radish top soup, a no waste recipe

Radish top soup, a no waste recipe

This no waste recipe uses up the leaves of radish which are one of the most nutritious greens on the planet. Please don’t throw them away!

Radishes are one of the easiest things to grow in your garden. A pack of seeds are ready in a few weeks making lovely crimson additions to salads. We were delighted when Julia Barr sent us this great no waste recipe using their tops (leaves), the part which is usually thrown away. No exact quantities are given so adjust to how many tops you have!

Ingredients

radish top soup

vegetable oil or soya margarine
diced onion
diced potatoes
chopped radish tops
vegetable stock or water
soya milk
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Cook the onion in oil or margarine until soft, add the potato and radish tops, stir until coated in oil/margarine. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer until the potato is soft, whiz in a blender until creamy, add soya milk to loosen, add salt and pepper to taste.

A real treat, creamy and yummy and an extra revelation: fresh tarragon is an excellent inclusion! And some cashews, soaked, cooked and blended into the recipe make it a ‘cream of’ style soup.

If you liked this no waste recipe, try our other frugal recipes here!

Oatmeal Stuffing for Christmas or Sunday Dinner

oatmeal stuffing

This traditional Scottish oatmeal stuffing recipe was submitted by author Ailish Sinclair

Ingredients

1 cup of medium oatmeal
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
a little salt

Cook the onion in the oil until soft and then stir in the oatmeal and salt and cook for a few minutes longer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking – nice served with casseroles, or mince and dumplings or with your Christmas dinner!

If you liked this oatmeal stuffing also see sage and onion stuffing or why not explore our extensive collection of frugal recipes?

the mermaid and the bear

“The first time the sea killed me, my brother brought me back to life.”

So begins THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. Set in a castle, this historical novel features the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic and a love story. With six chapters of medieval Christmas, it’s the perfect festive gift for lovers of history and books.

A simple breakfast: porridge

So simple. So cheap. So warm and filling.

Seriously, centuries of Scots are not wrong: this is one of the cheapest and most fortifying meals ever.

Most supermarkets do porridge oats in their value range too.

For one person: Place 50g/half a cup of porridge oats in a small pan. Add 300ml/1and a half cups of liquid. This could be milk of your choosing, or water, or a mix of both. We like to use half soya milk and half water.

Bring to the boil, stirring frequently because porridge does like to stick to the pan, then turn down to simmer for 4 or 5 minutes until thickened, still stirring.

Pour into a bowl and eat.

Toppings. Some days we like a chocolate swirl (choc shot), other times we go for a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and raisins. Some like jam. You could use fresh berries. Blueberries go particularly well with the chocolate swirl!

We recall grandparents having their porridge made with just water and seasoned with salt which is undoubtedly the most frugal way to take it but… *shudder*

You could even sprinkle one compartment of a graze box (first one free) onto it!



potato bake – a super frugal recipe

Potato Bake submitted by Scottish author Ailish Sinclair

Extremely simple and cheap – even if you’ve never cooked before you should manage this one!

potato bake in a Halogen oven

Ingredients:
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.

Pictured Potato Bake cooked in an energy saving Halogen Oven.

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.

The Mermaid and the Bear Cover

Upcycling Pallets into benches and tables

Upcycling old pallets is great fun and really frugal too…

Upcycling pallets into benches

This is not so  much a how-to post as an inspirational one. If you can get free pallets – and many companies are happy to give the old ones away rather than paying for disposal – there’s lots of things you can do with them!

Upcycling pallets

We made some garden seats!

Upcycling pallets

Woodland ones painted green:

Upcycling pallets
Upcycling pallets

A bit of purple:

Upcycling pallets

And a table too!

There are good books with more instruction and inspiration to be seen here and you can even buy (or make!) waterproof cushions for them!

Our favourite is the pink!

If you liked this upcycling pallets article, see Growing a Food Forest, lawns to food.

upcycling pallets

The 25p Meal, super frugal food

the 25p meal

One of the cheapest ways to pare your food budget right back is to find out what time your local supermarket marks down its perishable products and do your shopping then. This makes possible what we call the 25p meal: feeding a family of four for £1, or under, all ingredients.

Cauliflower in a Cheesy Sauce

a 25p meal

Cauliflower (25p) in a white sauce (milk/marg/flour/water totalling 20p), and 30p worth of leftover rice made into herby tomato rice, we added:  1 onion (7p, not marked down but really cheap in Lidl) a squirt of tomato puree (5p), dried herbs (5p) salt (1p).

Spaghetti

25p meal

Above was a nice meal based around getting an organic unsliced wholemeal loaf for 10p, and adding marg and garlic to make it into garlic bread. Cheap spaghetti (often around 20p for 500g in value ranges) mixed with a tin of kidney beans at 25p and marked down pepper and courgette, both 10p each. Salad was a 10p lettuce with a squirt of lemon juice. There was a LOT of garlic bread made with that one loaf!

Pizza Bagels or Pittas

A firm favourite now, actually considered a treat in this house, is the meal of pizza bagels, or pittas, or, as pictured below, pizza paninis. Made with 4 Paninis at 19p for 2, then with pizza sauce consisting of an onion fried in a tiny bit of oil, tomato puree, herbs and salt, totalling no more than 10p. They only need a few minutes in the oven or under the grill as the bread bases are already cooked. We paired them with a reduced salad bag at 10p, reduced hummus at 32p and a tub of pasta salad marked down to 26p. Over budget by 6p! If we’d used cheaper bread, such as one pack of bagels reduced to 20p, we would have been under.

It would be cheaper to use the pizzas as a side to homemade soup (see our many soup recipes). Of course, you can add any topping you like to these, but the sauce is delicious in itself.

25p meal

Posh Porridge

This next one pushes the budget again, though only by 10p, for a luxury breakfast! It’s porridge (20p worth value range oats) made with water, but with a huge box of blueberries (marked down to 75p) and half a bar of Lidl dark chocolate (bar is 30p, so 15p), smashed up. Yum.

Our local Tesco usually does a big mark down around 6pm. The one in the next town is a little later at 6.45pm and its prices go right down to 2p for many items. Asda starts much earlier in the day with its reductions. Lidl has many things, including a basket of bread, reduced to 20p first thing in the morning. Martin Lewis wrote an article on the different supermarkets and their reduction times here.

Unless we’re going to use them that day, we tend to avoid ready chopped things which go off quickly. Whole vegetables and fruit will keep for a few days and bread will be good for a couple of days or can go straight in the freezer. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve filled our freezer with 10p loaves and buns!

Also see our Sourdough bread for pennies post here.

And check out clearance food sellers like Low Price Foods  and Approved Food for stocking your cupboards with low priced staples.

It can be fun to use your imagination and ingenuity to make best use of what’s available on any given day in the reduced section. Please feel free to share your ideas and successes in the comments below 🙂

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 now. On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.

The Mermaid and the Bear Cover

Lentil Soup, frugal cooking at its best

lentil soup

This Lentil Soup recipe can be adjusted to make either a nice broth with bread or a filling chunky variety. This soup is simple to make, nutritious and cheap, cheap, cheap! Quantities below makes a pan to feed four people.

Lentil Soup Ingredients

  • red lentils – half a cup to one cup depending how thick you want it
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • water to cover well
  • stock of choice (we like a spoon of Vecon Stock with extra vits for winter!)
  • salt if needed, depending on stock used

Method

Place lentils and water in pan and bring to the boil while preparing the other vegetables. Add them and stock, cook until tender. Mash or partially blend if you wish. Ta-da!

Top with lots of parsley! Grow it all year round, even in a pot on a windowsill…

Variants

  • Add other veg such as diced potatoes and celery or chopped greens near the end of cooking.
  • Add a tin of tomatoes and/or tomato puree with a handful of pasta to cook along with the lentils for a much thicker hearty soup.

If you liked this lentil soup recipe, try our other frugal fare!


the mermaid and the bear

“The first time the sea killed me, my brother brought me back to life.”

So begins THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. Set in a castle, this historical novel features the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic and a love story.

tomato rice soup, great frugal cooking

tomato rice soup

This tomato rice soup is a tasty way to use up leftover rice. It’s particularly cheap if you have your own herbs on hand in the garden or a pot. We used rosemary which is very easy to grow – most cuttings grow just from being stuck in the ground without any additives, so ask your green fingered friends or snip some bits in parks/public gardens 🙂 Of course you could just buy some. It’s a very hardy perrenial too, so good for the British winters staying green and edible throughout.

Ingredients:
a little olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin of tomatoes
water (fill tin and rinse out tomato juice with it)
cooked rice (we used about 2 cups of brown rice here but the quantity is variable – add more/less water if needed)
a good handful of fresh herbs (or a teaspoon of dried)
a squirt of tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes then add tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. Add your rice and herbs (fresh herbs are easiest cut in with a scissors) then the tomato puree. Cook for 10 minutes or so longer, stirring occasionally taste to check that the veg and herbs are cooked, season and enjoy!

If you liked this tomato rice soup, why not try some of our other frugal recipes?

the mermaid and the bear

“The first time the sea killed me, my brother brought me back to life.”

So begins THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. Set in a castle, this historical novel features the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic and a love story.

Sourdough Bread for Pennies – easy too!

sourdough bread decorated with parsley
A somewhat volcanic loaf, decorated with flat leaf parsley

Sourdough bread is absolutely delicious and can be really easy and cheap to make. It’s the way bread was made for thousands of years, containing healthy bacteria for the gut, and the long fermenting process partly breaks down and digests the gluten. We’re not experts by any means, and are quite lazy bakers, but we’re successfully making lovely sourdough for pennies. Tesco sometimes sell off 1kg bags of plain flour for 15p (in baskets round the store) and those are what we’ve been using here, each one making just over two loaves.

We made this starter recipe using grapes and it certainly created a wonderfully frothy active starter that sits on a windowsill and is called Herbert! There was no wasting the discard when we first fed Herbert; we made pizza dough and left it to sit all day, then topping with tomato sauce, tomatoes and Asda free from Mozzarella (they have much cheaper free from cheese than the other supermarkets). It was gorgeous.

sourdough pizza

There’s a basic sourdough bread recipe here. What follows are our lazy variations!

The first bread we made was a herby olive oil focaccia. We kneaded the dough once, coated in herbs and olive oil and left it to rise all day in a tin before baking late afternoon along with dinner. It tasted amazing.



Then we tried olive bread, and returned to the dough after a couple of hours and gave it a second kneading and shaping. This one was left to rise overnight and baked in the morning. Again, the taste of this stuff is delectable.

It was great sliced up and served with our tomato rice soup.

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

The loaf pictured at the top of the page was the result of putting it into an oven that was not pre-heated (told you, no expertise here). The high rise happened during the lower temperatures, and we love it.

For a more expert view and LOTS of ideas, we highly recommend the book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading. We’re going to be trying a jalapeño bread from there soon.

And in the garden we’ve been sowing some seeds that are good to put in during July:

potato patch poppy
A frilly red poppy popped up in the potato patch!


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