Lentil, bean, tomato & anchovy stew

This is a true Kitty’s Store-Cupboard recipe – quick, easy and cheap.

I have had feedback recently that people miss my £5 a week challenge which I started in January last year. It probably hasn’t come across well in recent posts, but one of the things which I am passionate about is demonstrating how it is possible to cook very delicious and wholesome meals from a well stocked store-cupboard and a small weekly shopping bill.

This dish is one which I made up on the spur of the moment earlier this week… and by ‘spur of the moment’ I mean that I changed the whole direction of the dish half way through my cooking session! It started off as a pasta sauce recipe, but when  I realised that I had run out of pasta it morphed into a lentil and bean based dish.

Note, I was in the mood for something strong tasting when I made this so I used a whole tin of anchovies. You may want to start with half the amount. Also, if you are not a fan of fish then bacon is a good substitute.

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Ingredients

  • two small/ one big red onion, finely chopped
  • a couple of cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • half a teaspoon mustard seeds
  • teaspoon mixed herbs / ‘herbs de provence’
  • teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika is good if you have it)
  • tin of anchovies
  • tin of tomatoes
  • packet of pre-cooked lentils and kidney beans (I got mine in Sainsbury’s – see photo below)
  • grated cheese to serve

Method

Heat approximately a tablespoon of oil (I tend to use rapeseed oil) in a medium sized frying pan.   Add the onion, garlic, mustard seeds, herbs and paprika and gently fry until soft.

Next, halve the anchovies and add them to the onion mixture.

Add the pre-cooked lentils & beans and the tinned tomatoes.

Simmer for approximately ten minutes and then serve topped with grated cheese.

Yummy with rice or crusty bread.

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Kitty’s Soda Bread

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It is over two weeks since I posted this taunting photograph with the Leftovers Soup, and I have finally got around to writing the promised (and much requested) recipe. Apologies for being a bit slack.

Ingredients

  • 125 g / 4 oz Bread Flour
  • 125 g / 4 oz Plain Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 15 g / ½ oz Butter
  • 225 – 250 ml / 7½ – 8 fl oz Plain Yoghurt
  • Beaten egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Poppy seeds (optional)

I usually use ½ wholemeal flour (i.e.  4 oz Wholemeal Plain or 4 oz Wholemeal Bread Flour).

If you do not have plain yogurt, milk can be used instead but make sure that you start with a much smaller volume and work up to the correct texture.

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Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200oC.

Sift the flours with the salt and bicarbonate of soda and then rub in the butter.

Add 225 ml / 7½ ml of the yoghurt all at once and mix quickly to make a soft dough, adding the additional yogurt only if necessary.

Shape into a 15 cm (6 inch) diameter ‘cake’ and place it onto a floured baking tray. Score deeply with the back of a knife into quarters.

Brush with beaten egg, then grind some salt and pepper onto the top. Seeds can be added at this point if you have them.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.

This soda bread is best served fresh from the oven. Enjoy with some nice butter, cheese and a lovely soup – such as this rather yummy one!

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Spaghetti with tomatoes and poached eggs

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Cheap, quick, easy and yummy – four of
my favourite things!
This fed two adults and a child (approximately 1/2 a tin of tomatoes per person and an egg each).

Ingredients:
1 Onion, chopped
1 Clove garlic, crushed
A few mushrooms, chopped
Black pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 & 1/2 Tins tomatoes
A couple of squirts of tomato puree
3 eggs
A handful of grated cheese
Spaghetti

If I had them I might also have included bacon or anchovies, olives or capers.
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Method:
Fry the onion, garlic, black pepper and herbs in olive oil until beginning to soften. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and mushrooms and simmer until the mushrooms have cooked.

While the sauce is simmering away put the spaghetti on to cook, following the instructions on the packet for the quantity and cooking time.

When the pasta is nearly done crack an egg into a mug, make a little well in the sauce and pour in the egg; repeat so that there is one egg per person. Note, if your pan is not non-stick you will probably need to put a bit of oil in each well before you add the egg.

After about a minute, turn each egg with a spatula and then sprinkle the cheese over the sauce.

Drain the pasta and divide between shallow bowls. Put an egg onto each serving of pasta and then share out the rest of the sauce.

Enjoy!

Kitty’s Vegetable Curry

This was rather good. I made it up on the spot but it was based on numerous other curries that I have made in the past.
As usual, there are things that you can add/ substitute if the contents of your fridge is a bit different from mine; I wouldn’t play around with the core spices too much though.
If you want this curry to be vegan then use coconut milk instead of the coconut yoghurt; the only reason that I had coconut yoghurt is that someone brought me a pot to go with a yummy pudding (thanks again Penny – I’m making it go a long way!). wp-1453118274768.jpeg

Ingredients:

These amounts would serve 2 to 3 people; I ate two portions last night (couldn’t resist seconds!) and then had the rest for brunch this morning.

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vegetable stock/ 1 vegetable stock-cube
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 6 small new potatoes, halved
  • 1 large mushroom, chopped
  • 1/2 tin of chickpeas
  • 1/2 tin tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut yoghurt
  • Rice (1/2 cup per person)
  • Cardamom pods (approx 1 per serving of rice)
  • a pinch of Saffron wp-1453116265020.jpeg

Method:
Fry the onion, carrot, potatoes, garlic and spices in a high smoke-point oil (groundnut or rapeseed/canola); you need to be reasonably generous with the oil and keep a good eye on it.

After a few minutes add the tinned tomatoes, the chickpeas and about 1/3 pint veg stock. When this is bubbling nicely turn it down to a low simmer and leave until the potatoes and carrots are cooked (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Next add the chopped mushroom and coconut yoghurt; at the same time put the rice on, I use 1/2 cup per person and add a little veg stock, cardamom pods and saffron if I have it. A good rule of thumb for cooking rice is for the ‘height’ of the rice in the pan and the ‘height’ of the water above the rice to be approximately the same; then, when the water is gone the rice should be cooked (I’m sure that some of  my Asian friends would contradict me there, but that’s how I do it).

When the the rice is cooked take it off the heat and taste the curry, seasoning with a bit more salt and chilli if required.

Serve.

A Quick Sunday Lunch for One

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This was delicious!

I first defrosted some part-cooked stuffing wrapped in bacon which was in the freezer from my pre-Christmas food preparations; I’m pretty sure it was Delia’s chestnut stuffing.

Then, I roasted new potatoes, onions and carrots at 180oC in a very similar way to how I cooked the potatoes on Friday. After about 20 minutes I added the stuffing balls, followed after another 5 minutes or so by a handful of walnuts (at this point I added a little more olive oil).

When it all looked nice and roasty I cooked some frozen peas, took a pretty picture for you and then scoffed the lot!

Nutella Biscuits

This is a fantastic store cupboard recipe with very few ingredients. These particular yummy looking (and, I can report delicious tasting) biscuits were made by my favourite little neighbour and she would like to share the recipe with you in her own words.wp-1453045864132.jpeg

Ingredients:

  • 200g Butter (softened)
  • 150g Plain Flour
  • 100g Granulated Sugar
  • Nutella wp-1453045509683.jpeg

Method:

Preheat heat the oven to 180C.

Then, cream the butter and the sugar until smooth.

Add the flour and mix to a soft dough, you may have to add more flour to get the right texture.

Next, make the dough in to little balls about the size of a walnut. Put about half of them on a greased baking tray and push down with the back of a tea spoon, making a dent for the Nutella .

In the dent put about a third of a tea spoon of Nutella and cover with another piece of flattened dough. Sprinkle with some demerara sugar.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and put on a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with a cup of tea and Doctor Who.

£4.88 well spent

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It’s that time again already – my weekly trip to Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available!) to spend my allotted £5 on food.

I went shopping and I bought…

  • 6 free range eggs (mixed sizes);
  • a big bag of carrots (reduced);
  • some new potatoes (reduced);
  • a British lamb shank (also reduced!); and
  • frozen peas

… all for the princely sum of £4.88.

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Buying mixed-sized eggs is a lot cheaper than buying either medium or large eggs; in the same way, cheaper vegetables tend to only differ from the more expensive ones because they are not in perfect uniformity. Who needs perfect uniformity?!

The lamb shank had today’s sell-by-date. It is already in my slow-cooker along with some onions, miss-shaped carrots (of course!), more frozen cider, frozen redcurrants from my mum’s garden, a little bit of ham stock from my freezer, pink pepper corns, a bay leaf and a little bit of wholegrain mustard. My kitchen is going to smell fabulous in the morning!

Finally, it is probably worth mentioning what I have left over from my £5 shop last week which will ‘carry over’ into this week. As you have probably noticed I still have onions; there will be enough to last me another week. I still have quite a few mushrooms which look as good as the day I bought them, so I must have done something right with how I stored them! There are also still two of the sausages and most of the loaf of bread in the freezer.

I hope I am beginning to convince you that, with a well stocked storecupboard, it is possible to eat rather well with a small weekly expenditure. I will write a post before long on what I have in my storecupboard and what the ‘upfront cost’ would be to stock the core things; once those magic ingredients are in your cupboards it won’t cost you much each week to keep your kitchen well stocked with the ingredients for some fantastic meals.

Happy cooking! If you have a go at any of my recipes please please do send me some feedback on how easy (or otherwise) they are to follow, and do send me pictures of your creations!

ta ‘ra for now,

Kitty x