2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8-10 large portabello or other large, flat mushrooms, cut into 3 cm cubes (roughly)
2 cups of water
seasalt to taste
1 cup of gravy mix (original Bisto or cheap equivilent! – use 3 teaspoons of powder for 1 cup of water)
Fry the onion in the sunflower oil for a few minutes and then add the cubed mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms soften (five minutes approx) then add the water and gravy mix – stir until thickened. This is great served on spaghetti, over rice or baked potatoes.
Pictured mushrooms for prettiness; we don’t know if they’re edible!
Ingredients to serve four people:
3 or 4 packs of value noodles (usually about 20p each – we have seen them at Approved Food for much less along with the more traditional rice noodles)
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion cut into inch/2cm long thin strips
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 red pepper cut into same strips
1 yellow pepper cut in the same way
1 courgette/zucchini cut into strips
(optional) about half a cupful of soya chunks, rehydrated (or you could use smoked tofu – a bit more expensive)
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil (optional)
Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet leaving out the flavouring sachet which is usually very chemical based (if you don’t mind that it is a very cheap way of making soup for another time). Cook the onions and garlic in the sunflower oil for a few minutes and then add the chilli and stir in well. Add your vegetables and soy sauce and cook for a few moments until slightly softened and then add the soya or tofu and stir fry for another 10 minutes or so before adding the rice noodles and combining well (you may want to cut them up if they are very long). At the last minute sprinkle the sesame oil over the dish and serve at once. This goes very well with a fresh salad of lettuce and herbs.
Extremely simple and cheap – even if you’ve never cooked before you should manage this one!
6 or 7 medium sized potatoes, peeled
1 large can of baked beans in tomato sauce (approx 800g – you could use 2 standard size tins instead)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 or 3 sliced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of margarine for dotting over the top
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds for sprinkling on the top
other optional layers:
1 or 2 cups of left-over rice mixed with some soya milk and herbs
sliced mushrooms mixed with a little veg. oil and 2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 can of sweetcorn
1 can of spinach
Part-boil the potatoes for 5 or 6 minutes until starting to soften. Thinly slice them. In a large casserole or lasagne dish place a layer of potatoes then a layer of beans, then onion and repeat until all used up. That is the basic dish but you can add any other layers you like (experiment! Any tins lurking in the cupboard?), such as the garlic mushrooms, sweetcorn, spinach or rice ones above, making the last layer potatoes. Spread the sliced tomatoes over the top, dot with the marg. and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Bake for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft at 190C/380F.
Pasta is a very economical main meal ingredient. Most shops have a variety of shapes available very cheaply and it is so versatile. This is a basic sauce recipe which costs a fraction of the price of ready made jars and tastes better too. It can be jazzed up in many ways – see suggestions at the end.
A little olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 can (approx. 400g) tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons of tomato puree
1 or 2 Tablespoons of oregano or mixed herbs
1 cup of veg. stock or water
salt to taste
Cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet. While it is cooking fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes, puree, stock or water, salt and herbs and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
That is the basic sauce – you can add anything you like to it. Any vegetables (see which are on offer this week in the shops?) chopped and added with the tomatoes etc. soya mince for a more traditional bolognese type sauce. Beans, sweetcorn, peas.
A sweet and sour sauce is easy to make also – add a can of pineapple pieces in pineapple juice and leave out the herbs. A little vinegar is added too and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
2 cups of dried yellow split peas, washed and soaked in water overnight
5 or 6 cups of water
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped small
1 small turnip cut into small cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the split peas in a large saucepan and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about an hour or until the peas are soft and starting to go a bit mushy. Add the onion, carrots and neep and cook for a further 20 minutes until everything is tender. Season and enjoy with wholemeal bread… or homemade herb and garlic bread
5 or 6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 leeks cut into round slices
3 carrots, roughly chopped
5 celery sticks, cut onto chunks
1 cup of dried pearl barley
a few leaves of dark green cabbage, kale or other greens, chopped
enough water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
Very simple to prepare this one! Place all your vegetables except the chard in a large pan with the barley. Cover well with water, boil and simmer until everything is cooked. Add the greens and salt and cook for another 5 minutes. The pictured version above was enriched with Vecon Stock
There’s nothing quite like the earthy full flavour of sage in Autumn and winter. It’s rich and savoury and, upon occasion, festive!
6 slices of wholemeal bread
half a cup/85g/3oz of vegetable margarine
4 teaspoons of dried sage or 8 of fresh, chopped sage
1 finely chopped large onion
salt to taste
Melt the margarine in a saucepan and then cook the onion in it until soft. Break up the wholemeal bread with your hands (into fairly small pieces) and then mix into the onion and margarine with the sage and salt. This can be pressed into an oven-proof bowl for baking or stuck inside your main course – see our nut roast recipe!
Fitted well in an 8″ square tin but any shape will be fine – this same mixture can be used to make small fairy cakes – you could fill 12 paper cases (bake in the oven in a patty or muffin tin for about 15 minutes) and then use the rest for the main cake – puddings and treats!
300g/12oz/2 cups of self raising flour
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
100g/4oz/half a cup of sugar
1 cup/8 fl.oz/200ml of sunflower oil
1 cup of soya milk (or possibly a little more to get a good mixture)
2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract (optional)
Oil your cake tin and preheat oven to 180C/360F. Mix together your dry ingredients of flour, sugar and bicarbonate. Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil, soya milk and vanilla – mix well. Pour into cake tin. Bake for about half an hour or until cooked in middle (insert a knife or skewer into the centre of cake and if cooked it will come out clean).
Variations: Top with chocolate chips prior to baking. Add dried fruit or chopped nuts (50-100g) to the mixture. Once cool ice with melted chocolate or water icing (50g. of icing sugar mixed with 1 or 2 teaspoons of hot water) Add a mashed banana or two while mixing for banana cake. Add the juice and zest of a lemon – you can also make lemon icing in the same way as water icing using lemon juice instead of water.
This is a very quick and easy recipe to make because we cheat and leave out the second kneading and rising times that most bread recipes call for and really don’t let it rise much to begin with! It works very well though – you will have lovely soft bread that is a perfect accompainment to casseroles, soups or anything else really. It can fill the gap of potatoes, pasta or rice in any meal. In the bread pic below, it is bottom corner left.
500g. of plain flour
1 packet of easy blend dried yeast
half a pint/500ml/about 2 cups of warm water
2 tablespoons of olive oil (for a stronger taste) or sunflower oil (milder)
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a little salt to taste
Turn your oven on very low, no more than 50C/100F. Mix the flour and yeast together and gradually add the warm water mixing all the time (with your hands is best though messy – fun!) until you have a good dough. Knead until fairly smooth and place in an oiled baking tin or two and flatten out to fill tin (this makes lovely flattish bread a bit like pizza if well spread out). Place into the oven and prepare the topping: mix the oil with the herbs, garlic and salt and then spread over the bread. Turn the oven up to 190C/380F – the bread will continue rising as the heat increases – and bake for about 25 minutes.
You can experiment with different toppings: add a tablespoon of tomato puree for a pizza style bread – sliced onions add flavour. Sprinklings of poppy or sesame seeds go well too.