Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Leftover roast chicken and veg soup #thrifty

This is a hearty, filling and very cheap recipe. Like most of my recipes you can use veg combinations you have already, this recipe is best when you use root vegetables.

I tend to make it when I have roasted a chicken - I use the meat from the legs and pick the bones as clean as i can. If a whole chicken is too expensive ( i got ours in the reduced aisle) then it works well using chicken drumsticks. As it says use left over veg - but if you don't have any you can make it all from scratch.

Caramelising the veg gives this soup a lovely deep flavor 

I would only make this soup if you are using the oven anyway or you fancy chicken and veg so double up

Spoon usage 1-2 (depending on how much you have to prep)
Cost £1 - £2.50
Serves 4 - small servings

2 chicken legs or 4 drumsticks/thigh combo (or equivalent  from a whole roasted chicken)
1 large carrot
**1 large parsnip - This is optional as it can over power the soup
1 leek or onion
2 medium sized potatoes
1 pint chicken stock
handful of peas
salt & pepper

Picture showing chicken, vegetables and 1 pint of stock

Other veg  or ingredients you could use
sweet potato
butternut squash
butter beans

I have written the main recipe up as if you are making it from scratch - I will give the short recipe if you have got leftovers to use

peel the potato's, parsnip and carrot
peel and chop the onion - leave it in nice big pieces - if using the leek chop into approx 1" long chunks
roughly chop the carrots and parsnips - make the carrots slightly smaller as they take longer to roast
Make 1 pint of chicken stock either use a stock cube or  use homemade stick if you have it

**Frozen stewing veg will work well in this if you cant chop easily.

Turn the oven on to 180 or gas mark 5

have a little rest while the oven heats

1. Put the veg  (except the potatoes) into a roasting tin and place the chicken onto top. add a little water, this helps to make a stock. roast for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked and the veg is nicely caramelised

2. Leave to cool then pick the chicken off the bones.

3. peel and dice the potatoes, add 1 pint of chicken stock, cook until soft.

Potatoes in 1 pint of chicken stock

4. once the potatoes are cooked - remove half  of the potatoes from the pan (don't throw away the cooking stock) add half the cooked carrots and onion into the pan and liquidise until you have a smooth thick sauce. If it looks too thick add some more water.

5. dice the rest of the carrots, and then add chicken, potatoes, peas to the pan. stir and taste - season if required. It shouldn't need more salt as the stock cube tends to be salty.

finished soup

Friday, 17 January 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Byriani #thriftyfood

Firstly apologies for such a delay on posting any new recipes - life kind of got in the way.

This is a lovely recipe and very easy, you can use what ever ingredients you have lurking in your fridge or cupboard. My husbands comment last night was - This is a triumph

Spoon usage 1
Serves 2 hungry adults or could do 4 smaller portions with a few added extras
cost - £3.50 - you can reduce cost if you omit the quorn

Ive chosen
1 butternut squash
handful of peas
spinach (frozen - ive discovered the frozen stuff is a bargain)
1/4 of a courgette
1 small carrot
150 grams quorn pieces (but chicken, tofu will work just as well)
Rice - 1 cup
1/2 can Coconut milk (you could also use coconut cream - or natural yogurt if you don't like coconut)
1 table spoon Tikka paste or curry paste of your choice (if you dont have any then use a jar or combine spices of choice - usually chili, ginger, cumin seeds, ground coriander, tomato puree, salt and a little oil to bind)

** you could use frozen veg easily in this recipe it is really up to you but the combination i used worked very well)

***If you have raisins they would work well too in this, or almonds

This is such an easy recipe and takes very little energy to make

Prick the butternut squash
dice the carrots 
take the peas and frozen spinach out

1. Turn on the oven to 180 or gas mark 5 - put the butternut squash in the bottom of the oven on a tray bake for 1 hour (I try to make sure i cook other things too so i dont waste the heat)

2.Part cook the rice - I halved the usual cooking time (just follow what it says on the packet in my case it was 6 minutes) I added the diced carrots and cooked together as they need to be part cooked or they will stay raw when you bake the byriani later

3. when the rice has had its time ( you want it white but still grainy when you bite into it) drain and run under the cold tap to rinse and stop the cooking process - put in a large bowl

4. dice the courgette and add to the rice bowl, add the peas, spinach and any other veg you fancy - try and make the chopped veg a similar size. add the curry paste I used a generous table spoon. add the coconut milk and quorn (or chicken or tofu) mix together, you want to coat everything but dont want a runny sauce, set aside

Set aside mixture until needed

Remove the butternut squash from the oven, let it cool slightly then cut in half length ways.
cooked & roasted butternut squash cut in half lengthways
 I usually hate prepping squash as peeling it and getting the seeds out is too much, this method is marvellous. simply scoop out the seeds. and scoop enough of the flesh out to form a well - add this to the bowl of ingredients.

spoon it all into the squash - I piled it quite high (I had some left over so I popped it in a small dish and cooked it on its own)

I added toasted  dessicated coconut and coconut shavings - this us optional I just had it so used it

Bake in a moderate oven (180 or gas mark 5) for 30 - 40 minutes.

serve with yogurt, or as it is either way its very nommy

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Perfect with a cuppa: Gingernuts Recipe

I Love making biscuits, they are so quick and easy to make I often wonder why i don't make them more often, other than my expanding my waistline.

Once you have made biscuits you never really want to go back, in all my baking years I've never made Gingernuts and I'm kicking myself they are divine, cheap, simple and I'm not sure any will be left for my husband.

I turned to my trusted Delia everyday cooking book. I have simply adapted it for a baking when you have little energy.

Spoon Usage 1
Skill level - Novice (great for children)
Cost - 25p  (I'm guessing - assuming you have the staples in your store cupboard)
makes 16
Oven temp 190C Gas mark 5
Middle shelf

Yes that's right 25p and im being overly generous its probably more like 20p

Baking sheet
baking parchment
Mixing Bowl

picture showing the ingredients4oz (110 g) Self Raising Flour
1 rounrded 1tsp ground ginger (so just a tiny bit more than a level spoonful)
1 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
1.5 oz  40g granulated sugar
2oz (50g) margarine
2 table spoons golden syrup

Weigh out the ingredients.

sifted flour, gingers, bicarbonate of soda in a bowlto be honest there is so little prep I'm going to just do the recipe.

1. Weigh out the flour, add the bicarb of soda and the ginger - sift into a large bowl.

2. add the sugar - give a little stir

3. add the margarine and rub the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

mixture - looking like bredcrumbsHave  a little rest at this point if needs be, but it only takes a few seconds if the margarine is soft. you could do this stage in a food processor if you like.

4. Add the golden syrup and mix into a stuff paste. trust the recipe at this stage as you might think it will never come together.

I discarded the spoon and used my hands, i found it much easier to bring it together and the warmth of my hands helped bind it. keep going until it forms a ball.

have a little rest.

5. make little balls try and make them the same size - this will make 16 in total.

NB if like me you have an old tin use the baking parchment - i dob a little marg on the tin to stop the parchment moving about. If you have a non stick tray you dont need parchment.

 6. place on a large baking sheet - space them well apart. press each ball down slightly.

7. put in centre of the oven for 10 minutes.
Tip: Biscuits cant go from under to over done very quickly, depending on your oven you can cook them for up to 15 minutes but mine were slightly over at 12. 

8.  when they come out they will still be a bit soft. don't worry they will be perfect once cooled. place on a cooling rack- Once cool will be nice and crunchy.

Have to say these were delicious - just gingery enough, crunchy and so much nicer than shop bought ones. It took so little time to make.

finished gingernut with a cuppa
Enjoy :-)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Coronation Chicken #PerfectPicnicFood

I love coronation chicken, its a great way to jazz up your lunch box, have on a picnic or makes a great jacket potatoes filling. Its a really good way to use up left over roast chicken or a couple of chicken thighs. If your an end of the day shopper and can grab a reduced fresh cooked chciken this dish is perfect if its a bit dry and you want to make a lovely supper.

The curried mayo is also lovely as a dressing in itself and works well if you have a chicken drumstick and want to jazz it up when its cold.

There are many variations on this recipe, but i like to keep it simple and let the chicken sing out rather than swamp it with loads of other flavours.This recipe also works very well with turkey

Spoon usage - 1
Kitchen skill - novice
Cost - £1.20 **its hard to be accurate as i tend to make it when i have left over chicken and use store cupboard staples. main cost if you were doing this from scratch would be the chicken.
Serves: 4 - 6 small portions or fill 2 large jacket spuds

chicken portions breast  & thigh meat - 200g of
picture showing the ingredients2 dessert spoons of mango chutney
1 tsp curry power
handful of sultanas soaked
Toasted almonds* optional
dash of lemon juice
**2 dessert spoons mayo
**1 dessert spoon natural yogurt
1 tea bag
dash of lemon juice

**If you just have mayo use that, the yogurt just give its a lighter creamier consistency
sultanans soaking in a tubsoak the sultanas you want them nice and plump - bear with me soak them in very weak tea. Ok I know it seems odd but it brings out the sweetness - soak for half an hour
chop up the chicken in good size pieces

Putting dish together

1. heat up a frying pan once hot add the generous teaspoon of curry powder and dry fry for 30 seconds

mango chutney and curry powder in a pan2. turn down the heat and add the mango chutney - I used cheap sainsburies basic which has a sharp jam like edge to it so its very much to taste - if you have good quality stuff you might only need 1 dessert spoon full. you can always add more later.

3. remove from the heat and add the mayo 1 spoon at a time, taste as you go - I like a nice sharp taste with mild curry background flavour. 

Tip - once chilled the flavour will develop so dont worry if you cant taste the curry flavour at first. it does work honest 
creamy curried mayo

4. Darin the sultanas and add to the chicken

5. add the curried mayo - I don't like things swimming in mayo, but my husband does so i put aside extra in a pot for him to pour over as a dressing later. add a dash of lemon juice to give it a zing

6. chill for at least an hour then taste at this point you might want to add more mango chutney but hopefully the flavours will be nicely balanced. a creamy, slightly sharp, mild curried flavour chicken dish.

showing finised dish


Saturday, 4 May 2013

Spicy Bean Burgers

This recipe is lovely, cheap and easy to make. High in protein, can be made with very cheap ingredients and freeze well. Even if your not vegetarian I hope you will enjoy them.You can leave out the egg and bread to make them vegan if you wish to or cant have bread.

This is a great recipe to make with children, as they can get their hands in and squish the beans up, takes very little manual dexterity and you can adapt the spice level to your taste. I have tried to make them aromatic than spicy hot.

I have used 1 tin of mixed beans Ive had kicking around in the back of the cupboard for ages, plus 1 i bought specially. If your virtually out of cash you can make these burgers with 1 onion, 1 can of cheap kidney beans and some spices made into a paste to bind it together. so can be made for less than £1.00 for 6 burgers

Beans are a great source of protein, are low in carbs low on the glicemic index (GI) meaning they slowly release thier energy and are all round good guys when your living on a low budget.

Spoon usage 1 - 2
Skill level - novice
Overall cost £1.40 - if you substitute mixed beans for just kidney drops  the cost to about 50P
Makes 6 large burgers

picture showing ingredients required for making spicey bean burgers2 x 400g can of mixed beans - Ive used a combination of mung, kidney, chickpea, soya and cannelloni
1 onion or 3 spring onions
1 slice of brown bread (or white if that's what you have) *optional

1 small red chilli deseeded
1 small pepper (or half a large one) 
Salt & pepper
1 generous tsp Cumin
1 generous tsp Coriander
1 dessert spoon Paprika
Egg optional

spices in a pestle and mortar
spice paste
Open and drain the cans of beans - rinse well
finely chop the onion ( or use pre chopped if you cant chop them yourself) - I tend to grate onion
finely chop the chili discard seeds if you want a milder kick  
finely chop the pepper
crumble the bread into breadcrumbs
crush the spices and mix well - use ground spices if you prefer or don't have fresh spices.

Have a rest - the prep can take as much or little time as you like.

Putting Burgers together

1. gently dry fry your freshly mixed spices to bring out their flavour* omit this part of you are using
ground spices. once done add a small amount of oil and water to create a paste

2. Gently fry the onions, you dont want to colour them just fry until translucent, add the peppers and gently fry for 2-3 minutes

3. mash the beans - but leave them chunky you don't want a smooth paste. you can blitz in a food processor, use a potatoe masher or get your hands in and squish. don't over do it as you need to add the other ingredients you just want them broken up enough for the bean to take the other flavours.

4. add the onions, peppers, spice paste,bread crumbs to the bowl and mix until the ingredients are well incorporated. i tend to use my hands as I can feel how well the mixture holds its shape, if it feels a bit dry add some oil. I tried it with an egg when i first made them and it was too wet. so you I would suggest if you use a egg beat it first and add a very small amount at a time - you want it to hold its shape not become too wet

Tip: if you do make them too wet - dont fret just follow all the steps and pop them into the freezer for an hour to firm up and it should be fine. or add some flour to the mixure if needs be

5.  I don't like huge fat burgers so tend to make them into hand sized patties. its totally up to you.

shape the burgers - to save my hands from getting sore I use the lid of a coffee jar -  place a piece of cling film in the jar and squish the mixture into it - pat flat and then twist the cling film so the burger is wrapped.

6.freeze the burgers you dont paln to eat now - will keep for up to 3 months

7. fry the burgers on a medium heat until hot all the way through, and golden brown. about 5 minutes

 I serve them with salad in a wrap.

Enjoy - You can add more or less spice to them depending on taste. I like them mild and often add a bit of sweet chili dipping sause to them once cooked.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Express - Mackerel Pate

This a lovely and very easy recipe, it will take me longer to type the recipe up than make it. The recipe literally takes 2 minutes to make - and is delicious.


2 Mackerel fillets - if you like the peppered variety use that - I used a tin of them (100G)
1 pot of *Quark for the virtually fat free version - 250G
juice of half a lemon - or good dash of bottled if you don't have fresh

Black Pepper (omit if using peppered fillets)

*I used quark as its fat free, for a creamier texture use a cream cheese  (250G)

You could use Sardines, Salmon or Crab for this

Total Cost
 £1.60 serves 8 (at least - depends how thick you slather it on £0.30 per portion


If you have an electric processor pop it in and blitz for 30 seconds if you like a rough texture, or blitz until smooth if you prefer it like that. add Black pepper and lemon juice to taste.

If you have a hand held wand type thing will work just as well.

If you don't have any gadgets - stick the mackerel and quark in a bowl using a fork blend together - then us a wooden spoon to beat it - you wont get quite such a smooth pate but it tastes divine

You should leave to stand for 10 mins in the fridge to thicken slightly or if you cant waste, slather it on what ever you fancy. I have Rivetta.

It makes loads - enough to keep you going for a few days.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Pork & Chorizo Burgers - Guest Blog

My lovely Foodie Friend Sarah sent me this, yay fab recipe om nom nom. We love pork burgers in this house, much cheaper and healthier than beef.

  Pork (and chorizo burgers)

Spoonage – I think this is an easy 1 maybe 2 spoon recipe but Beth may look at it and revise the spoon number
Cost - £1.14 for 500g mince on offer from Lidl this week (if making chorizo ones a half pack of chorizo costs about £1.25) and 65p for 6 buns

So without chorizo and assuming you have some spices  approx £1.79 for 4 burgers and buns
with the chorizo element £3.04.  I buy little packs of chorizo split into 2 for paella and other dishes so I had the chorizo in the fridge.  The original recipe called for bacon but the burgers I did without either chorizo or bacon were lovely. 

Please be gentle with me this is my first time food blogging!  The amount of  ingredients make 4 burgers so it either feeds a hungry 2 folk or with salad and other bits serves 4.

1x500g pack of pork mince
1x clove of garlic
pinch of salt
some pepper
mixed herbs/sage or I used a few grinds of a polish set of mixed spices

If adding in Chorizo I left out the garlic clove and salt because its quite spicy and salty in its own right.

How to:

      1. Put the meat (and chorizo if using) in a mixing bowl.
2. Crush your garlic (if using) into the bowl
3. Add in the rest of your spices – ½ -1 teaspoon of mixed herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper
4. Mix it all together – it should get squidgy and stick together very quickly.  I mix by hand but if you don't like touching raw meat a wooden spoon would be fine.
5. If needed have a sit down and pop the meat in the fridge to chill 

 6. When ready take a handful of the meat mince and roll it into a ball then squish it flat on a baking sheet.
7. When they are all done you can pop them back in the fridge again to firm up slightly I normally get impatient so this doesn't take too long in our house but you can leave them for about  20 mins to let the meat rest

8. I put them onto cook on the lowest heat on a griddle pan to make sure that they cook through properly.  Pop them in and leave the for a good 5 mins to make sure that the underneath starts to cook.  If you don't then you tend to find they may fall apart if you constantly flick them over and over.

                                               9. Turn them every 4 or 5 minutes to stop them burning on one side and I cooked mine for about 25 mins to ensure they are cooked.

10.  Just recently I've been watching a few cooking programmes that suggest you can poke meat and if it feels firm to the touch then it is cooked.  I tried it with these and it seemed to work but to be on the safe side (because I have small children) I cut mine in half just to make sure they were cooked and they were.

Finished products in the pan:
Pork and Chrizo Burgers