Chilli steak burgers, paprika wedges and homemade coleslaw

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of fast food joints and something I particularly cannot stomach is watching a family of four enter a fast food restaurant and shell out more than a fiver each for some seriously bad, greasy food. On the top of that, you haven’t got a clue where the meat comes from (if you can call it meat).
This recipe takes no longer than 40 minutes to put together and in a fast food sense, it falls towards the healthier end of the scale. It’s also a very good recipe if you’re planning on having a World Cup BBQ this weekend.

Ingredients

  • 481g pack of Taste The Difference frying steak (£3.75)
  • 4 baking potatoes (50p)
  • 3 large carrots (22p)
  • 2 medium or 1 large onion (20p)
  • 1 small (as much on the small side as you can find) red cabbage (45p)
  • 4 Taste The Difference multi-seeded rolls (60p)
  • 2 green chillies (18p)

The cupboard staples…

Olive oil, salt, black pepper, 5 teaspoons paprika and 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise.

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 £5.90 - that's £1.47 per head!

Instructions

  • The burgers will need making first as they’ll benefit from firming up in the fridge for a little while – it helps when cooking them. Take a large bowl and add 2 very finely chopped green chillies (seeds included) and the steak also very finely chopped (you can use a food processer for the steak, although I find a bit of work with the knife is just as good and saves on the washing up). Season well with salt and pepper and mix well.
  • To assemble the burgers (the mixture will make 4 burgers); make a ball of about ¾ of the size of a tennis ball, roll around the palm of your hands and then flatten into a burger shape about 2cm in thickness. Place the burgers on a lightly oiled plate and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Whilst the burgers are in the fridge, you can get the paprika wedges in the oven and make the coleslaw. Pre-heat the oven to 190C before you crack on with anything else.
  • For the coleslaw you will need to grate the carrots into a bowl, add the very finely sliced onion and red cabbage and 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Season and stir well. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
  • Now for the wedges. Cut each potato into 6 wedges and toss in a large roasting pan with 5 teaspoons of paprika, seasoning and 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Put in the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes.
  • As we’re using steak and not mince, you can cook the burgers to personal preference. I’m going to assume medium is favoured. Get a griddle pan on a high heat (open those kitchen windows as it will get smoky) and let the pan heat up for a few minutes. When the pan is smoking hot, rub the burgers with a little olive oil and place in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side (same if cooking on the BBQ). Try not to press down on them (it releases juices) and try not to move around too much as you lose heat in the pan and we’re looking for a good crust on the burgers. Once cooked rest for 2 minutes in a warm place.
  • Whilst the burgers are resting, cut the rolls, add a little coleslaw to them and serve up the wedges. Just add the burgers to the buns and happy eating!

Broad bean, halloumi and mint farfalle

This is a wonderfully simple meal which smacks of the summer. Broad beans are very much in season at the moment and the saltiness of the halloumi works so well with the tender little beans. Also it’s cheap to put together. Does it get any better?

Ingredients

  • 500g of broad beans (£1.50)
  • 1 lemon (30p)
  • 28g of fresh mint (79p)
  • 250g of halloumi (£2.23)
  • 500g of farfalle pasta (61p)

The cupboard staples…

Olive oil, salt, black pepper and 3 cloves of garlic

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 £5.43 - that's £1.35 per head!

Instructions

  • Pod your beans first so you have them ready to use.
  • Next up you can cook the pasta. Use 100 grams of farfalle pasta per person and cook as you would usually. You need to work fast here from now on as we want to mix all the ingredients together whilst still hot at the end.
  • Now get a griddle pan (frying pan fine if you don’t have a griddle pan) on a medium heat and slice the halloumi up into rectangle slices and cook on each side for around 1 minute on each side. Keep warm until ready to use.
  • The pasta will be around 4 or 5 minutes off now so put the broad beans in the same pan to save on water. They need 4 to 5 minutes to cook!
  • Very finely chop the mint and garlic and you can also roughly chop the halloumi which has been keeping warm.
  • Once the pasta and broad beans are ready drain and stir in the mint, garlic, halloumi, a good honest glug of olive oil, the juice of one lemon and season well with black pepper only (the halloumi is salty enough).
  • Happy eating!

Chicken curry, basmati rice and coriander yoghurt

This is the way I like to cook a curry. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way when it comes to curry – just do what you think feels right! I always use chicken thighs and legs as you get a greater depth of flavour, it feels more authentic and you get to gnaw on the bones as an added bonus.

Ingredients

  • 1.1kg of freedom food corn fed chicken and thighs (£2.64)
  • 2 large onions (26p)
  • 500g of basic natural yoghurt (45p)
  • 1 400g can of chick peas (31p)
  • 1 400ml can of coconut milk (57p)
  • 500g of basmati rice (84p)
  • 3 green chilies (12p)
  • 28g of fresh coriander (79p)

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, sunflower oil, turmeric, cumin, ground ginger, garam masala, mustard seeds, 1 chicken stock cube and 6 cloves of garlic

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 £5.98 - that's £1.50 per head!

Instructions

  • Ok, let’s start by getting a good big thick bottomed sauce pan on to a medium heat. Slice the onions, get some sunflower oil in the pan and fry the onions gently until they soften a little. Now for the spices.
  • It’s simple as we’ll use 2 teaspoons of all the spices listed. So once the onion has softened add the turmeric, cumin, garam masala, ground ginger (fresh if you have) and mustard seeds. Cook the spices out watching they don’t burn (add a little more oil if it looks like it’s catching on the bottom of the pan) for about 2 minutes. Then add 6 cloves of finely chopped garlic and the green chilies (seeds included, finely chopped) and cook for a further minute on a medium heat.
  • Now turn the heat up and add 1 pint of chicken stock. You want to get all the flavour from the bottom of the pan so give it a good stir and make sure the stock is bubbling away. Reduce this down for around 1 minute and then add the chicken (make sure you season the chicken with salt and pepper before adding to the pan). Bring down to a low heat and simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on.
  • After 30 minutes add the coconut milk and chickpeas and cook for a further 15 minutes on a low heat with the lid off.
  • Cook the rice as you would usually. Whilst the rice is cooking you can make the coriander yoghurt. Finely chop the coriander and add about two thirds of it to 300ml of yoghurt, add a few twists of black pepper and stir well.
  • The chicken curry will be ready now. So just take off the heat and add the remaining coriander to the curry.
  • Serve with the rice and a good drizzle of the coriander yoghurt - happy eating!

Barbecued whole mackerel and a spicy lime salsa

The first barbecue blog post of the summer! I always try and veer well clear of the usual barbecue suspects - a few snags, overcooked burgers and a warm potato salad is a living high summer nightmare for me. Be different. Mackerel really does lend itself to the barbecue and you need a spicy, sharp accompaniment to cut through the oily fish.

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh whole mackerel (£4.18 – around 250 grams per mackerel)
  • 1 medium red onion (10p)
  • 1 lime (20p)
  • 1 red chilli (10p)
  • 5 tomatoes (70p)
  • 25g of fresh coriander (67p)

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper and olive oil

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 £5.95 - that's £1.49 per head!

Instructions

  • The salsa will happily sit in the fridge for half a day and it’s good to make it in advance so the flavours get to have a good mingle together. Start by finely chopping the red onion, tomatoes, red chilli (including seeds) and coriander. Place all the chopped ingredients in a bowl and add the juice (and zest) of one lime, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Done. Easy. Barbecues should be!
  • For the mackerel, wait until the barbecue coals are white all over and not smoking – make a few small cuts (just on the surface and not to the bone) on both sides of each mackerel, rub with a little olive oil (to stop them sticking to the grill – this is important!) and finally season well with salt and black pepper. They will need 4 minutes on each side to be cooked through perfectly.
  • Happy eating!

Moussaka

Traditional moussakas will have lemon zest, fresh parsley and white wine in – all of which take us out of the frugal theme. But this dish is all about the all spice, oregano and cinnamon – the spices just work so wonderfully well with lamb. It truly is a simple classic.

Ingredients

  • 500g of lamb mince (£2.99)
  • 3 large aubergines (£1.64)
  • 1 large brown onion (16p)
  • 1 pint of semi skimmed milk (45p)
  • 1 tin (400g) of chopped tomatoes (33p)
  • 500g of plain flour (35p) – we’re using 75g of plain flour

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 75g of butter, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon all spice and 1 tablespoon of dried oregano.

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 £5.92 - that's £1.48 per head!

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 185C.
  • Let’s kick off with the lamb mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a deep, wide frying pan at a medium low heat – add the finely chopped onion and garlic and gently cook through until the onions become translucent. Now add the all spice, cinnamon and lamb mince and fry off until the mince is nicely browned all over. Finally add the tomatoes, oregano, ½ pint of water and season well – simmer down the mixture for 20 minutes.
  • Whilst the lamb mixture is reducing you can make the béchamel sauce which is the topping for the moussaka. Warm the milk gently in a saucepan and keep warm ready to use. Now melt the butter in a thick bottomed saucepan over a low heat and then stir in the flour – cook through for around 3 minutes without colouring too much. Now gradually stir in the milk. Keep stirring until you have a nice smooth béchamel. Season with a little salt and white pepper. Cover and set to one side.
  • Next up are the aubergines. Slice lengthways to around ½ a cm thick and fry in some olive oil until browned. Remove from the pan once browned and place the aubergines on some kitchen paper to get rid of the excess fat. The lamb mixture will also be ready to take off the heat
  • Last thing to do is assemble the moussaka and place in the oven. Grab a deep oven proof dish (such as a lasagne dish) and lay half of the aubergines along the bottom. Now pour in all the lamb mixture and spread evenly and then add another layer of aubergines. Finally, pour over the béchamel sauce and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes (until the top has browned). Do try and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Happy eating!