Lemon and garlic roasted lamb breast, boulangere potatoes and minted peas

I’ve written a lamb’s breast recipe before, but that was a bit more of a braised affair. This is quicker to cook and great for a Sunday roast. It’s a fatty cut but that’s cool – just drain any fat off at the end (and save for future roasts) and the lemon and garlic cuts through it nicely.

Ingredients

  • 1kg boned breast of lamb (£4.08 from local butchers)
  • 700g of potatoes (84p)
  • 1 lemon (30p)
  • 1 onion (10p)
  • 25g of fresh mint (67p)

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, olive oil, vinegar, some butter, 3 cloves of garlic, 400g of frozen peas and 1 chicken stock cube.

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 £5.99 - that's £1.50 per head!

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 160C (325F or gas mark 3).
  • Lay the lamb breast down (un-rolled) and sprinkle over 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic, the zest of one lemon and season well. Roll back up, using string to secure the joint. Now get a frying pan on a high heat - drizzle the joint with a little olive oil and seal the lamb until browned on all sides. This will take no more than 3 minutes. Finish in the pan with seasoning and a squeeze of lemon and transfer to the oven for about 75 minutes.
  • Take an oven-proof baking dish (shallow is best) and butter generously. Peel and slice the potatoes and finely slice the onion. Now add a layer of potato to the dish and then some onions, season well and repeat the process until all the potatoes and onion are gone. Finally pour over 200ml of hot chicken stock. Cover with foil and place in the oven. The potatoes will need around 75 minutes as well.
  • After 60 minutes, remove the foil from the potatoes and turn the oven up to 180C for the last 15 minutes. This will just get them nice and brown and finish the lamb nicely as well. When you take the lamb out of the oven make sure you rest for 10 minutes in a warm place before you serve.
  • Whilst the potatoes and lamb are in the oven you can make the really easy minted peas. Just cook the peas as you would usually, drain, season well and add the finely chopped mint along with 3 teaspoons of vinegar. 
  • Happy eating!

Posh macaroni cheese with crispy bacon and oven dried tomatoes

This is comfort food at its finest. I always like to get a traditional recipe into this blog as they generate the most comments and lots of lovemoney.com readers seem to enjoy the more traditional dishes. So here is my take on a classic.

Ingredients

  • 1 500g pack of Sainsbury’s macaroni (68p)
  • 1 ½ pints of milk (45p)
  • 1 pack of butcher's choice dry cured streaky bacon (£2)
  • 1 ball of Sainsbury’s basic mozzarella (47p)
  • 4 large shallots (42p)
  • 4 medium tomatoes (45p)
  • 200g of Sainsbury’s Shropshire blue (£1.47)

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, sugar, flour, butter and nutmeg

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 £5.94 - that's £1.48 per head!

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5).
  • Cut the 4 tomatoes in half, place on an oven tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a little pinch of sugar. Place in the oven for 30 minutes (they will be ready when reduced down to about half in size and coloured on top).
  • Cook the macaroni (300g) as instructed and set to one side once done. It’s always a good idea to drain the macaroni and then refresh in cold water once cooked. It stops the macaroni cooking and takes some starch out of the pasta as well.
  • Now for the cheese sauce, melt 70g of butter in a saucepan and add 4 finely chopped shallots. Soften the shallots without colouring, this will take about 4 minutes on a low heat. Once the shallots are softened, turn up to a medium heat and stir in 50g of plain flour and cook for 2 minutes. Then gradually add 1 ½ pints of milk and keep stirring! Once the milk and flour have incorporated into a nice lump free sauce (use a whisk if you have some lumps) add some seasoning, half a teaspoon of nutmeg and 200g of the crumbled up Shropshire blue. Cook out for a further 5 minutes and the sauce will be ready. If it looks a little thick just add a dash more milk.
  • Take an ovenproof dish and add the cooked macaroni and pour over the cheese sauce. Mix well and break the mozzarella over the top and sprinkle over some black pepper. Place in the oven for 20 minutes (at 190C with the tomatoes). The finished article will be golden and bubbling on top.
  • Finally the bacon. This is real personal preference but I prefer the bacon grilled (you could fry but it will be too greasy for the finished dish. Make sure you grill so the fat runs off and the bacon will get crispier).
  • So once the macaroni cheese and tomatoes are ready, keep them warm and place the bacon under the grill. Once the bacon is done serve the bacon and tomatoes on top of a big slice of macaroni cheese. Get some good “cheffy” height with the dish!
  • Happy eating!

Falafel, roast pepper and feta salad with chilli tomato salsa

t would be wrong to class this as just a ‘vegetarian recipe’. We could all do with cutting down our consumption of meat and fish and this is one of those recipes that doesn’t make vegetarian food a chore. It’s a vibrant dish full of flavours.
There are some wonderfully innovative and top class vegetarian restaurants in the UK (Terre a Terre in Brighton instantly springs to mind), but the problem is these innovative and quality establishments are far outweighed by restaurateurs looking to make a fast buck through higher margins (see Zilli Green in Soho). Throw in the tuts that accompany vegetarians at dinner parties and the obligatorily nut roast, it feels to me we have a little way to go before we reduce our dependence on meat and fish. Try this recipe for starters.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas, 400g (39p)
  • 200g of Greek feta (£1.29)
  • 900g of cherry tomatoes (98p)
  • 1 bulb of garlic (25p)
  • 700g of mixed market value peppers (£1.38)
  • 1 pack of red chillies, 50g (50p)
  • 1 large red onion (20p)
  • 30g of fresh flat leaf parsley (69p)
  • 1 lemon (30p)

The cupboard staples…

Sunflower oil, olive oil, salt, sugar, black pepper, cumin, ground coriander, plain flour and chilli powder.

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 £1.49 per head!

Instructions

  • Let’s make the falafel first – you can pop them in the fridge until you need to use. You’ll need a food processor as well (alternatively you have some chopping ahead of you!).You need to whizz together the following; the chickpeas (drain first!), 3 garlic cloves, half the red onion, half of the parsley, 2 ½ tablespoons of flour, 2 teaspoons of cumin, 2 teaspoons of coriander, 1 teaspoon of chilli powder and seasoning. Once whizzed in the processor (the mixture doesn’t need to be too smooth) shape into 4 falafels. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Now for the roast pepper and feta salad. Get the grill on a high heat, cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and the bitter white membranes and place on a tray along with generous seasoning and a really good glug of olive oil. You want to get some really good colour on the skins of peppers, we’re talking some charring on the skins – it does loads for the flavour of the salad. Grill for around 7 or 8 minutes on each side (on a medium level). Whilst the peppers are grilling you can make the tomato salsa.
  • Finely chop 1 clove of garlic, half the red onion, 3 de-seeded chillies and chop the cherry tomatoes in half. Mix together with a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, a good twist of black pepper, the juice of half a lemon (tip: roll the lemon along the surface with palm of your hand to extract more juice) and around 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • By now the peppers should be ready. Remove from the grill and leave to cool a little before assembling the salad. Grab a bowl and add the roughly chopped feta, the rest of the parsley, and the peppers roughly chopped as well once they’ve cooled at little. It’s ok to add the peppers if warm still (it helps with the flavour). Finish with the juice of half a lemon and a twist of black pepper. That’s the salads done.
  • Now to cook the falafel. Pour some sunflower oil into a deep frying pan (you’re looking for around an inch in depth) and heat to 180C – you can test the oil is hot enough by dropping a few crumbs of bread in the pan. If they fizz up straightaway you’re good to go. If not, wait.
  • Place the falafel in the pan gently and fry for around 3 minutes on both sides until golden. Once cooked drain off the excess fat on some kitchen paper and serve with the salads.
  • Happy eating!

Chicken ‘oven baked’ with cream, mushrooms and thyme

This is a little heavy on the calorie side of things, but well worth it. Just offset the cream with some nice steamed greens - kale or spinach go very well with this dish. For the chicken always try and buy a whole chicken and just joint it yourself – chicken always tastes better when cooked on the bone, you’ll get more value for money and you can make a nice fresh stock with the carcass. Real value for money.

Ingredients

  • 1.3kg freedom food whole chicken (£3.63)
  • 300ml of double cream (84p)
  • 1 large onion (14p)
  • 160g of closed cup mushrooms (50p)
  • 15g of fresh thyme (68p)

The cupboard staples…

Olive oil, salt, black pepper, 4 cloves of garlic and one chicken stock cube (and some basic greens; kale or spinach)

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 £1.44 per head!

Instructions

  • Start by jointing the chicken. This video is an excellent demonstration of how to joint a chicken – for this dish you’ll need 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings and 2 breasts (cut into 2 pieces each).
  • Once the chicken has been jointed pre-heat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4).
  • Now get a large pan on to a medium heat and a little olive oil (it’s much easier if the pan can also go in the oven – if not just transfer the chicken and ingredients to an oven proof dish).
  • Start by gently frying some finely sliced onions for about 4 minutes and then add the chicken pieces (give the chicken a really good seasoning before adding to the pan) and fry until you have browned the chicken pieces all over. Now add some finely chopped garlic and thyme and then the sliced mushrooms.
  • Now make up 300ml of chicken stock (with one stock cube) – turn the heat up on the pan and add the stock. You want to reduce down for around 3 minutes. Finally add the cream, reduce down for a further minute on a medium heat. Foil and transfer to the oven.
  • The chicken will need 45 minutes – after 45 minutes remove from the oven and serve with fresh steamed greens.
  • Happy eating!

Slow roasted pork shoulder ‘Chinese style’ with pak choi

I adore slow roasted pork shoulder and usually I just season the joint and serve as a traditional Sunday roast. But sometimes it’s well worth doing something different and five spice really works well with pork. Try and cook it long and slow if you can as the shoulder is a fatty cut and the fat will baste the meat whilst it’s in the oven to create an amazing meal. So just get the pork in the oven and forget about it.

Ingredients

  • 1.1kg of British boneless pork shoulder (£3.30)
  • 1 bulb of garlic (25p)
  • 400g of pak choi (£2)
  • 2 red chillies (18p)
  • 1 small piece of ginger (10p)

The cupboard staples…

Sunflower oil, salt, black pepper, Chinese five spice and soy sauce.

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 £5.83 - that's £1.45 per head!

Instructions

  • Start by pre heating the oven to 210C. The pork will be in the oven for 4 hours in total.
  • Now take the pork (make sure the skin has been scored) and rub the meat (avoiding the skin) all over with salt, black pepper, 6 teaspoons of five spice and a little sunflower oil. Place the pork in a roasting tin and put in the oven for 20 minutes at 210C. After 20 minutes turn the oven down to 140C, add a cup of water to the bottom of the roasting tin and cover with foil. The pork will be ready in 3 hours and 40 minutes.
  • About 5 minutes before the pork is due out the oven (the pork will also need to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before you serve , so you have 15 minutes for the pak choi) you can start on the pak choi dish.
  • Finely chop 4 cloves of garlic, the ginger and 2 red chillies (seeds included) and then chop each pak choi in half. Get a wok on a high heat and get the wok nice and hot – add some sunflower oil and then the garlic, ginger and red chillies and cook for no longer than 1 minute. Then add the pak choi, cook for a further 2 minutes and finally add a good few dashes of soy sauce (add a little sesame oil as well if you have some).
  • Slice the pork into slices and serve on top of the pak choi.
  • Happy eating!