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!
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
A delicious jam, exceptionally cheap to make, especially if you have a free source of rhubarb.
It is very easy to grow, coming up every year without fail. Don’t be shy about asking friends and neighbours if they have any spare when you see it growing – it’s surprising how much sits there unused in gardens – and you can give them a pot of the resulting jam as a thank you!
Use the same weight of rhubarb as sugar, for 3 or 4 jars we used: 1 kilo rhubarb sticks; 1 kilo preserving sugar (theoretically cheaper as it’s not ground up fine but if you find discounted sugar go for it – it’s all much the same!); juice of 2 lemons; a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger.
Layer up a bowl with rhubarb and sugar and leave to sit overnight. Next day, pour it into a pan with the lemon and ginger and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer until the rhubarb is all mushy and the sugar mix is thickening. This is much quicker with rhubarb than many other fruit jams and it can be done in about 20 minutes. Leave to cool, remove ginger piece and then pour your rhubarb jam into jars.
Another simple way to use rhubarb is in a crumble or pie. It can be used in place of apples in our apple pie recipe.
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.
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.
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!
This basic sponge cake 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.
Homemade cookies are really quite easy, and fun, and very frugal. This recipe makes about 40 small (2 inch/6cm) cookies
150g/5oz/three quarter cup caster sugar
150g/5 oz/three quarter cup vegetable margarine
5 tablespoons of soya milk
300g/10 oz/1and a half cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 200C/400F and grease cookie sheets. Cream together the sugar and marg. Mix in the soya milk and vanilla and then the flour. The mixing of the flour is best done with your hands (messy but fun!). You should have a workable dough (add more flour if it’s too wet or more soya milk if too dry and doesn’t hold together well). Roll out on a floured board (to just under 1 cm thick) and cut into cookies (if you don’t have cookie cutters you can use an upturned glass). Lay on cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes for soft bake cookies or a little longer for dryer, crunchy ones.
Add choc, nuts or/and dried fruit
Half dip the cooled cookies in chocolate – choccy biscuits!
Crushed chocolate beans are a colourful replacement for chocolate chips. They can also be pressed all over the top prior to baking.
Plain cookies with a handful of sesame seeds or desiccated coconut added into the dough are delicious.
Jewel biscuits: make a hole in the middle of your uncooked cookie once it is placed on a baking tray and place a boiled sweet in the space – this will melt down and fill the hole in the oven and then reset once cool – lovely for Christmas tree decorations!
Plain cookies with a square of chocolate pressed onto them before baking work well too.
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.
This gluten free apple layer cake is low-fat and moist, using soya and rice flours. Nice served as a pudding with custard or yogurt.
Ingredients: 6oz/200g./1 and a half cups of rice flour 2oz./50g/scant cup soya flour 4oz./125g./half cup caster sugar 1 teaspoon wheat free raising agent 2 large eating apples (peeled, cored and thinly sliced) 1 cup water 1/4 cup of apple juice 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil a few drops of vanilla extract (optional) brown granulated sugar for sprinkling on top
Mix the dry ingredients together then add the water, juice, oil, vanilla and mix well. Pour half the cake batter into a greased square cake tin (9×9 inches or 20×20 cm approx. works well). Spread the apple slices evenly over the batter and then top with the remaining mixture and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180c/360F for about 40 minutes or until firm.
This basic chocolate cake recipe is easy to make and so so delicious!
250g/8oz/1 and a half cups of flour
50g/2oz/1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
200/g/6oz/1 cup sugar
75g/2oz/half a cup of mixed, chopped nuts (optional)
150g/5oz/1/2 cup vegetable oil
120ml/4 fl oz/half a cup cold water or soy milk
120ml/4 fl oz/half a cup of orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift dry ingredients into 8″ square or 9″ round baking pan. Mix liquids (except vinegar) and whisk into dry. When batter is smooth, add vinegar and stir quickly, until it is evenly distributed. Put it in the oven, don’t let it stand around (that has something to do with the vinegar) Bake for 25-30 minutes…or longer until done.
A gorgeous ‘steamed pudding with chocolate sauce’ variation of this cake was sent in to us by Bracken: put broken up chocolate bar pieces in the bottom of a microwavable basin and put the chocolate cake mixture on top. Microwave for 2-4 minutes depending on machine. It is something similar to the M&S (and several other companies) steamed chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce. Its also very quick and you don’t need to use the oven (so saving electric).