All posts tagged: vegetarian on a bootstrap

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 …

Courgette Chocolate Cake, 16p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

Courgettes in cake came into fashion a few years ago, but I only really bothered with them when I had a glut of the green blighters one autumn. Desperate to get rid of them, I made them into wholesome soups, pestos, pasta sauces and smuggled a few into this big chocolate cake. The courgettes are virtually indetectable – a novel way of smuggling vegetables into your children or fussier members of your household – but the moisture gives a pleasurable density and a little heft to an otherwise light snack. Eat your greens, go on! Serves 6 rather generously at 16p 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 courgettes, 40p (£1.60/1kg courgettes, Sainsburys Basics) 50g dark chocolate or 25g cocoa powder, 21p (84p/100g, Sainsburys own cocoa powder) zest and juice of 1 lime or 1 tbsp bottled lime or lemon juice, …

Perfect Roast Potatoes, 14p [from ‘Veganish’]

Perfect roast potatoes are simply one of life’s greatest pleasures – one of the soft and easy comforts that transports me straight back to a wicker chair in my elderly (and now devastatingly dearly departed) Aunty Helens conservatory in her house in Plymouth, where I spent the summers of my childhood being chased around the garden by a large and furious goose called Charlie. Aunty Helen – as any great Greek Cypriot woman is intuitively inclined to – would feed us from the moment we awoke beneath hand-crocheted heavy blankets, until the moment we crawled satiated and delighted back beneath the same. It was at Aunty Helens that I learned about the birds and the bees, aged 9, leafing open-mouthed through More! magazine’s ‘Position Of The Fortnight’ from a pile of women’s magazines carefully concealed beneath a Readers Digest in the downstairs bathroom. And it was at Aunty Helens that the first seeds of a love of cookery were planted, standing in her galley kitchen that was filled with light, peeling so many spuds we …

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 …

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 …

Peanut Butter Frozen Yoghurt, 20p [A Girl Called Jack]

This simple recipe is a must for any peanut butter lovers. Its first incarnation was as peanut butter-flavoured yoghurt – made by mixing two of my staple food items together for a sweet treat – and it went from there. I don’t add sugar or syrup to sweeten this recipe when I make it as I like the slight tang of the peanut butter, but feel free to add a tablespoon or two if you wish. It is probably possible to make this vegan – I am going to experiment with it and report back. Serves 6 at 20p each 500g natural yoghurt, 45p (45p/500g, Smart Price at Asda) 200g crunchy peanut butter, 38p (65p/340g, Smart Price at Asda) 100ml milk, 7p (67p/1l, Long life skimmed milk, Smart Price at Asda) 2 tablespoons sugar, 1p (64p/1kg, Silver Spoon at Asda) 100g chocolate, 30p (Smart Price at Asda) Pour the yoghurt into a mixing bowl and stir in the peanut butter and milk until well combined. Add the sugar, if using. Finely chop or grate the …

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 …

Red Lentil & Mandarin Curry, 26p [Tin Can Cook]

The first time I stayed at my girlfriends house, all she had in the cupboard was Diet Coke, tinned mandarins and a sticky patch of something ominous that was possibly once soy sauce. Her hob hadn’t worked in over 2 years, and she stubbornly warned me not to try to change her. Undeterred, over the course of the last 10 months, I subtly snuck in the odd ingredient to make microwaveable meals from, a couple of spices to pep up salad dressings, and a jar of ginger-garlic paste ‘just in case’. Turmeric and black pepper made it over the threshold as a cold remedy, and a tin of tomatoes for an emergency gazpacho that never materialised. I frequently joke with her that she keeps me grounded and my recipes where they are meant to be, conjured from dust and thin air and a couple of tins of nothing. Last week, alone while she was out on a jolly, and armed with a YouTube video, a dogbone wrench, a phillips screwdriver and a mission, I fixed …

Pumble, 20p

This cheeky little number is a cross between a pie and a crumble, a hot sweet pile of stewed fruits beneath a crumbly puff pastry topping. I admit to approaching my pies with borderline religious fervour; that is, in order to qualify as a pie, it must have a base and walls and a lid. This does not meet my high pie standards, but it is undeniably adorable in itself, and so the Pumble was born. You can use any kind of fruit here – I have made both an apple and a banoffee version – and am dreaming of a zesty tinned peach and mandarin version with a smattering of lime juice, too. The Pumble is a simple first recipe for children, too, who may be curious about helping in the kitchen. Serves 4-6 from 20p each. Prices at Asda and checked online at time of writing. 500g pears (tinned or fresh), 70p (70p/500g mixed size, Farm Stores at Asda) 2 tbsp sugar, 1p (64p/1kg, Silver Spoon at Asda) 1/2 tsp cinnamon or mixed …

Carrot, Cumin & Kidney Bean Soup, 18p [A Girl Called Jack]

. I wanted to write another recipe, but I felt sullied, trite, misappropriated, and used. So instead I am going to rewrite my recipes from 2012 – that many of you will not have seen buried beneath the beautiful new ones – and re-cost them to demonstrate the soar in prices in the Basics range over the last 6 years, and how it is always the poorest who shoulder the burden of economic inequality. 

Caramel Banana Cake, 16p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

This cake is a cheap but luxurious twist on my original banana bread, slightly more moist and gooey than the first iteration, with a home made sticky syrup sauce to drizzle over the top, ideally warm from a jug. I have made this as a loaf cake and also as a round, Victoria sponge type cake, split in the middle with a buttercream style icing and extra syrup sandwiching it together. It can be as simple or as showstopper as you want it to be. If you keep frozen berries kicking about, scatter a few on top of the cake mixture as it goes into the oven; as it cooks, they will gently sink to suspend in the finished delicacy; if you stir them in, there is a risk they will all sink and give you a soggy bottom. If this happens, I generally allow the cake to cook completely before removing from the tin, level off the risen top so it is completely flat (a bread knife is best) and carefully turn it over …

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 …

PBJ Granola, 8p

Granola is one of my most favourite breakfasts to have on standby, usually sling in the bottom of an oven that already has something else going on in it, in order to utilise the hot air already swilling around in there to create something else, practically for free, from store cupboard ingredients. My Small Boy loves this with his milk warmed through and a few tiny marshmallows dotted in as a treat; a nod to the 1990s classic cereal Lucky Charms, but without all of the E numbers that send us both doolally. This also works sprinkled over ice cream, as a topping for a crumble or a trifle, or eaten from the jar with your hands. Serves 8 from 8p each 2 tbsp light cooking oil, 3p (£3/3l, Sainsburys sunflower or vegetable oil) 4 tbsp peanut butter (or nut or seed butter of your choice), 17p (90p/340g, Sainsburys Basics) 4 tbsp strawberry or raspberry jam, 7p (40p/454g, Sainsburys Basics) 300g porridge oats, 36p (£1.20/1kg) – to make this recipe gluten free, simply use gluten …

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 …