Category Archives: Food

How to make an Espresso Martini

It’s fiiiinnnnallly Friday. Wow, it’s taken a while to get here.  A few hours from now, you’ll want to go out and celebrate the start of the weekend but you might be knackered after a big long working week.

Or you’re staying in tonight after a big night out last night and need a pick me up to stop you falling asleep on the doormat as soon as you get home.

Well I suggest you start your evening with an Espresso Martini.  It’s a powerful cocktail but it also wakes you up and prepares you for the night ahead.

espresso martini2

Ingredients

For this you will need,

A cocktail shaker

Ice

Some coffee beans

2x 25ml shot of freshly made espresso

2 shots of vodka

1 shot of kahlua

1 shot of hazelnut liqueur

A fancy glass

espresso martini

Method

Pour all the liquid and ice cubes into the cocktail shaker and shake for your life.  This will mix it well, chill the mixture and give your arms a good workout.

espresso martini3

Pour into cocktail glass and top with coffee beans.  One Espresso Martini. Done.

(Don’t drink it too quickly though – like I said, it’s POWERFUL.)

What’s your Friday night tipple of choice?

Easy 5 minute sticky toffee pudding recipe

One of the easiest ways of cutting your food bills down is by learning to make meals from what you have in your cupboards.  I’ve already posted two blog posts with recipes for doing this –  shortbread and cheese scones – and guess what? Here’s one more! And it’s for PUDDING!!

Easy 5 minute sticky toffee pudding recipe

If you’re too busy or hungover to pop to the shops or you’re skint, this is great because it tastes good, it looks deeply tempting and it’s so quick and easy.

Ingredients

For two portions, you will need:

2oz caster sugar

2oz butter

2oz self raising flour

2oz raisins

1 egg

2 tbspn milk

For the toffee sauce:

2oz butter

2oz dark muscovado sugar

60ml double cream

(If you don’t have cream in the fridge, why not replace the sauce section listed above with jam or golden syrup?)

Method

Start with the sauce. Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat. Mix well and then stir again occasionally. It should take about 5 minutes to thicken and go a gorgeous dark golden colour.

sticky toffee sauce

toffeesauce

With one eye on the sauce, you can start the sponge. Cream together the butter and the sugar and then add the beaten egg and milk. It may look a little lumpy at this stage but don’t worry as the flour will fix it. Sift in the flour and fold in and you’ll be left with a smooth mixture. Next, mix in the raisins.

Pour into a large microwaveable bowl, cover with a plate and cook on high for 3 – 3.5 minutes.

sponge pudding

OR if you want to be fancy, spoon into two separate dishes, and cook for 2.5 minutes.

littlespongepuddingsThen spoon the puddings into dessert bowls and pour some of the sauce on top.

Voila! Is that an easy sticky toffee pudding recipe of what?

 

Low sugar carrot and raisin muffins

If you’ve read my recipe for potato scones, you’ll know I have a fussy eater. He’s now 20 months old and has a huge appetite but his diet still isn’t particularly….varied.

At nursery, he apparently eats everything they give him. But at home, he’s choosey. Picky. Downright irritating when it comes to food!

As a result, I’ve had to experiment with lots of baby led weaning recipes and fritter type things but the recipe that I come back to time and time again is my carrot and raisin muffins. And not only does he love them, but I do too.

Ingredients

For 12 cupcakes,

1 large carrot, peeled and diced in a food processor (or baby blender)

120g raisins

200g self raising flour

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150ml light olive oil

2 eggs

50g caster sugar (but you can do without and they still taste nice)

Method

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees fan.

Mix together the diced carrot, raisins, sieved flour, spices and bicarb.

Whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs until they’re well mixed and quite creamy.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together.

Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases and spoon in the mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until they start to turn golden brown.

Take them out of the oven, and leave them to cool in the tray for a few minutes before turning them out on a wire rack to cool completely.

And there you have it. Easy low sugar carrot and raisin muffins.  Enjoy!

How to make Mac and Cheese

Definitely the best mac and cheese recipe you’ll ever find.   ….On this site.

mac and cheese

Everyone has one dish that is their arch nemesis. That one dish that epitomises FAT and everything you shouldn’t eat, yet every now and again – particularly if you’re hungover – you have to succumb to those cravings.  For some people it’s a super greasy Chinese. Other people love a takeaway pizza with ALL the sides.  For me, it’s macaroni cheese.  Or mac and cheese if you’re in the US.

There is no meat in it. No veg. Not even anything resembling a green herb.  It’s pasta (carb), flour (carb), butter (fat), cheese (fat), more cheese (fat) and milk.   But so what?  As I said, every now and again, you need to listen to your body and give it what it wants.

Last week, after a particularly late night/early morning, I knew it would be a mac and cheese night.  And you know what? It was SO WORTH IT.

macaroni cheese

Here’s how you make 2 portions.

Ingredients for mac and cheese

200g macaroni pasta

18g butter

18g flour

225ml milk

a pinch of nutmeg

60g mature cheddar cheese – the stronger the better!

Method

Apart from the pasta, you’ll notice that the remaining ingredients are the same as those required for the cheese sauce in my lasagne.

Turn the grill on to a high heat and put a saucepan of water on to boil.  Once boiled, start cooking your pasta according to the packet’s instructions.  Macaroni takes waaaaay longer than other pasta shapes.

Slowly melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat and then add the flour and mix to a paste.

Then add the milk and use a whisk to get rid of any lumps.  Once it has started to thicken, add about 3/4 of the cheddar cheese and nutmeg and continue to mix until it forms a thin paste.  Remove the heat and leave it to cool slightly. It will also thicken a little bit more.

cheese sauce

Drain the pasta and add to the cheese sauce.

cooking macaroni

macaroni

Give it a good mix, season to taste, and then pour into an ovenproof dish.

prebaked macaroni cheese

Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and put under the grill for about 10 minutes or until the top has gone a lovely crispy brown colour.

cheesy topping

half eaten

Then enjoy…. and see if you can’t eat it all at once!

Cheap meal ideas to get you through the week

cheap-meal-ideas

For the last few weeks, I’ve been following strict meal plans. It’s been bloody brilliant. Not only has it meant that I’ve had to become super organised and P and I know exactly what we’re having to eat each night, but we’ve also saved a fortune. I’ve also been getting this strange pleasure from using up what’s in the freezer and bagging up and freezing meals to have at a later date. Have I become boring and old??? Who cares if it means my healthy bank balance of early 2016 is restored!

Anyhoo, where am I getting the cheap meal ideas from in order to build meal plans? How am I saving money on my food shop? Well, if you need an answer to my second question then you haven’t signed up for my financial e-course yet. That has a WHOLE DAY dedicated to saving on your food bills so sign up now. It’s free after all.

To answer the first question, I thought I’d share a few links I use which have helped me A LOT. You see, I don’t follow the prescribed meal plans you’ll find online on sites such as Tesco because they make assumptions about what you do and don’t like to eat and they assume that there will be 4 of you eating in every single night. That’s not a true reflection of every household is it?

As long as you follow some simple rules, meal planning can be so. much. easier.

How to build your own cheap meal ideas

  • Cut out expensive meats and seafood for a while. This means chicken breasts are a no-no (go for thighs or turkey instead) and prawns and scallops are also to be avoided.
  • Sausages are great provided you stick to the rule of two per portion, and if there’s two of you to feed, you freeze or refrigerate the remaining two for a future meal.
  • Mince is a great buy. If you add a whole lot of diced onion, carrot and celery to the mix when making a ragu, you can squeeze out a lot of portions and then it can be used as a base for a multitude of meal options. Check out my recipe here.
  • If you love fish, try frozen. You can buy bags of frozen cod, salmon, pollock and smoked haddock and all can be cooked really easily in a pot of sauce and served with rice and veg.
  • Don’t buy ready prepared fresh veg. Work out how many ‘portions’ of veg you need and buy only that, or buy frozen.
  • Don’t buy pasta sauce – instead buy a tin of tomatoes, season and cook slowly. Done.
  • Eat one of the following meals once a week. It won’t kill you and it’s so cheap (this is a post on cheap meal ideas, after all):
    • Scrambled egg on toast
    • Jacket potato and beans
    • Omelette
    • Soup
    • Homemade cheese scones (see recipe here) or homemade soda bread (Be Clever With Your Cash), ham and pickles
  • Embrace the wonder of chorizo. I think it is possibly the most wonderful and versatile ingredient there is and it can work in soups, pastas, omelettes and fish dishes and it will keep for weeks in the fridge too.
  • Finally invest in a cheap blender and some vegetable stock and when ever you have ANY leftover meat or veg, chop, bring together in a pot with the stock and seasoning, blend and freeze. And voila….homemade soup.

The above should give you a good few cheap meal ideas but if you want to get a little more creative (without spending a fortune), further help is at hand.

Cheap meal ideas in recipe form

So, without further ado, here are some meal options (and links) to help you plan weeks’ worth of interesting and tasty meals and save some money:

  • Sausage and bean casserole (BBC Good Food)
  • Sausages with mustard mash and red onion gravy (Good Housekeeping)
  • Vegetable Crumble, just 25p a portion! (Thrifty Lesley)
  • Pasta, chorizo, homemade pasta sauce, red peppers. (Chop up the peppers and chorizo and fry. Cook the tinned tomatoes slowly in a pan and season. Boil the pasta and mix altogether. Simple but delicious.)
  • Leftover roast dinner hash with poached eggs (Tesco Real Food)
  • Easy mac and cheese
  • Sausage/leftover roast chicken risotto (my recipe here on my old blog)
  • Leftover turkey and potato curry (Savings 4 Savvy Mums) and keema naan (Reduced Grub)
  • Creamy fish curry (a good recipe for the frozen fish) (BBC Good Food)
  • Sticky hoisin pork stir fry – you’ll never buy bottled hoisin sauce again! (Skint Dad)
  • Chorizo, chickpea and tomato flatbreads (Thrifty Lesley)

And for the sweet treats, you have to try my shortbread and Miss Thrifty’s FABULOUS Chocolate Orange cake which costs only £1.44 to make!!!

I really hope this helps you. Do you have any cheap meal ideas or recipes of your own you can share with me?