Category Archives: cheap

Baked Eggs Also Known as Turkish Eggs.. (85p per portion)

Now, you may be wondering why I haven’t been updating my blog for a while, but since my last post I have had contractions on and off, and my midwife has said that I’m in beginning stages of labour. Well, this has gone on for a week now (I’m 39 weeks) and I’m getting increasingly impatient and moody. This has meant that looking at my blog or even writing or cooking has been the last thing on my mind… Instead, I have tried to keep my head nice and calm and not lose it (too often) with Toddler “Blip” and the Husband.

But, as nothing seems to be happening, I have decided I better try and get this labour on its way. Let’s just say I have tried walking, up and down stairs and all the other tricks in the book, but spicy food I haven’t really done yet. So therefore, this dish is perfect, especially with the extra chilli (you can leave this out).  Also, I have been craving baked eggs for a while. Now if you are purist and like your recipes to be authentic please look away, as this recipe is not authentic, I have added my own spin to the Turkish baked eggs also known as Shakshuka. To stretch it further I have occasionally (not this time) added a can of chickpeas to it.

I’m a huge fan of aubergines, and often got 1 laying around in my fridge, and I find it especially good in this dish. It’s not in the traditional recipes I normally have seen, but trust me its nice. I have also added extra chilli, well to be exact a full chilli instead of the half I would normally add (well I did say I wanted this labour to progress!). But please feel free to leave it out or use as much as you like.

There are loads of different versions of this dish, also with chorizo which is wonderful.

One of the things I find really important when you cook is to amend the dishes to fit in with you and your families taste. No point in making something that you already know the family don’t like, so if a dish calls for coriander and you really dislike it, CHANGE it…. It’s your food and your dish!.

As this dish is spicy, I’m not expecting Toddler “Blip” to eat it, he will have a taste, but got him a portion of his favourite n food at the moment, Macaroni Pasta.. If you got kids and you still want it to be spicy, you could just do as I sometimes do with dishes, and add chilli oil to your finished dish.

Normally, I would serve this dish in the big frying pan, or cast iron pan, with all 4 eggs baked at the same time. But as the Husband was coming home later, and he wanted one portion for lunch, and I want a portion tomorrow as well, I ended up making the tomato base first, then reheating it all with the individual eggs. You also, put this in individual ramekins and then bake, perfect for lunch.

The tomato sauce before the eggs are added. 

I do apologies, it may be a while before I add another blog post, depending on when Baby “Flipper” actually decides to do his appearance, I will update you when we know more. 😊

Baked eggs

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tbsp veg oil
1 Red or green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 Medium white onion finely chopped
½ Medium aubergine, cut into 1cm matchsticks (optional)
3 Garlic cloves minced
½-1 Red hot chilli finely chopped (optional, or to taste)
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp smoked paprika
1 Can chopped tomatoes
125g Roughly chopped spinach
1/2 Tsp salt
1 tsp Pepper
4 Eggs
Parsley – Small bunch,  (roughly chopped) to serve  

Method:

  • Firstly, add the oil to a pan, then add the chopped onion and peppers to the pan, cook for 4 minutes on a medium heat until starting to soften. Now add the Aubergine, and cook for a further 4 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the pepper and aubergine has become soft.
  • Now, add the garlic, chilli, paprika and cumin and cook for a further minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to the mixture, fill up the tin again and add the same amount of water to the pan, then add the salt and pepper. Leave the pan to simmer for 15-20 minutes on a medium heat or until the sauce is thickened.
  • Now add the chopped spinach and stir it through until wilted, adjust the seasoning.
  • Make 4 wells (holes) in the sauce and add the eggs, you can now either put a lid on top of the pan and let it set, or place it under the grill for a few minutes. But keep a good eye on it, you don’t want it totally set, the yolk should still be runny.
  • Serve it with the chopped parsley on top, and just a pinch of smoked paprika.
  • It taste really good with a nice piece of bread on the side as well. But there are lots of different options for toppings though, avocado, feta cheese etc. Let your imagination go wild.  

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per August 2017)

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil 6p
Bell Pepper 52p
Medium onion 10p
Aubergine 35p
Tinned tomato 31p
Spinach 95p
Garlic 9p
Chilli 30p
Cumin 5p
Smoked paprika 5p
Eggs 32p
½ tsp salt 1p
Pepper 1p
Parsley 25p

Total price: £3.37  (per portion 85p) 

 

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Low Carb Fish – 12 fish cakes £1.84 or 16p per cake.

 

Now, I cooked and wrote down this recipe a few weeks ago, but never got around to post it to my blog. Being busy with Toddler “Blip” and having a few rough days again with Hyperemisis Gravidarum.

Now, why I though, making fish cakes for my husband was a good idea when feeling rubbish.. (it must be love).. At least I’m much better than in the beginning of the pregnancy, and managed to survive it, with only a couple of times having to lay down on the sofa… Ohh.. I can’t wait to see Baby “Flipper”.. until week 30 of my pregnancy, I couldn’t even open a cookbook, I was feeling so badly.. but now I can actually manage. I’m still on 3 different types of medication, and the one day I forget even one pill I’m in big big trouble. But then the family still needs to be fed.

What surprised me mostly, was that when I served this for Toddler “Blip” he happily ate a whole fish cake and asked for seconds. I served it with potatoes for him (he needs the carbs) and some salad. I ended up having a rice cracker. Which is totally against my house rules, which states that everyone eats the same or go hungry, no I don’t actually starve Toddler “Blip” but he has to try the food. If not, I’ll end up cooking 3 different types of dinners, which I can’t be bothered to do. But having Hyperemisis Gravidarum, whatever, gets you through is allowed.

My husband had it with a huge portion of salad with homemade Tartare sauce. The following day he took it with him for lunch, with salad and some fried Halloumi on the side.

I should add that I felt so horrible when I cooked this that I never managed to take a picture of the fishcakes on its own. The picture was taken by the husband when he put together his lunch in the morning!.

The husband did ask me to make it again for him, and for me, that is always a good indicator to if he likes the food or not. I must admit that I won’t be making anything with fish again for a whilst… not until I’m well over this pregnancy!!

Low Carb Fish cakes

Serves 4 – Makes 12 small cakes.

Ingredients:

200g white fish deboned
50 g of either Rocket, Spinach or Watercress (I used a mixture of all 3)
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves (optional)
1 large egg (or 2 small eggs)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp turmeric
½ tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Zest of a lemon (optional)
2 tbsp veg oil for frying

Method:

If the fish is frozen, ensure to fully defrost the fish before preparing the fish cakes. In a food processor, coarsely chop the fish, (make sure it doesn’t become mushy). Then put the mixture into a bowl, (if the fish was frozen beforehand, you may want to put it in a colander to ensure any excess liquid drips off).

In the same food processor, add the onion, garlic, and rocket/spinach and mix until it has become finely chopped. This could be done by hand as well.

Mix it all together, adding, salt pepper, turmeric, lemon juice and the zest of a lemon.

Form the fish cakes into 12 small fish cakes or 8 larger ones. Then fry until golden in vegetable oil in a frying pan, make sure to not flip them too early, as this will make them break up.

These fish cakes can be enjoyed either cold or hot.

Carb count

I used the Fitness Pall App to calculate this.

Because there is no potato, or flour in this recipe, 12 fishcakes, comes in at 11 Carbs in total, which about 2.75 per person. – It does however, mean that the texture is different compared to normal fish cakes, and they break up more easily when cooking them.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017)

Ingredients:

Tesco Everyday Value white fish fillets (£2.00 /520g)x200g =77p
Rocket/spinach/watercress (£1.00/80g)x50g =63p
Onion 5p
Garlic 6p
Egg 8p
Salt 1p
Pepper 1p
Turmeric 2p
Lemon juice – 18p (approximately ½ lemon).
Zest of a lemon – Free, as you are using the lemon for juice.
Veg oil  (£2.95/3000ml)x30 ml = 3p

Total cost = £1.84 for 12. Per fish cake 15p

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Sticky Chilli Chinese Chicken Fakeaway Stir fry (89p per portion) – The Freezer Challenge

Freezer challenge 

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m doing a bit of a freezer challenge, as we got way too much random stuff in the freezer that needs using up. I would like to get as much of it used before the baby arrives. However, I do think I have started way too late to achieve this, but never mind.

My husband was away yesterday for a business meeting, so only needed to cook for myself and Toddler “Blip”, however, I still ended up cooking for 4. At least I can freeze the portions and I got some ready meals for when the baby arrives.

Now, you may ask what is a Fakeaway? In my opinion, it is exactly the same as a takeaway, except that it is made at home and it resembles a takeaway. I always, like to cook from scratch, one, it is cheap, two, I know what goes into the food and three I know how fresh it is.

In the freezer, I had quite a bit of chicken, 2 drumsticks and 4 chicken thighs. In general, I like to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for stir-fries, it got more taste and it is much cheaper. I must have been lazy when I froze the thighs, (or just pregnant) as I froze them with skin on and bones in. But never mind, I defrosted it and removed bones from thighs and drumsticks and there was almost 450g of meat. Which is a perfect amount for 4. But you can use more/less as it fits with your family, don’t forget you can always bulk it out with more vegetables.

Now, with the skin and bones, don’t throw it away, instead debone them and remove the skin then put it in a separate freezer bag and keep in the freezer, until you got quite a large portion. Why you may ask? Because it makes a fantastic stock (almost for free). I will post the recipe for that another day.

I served the Fakeaway with rice which Toddler “Blip” loves. He tried the chicken and vegetables but wasn’t keen, but at least he tried it.

Also, because I cook it wanting my son to eat it, I don’t add the chilli, but use my special chilli oil instead.

Sweet and Sticky Chilli Chicken Stir-fry

Serves 4

Ingredients

450g chicken thighs (bones and skin removed) cut in chunks
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Cloves of Garlic (finely sliced)
2 Cm Ginger finely cut (finely sliced)
2 Hot Dried Chillies (or 2 teaspoons hot chilli flakes or to taste)
1 Medium onion (cut into wedges)
2 Medium carrots (cut into slices)
1-1/2 bell peppers cut into bite size pieces (I used a combination of red, yellow and green, but you could choose just one colour)
3-4 Medium Mushrooms (quartered)
Handful Sugar Snap Peas
2 Spring onions (diagonally sliced)
1/2 tin pineapple pieces (reserve juice for Marinade)
Handful Salted Cashew nuts (optional)

Marinade

All the juice from the Pineapple tin
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Corn flour
Served with rice for four, approx. 240g

Method:

This dish is really best if you can let the chicken marinate for a few hours or overnight. I marinated it for 6 hours. However, even if you just marinated it for half an hour it would still taste amazing.

Start by mixing all the ingredients for the marinate, leaving the corn flour out, this needs to be added at the last minute when cooking. Then cut the chicken into bite size pieces and combine with the marinate. Leave covered in the fridge until needed.

Because this is a quick cook, you need to prepare all your vegetables before starting to cook. You won’t have time to do it as you go along.

Slice the garlic and ginger and place in a bowl with the chilli. Then cut the onion and carrot, and bell peppers and place together with the mushrooms and place in a different bowl. Then wash the sugar snap peas and place it in a bowl with the spring onions.

Have the pineapple pieces ready and the cashews if using them.

The cooking

Cook rice as per packet, or your preferred method (I use a rice cooker)

In a none stick wok, add the oil, and bring it up to high heat, then add the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry it for around 30seconds to 1 minutes. Now, with a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the marinate and place in the wok (reserve the marinate, we need this later). Now stir-fry the chicken for around 2-3 minutes until its coloured all over. If you find that a lot of marinate came into the wok, then pour it off back into the reserved marinade.

Now add the onion and the carrot to the wok and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the bell peppers and mushrooms cook for another minute. Then add the pineapple pieces and pour in the reserved marinade (except for 2 tbsp worth), give the mixture a good mix and cook for around another 2 minutes, until it starts slightly reducing. Then mix the corn flour into the last bit of marinade and pour it into the wok give it a good stir. At this point add the Mangetout and spring onions. Cook until it got a sticky consistency, shouldn’t take long.

Serve, with the cashews on top, with steamed rice on the side. Prawn crackers goes well with it.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017)

Ingredients:

Chicken thighs 99p
Vegetable oil 3p
Garlic 9p
Ginger 10p
Dried Chillies 5p (bought at Asian Grocer)
Medium onion 10p
Medium carrots 5p
Bell Peppers 46p
Mushrooms 20p
Sugar Snap Peas 35p
Spring onions 10p
Pineapple pieces 30
Cashew nuts 20p

Marinade

Ketchup 5p
Tomato puree 5p
Brown sugar 5p
Ginger 10p
Garlic 6p
Soy Sauce 10p
½ tsp salt 1p
Pepper 1p
Corn flour 3p
Rice 11p

Total price: £3.59  (per portion 90p)  

 

 

Cheats “Pulled pork” (84p per person) – The freezer challenge!

The freezer challenge!

As you know I’m expecting Baby “Flipper”, hopefully soon! I’m 37 weeks and finally I seem to have some better days, less sickness and I’m able to enjoy pregnancy a bit more (finally). However, this also means I suddenly realised that there are certain things I would like to have done before the baby is here. A lot of things I have left too late though.

But one of the things I would love to get done is sorting out my freezers a bit, I got lots of lovely bits and bobs in it, and some unmarked weird things. So, for the next couple of weeks I’m planning to do my freezer challenge, which means, using up whatever is in the freezer.

Now, when I was digging around the freezer yesterday I found a big gammon steak, but only enough for 1 person really. Now, normally I love gammon steaks with pineapple, but just for me, I couldn’t really be bothered to do that, especially as it would mean I would have to make 2 different dishes for me and husband (Toddler “Blip” would just have the same as me).

On the other hand, I love pulled pork and so does the husband, so I decided to do a cheats pulled pork in the slow cooker, it turned out lovely. Also, was nice that it was just enough for the two of us, normally, I make a huge portion, but then we need to freeze it again. I definitely would do this again. I had it in a burger bun (from the freezer), but forgot to take a picture – sorry being pregnant make me impatient at times. The husband had it in a low carb bun.


Toddler “Blip” tried it, but it was a bit on the spicy side for him.

Cheats “Pulled pork”

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 large Gammon Steak
1 Medium Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
Small bunch Coriander, incl. stalks
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 tsp, Hot Chilli Sauce
1 tbsp, Tomato Ketchup
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
50 ml Water

Method:

Put the gammon steak in the slow cooker, with enough water to cover it, cook for around 1 hour on high. Then take out the gammon steak, throw out the water and replace with new water, cook for another hour, but on medium.

Now, throw out the water again, check the gammon, it should be soft so you can easily shred it with two forks.

In another pan, add the oil, together with a thinly sliced onion, finely chopped coriander stalk and the finely chopped garlic until nice and soft, now add the chilli sauce, ketchup, water, cumin and smoked paprika, and cook it down to a sticky consistency.

Add the pulled gammon to the bbq sauce, and mix it well together, and add the remaining coriander to the mixture. Give the mixture a taste and add salt and pepper if needed, I like to add this at the end as gammon is very salty in itself.

The mixture is brilliant either in a burger bun, or in a big salad leaf…

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017)

Ingredients:

Gammon steak £1.00
Onion 10p
Garlic cloves 6p
Coriander 20p
Vegetable oil 1p
Hot Chilli Sauce 8p
Tomato Ketchup 2p
Cumin 10p
Smoked Paprika 10p
Total price: £1.67  (per portion 84p)

 

 

 

Cooking With Toddler “Blip” – Pancakes (3p per pancake)

Toddler “Blip” and I have been cooking together since he was very small, initially I did all the cooking, he would just sit in his Ikea High chair and look at me. Then it progressed to him sitting in his highchair and playing with some vegetables whilst I cooked. Now, he happily will stand next to me or the husband on a small kids stool.. In fact, neither I or the husband can be in the kitchen without him saying, “I want to help mummy/daddy”.

His favourite thing to help with though is cakes and especially pancakes and by now he has finally managed to crack an egg without squashing it or putting eggshell in the mixture.


Now, my advice for baking and cooking with a toddler is to prepare everything. Before, we start I find the flour, egg, milk and sugar. I also put ready the frying pan, bowl to make the mixture in, the spoons and the wooden spoons. That way, I don’t get distracted and we have fun.

On top of this, pancakes are one of the cheapest easiest things to make with a toddler. It is fun and takes no time. Don’t buy the pancake mixtures you find in supermarkets, they are so expensive compared to making it yourself.

Toddler “Blip” loves the flipping of the pancakes, as he is too small to do it at the warm stow he got a small frying pan and he pretends to flip pancakes in his Ikea kitchen 😊

Serving suggestions, well if it is for breakfast, I would say syrup, Nutella and bananas, or brown sugar with lemon. If for desert or later in the day, I would say ice-cream. But lots of different options.

I have added the same recipe, underneath, but without toddler instructions

Pancakes

Makes 6

Ingredients

50g plain flour
1 egg
150 ml milk
1 tsp sugar (you could leave this out)
Butter or veg oil for frying the pancakes in.

Method:

Explain to your toddler that he/she is going to break the egg into the bowl you have provided (if it is the first time, you may want to have a spare egg!). Hold your toddlers hand with the egg and gently tap the side of the bowl, when broken, sepearte the egg and put it in the bowl. The adult should check for egg shells at this point!

Now use a scale and a measuring cup and get the toddler to put 50g of plain flour in the cup. The adult again, stops the toddler, a bit more/less is ok. Get the toddler to pour the flour into the bowl with the egg.

Now in the same measuring cup you used for the flour, get the toddler to measure out 150ml of milk (you can use skimmed, full fat or semi skimmed). Again, get the toddler to pour it into the bowl with the egg and flour. Add the teaspoon of sugar if using.

With a big wooden spoon, get the toddler to mix it all together, make sure it is not lumpy. Then either transfer the mixture to a jug or use the bowl to pour the mixture from.

Now, depending on the age of your toddler, this may be better done by the adult, I definitely know that my son is not quite ready to use the stow yet.

Heat up a none stick frying pan, with a knob of butter, and pour out any excess butter, add a portion of the batter and swirl it around the pan (it needs to be a thin layer) then flip the pancakes make them bake on the other side. Transfer to a big plate.

Repeat until you have baked all 6

Basic recipe  

Makes 6

Ingredients

50g plain flour
1 egg
150 ml milk
1 tsp sugar (you could leave this out)
Butter or veg oil for frying the pancakes in. 

Method

In a bowl combine all the ingredients, give it a proper stir, make sure there is not too many lumps.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat it up and add some butter then add a knob of butter, and pour off the excess butter.

Add the batter and swirl it around in the pan to nice and thin, when cooked on one side, then flip over the pancake.

 

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017).

Milk 6p
Flour 2p
Egg 8p
Sugar 1p

Total price: 17p for 6 pancakes – 3p  per pancake