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.
This is a Middle Eastern dish – can be used as a dip or a spread for sandwiches. It is a lot cheaper to make than buy though many spermarkets do stock it. Even cheaper when using dried chick peas bought in bulk.
1 can (approx. 400g)of cooked chick peas (or you can soak overnight and cook 1 cup of dried chick peas)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 – 2 cloves of fresh garlic
2 Tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste)
the juice of 1 lemon
a little water to blend
salt and pepper (optional)
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until fairly smooth – you may need to keep adding water bit by bit until you get the consistency you want.
A chunky, filling winter soup. These quantities make a large pan of soup – they can easily be reduced by half if desired.
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
2 medium leeks, sliced widthways into thin round slices
2 or 3 cloves of garlic (optional)
6-8 large potatoes, cut into chunks (about 2 or 3 cm.)
2 tablespoons of white flour
1 cup of frozen peas (an optinal extra)
5 or 6 cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the leeks and garlic, if using, in the sunflower oil for a few minutes then stir in the flour. Add one cup of water and stir well to blend. Add the potatoes and the rest of the water (you may need to adjust the quantity slightly – make sure all the vegetables are well covered). Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, and then turn down to simmer until the potatoes are just about cooked. Finally, if using, add the peas and cook for a further few minutes until tender. Season to taste.
Chick peas are a very nutritious and cheap food – having dried ones in the cupboard ensures a cheap meal anytime (after soaking overnight).
1 – 2 Tablespoons of light vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped (this is a very good way of using up an apple that has gone wrinkly but is not rotten)
1 green pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 – 3 teaspoons of curry powder
1-2 tins of cooked chick peas (or soak dried ones overnight and cooked – cheaper)
1 can of tomatoes
handful of raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut (optional)
some frozen peas (a cupful or more if you really like them)
Fry the onion, garlic and apple in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the curry powder and stir for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes (chop them if needed) and green pepper. If you like really sweet tasting curry, then add the raisins and coconut. Cook for about 15 minutes at simmering level and then add your chick peas and cook for a further 10 minutes. Shortly before the end of cooking time put some frozen peas in, as these will go mushy if overcooked. Add salt to taste. We like this best with white basmati rice (you should get a whole kilo for unde £1 in the cheap supermarkets or value ranges) and lots of little toppings.
Ideas for toppings are chopped fresh tomato, cucumber, sliced banana (yes this does work!), sunflower seeds, avocado (not the most frugal ingredient but jam packed with nutrients), in fact anything you fancy! My kids love these all put in small separate bowls so they can help themselves.
A very frugal variation of this is to make potato and pea curry by replacing the chick peas with value tinned potatoes.
Ailish Sinclair‘s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, and featuring the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, is out Autumn 2019. On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.
Yes – this is hardly a recipe but it may be useful to those with little cooking experience.
Large baking potatoes
Wash the potatoes well and then prick all over with a fork. Coat them with the oil and salt – messy but fun! Bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 180C/360F. Alternatively you can cook these in a microwave in minutes (follow manufacturers guidelines for timing). Nice served with a green salad and your choice of topping or filling.
Beans are the ultimate frugal food. High in protein and vitamins and versatile in use. You can either use two tins of bought beans (less frugal but still cheap) or soak dried ones overnight and then boil until cooked (can be over an hour for some beans) – good ones for this recipe: chick peas, aduki beans, black eye beans, green lentils, kidney beans (usually 11p for a value tin), borlotti and lima but any will do. Check out bulk prices with companies such as Goodness Direct and co-operatives. Clearance food specialists Approved Food sometimes have some bean bargains too.
2 leeks or 2 onions, sliced into thin round slices
A little olive oil
Mixed beans of your choice, cooked (how much is up to you – 500g+)
2 tins plum tomatoes – chop them up (about 3 cups/800g in all)
half a cup of water or vegetable stock
a handful of fresh herbs of your choice roughly chopped or 3 teaspoons of dried herbs (suggested herbs – mint, thyme, sage, winter savory)
salt to taste
Fry the leeks in the oil for a few moments then add the beans and stir until coated with the oil. Add the tomatoes, water/stock, salt and herbs and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes until cooked – alternatively place in oven to cook – a good idea if you are already using it for baked potatoes or herb bread which go very well with this dish. Maybe you could fit a cake in there too? Sorry – off on a frugal tangent!
Variations are many with casseroles – they are great for using things up: Add the dumplings from our mince and dumplings recipe. Add any vegetables that need using up – tinned potatoes mixed through could make this a one pot meal. Add rehydrated soya chunks or chopped sausages Make it fruity with dried apricots. Pictured is a casserole made with tinned butter beans, aubergines and leeks served with mustard mash.