to find a new chicken liver idea, I came across a bolognese in Save With Jamie. Mine’s not identical – I’ve left out the bacon and mushrooms and chicken stock for a start, and replaced the balsamic vinegar with white wine vinegar, and added frozen spinach for some greens and to lift the flavour… And far more tomatoes than his recipe, because I like a good tomatoey ragu sauce. The result? I ate a good portion of this from the pan, and proclaimed it the best bolognese I’d ever eaten. Between me and Jamie, this is a job jobbed. Cheers. Chicken liver and lentil bolognese, serves 4. Ingredients: 1 carrot 1 onion 2 fat cloves of garlic 1tbsp oil 200g chicken livers 1 tsp fennel seeds 1 red chilli 400g chopped tomatoes 1 tbsp vinegar – red wine or white wine 100g red lentils 100g frozen …

Feisty Soup [A Girl Called Jack]

I make this for myself whenever I feel as though I am coming down with a cold. you know – when you’ve got that shaky, exhausted feeling and general self-pity. Instead of spending a fortune on various over-the-counter paracetamol and lemon drinks, I drag myself into the kitchen and cook myself a cure. This is called feisty soup for a reason: it’s a bit like hot and sour Chinese soup in a way, and if this doesn’t help shift whatever is wrong with you, I’m not sure what will. I’ve combined lots of natural goodies that have antioxidant and other nutritional qualities – garlic for goodness, chillies to fire up your system, tomatoes for vitamin C and lemon and ginger to cleanse and revitalize. (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 1 onion 1 fat clove of garlic a thick …