All posts tagged: summer food

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 …

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 …

Crumpets, 6p [from ‘Veganish’]

I very rarely advocate the use of specialist equipment in my recipes, but there is simply no way to make a crumpet without the use of an egg poaching ring. I retired mine when I went vegan, and had to properly search through my kitchen to find them again, but it was worth it. I picked mine up for £1 from a well known hardware and home store, and they have lasted a good few years so far, so I consider them a worthy investment. You could make a giant crumpet in a frying pan, I suppose, but it would be mighty ambitious. They take a little practise and patience, both of which I sorely lack, and I spent an entire day perfecting this recipe, which is virtually unheard of in my slapdash, quickfire kitchen, so enjoy them. There is an ongoing debate about whether they are best eaten for dinner, supper, breakfast, lunch, or tea – let me know when you have yours in the comments below! (This post is not sponsored; I provide …

Peach & Chickpea Curry, 61p [A Girl Called Jack]

This is my favourite curry, my go-to, easy but perfect comfort food. I used to make it with a cheap turkey leg, but any protein source will do – so feel free to chuck a fistful of whatever you fancy in with the onions if you want to bulk it out or extend it. Recipe from A Girl Called Jack. Serves 2 from 61p 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 if you make a purchase.) 400g canned chickpeas, 40p 1 onion, 5p (54p/1kg) 2 fat cloves of garlic, 4p (17p/bulb) 1 chilli or a pinch of dried chilli flakes, <1p (80p/100g) a splash of oil, 2p (£1.10/1l) 1 tsp cumin (ground or seeds), 2p (£1.15/100g) 1 x 400g tin of peaches (or apricots or mandarins), 33p (33p/411g) 1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes, 30p a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped …

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, …

Broad Bean Salad, 38p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

Broad beans can be bought frozen for around £1.50 for a 750g bag – much cheaper than their fresh counterparts, and no prising them from fiddly little pods either – although I do love thumbing the velvety lining of fresh pods to pop them out… Whether you choose fresh or frozen beans, this salad uses a lot of storecupboard basic ingredients, like lemon, garlic, herbs and cheese. It takes just minutes to knock together, and I think it tastes like summer’s coming… 140g broad beans, 23p (£1.25/750g frozen broad beans, Asda) 40g hard strong cheese, 43p (£1.60/150g, Smart Price grated hard cheese) 50g salad leaves, 48p (70p/75g, Asda) a fat clove of garlic, 2p (60p for 3 bulbs, Asda) 1 tbsp oil, 1p (97p/1l sunflower oil, Asda) Juice of half a lemon or 2 tbsp bottled lemon juice, 4p (39p/250ml, Asda) A fistful of fresh mint, 3p (60p/25g, growers selection at Asda) Salt and pepper First bring a pan of water to the boil. Drop in the frozen broad beans for two to three minutes …

Peanut Butter & Jam Crumble, 21p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

I am near fanatical about peanut butter and jam – or peanut butter and jelly, for my readers across the pond. I have previously made these extremely popular PBJ cookies (vegan version here), PBJ microwave brownies for BBC Good Food, a PBJ semifreddo ice cream for a Small Boy and a PBJ pie with peanut butter hand-kneaded into the pastry, stuffed with thick, unctuous strawberry jam. My latest homage to my favourite marriage of flavours is this – the PBJ crumble I served at a lunch for 10 yesterday – met with a chorus of rapture as I placed it on the table (readers who are old enough – or young enough – to have seen the original Toy Story film, it was like offering it to a crowd of small green aliens…) It went down a treat with all ten of us, even the unenthusiastic crumble hater and the one who insisted she didn’t like peanut butter – and four of us had generous seconds (and six were mildly disappointed). It can be made …

Home made Pop T*rts, 10p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

As a child I loved Pop-Tarts™, those saccharine toaster pastries thick with white icing and multi-coloured sprinkles that, when eaten greedily from the toaster, would scald your tongue with red-hot jam. I decided to see if I could make my own version from scratch, pastry and all, and here they are. They’re not an everyday breakfast but they’re definitely a why-the-heck-not breakfast! Makes 8 at 10p 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. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 100g unsalted butter or substitute, plus extra for greasing, 22p 200g plain flour, plus extra for the worktop, 7p (45p/1.5kg) 6 tablespoons cold water 6–8 tablespoons jam, 10p (28p/454g) 6 tablespoons icing sugar, approx. 50g, 10p (£1/500g) sprinkles, 30p (£1/50g) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. First, make the pastry. Either melt the butter in …

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 …

Coronation Frickin’ Burger, 13p

I discovered a taste for Coronation Chicken when I was still in primary school, finding a tub of the pre-made deli style stuff in my parents fridge and, after a tentative sniff, decided to try a little of it with my undoubtedly disgusting small-child finger. And I LOVED it. I begged my parents for it, queer little thing I was. Not that I knew its delightful secrets at the time, but the combination of sweet sticky mango chutney with a creamy sauce and subtle spice, spiked with fat juicy sultanas, became one of my favourite things. As a teenager, walking 14 miles to and from school on occasion accompanied by my slightly older brother, I would spend the bus fare we saved on a tub of it from the corner shop, dumped unceremoniously over a bag of chips and eaten with my fingers. And then I grew up, and promptly forgot all about it. This burger is a homage to the humble and delightful Coronation Chicken, yet no monarchs were crowned nor chickens harmed in …

Vegan Moussaka, 31p [from ‘Veganish’]

As the granddaughter of a Cypriot immigrant, I know my claim to have made the ‘ultimate’ moussaka is indeed a bold one. My grandfather would laugh in my face at the very notion of this vegan offering being considered anything close to the original, but, being a former chef himself (he once had a restaurant called the BellaPais in Southend, before moving on to greasy spoon fry-ups at his humble guest house), his laughter would surely dissipate into an appreciative growl once he got this past his guffaws. I have long feared making moussaka, worrying it would not pass muster with my Greek bones, but tonight, I think I have cracked it. Gone are the eggs that would normally bolster the white sauce, replaced instead with unctuous cashew milk and a smattering of mustard for richness. The lamb becomes lentils, a sort of poundshop reverse Jesus trick, and the whole thing luxuriates, dense yet sloppy, earthy yet bright, wholesome yet decadent, and 31p per portion. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the …

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 …

Slow Rich Lentil Ragu, 29p (slow cooker)

Cooking anything for 12 hours when on the most stringent of budgets sounds like an eye-popping luxury, but fear not bootstrap fans, there’s only as many hours actual cooking as you want to stretch to, and done in a slow cooker it costs less than keeping a lightbulb on. For the last few years readers have been asking me to venture into slow cooker recipes, and mine is this nifty little £12 number from Wilko (no I’m not on commission, unfortunately!). At 1.5l it just holds enough for a main meal for two hungry people or four smaller appetites. I have had mine for around 4 years and it is still going strong, so it is well worth the investment if you can afford it, for what you will save in energy costs, time, effort and headspace alone. It is no big secret that I am not always in the greatest of health, mental or physical, and on low spoons days I need something that delivers the maximum nutrition on the minimum of effort; I’m …

Tomatoey Baba Ghanoush, 30p [A Girl Called Jack]

Baba Ghanoush is a popular Middle Eastern dish, often served as a dip with flatbreads or pitta. I sometimes add cooked chickpeas to mine for a simple, flavoursome supper, or toss it through pasta with fresh mint for an easy lunch. I highly recommend cooking the aubergines over an open flame for a deep, smoky intensity – I hold mine over a medium gas hob with a pair of barbecue tongs and my sleeves rolled up – although charring under the grill is nearly as good. For the accompanying toasted pittas, slice pitta breads through the middle then cut into triangles, brush with a little oil and pop under the grill for 4 to 5 minutes until crispy. This recipe first appeared in my cookbook, A Girl Called Jack. (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 as a snack at …

Tofu Shashlik, 51p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

I ordered a rare takeaway last week, having spent 2 days gutting and cleaning my school-holidays-ravaged house from top to bottom, exhausted, and unwilling to mess up my kitchen having spent 17 hours in a pair of marigolds and mostly on my knees. They had a fairly decent range for us herbivores, but I found myself hankering after a shashlik. Shashlik is usually skewered meat cooked in spices before being blasted in a tandoori oven, and having neither a tandoori nor any inclination to nibble on a duck or a lamb, I started to ponder how I could make a reasonably authentic veggie version. Mushrooms were out, aubergine would probably be okay but not quite what I wanted, and then I landed on the reduced tofu in Tesco. Bingo. The tofu shashlik was born. I posted it on Twitter and hundreds of you asked for the recipe, so here it is. As usual, prices are based on Sainsbury’s Basics, but other supermarkets offer similar products at competitive prices. If you know of any real bargains, …