Chunky pea and ham soup with crusty bread

Recipe #14: Chunky pea and ham soup with crusty bread

  • 600g of ASDA gammon joint (£2.28)
  • 480g Birdseye garden peas (£1)
  • 3 red onions (30p)
  • 25g fresh of fresh mint (68p)
  • 2 seeded baguettes (72p)

The cupboard staples...

Two Chicken stock cubes, black pepper, olive oil and 3 garlic cloves.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to, this trolley was cheapest at ASDA, where it came to just £4.98!


It's September now and I'm already starting to feel the cold a little more and the nights are definitely closing in on us, so what better than one of the kings of comfort food?

  • Get a large heavy bottomed pan on to a low medium heat with a good glug of olive oil (Le Creuset dishes are great for making this soup with). Finely chop the red onion and garlic and add to the pan. You want to cook the onion and garlic down for 5-6 minutes so it softens without colouring too much.
  • Whilst the onions and garlic are softening prepare the gammon by trimming off the majority of fat (leave a little on for flavour) and cutting into 1cm cubed pieces.
  • Remove the onions and garlic from the pan, put the pan back on to a medium heat with a little more olive oil and add the gammon. Brown the gammon off for a few minutes.
  • Now turn down to a low heat and add the onions and garlic along with 4 pints of chicken stock (I would use 2 stock cubes for 4 pints) and season with black pepper - no salt as the gammon will be salty enough. Simmer on a very low heat for 45 minutes so the gammon can tenderise.
  • Finely add the peas and chopped mint (use the stalks as well) and simmer for a further 3 minutes until the peas are cooked.
  • Serve with the crusty seeded baguettes. Happy eating!

Spaghetti alla carbonara

Recipe #13: Spaghetti alla carbonara

  • 500g of Tesco organic spaghetti (56p)
  • 250g of Tesco unsmoked back bacon (£1.23)
  • 284ml of double cream (59p)
  • 60g of Tesco finest grated parmesan (£1)
  • 6 Tesco organic medium eggs (£1.45)

The cupboard staples...

Olive oil and black pepper.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco, where it came to just £4.83!


This is a classic and beautifully simple dish - surely everyone in the family enjoys spaghetti alla carbonara? And it's cheap. This is also made the Italian way.

  • Firstly get the spaghetti cooked, al dente of course. I would say 100g of spaghetti per person - so 500g.
  • Now get a little olive oil in a fry pan and gently fry off the bacon until crisp. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Get a bowl and whisk together the eggs (4 egg whites and 6 yolks), cheese and cream - season with a little salt and lots of black pepper.
  • The spaghetti should be cooked by now. So drain and put back in the saucepan. Add the bacon (including the oils) and cream, cheese and egg mixture. You'll need to stir a lot here so all the spaghetti gets coated.
  • Serve with some garlic bread and happy eating!

Beef & thyme (Lancashire) hotpot

I know this is a cheat on a fantastic British classic and I should be ashamed as my family are from Lancashire. My gran will be going mad if she saw this.

Thing is lamb used to be cheap, but no longer. Even the cheap cuts have been pushed up by chefs championing cheaper cuts like the neck.

Recipe #12: Beef and thyme (Lancashire) hotpot

  • 700g of British stewing beef (£2.14)
  • 3 medium onions (48p)
  • 25g fresh lemon thyme (68p)
  • 900g of white potatoes (£1)

The cupboard staples...

Salt and pepper, 1 beef stock cube and a little flour.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco, where it came to just £4.30 (cheapest yet!).


  • Now I know this is traditionally made with lamb. But lamb is expensive so I've given this British classic a frugal twist!
  • Get the oven pre-heated to 170C.
  • Now take the beef and trim off any excess fat and slice into strips or chunks (you choose!). Once this is done, add some oil to a heavy bottomed pan and get it really hot (almost smoking). Toss the beef in a little seasoned flour and fry off in the pan for 2 minutes. You want a really good colour on the beef. Remove from the pan and set to one side.
  • Now take the potatoes and cut into 2cm slices, thinly slice the onions and finely chop the thyme.
  • Next up is assembling the dish. Take a hotpot dish (3 litres) and start with about a quarter of the beef at the bottom, then a layer of onions, a layer of potatoes and a sprinkle of thyme. Season each layer with black pepper and salt and repeat until all the ingredients have been used.
  • Finally pour over roughly 700ml of boiling beef stock. It may take a little more or a little less. You want the stock to just touch the layer of potatoes at the top.
  • Loosely cover with foil and place in the oven for 2 hours at 170C. For the final 20 minutes brush a little butter on the top and place back in the oven at 220C.
  • Happy eating!

Pork stroganoff

Recipe #11: pork stroganoff

  • 690g (4 pack) of pork chops (£2)
  • 1 large onion (16p)
  • 150ml soured cream (51p)
  • 1 lemon (27p)
  • 280g of loose closed capped mushrooms (64p)
  • 35g curly parsley (68p)
  • 500g (1 pack) of easy cook long grain rice (64p)

The cupboard staples...

Salt and black pepper, paprika, 1 chicken stock cube, a little butter and olive oil.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco, where it came to just £4.90.


  • Firstly trim the meat down to remove the outer rind of fat and bones of the pork chops. Once the chops are trimmed you will have 4 filleted chops which you should bash down with the palm of your hand and thinly slice (about ½ cm thick and wide).
  • Get a flat bottomed pan on the heat (a nice heavy one), add a little olive oil and season the pork well before you sauté in the pan. You will need to sauté the pork for around 1 minute, making sure you get some colour on the meat. Once done, take the pork out and set to one side.
  • Add a little more oil to the pan and soften some thinly sliced onions for 3-4 minutes - you should use a lower heat. You want the onions to go translucent.
  • Now add a teaspoon of butter to the pan and add the sliced mushrooms and 2 teaspoons of paprika and fry until all softened.
  • Once softened add the pork to the pan along with ¼ of a pint of chicken stock (I would only use half a stock cube). Reduce down for 1 minute at a high heat and then turn right down before you add the soured cream. Make sure you're on the lowest heat possible.
  • All it needs now is a season with black pepper, the juice of one lemon and a good handful of chopped parsley. Stir well to make sure it all incorporates.
  • Serve with steamed rice and happy eating!