Simple to make, lovely to eat. Particularly frugal for us as we found these wraps reduced to 10p on Christmas Eve (freezer has quite a pile of them now) and the peanut butter at 4 jars for £1 at Approved Food, and it’s the nicest peanut butter we’ve tasted!
Ingredients for four people:
4 wraps or tortillas of your choice
a tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 or 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin sticks
1 onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon each: dried coriander, ground cumin, dried fenugreek. Or you could just use some curry powder.
1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon peanut butter
salt to taste
Heat the oil in a pan and fry up the onion and sweet potatoes for a few minutes before adding the spices and mixing well. Add the coconut, peanut butter and salt along with a small amount of water (a few tablespoons), cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft. It should only take a few minutes: sweet potatoes cook much faster than white ones.
Lay out your wraps and divide the sweet potato mixture between them. We lay it out in a line and then fold down the ends of the wrap before rolling the fajitas up for less messy eating!
These beer battered onion rings are gorgeous! They’re light and crispy and fluffy and wonderfully flavourful. And really, really simple to make.
Ingredients (for four side portions or two greedy ones)
oil to fry; we used sunflower
one large onion
about a cup/120g of self raising flour, we used Asda’s gluten free
about 200ml of beer of your choice; you could substitute sparkling water instead
half a teaspoon of salt
a quarter teaspoon of dried turmeric (optional, makes the batter more colourful)
Slice up your onion to make the rings, not too thinly, and discard the skin. Whisk together the flour and beer/water until a nice thick batter forms. You don’t want it watery but neither do you want it too stiff like a cake mix.
Heat your oil. If you have a deep fat fryer: go for it! We used a large pan with the oil at about an inch deep and did the rings in three batches. Test the oil with a small drop of batter: if it starts bubbling and frying, it’s ready.
Dip the onion rings in the batter, coating them well, and then pop them into the oil to fry for a few minutes until the batter goes nice and golden. It’s best to do this, both the putting in and lifting out, with a fork or other implement: don’t burn those fingers!
You can lay them on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil if you want.
This purple pasta is a delicious and thrifty dish, made all the more frugal in this instance by the aubergine and beetroot being obtained during Tesco’s 2p evening reduction time (may not be all stores and times vary, worth asking).
Most supermarkets have value pastas available such as spaghetti for 20p and penne for 29p for 500g. Also try clearance sellers like Low Price Foods and Approved Food.
Ingredients for sauce (amount serves four)
a little olive oil
1 leek, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
a bunch of fresh beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks
2 small aubergines, cubed
a courgette, also cubed
1 pack of passata (we prefer Lidl’s cheap brand to Tesco value, much nicer)
1 can of red kidney beans
2 teaspoons of dried oregano (or other herbs, fresh are nice too)
salt and black pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, fry the vegetables in the oil until softened then add the passata. Bring to the boil, adding beans, herbs and seasoning as you go, water if too thick, tomato puree if too thin. Turn down to a simmer until all is cooked, probably for about 20 minutes; test for seasoning, adjust if needed, and pile the sauce on top of your pasta. Garnish with parsley and enjoy.
Fruit crumble is a wonderfully frugal dish. You can use virtually any fruit (perhaps not banana!) and it’s a good way to use up items that might be passing their best. Summer brings luscious pink rhubarb, perfect for crumble. Autumn delivers apples and blackberries/brambles, also delicious. Here is a basic recipe for a combination of rhubarb and apples, adjust as you require:
2 or 3 apples, peeled and chopped (if you use eating apples you could reduce the sugar slightly)
4 or 5 sticks of rhubarb, chopped into chunks
4 tablespoons of sugar
Surprisingly, rose petals combine with rhubarb to give a beautiful flavour.
100g. flour (for a gluten-free version use Doves Farm gluten-free flour)
75g. vegetable margarine
optional additions: grated lemon rind, sunflower seeds, rolled oats.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Place the fruit in an ovenproof dish and top with the sugar. For the topping: rub the flour into the margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar and any other additions and place evenly over the filling. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about half an hour or until everything is bubbling: crispy on top, soft below. Lovely with custard or ice cream.
If you like this, you may also like our recipe for Apple Pie
This gluten-free vegetarian lasagne was made with gluten free lasagne sheets found in Lidl, making it especially frugal, though many brands exist and the recipe will work with wheat based products too. It made enough for four huge portions or six medium.
1 250g pack of lasagne sheets
For the tomato sauce
a little olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
an aubergine, cut into small chunks
4 sticks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 500g pack of passata
about 2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of dried oregano or other dried herbs
salt to taste
Method: fry the vegetables in the oil for a few minutes until softened. Add the passata, rinse out the pack/bottle with the water before adding it to the sauce. Bring to the boil, add your herbs and salt.
Method: melt the margarine and stir in the flour. Gradually add the milk over a medium heat, stirring all the time to avoid lumps (though don’t worry too much, in this dish they’re not very noticeable), until the sauce thickens. Add your seasoning and pour onto the top of the lasagne.
In a flat oven proof dish layer up the lasagne and the tomato sauce. It’s best to put a little sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking. The Lidl brand of lasagne did not need pre soaking (thank goodness! It always sticks together!) but check the instructions on your pack.
Make the top layer sauce and spread on top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for at least forty minutes or until a knife slides easily into the middle of the lasagne.
This recipe used the most basic of vegetables, you can use whatever you have to hand: peppers, courgettes, peas, sweetcorn. We added sweetcorn to the white sauce pictured.
A layer of tinned spinach instead of the last layer of tomato sauce is very nice and juicy. Ditto mushrooms.
We topped with a small packet of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
You can add tomato puree if the sauce seems overly runny, though remember it does need to have more liquid than plain pasta sauce as the lasagne will absorb some of it.
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.
A super simple and super tasty recipe for roast potatoes with peppers, made all the more frugal by knowing supermarket ultimate price down time. At two Tesco stores near us it’s around 7pm each day. Bread goes down to 10p and veg is available from 2p!
Ingredients (quantities are entirely adjustable): a bag of new potatoes (filled a medium saucepan), cut into chunks 1 bag of peppers (four peppers), roughly chopped 1 large onion, chopped salt and pepper to taste a little oil to coat in the oven Optional extras: herbs, spices, garlic, other veg such as carrots and parsnips, aubergine, courgettes, mushrooms…
Par boil the potatoes, leaving skins on, while you pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F. Once partially cooked, drain and place the potatoes in a large roasting tin along with the peppers, onion, salt and pepper and toss well in the oil until everything is well covered. Roast for at least half an hour, until the veg is browning up.
Good as a side dish or as a main with rice and salad.
This gluten free cake contains no gluten and no refined sugar, but is sweet and even sort of juicy! It fitted a seven inch round cake tin.
Ingredients: 200g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour 2 apples, peeled and chopped into small chunks 2 bananas, mashed 1 cupful of raisins half a cupful of sunflower oil soya milk, or other milk of your choice to mix, about a cup and a half
Place the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in your oil and some of the soya milk. Add the mashed banana and the apples and raisins and mix, mix, mix, with a wooden spoon, adding milk as you go for a good consistency (thick but not dry, pourable but not runny). Pour into a greased cake tin and bake at 200C/400F for about half an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!
The juiciness of the fruit means this gluten free cake does not dry out like some and is good for two or three days. Best kept in the fridge.
Underground, overground, brambling free! The brambles of Wimbledon Common are we…
I don’t know if Wimbledon Common is a good source of brambles (blackberries) but many hedgerows are this time of year, and that means: fruity purple cakes. With chocolate chips. Just because.
Bramble Chocolate Chip Cakes
300g Doves Farm Gluten free Self Raising flour
100g caster sugar
a couple of handfuls of freshly picked brambles
about a third of a cup of soya milk
about a third of a cup of sunflower oil
100g of chocolate chips (we used Moo Free)
water to mix to a good thick batter – though you don’t want it too runny
Mix the flour, chocolate chips and sugar together (keep some chips back for sprinkling on top). Blend up the brambles with the soya milk and mix this in along with the oil, adding some water if the batter is too thick. It should be purple!
Divide between 12 cake or muffin cases. Place in a muffin tin if using paper ones; silicone reusable cases are better in many ways, not least of which is that the cakes will not stick to them like glue as gluten-free mixes are prone to do. Top with the remaining chips. Bake at 200C/400F for 15 to 20 minutes until well risen and browning. And slightly purpling!
So simple. So delicious. Very like little Nakd bars. Made on a day when there were no treats, no chocolate, and only really boring biscuits left in the house. There was an old, but still in date, bag of currants in the cupboard and some almonds… so here we go!
100g currants (raisins would be great too)
100g of almonds (substitute any nut you want)
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder (not actually raw, you could use the more expensive cacao if you prefer)
Food process or blend these ingredients up till they make a soft dough. If using a blender you may have to stop the machine to squash down/stir a bit now and again.
Squeeze the dough into little shapes and eat. You could press them into chocolate moulds or form them into bars to give them a more beautiful appearance. We didn’t do that and they did ever so slightly resemble those novelty Christmas chocolates that get marketed as Reindeer Droppings!
Totally scrumptious though. Totally.
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.