Prawn and pea risotto

The simplicity of risottos never ceases to amaze me. For me they deliver the fine balance of comfort and sophistication. Never underestimate just how good a risotto can be – just make sure you keep stirring to release the starches and create a silky finish.

Ingredients

  • 250g of raw peeled king prawns (£3)
  • 1 lemon (30p)
  • 6 shallots (88p)
  • 500g of arborio rice (94p)
  • 900g value frozen peas (87p)

The cupboard staples...

Salt, black pepper, olive oil and 2 fish stock cube (for just under 2 pints of stock)

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco’s where it came to £5.99 - that's £1.50 per head!

Instructions

  • First up, cook the peas in salted boiling water and then drain.
  • Put a few glugs of olive oil in a saucepan and get up to a medium heat – when the oil is hot, add some finely diced shallot and cook through until translucent. Now add 300 grams of rice, season well and keep stirring. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Now gradually add (a ladle at a time) some hot stock to the pan (stirring all the time). Keep doing this until all the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. You’ll get a sore arm but keep stirring! It’s worth it.
  • Once all the liquid has been absorbed, add the prawns, peas (250 grams) and the juice of one lemon.
  • Simmer for a further minute until the prawns are cooked through and it’s done. Easy.
  • Happy eating!

Honey roasted gammon and apples with champ

This recipe lands smack bang in the middle of the comfort range when it comes to food. It certainly evokes memories of eating at my grandmothers when I was a young child - the champ is traditionally Irish as well so fits nicely for this week’s St Patricks day celebrations (which I’m sure are still in full swing in Ireland).

Ingredients

  • 750g unsmoked gammon joint (£3.72)
  • 4 basic loose apples (44p)
  • 1 bunch of spring onions (64p)
  • 2.5kg bag of basic potatoes (99p)

The cupboard staples...

Butter, milk, salt, black pepper, sugar and honey

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at Sainsbury’s where it came to £5.79 - that's £1.45 per head!

Instructions

  • Place the gammon in a large pan of cold water and bring up to the simmer (add a bay leaf, peppercorns and an onion if you have lurking anywhere – it doesn’t matter too much if not). You’ll need to simmer for 1 hour and then remove and drain. You can keep the cooking liquor for a stock or soup.
  • Now preheat the oven to 220C. Whist the oven is heating up, you can make the glaze for the gammon and prepare the apples; just mix together 4 tablespoons of water and 3 tablespoons of honey – easy! For the apples quarter, take out the core and toss in a little olive oil, then season with a little sugar and black pepper.
  • Next up, make some scores on the fat of the gammon and season with black pepper only. Then place in a roasting tin and spread the honey mixture all over the surface of the gammon along with the quartered apples in the roasting tin. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Rest for 15 minutes once cooked.
  • Whilst the gammon is cooking you can make the champ. Boil 1kg of potatoes and then drain and mash along with some finely sliced spring onions (the whole bunch), 2 tablespoons of butter, a dash of milk and salt and pepper.
  • Once the gammon has rested slice in nice thick slices, spoon over the roasted apples and a big dollop of champ on the side - Happy eating!

Hot chocolate fondants with crème Chantilly

This is a special moment for my blog. This is the first dessert recipe I’ve written and this goes out to all the mothers out there.

There has been some hectic debate in the office this week as to what the best dessert actually is. We’ve had cheesecake, banoffee pie, and even a rogue viennetta flung round our sweet debating circle.

I feel a great dessert is all about simplicity and letting the ingredients do the talking – on the basis you cannot beat a hot chocolate fondant (use at least 70% cocoa chocolate). Make this for your mother this weekend - Happy Mother’s Day mum!

Ingredients

  • 250g of Tesco unsalted English butter (98p) – we’re using 150g
  • 6 farm pride free range eggs (£1.42) – we’re using 3 egg yolks and 3 whole eggs
  • 200g of Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate (£2.50) – we’re using 170g
  • 150ml of Tesco double cream (56p)

The cupboard staples...

Caster sugar (90g), plain flour (25g), vanilla extract (1/2 a teaspoon) and icing sugar (3 teaspoons).

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco where it came to £5.46 - that's £1.36 per head!

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C first. You need it to be at the exact temperature when cooking. Now brush 4 ramekins or pudding basins (think individual summer puddings size) well with butter and set to one side.
  • Next up, put the butter, chopped chocolate, and sugar in a bowl over a simmering pan of water and melt gently - make sure the ingredients are nicely combined.
  • Once melted, remove from the heat (let the mixture cool a little) and whisk in the egg yolks and whole eggs. Keep mixing and give them a good beating – you want a light mixture. Then fold in the flour (fold the flour so you keep air in the mixture).
  • Now pour the mixture into your ramekins and chill in a fridge for 20 minutes. You’ll get better results if cooking the mixture from a chilled state. While the mixture is chilling you can make the crème Chantilly.
  • Whisk the cream until stiff, then add ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract (not essence, or the seeds from a fresh vanilla pod are even better) and 3 teaspoons of icing sugar. Give it another whisk and keep chilled until ready to serve.
  • Once chilled, put in the oven for 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 2 minutes. Once they’ve rested you can turn out (fingers crossed) on to plates and serve with a spoonful of the crème Chantilly.
  • Happy eating!

Shin of beef, kidney and ale pie

It’s British pie week this week so it had to be a pie recipe. I’ve thought long and very hard about what my favourite pie might be and whether it could be priced under £1.50 per person.

For the record, my favourite pie is pork and egg and it was a struggle to price this for frugal recipes.

A very close favourite though is steak and kidney, but again this is a struggle to price for frugal recipes. So I’ve replaced the steak with shin of beef –it needs longer cooking but the results are just as good.

Tell us what your favourite pie is in the comments boxes below!

Ingredients

  • 450g shin of beef - sourced from butchers (£3.50)
  • 3 large red onions (58p)
  • 200g of lambs kidney (52p)
  • 1 bottle , 500ml of Whitechapel porter ale (£1)
  • 1 bulb of garlic (24p)

The cupboard staples...

Olive oil, salt, black pepper, flour, butter, beef stock cube, Worcester sauce, sugar and 1 egg.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at ASDA where it came to £5.84 - that's £1.46 per head!

Instructions

  • First, dice the beef and kidneys as you wish, season with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Now get a large pan on the heat, add a good glug of olive oil and get the pan nice and hot. Add the beef and kidneys to the pan and brown nicely all over. Once browned, remove from the pan, and add 3 roughly sliced red onions. Lower the heat and cook the onions without colouring too much for about 10 minutes.
  • After the onions have softened, add 5 cloves of finely chopped garlic, the beef and kidneys, and one tablespoon of flour - cook out for a further 3 minutes on a medium heat and then add 250ml of ale and 350ml of beef stock. Then add seasoning, a pinch of sugar, and good glug of Worcester sauce.
  • Turn the heat right down and simmer for 1 hour and 45 minutes – add more ale or stock if it looks like it’s reducing too quickly.
  • For 12oz of shortcrust pastry (which will be more than enough to cover the pie dish for this mixture), you will need 8oz of plain flour, 4oz of cubed butter, 5 tablespoons of cold water and a pinch of salt. Put the flour, salt and butter in a bowl, and run between your fingers to breadcrumb consistency. Then stir in (use a knife) a little water until the mixture becomes dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge before use.
  • Once the beef and kidney filling is ready, you want the beef to be nice and tender, take off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Get the pastry out of the fridge and roll out so it slightly overlaps the edges of the pie dish you wish to use. Add the mixture to the dish, cover with pastry (crimp the edges with a fork) and brush with one beaten egg. Finally make a hole in the middle of pie to let steam escape and place in the oven for 50 minutes.
  • Serve with vegetables of your choice and happy eating!

Whole roasted tandoori chicken with coconut rice and mint raita

This is a fantastic alternative to a Sunday roast. It does require marinating overnight to make it extra special and although you could marinate for 1 hour and it would taste good, it just doesn’t get near the taste of a chicken that’s been marinated overnight - I really urge you to make the effort on this one.

Ingredients

  • 1.3kg chicken, Extra special British free range (£3)
  • 200g pure creamed coconut (28p)
  • 500g of low fat natural yoghurt (45p)
  • 25g of fresh mint (68p)
  • 500g Basmati rice (75p)
  • 2 green chillies (16p)
  • 1 bulb of garlic (24p)
  • Thumb size piece of ginger (21p)
  • 1 lemon (15p)

The cupboard staples...

Vegetable oil, salt, black pepper, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and garam masala

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at ASDA where it came to £5.92 - that's £1.48 per head!

Instructions

  • The chicken needs to be marinated overnight – so let’s start with the marinade. In a large bowl combine 200g of yoghurt, 6 cloves of minced garlic, the thumb sized piece of minced ginger, 2 very finely chopped chillies, the juice of one lemon and one tablespoon of vegetable oil. You need to give the mixture a really good stir to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Finally add 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of garam masala and give the mixture a good stir.
  • You really want to get the flavours into the chicken, so make three cuts into each of the breasts, legs and thighs. Season the chicken well and then pour over the marinade and really work it into the cuts you’ve made. Now cover with foil and place in the fridge overnight (it’s a good idea to give a turn and another rub in the morning if you can to distribute the flavours a bit more). It can marinade for up to 24 hours.
  • Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it and preheat the oven to 200C. Pour off any excess marinade and place the chicken in a roasting tray and put in the oven. The chicken will take 1 hour and 10 minutes to cook (you should baste the chicken with the marinade after 40 minutes of cooking). If it looks like it’s browning too quickly, just cover with foil. Once the chicken is cooked you should leave to rest for 20 minutes in a warm corner of the kitchen.
  • Whilst the chicken is cooking you can make the mint raita and coconut rice.
  • For the mint raita put 300g of yoghurt in a bowl and mix in 25g of finely chopped mint and a good twist of black pepper. Simple.
  • For the rice I would use 75g per person. Wash the rice first and then simmer in large pan of salted water for 15 minutes until cooked. Once cooked drain and add 200g of the grated creamed coconut, fluff up with a fork and season with black pepper. Foil and keep warm until the chicken has rested.
  • Happy eating!