Tandoori grilled pork chops, pilaf rice and coriander yoghurt

I have stinking cold at the moment and there is only one remedy which will hit the spot: spicy food!
I’m convinced by the medicinal properties of spices and I bet I’m not the only poor soul suffering with an ailment at the moment. It’s always best to get the pork chops marinating over night if you can - it just lifts the dish an enormous amount. It’s worth it. So do it

Ingredients

  • 4 British pork chops, 700g (£4.06)
  • 500g basic natural yoghurt (44p)
  • 3 green chillies (18p)
  • 30g of fresh coriander (79p)
  • 1 large onion (15p)
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger (16p)

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, sunflower oil, rice, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 chicken stock cube, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne and 4 cardamom pods.

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 £5.78 - that's £1.45 per head!

Instructions

  • Start by getting the pork chops in the marinade. Try and do the night before. If not, leave for at least 2 hours. Take the pork chops and make a few small slashes in the flesh of the meat. Place in a bowl and add 3 finely chopped green chillies, 6 minced cloves of garlic, the minced ginger, 3 teaspoons of cumin, 3 teaspoons of turmeric, ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of cayenne, a good twist of black pepper and a good glug of sunflower oil. Mix well, cling film and leave to marinade.
  • You can also make the coriander yoghurt in advance as well. Take 400g of yoghurt and add the finely chopped coriander and a twist of pepper. Mix well and then refrigerate until you want to use.
  • Once you’re ready to start cooking the meal to serve it’s best to start on the pilaf rice and keep it warm and then follow up with the pork chops on the grill. Just take the pork chops out of the fridge for 10 minutes before you start cooking them.
  • Make up 450ml of chicken stock and keep hot.
  • Get a non stick pan on a medium heat and add a little olive oil. Then add the finely chopped onion and fry gently until the onion softens. Then add 300g of rice and cook for about 2 minutes making sure all the rice grains get coated. Now add 4 cardamom pods, a really good twist of black pepper, a good pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of turmeric. Stir well incorporating all the ingredients and then add the hot chicken stock – bring up to the boil and then reduce down to a low simmer (lid on) for around 10 minutes. You want to keep an eye on the rice to make sure it doesn’t catch. The rice is ready once the liquid has been absorbed and it will light and fluffy when you run a fork though it. Foil and keep warm.
  • Finally the pork chops. Pre-heat the grill to the hottest setting it will go to, season with a little salt and grill on each side for about six minutes until you get a slightly charred look to them. Rest in a warm place for 2 minutes before serving.
  • Happy eating!

Elegantly Frugal listed in the 50 best college budget food blogs!

A bit of a milestone for the blog. My very first 'best 50' listing :-)
 
Listed on the very apt '50 Best Food Blogs for the College Budget' over the pond on an online college courses site.
 
Flying in at number 31.

Paul

Whole baked mackerel with tarragon, tomatoes and potatoes

This is one of those great dishes where you just need to do a bit of chopping and throw it into the oven. You’re then rewarded with a really deep flavoured dish just because of the nature of the ingredients involved. This is an Italian sort of recipe and you could substitute the mackerel with any other fish – haddock, salmon or trout would all work well.

Ingredients

  • 4 whole mackerel – around 250 grams per fish (£4.01)
  • 25g of fresh tarragon (65p)
  • 4 ASDA baking potatoes (50p)
  • 1 lemon (30p)
  • 6 loose tomatoes (52p)

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic.

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 £5.98 - that's £1.49 per head!

Instructions

  • Start by pre-heating the oven to 200C (400F or Gas Mark 6).
  • Now finely chop the garlic and tarragon. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and finely slice the potatoes (you can leave the skin on).
  • Next, take the mackerel and make four ½ cm slashes on each side of the fish and season with salt and pepper (make sure you season in the cavity of the fish).
  • Take a large roasting tin and add the potatoes, garlic, tarragon and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, add the juice of one lemon, season and mix together well. Then place the four mackerel in the roasting tin and give them a good mix with the other ingredients and finish with the mackerel on top of the potatoes and tomatoes etc.
  • Foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes – removing the foil and turning the oven up to 220C for the final 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Serve with a simple salad and happy eating!

Hungarian pork goulash

We have a real winter warmer on our hands here. Dishes like goulash are spot on for cooking cuts like shoulder as the gentle simmering really breaks down the fats and makes the meat delicious and tender. The dish also has potatoes in so it really is an easy, filling affair. As my dad use to frequently extol in my youth “meal in itself lad”.

Ingredients

  • 900g of pork shoulder steaks (£3.50)
  • 150ml of soured cream (55p)
  • 2 medium onions (34p)
  • 500g of new potatoes (72p)
  • 30g of fresh flat leaf parsley

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, paprika, 1 chicken stock cube, plain flour and tomato puree  

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 £5.90 - that's £1.48 per head!

Instructions

  • Start by roughly chopping the pork into cubes of about 1 ½ inches. Reasonably good sized cubes. Then heat some olive oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the pork. Season well and brown all over. Once browned remove from the pan and set to one side.
  • Now add some finely chopped onions to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on a medium heat until they soften down and get a little bit of colour on them. Then follow up with the finely chopped garlic, cook for 1 minute and then add 2 tablespoons of paprika and 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir well and add 500ml of hot chicken stock and three tablespoons of tomato puree.
  • Finally season to taste and add the pork and potatoes to the pan. You can leave the potatoes whole.
  • Now leave to simmer with a lid on very gently for the next hour and forty five minutes. Serve with a big dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley.
  • Happy eating!

Butternut squash stuffed with mushrooms, stilton and thyme

A hearty vegetarian recipe this week, but it’s not just hearty. It’s also right in the middle of season for butternut squash so we’re seasonal as well. To get the best out of butternut squash you should always choose roasting as a cooking method. This way you lock in the flavour and tease out the sweetness in the flesh of the vegetable.

Ingredients

  • Two 800g butternut squash (£1.60)
  • 400g of mushrooms (88p)
  • 2 large red onions (30p)
  • 200g of blue stilton (£1.56)
  • 25g of fresh thyme (65p)

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, olive oil, 5 cloves of garlic and a little butter.  

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 £4.99 - that's £1.25 per head!

Instructions

  • Start by pre-heating the oven to 200C (Gas mark 6 or 400F).
  • Now cut each squash in half, scoop out the seeds and make some nice deep cuts in the fleshy part of the squash. Four big ones about halfway down into the squash flesh will do. This ensures it cooks evenly. Then drizzle generously with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place in the oven skin side down.
  • The squash will need 50 minutes to 1 hour in the oven. The flesh will be soft and the skin slightly browned when ready.
  • Whilst the squash is in the oven you can make the stuffing.
  • Start by prepping your ingredients. So finely chop the mushrooms, red onion, thyme and garlic.
  • Now get a good thick bottomed pan on a medium heat and add a dessertspoon of butter along with a good glug of olive oil. Once the butter is foaming, lower the heat and add the onions. Cook slowly for about 8 minutes until the onions have softened down. Then turn up the heat slightly and add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 to 6 minutes until nicely browned. Finally, add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further minute. Set to one side until the squash is ready.
  • When the squash is ready to come out of the oven, scoop one dessertspoon of flesh out of each squash and add to the stuffing mixture into the pan along with the crumbled up stilton. Mix well and then return the stuffing into each squash. You will have a generous helping of stuffing for each squash.
  • Put back in the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes until browned on top. Or alternatively cook for 10 minutes and then finish on the grill.
  • Happy eating!

Fusilli with a rich beef ragu sauce

A good ragu is a long, slow and chilled out process. It’s really simple and the flavours that come through in the end should have lots of depth – which can only be achieved by slow cooking. The best way to serve is with pasta, although you can always serve with rice, jacket potato or a massive piece of crusty bread.

Ingredients

  • 690g of Tesco value beef stewing steak (£3.44)
  • 1 bulb of garlic (30p)
  • 2 medium onions (36p)
  • 25g of fresh rosemary (79p)
  • 1 can of Tesco value chopped tomatoes (33p)
  • 500g of Tesco organic Fusilli (75p)

The cupboard staples…

Salt, black pepper, olive oil, dried chilli flakes, tomato puree and 2 beef stock cubes.

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 £5.97 - that's £1.49 per head!

Instructions

  • Start by preparing all of your ingredients for the ragu. So finely chop the onions, rosemary, 8 cloves of garlic and the beef. Now get a good thick bottomed pan on to a high heat and add a good generous glug of olive oil and get the oil hot. Once the oil is hot add the beef, season well with salt and lots of black pepper and brown all over. This will take about 5 minutes and we’re looking for a really good colour on the beef.
  • Once the beef is nicely browned, remove from the pan and set to one side, turn down to a medium heat and add the onions. Cook down the onions for a few minutes until they soften and then add the garlic and rosemary to the pan. Cook for a further 2 minutes and then add the beef (makes sure you add all the juices that have run off onto the plate), along with 5 tablespoons of tomato puree, a pinch of dried chilli flakes, a tin of tomatoes and 560ml of hot beef stock (use 2 stock cubes) – you can also add a really good splash of red wine if you have it at this point. Give all the ingredients a good stir to make sure nothing has caught on the bottom of the pan, bring up to a simmer and then cover the pan with a lid and simmer on a the lowest of heats for the next 2 ½ hours.
  • Make sure you stir occasionally and add a little water if needed.
  • Cook the pasta in large pan of salted boiling water and serve with the ragu on top along with a liberal sprinkling of parmesan.
  • Happy eating!