Pork and Apple burger with quick beet slaw – 59p – 81p per burger

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I don’t know about you, but I’m always slightly let down by so-called ‘pork and apple’ things. I feel that they’re either too watery, or you can’t taste the apple, or they’re just a bit… meh. Definitely not one of my usual flavour combinations!

So I don’t honestly know what first possessed me to try doing these pork and apple burgers – I’m glad I did though, because they’re quick, cheap and summery. And go wonderfully well with the quick-slaw and fried onion I served them up with (we had no relish in the house, or salad – I had to think fast! 😉 ). I’ve pictured the burger here with home-made potato wedges though these are not included in the price below. We were stuffed from eating the burger on its own so the wedges were just a bit superfluous. If you want to make them then slice some potatoes, and toss them in a bowl, add a teaspoon of sugar, a good pinch of salt and some chilli flakes. The sugar makes them crisp really well and helps give them a sweet chilli flavour. Yum!

The bun is actually made using the naan bread recipe – don’t add the nigella and instead of shaping into a tear-shape, roll into a ball and leave on a baking sheet for 20 minutes to rise, remembering to leave a good space between them! You should only try to fit 6 to a tray as these grow like you wouldn’t believe. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes.

The main ingredient is listed as being from Aldi, but you can use other high meat-content sausages if you don’t have a store close by (the minimum you want to go is 85% meat), otherwise, prices are Tesco via mysupermarket as always.

Anyway, without further ado, you need:

1 pack of Aldi outdoor bred pork sausages (these are the cheapest 90% meat sausages I can find) – £1.75
1 apple, grated – 14p
1 onion, sliced into half rings – 16p
1 carrot, grated – 7p
1 cooked beetroot, grated – 9p from multipack of 5.

The bread cost 3p from the Naan recipe as it went mad whilst rising and we got 18 buns out of one batch! If you don’t want to make your own bread, Aldi Brioche buns are pretty good and work out at 25p per bun.

Price with homemade bread: £2.33 for 4, or 59p per burger
Price with brioche buns: 81p  per burger

For the patties, skin your sausages and grate your apple. Knead the sausagemeat and apple together then pat into 4 burgers. Fry these and set to one side. Using the fat in the pan, fry off your onion and place this on the bread. Pop your burgers back into the pan to keep them warm while you grate your carrot and beet. Stir these together with a little salt and distribute between your four buns. Place the meat on top and serve.

Easy, quick, impressive looking… ideal summer party food.

Enjoy!

— Farn ❤

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Economy Gastronomy

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First published in 2009, this book is old news as far as cookery books go. Since it was released, A Girl Called Jack has taken the budget cookery world by storm (and rightly so), so a lot of the advice in here is either old hat, or has been surpassed by better/cheaper variations. But when I saw it for sale in a charity shop, I couldn’t resist and thought I’d share my find with you guys in case you should stumble across it too.

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There are some great pieces of advice re. stocking a kitchen in terms of utensils. Also some very pretty pictures. Whilst I don’t agree with everything on the list, I do think that the advice of having one or two items, just because you love them, is really nice. Just FYI, my totally unnecessary item is a vintage enamel flour bin from Denmark.

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If you’ve not really cooked from scratch before, you might find the above list of store cupboard items helpful. Again, I don’t agree with everything – I like a bit seedy goodness as much as the next person, but nice seeds are pricey additions and unless you’re honestly likely to be using them often, I find it best to buy them in as I need them and use them up in things like rice salad as I go.

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The list of things that you should avoid buying is mostly the same as my own, though I’d rather spend my money on Tesco Value vegetable stock than Organic meat stocks. At 2p per cube, they’re perfectly adequate. And I definitely dispute the purchase of pre-made pastry. Yes, it’s quicker, but when you can make it yourself for around 30p for the same quantity as you’d pay a pound for in the shop, homemade pastry is definitely a winner.

As for the recipes, these are what you’d expect – super tasty so far in trials 😉

Would I go out and buy this book new? These days, probably not. When you know how to budget, you’re better off with something like the LEON 2 cookbook, but if you’re new to the world of home-cooked budget meals then it’s definitely one to look out for – if only so you can try the hot and sour chicken soup.

What are your favourite cook books?

— Farn ❤

Saving money whilst out and about

Recently, I asked the facebook group for their top money saving tips whilst out and about. I know that for me, there’s a real danger of going over budget when I’m not at home.

Like many others on the group, taking a snack – either dried fruit, decanted from a large pack into a container, or something that’s cheaper as part of a multipack (like a cereal bar) – and a drink in their own bottle is one of the best things that I can recommend. It does take some getting into the habit, but imagine how much money you save over the course of a year, just by having a bottle of water on you at all times? I’ve always been one for buying a drink while I’m out – especially if I’m on a long drive – but using my own metal bottle means that if I stop for a cuppa, I can ask for a tap water to refill my flask with.

Another tip for long journeys is to take note of your route before hand and look at which supermarkets are conveniently located on the trip. Not only can you save a bit on fuel, but with service station prices being higher than nearly anywhere else for food and snacks, you’re almost guaranteed a saving. On our long drives, we tend to pack enough for one meal and have that first, then stop at a supermarket further along the route for our second meal. We don’t buy the pre-packed sandwiches/other lunchy bits from the ailse near the door, though – purchasing from the deli counter instead usually saves a few pence, and if we do just want an old-fashioned sarny, we buy individual rolls from the bakery and a pack of pre-sliced topping. i.e. cheese/ham. We can feed all of us in this way for the cost of a single ready-made sandwich.

Others recommended freezing cartons of juice to use as ice packs on a picnic, taking them along as well as your regular drink – that way, you’ve got cool food, and an extra beverage for when you’re heading home. In fact, after the water-bottle, picnics were the most popular way that group members saved money. Thermos flasks were another common tip, saving members around £2.50 per large Americano coffee*, every time they took a hot drink with them from home. For people sticking to the £1 per day budget, that’s enough to pay for two and a half days of food! Drinkers of herbal tea stood to save an average of £1.95* by taking their own hot beverage and whilst it’s possible for those who love a builders brew to take their own too, I have to say I wouldn’t recommend it. Something about milk in tea makes it taste weird in a flask…

My final piece of advice would be to remind you that if you do eat out, you’ve paid for the food. Ask for a container to take your leftovers home in and treat them as creatively as you would as if you’d cooked them yourself.

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*Prices from London Toolkit, citing Starbucks, Costa and Cafe Nero.

Some helpful reminders about food dating

BEST BEFORE VS USE BY

We’re often asked on the facebook group, whether or not something ‘past its date’ will be fine to eat. According to the NHS website, you shouldn’t, use any food or drink after the end of the “use by” date on the label, even if it looks and smells fine. This is because using it after this date could put your health at risk. But “Best before” dates are about quality, not safety. When the date is passed, it doesn’t mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour and texture.

EGGS

Again, according to the NHS website Eggs can be eaten after their “best before” date as long as they are cooked thoroughly until both yolk and white are solid, or if they are used in dishes where they will be fully cooked such as a cake.

Cooking eggs until both the white and yolk are solid will kill any bacteria, such as salmonella.

Which brings me neatly onto:

Sausage Goop – 58p – 74p per person

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This recipe’s actually my Mum’s – credit where it’s due. And it’s not so much of a recipe as a can of tomatoes, a tbsp of brown sugar, a chopped onion, a sausage per person, a tbsp of paprika and a tbsp of dried basil, coupled with whatever random vegetables are in your fridge. This is another great recipe for using up the lingering odds and ends, if soup or pasta don’t appeal.

In any case, I’ve priced it as I would with anything else so that if you feel so inclined, you can include it in your budget, rather than as an ‘oh poop I’ve got nothing in’ panic meal. As usual, prices are for Tesco via MySupermarket.

1 can of Tesco Value Tomatoes – 34p
1 tbsp oil/cooking fat – 2p
1 onion – 16p
1 clove garlic – 4p
4-8 sausages (I allow 1 per person, cut into rounds, so have priced accordingly) – 75p (based on half of one of the ‘2 packs for £3 offer’ on Tesco Butcher’s Choice sausages – 8 sausages per pack, valid on publication 17/6/15)
3 carrots – 23p
100g frozen sweetcorn – 10p
1 can of kidney beans – 30p
1 tbsp paprika – 6p
1 tbsp dried basil/mixed herbs – 1p
1 tbsp/50g brown sugar – 15p

Finely chop/mince your garlic, chop your onion and slice your sausages into rounds. Chop your carrots according to how you like them and throw the lot into a pan until the onions are soft. Drain and add to the pan. Add your chopped tomatoes, any water you need to make a fairly curry-like consistency and then throw in your herbs and seasoning. Five minutes before serving, add the sweetcorn.

This recipe feeds 4 adults with a side of rice (around 250g of dried rice – 13p). That makes it around 58p per person, including rice. Do bear in mind though, that this is using only 4 of the sausages, rather than 2 per person. Upping the meat content pushes this to 74p per head.

Really though, using any old vegetables left in the fridge is fine. Mushrooms work really well, as do peppers, and you can leave out the can of beans if you’ve got enough other bits.

What are your quick, easy go-to recipes?

— Farn ❤

Quickled Onion salad – 28p-56p per person

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Based on a recipe in the LEON 2 cookbook, ‘quickled onion salad’ has become a bit of a staple at our house. It’s great when served slightly warm on a slice of hot, buttered toast and could be made for the cost of a can of beans and an onion if you had a tomato plant and some parsley in the garden. Bargain! 🙂 Another massive plus point, is that there is no cooking required.

1 can of beans – I used Pinto beans because I had some in the pantry and didn’t know what else to do with them, but I usually use kidney beans at 30p per can (Tesco Value).
Half an onion, very thinly sliced – 8p (based on a 16p loose onion – Tesco again)
2 large tomatoes – around 20p (based on a net of Tesco Value tomatoes costing 75p per net and containing an average of 8 tomatoes)
2 tbsp of vinegar – I used some from an old jar of pickled onions (free), but you can use any clear vinegar you like. Distilled white vinegar will cost around 2p.
Salt and Pepper – 2p
A good handful of fresh parsley (optional) – 50p ish from Tesco

Very finely slice your onion. The thinner you can do this, the sweeter the onion will go in the vinegar during the quick pickling – quickling… see? 😉 – process. Cover the chopped onion in vinegar and set to one side while you dice the tomatoes, drain the beans, and finely chop the parsley. Wait another five minutes, just to be sure your onions are ready and then stir everything together. Done!

As a main for lunch, this would serve two people, putting the cost at 56p per person. With 100g of rice stirred through (uncooked weight and using Tesco Value, this adds 5p to the total cost), it’ll feed 3-4 people putting it between 39p and 30p per person. As a side to a main meal, this served four of us easily, with enough leftover to stir through a can of chopped tomatoes to make a tasty soup – 28p as a side.

I like to make this during the summer to eat with fresh rocket from the garden, a good slice of toast and an omelette – simple, tasty and wholesome food.

What are your favourite salads?

— Farn ❤

Nectarine and cardamom slice –

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Based on this beauty of an apple slice, I thought I’d make some alterations to one of our family favourites. And oh wow! It was so worth it!

Ingredients

2 cups self raising flour –  (2 cups is approx 250g flour) 8p
1 cup sugar – 20p (1 cup is approx 225g)
6 nectarines, peeled, cored and diced to 1cm – 48p ASDA
125g butter or margarine 48p/20p (both from Aldi)
1 egg – 15p Aldi free range (lower welfare eggs are cheaper)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom – 1p

Total bake costs  £1.12 with marg, or £1.40 with butter. It looks to make around 16 slabs so that makes it between 7p and 9p per piece.

Directions

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Toss apples with self raising flour and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
Melt butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop or in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in egg.
Pour butter and egg into the apple mixture and mix until combined.
Spoon into a greased and lined slice tin.
Bake at 180 C for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Keeps for about 3 days.

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What’s cooking at your house? 😉

— Farn ❤