All posts tagged: thyme

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 …

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 …

Ratatouille, 69p

For the last two years of our courtship, Mrs J has been asking me very nicely to make her a ratatouille. Some childhood memory of a baked potato hot from a food van, piled high with soft, veg-laden ratatouille, stirs within her a bone-deep blissful comfort. Oblivious to the emotional sentiment, I would simply mutter something about ‘not being a frigging cafe’, and make something else. The truth is, I had never made a ratatouille before. My knowledge of it stemmed entirely from a Pixar movie starring a small excitable animated rat, and an indeterminable can of mush I was given at the food bank once that was so inexorably unappetising, I never wanted to see it or its ilk again. And then one day a few weeks ago, with the holy triumvirate of courgette, aubergine and pepper in the fridge, I decided to surprise her. I dug out my French cookery books – French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David, The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo, and Elisabeth Luard’s Classic French Cooking, all liberated …

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, …

Garlic Jam, 76p

This started out as a curious thought in the back of my head – I know garlic softens and sweetens the longer you cook it, so could I make garlic jam? I scribbled some notes based on what little I know about jam making, dug out an old onion marmalade recipe to use as a rough guide, and promptly forgot all about it. Then one weekend, I acquired some beautiful purple garlic bulbs, and the garlic jam pondering resurfaced… I spent a pleasant evening peeling and slicing 40 cloves of garlic, and ended up with 2 jars of this sweet, punchy, unapologetic condiment. You can serve it on toast with freshly sliced ripe tomatoes, or with buttery sautéed mushrooms, or dolloped on the side of a curry, roast dinner, or wherever takes your fancy. (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.) Makes …

Sausagne, 43p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

Making lasagne is an arse. A labour of love. An every-pan atrocity strewn around the desolate wasteland of what was formerly your kitchen. I have made dozens of lasagnes in my short lifetime, and halfway through every single one comes the moment, without fail, whereby I survey the three pans on the hob, the piles of everything, the crap strewn across every available worksurface and some of the not-available ones, too, and I wail inside that I could have just bought one for less than a quid at the supermarket. One night, craving lasagne but not the work that went with it, I threw this together, and the Sausagne was born. I’m not suggesting for a minute that it is an exact substitute but, my, it ticks all the soft, cheesy, comforting, gooey boxes, and with far less washing up. (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 …

Lemon & Thyme No-Churn Ice Cream [A Year In 120 Recipes]

I made this for a Mother’s Day past, with an accidental large amount of cream to get through. It’s a lemon and thyme semi-freddo, but by the end of dinner and several glasses of wine, we’d affectionately named it Fred – ‘Anyone for the last of Fred?’. Fred was a huge success with all the mothers present. If you’re a bit suspicious of herbs in desserts, leave them out or substitute a fistful of chopped berries. Serves 10 zest and juice of 2 lemons or 4 tablespoons bottled lemon juice a fistful of thyme sprigs 6 egg yolks 100g caster sugar 500ml double cream First, grate the zest from the lemons, if using, and pick 2 teaspoons of leaves off the thyme sprigs. Squeeze the lemons. Put the zest and thyme leaves into a small bowl. Set to one side. Next, line a 700g loaf tin, Tupperware box or empty ice-cream tub with two layers of cling film, using your fingers to push it into the corners, with a few centimetres spare all round. This …

Simple Tomato & Bean Soup, 20p [A Girl Called Jack]

This simple staple started off as a tin of baked beans, thoroughly rinsed, plus a carton of chopped tomatoes – out of which I made a hearty, filling soup suitable for lunch or a light supper. I’ve jazzed it up a bit since then! And don’t be scared of rinsing baked beans, they are normally just haricot or borlotti or cannelini beans slathered in ‘that’ bright orange tomato sauce, and the value range versions are much cheaper than their plain counterparts. In case you’re interested, this recipe cost 15p per portion in 2012, and is up to 19p per portion 6 years later. Not the worst price rise I’ve seen when rewriting my older recipes, but still a little annoying.) (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 1 medium onion, 7p (59p/1kg, Farm Stores at Asda) 2 …

Mac n Swede, 19p

The humble swede is a much misunderstood vegetable, and one I can truly empathise with. Misshapen, lumpy, outwardly tough, slightly bitter and difficult to get under the skin of, but once you get inside, it’s soft, delicate, sweet and surprisingly versatile. Asda have them for 20p each at the moment, and as the author of an ultra low budget cookery website, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up really getting to know the inscrutable rutabega once and for all. The cheese in this recipe can be substituted for any vegan cheese of your choice – I didn’t have any to hand, and am not going to pretend otherwise. (I made myself a separate cheese-free portion but my 8 year old would not have touched it without the cheesy element, and parenting is challenging enough at times without fighting over liquidised root vegetables). Can be made gluten free by using GF pasta of your choice. Serves 4 at 19p each 1 large swede, 20p (20p each, Asda) 2 tbsp cooking oil, 3p (98p/1l, Asda) …

Butter Bean & Cider Cassoulet, 35p

This soft, creamy cassoulet is a can of beans at its finest; simmered until gently collapsing, bolstered by rich, slow-cooked flavour. In a nod to the traditional French version, I have added a smattering of paprika in place of the traditional bacon pieces for a similar smoky flavour. Leftovers can be frozen, and it makes a tremendous pie filling. (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 4-6 from 35p each 1 whole head of garlic, 15p (30p/2 bulbs, Sainsburys Basics) 2 large onions, 18p (90p/1.5kg, Sainsburys Basics) 4 large carrots, 18p (45p/1kg, Sainsburys Basics) 1 tbsp oil, 1p (£3/3l vegetable or sunflower oil) a generous pinch of dried thyme, <1p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC brand) 400g tin of cannelini or haricot or borlotti beans (baked beans with the sauce thoroughly rinsed off work just as well), 55p 400g tin of butter …

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 …

Crumbly Almond Cookies, 12p

Last night I really, really fancied cookies, in that way that sometimes the sweet tooth takes a hold. Usually it’s late at night. Usually when I have resolved to be healthier, and better, and eat less baked goods in the smallest hours. Like, on New Years Day. Succumbing, I pottered downstairs to the kitchen, and rummaged in my flour bin (really, a bread bin full of various flours, with the ethos that if I want bread I will have to make it. Like a proper little bread martyr). The bread/flour bin turned out to be neither, as I have fed a few dozen people over the last few weeks of festivities, and somehow have managed to bake my way through my usual 3kg of plain flour kicking about the house. Instead, I had an array of what we might call ‘experimental’ flours, purchased in varying fits of panic over the last year or so, usually coinciding with some new health blogger or clean eating trend, and then sitting, untouched, in the bottom of the flour …

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 …

Red Lentil Bolognese [A Girl Called Jack]

This meat-free Bolognese sauce is perfect over a bowl of pasta and topped with a handful of grated cheese. Allow 70 to 100g of dried pasta per person. I like to eat mine with some garlic bread as well, to mop up any leftover sauce. (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 clove of garlic 1 carrot 1 tablespoon oil a fistful of fresh thyme a fistful of fresh parsley 1 vegetable stock cube 50ml red wine 1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes 100g dried brown or red lentils, rinsed optional: 2 tablespoons tomato purée or tomato ketchup, to thicken the sauce grated strong hard cheese, to serve Peel and slice the onion, peel and crush the garlic, and put both into a large sauté or non-stick frying pan. Wash the carrot then grate …

Spring Piggy, 33p [A Girl Called Jack]

Spring Piggy, serves 4 for £1.34, or 34p each. This is an adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe for spring chicken, which was adapted in turn from a traditional rabbit recipe. That’s the thing about food, we all fiddle with it and tweak and make it posher or make it cheaper and add our own twists as we see fit. I didn’t have any chicken, but I did still have a generous hunk of that £1.09/670g bacon going begging, and a slightly pathetic half a savoy cabbage, so here’s what I did… (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.) 300g bacon, 48p (£1.09/670g) 1 garlic clove, 3p (46p for 2 bulbs, avg 8 cloves each) 1 onion, 5p (part of a 20pc mixed vegetable pack, £1) 1 carrot, 5p (part of a 20pc mixed vegetable pack, £1) 100ml white wine, 46p (Table …