I made some enchiladas a few weeks ago and added one chipotle chilli for four people. You couldn’t taste it at all; there was a little bit of smoky flavour but no chilli heat; it wasn’t the end of the world, they were still very tasty. When I made this Smoky Chipotle Tomato Soup I added one chilli again, this time for two people, and it was probably the hottest thing I have ever eaten. It’s amazing how different two chillies that look just the same can have completely different heat levels. Despite it being so hot, it was actually rather delicious. Served with lots of bread and a glass of milk.
This slow cooked lamb curry came about because I decided I was the proud owner of far too many spices. I hope it’s not just me that has drawers, jars and bags full of various spices. They were of course all originally bought for a specific recipe but some of them get used less often than others; I use a lot of paprika and cumin but not so much caraway or allspice. I’ve got three different types of dried chilli hanging around (ancho, chipotle, kashmiri) and pretty much every spice and spice blend imaginable. And I am committed to using them up. A great big curry or chilli is one way, marinades and rubs are another, soups, baking and all sorts. Watch out spice cupboard, I’m planning on emptying you out.
I bought some smoked chicken from a local farm shop. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it but it sounded too tasty not to try it. I planned to serve it with some cheese and chutneys but somehow I never got round to it. I certainly wasn’t going to waste it and I thought, rather than serving it alongside something else, why not make it the star of the dish? Smoked chicken fried rice sounded like just the thing for a simple, no hassle budget meal in a flash. Turns out it’s even better than it sounds.
I tried something similar to these Mexican black beans at a restaurant a few weeks ago. They were so tasty and I loved the frugality of them that I really wanted to try and make them at home. Attempt one tasted fine but the texture was all wrong, attempt two was an improvement but the spicing wasn’t quite right. By the third attempt I’d got it; tasty, slightly spicy, cheap and easy to make. Does it get much better?
You will need (for 2):
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed £0.65
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed £0.10
- 1 small chilli, halved £0.15
- 150ml chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock to make these vegetarian or vegan) £0.30
- ½ tsp ground cumin £0.05
- ½ tsp smoked paprika £0.05
- oil for cooking £0.10
- salt and pepper £0.05
- fresh coriander, chopped £0.30
- Rice to serve £0.30
Total for two: £2.05
Heat a little oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and add the garlic. Fry for a minute or so and don’t let the garlic catch. Add the chilli and spices and keep everything moving.
How many times do you think about what to make for dinner and end up with a seemingly impossible list of requirements for that one meal? It needs to be filling, but without being too full of fat, tasty without being too salty or sugary, balanced and preferably something interesting. Welcome to every weekend of my life! Planning meals is something I can’t live without (see post here if you want some top tips) and I usually do it on a leisurely Sunday morning when I have time to look through my blog, magazines and books for inspiration. More often than not I end up fulfilling all the requirements that I want my dinner to be, but it takes time to work it out. So give my Harissa Chicken with Quinoa, Avocado and Mango Salad a go; I’ve done all the hard work for you.
Hang on, a sausage roll that doesn’t have any sausage in it? Correct. I absolutely love a proper sausage roll; when the juices run out of it and caramelise under the flaky pastry. To pack a picnic with a couple of sausage rolls and a flask of tea is to pack a fine picnic as far as I’m concerned. So what’s with this vegetarian creation? My reasons are threefold: firstly, at this time of year I need pastry; secondly, I love spinach and particularly spanakopita and thirdly I wondered what a vegetable ‘sausage’ roll would be like.
I regularly get a vegetable box delivered for a few reasons: I like that I have to use what I receive which means I get more variety than I probably would otherwise and there’s only so many times you can make mushroom risotto so I find myself trying out new recipes to use the vegetables. Grown With Love got in touch to see if I would like to try out some of their veg so I was looking forward to getting stuck in.
The vegetables that came from Grown With Love were very nice, they were all prepared which is something that I never buy normally. Considering they were prepared I was impressed with the shelf life of the veg and that the texture remained good. I received: butternut squash and sweet potato mix (chopped 50:50), butternut squash (peeled and deseeded), tenderstem broccoli (in bags and some that came with asparagus too), sweetcorn (some with garlic butter, some without) and sweet potato wedges.
- 2 Gressingham duck breasts
- 1 pack of Gressingham Duck Mini Fillets
- Oil for frying
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- Whole lettuce leaves
- Spring onions
- Sesame seeds
- Chilli sauce(s)
- Soy sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- Plum sauce
- First of all, get the table laid and ready then as you get things prepped you can get them straight to the table.
I don’t know about you but during the week when it comes to cooking dinner I want something quick, easy and full of flavour. It’s also a winner if it’s cheap to make and uses up a few bits and bobs I have hanging around in the fridge too. Keema rice is one of my guilty pleasures; I love the heavily spiced lamb, golden onions and fragrant rice. I thought it was about time I attempted to make it at home.
You will need (for 4):
- 250g easy cook, long grain rice £0.35
- 2 cloves £0.02
- 2 cardamom pods £0.02
- 1 bay leaf £0.02
- 300g lamb mince £2.40
- 1 small tin peas, drained £0.30
- 1 onion, finely chopped £0.10
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed £0.10
- Handful mushrooms, chopped £0.35
- Oil for cooking £0.02
- 2 tsp garam masala £0.02
- 1 tsp ground cumin £0.02
- Salt and pepper £0.02
- Fresh coriander £0.15
Gently fry the cloves, cardamom and bay in a saucepan with a little oil. Add the rice and stir well to coat in the oil and spices.
Beetroot can be a bit of a pain in my house, other than putting it in a salad or putting it on the side with something I am sometimes at a loss for what to do with it. When I get a bunch I find the easiest thing to do is to cook it all at the same time then peel it and keep it in the fridge for when I need it. Using the beetroot for a beetroot tzatziki was a great discovery and was so good with the beef koftas and super quick homemade flatbreads.
You will need (for two):
For the koftas:
- 200g beef mince
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
For the beetroot tzatziki: