How to feel rich for a quid: herb flatbreads

Some things in cooking are essential, some less so and knowing the difference is often what makes a recipe work or not. So, for example, I have often scanned flatbread recipes, seen the words ‘leave overnight/for a few hours’ and ignored them because a) I can’t be bothered and b) that seems like a lot of faffing for something I can buy for 80p in the Turkish shop on the corner.

Which is why this one, from Delicious magazine, has become a favourite so quickly. It has four ingredients (mostly store-cupboard ones), three steps (mix, roll, cook) and can be made in less than 30 minutes. You don’t need an oven or even any oil. I’ve made the recipe about five times since I found it and, when I couldn’t find it last Friday night, having airily not bothered to buy any bread because I’d promised ‘I’ll make flatbreads’ and with dinner well on its way, I realised I needed to put it on here as soon as possible, so that I don’t have to overturn the cookery-book pile next time I need it…

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How to feel rich for a quid: glossy, shiny chocolate cake

Oh really, you say, a quid, to make a chocolate cake? To make THAT chocolate cake? Oh yes, I reply, a quid. Not, I hasten to add, because I expect a chocolate cake to cost £1 to make; come on; no one’s trying to be Jack Monroe here. A quid is what I expect each thing to cost, per person, maximum.

And I don’t know about you, but when I eat cake, especially one as sticky and rich as this I tend, mostly, to eat one slice. So, since even with all that glossy ganache, this costs about £3 to make (the breakdown of the amounts is below) and this serves at least eight to ten, I’d say this should be called ‘How to feel rich for 36.9p’. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: avocado toast

Once upon a time, as a student and beyond, I used to eat a lot of avocado and mayonnaise sandwiches. They were cheap, delicious and very easy. Several decades later, avocado on toast is a ubiquity and costs around £4 a slice on many a brunch menu. I find that price a little hard to, er, stomach; avocados are two for a pound round here and even Waitrose has them for under a quid most of the time. But a brunchy/breakfasty version often seems more sophisticated than my homegrown versions, so I can still be tempted. Or rather, I could. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: lemon posset

You’ll have to forgive me for my absence over the last few weeks and for the fact that, for the next few weeks I’ll either be writing about things I made a while ago or that someone else has made for me. Because I’ve got a bloody fractured wrist.

A bloody fractured right wrist, to be precise (yes, I’m right-handed) and I can’t cook a thing. Not only can I not cook, I can barely open the milk (try unscrewing the top off one of those plastic cartons, and removing the protective film one-handed), can’t spread butter on toast (the toast moves and my left wrist just can’t get the hang of a knife) and am reduced, when alone, to eating whatever I can tip out of a packet (washed salads are featuring highly). I have finally understood what, or who, ready meals are for. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: cornbread

I’ve had cornbread many a time in the States. On the last occasion it arrived baked in a flower pot which was charming, if a little twee (and, for those of you fed up with being served food in odd things, amuse yourself with this), and I remember thinking I must try and make it. But I didn’t think of it again until I saw a recipe in Waitrose Kitchen for cornbread with chorizo and avocado. It used instant polenta, the sort of ingredient I would never touch but, although I ignored that recipe, it did lead me to Felicity Cloake’s article in the Guardian. Which, I have to say, lives up to its ‘Perfect’ name. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: Puy lentils two ways

Lentils were, once, something I avoided. They were red or green and reminded me of primary school, where we stuck dried split peas and lentils onto pictures, and I had no desire to eat them.

But in the last twenty years, the lentil, particularly the beautiful, dark greeny-blue Puy lentil, has dusted off its dour image and become the pulse du jour. No longer the poor relation of Caran d’Ache, these days you’ll find them starring alongside steak not stuck to cardboard shapes. I am a convert for lots of reasons: a) they’re easy; b) they’re carb-free; and c) they are really cheaper than chips (in the realms of north London they’re all of £1.20 for 500g, in Waitrose, and about 75p for 250g in the Turkish shops).

You can eat them simply, just cooked, drained, then tossed with some oil, salt and pepper. Or you can make them into lunch by dressing them up a little. The recipes below are a good starting point: adjust or tweak them to your taste and you may find, like me, that you are never without a pan of this once-unloved ingredient, cooked and ready to go. Both of these are lovely served hot but just as nice the next day, for lunch, from a plastic box. And, yes, you could quibble that this isn’t quite a quid’s-worth (though it’s close; it depends on where you buy your feta and anchovies) but what’s a few pence between friends?  Continue reading

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Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes: a weekend short-rib

You may know Tom Kerridge from the telly or, if you’re very lucky, you have eaten at his two-Michelin-starred pub in Marlow. As a non-telly-owning freelancer neither applies; I learnt about him via my lovely friend Debora who, when editing and recipe-testing his last book, invited me round to try out some of its delights.

And, oh, what delights they were: sticky drumsticks, duck and watermelon salad, roast red pepper soup with anchovy salsa and, possibly the greatest chocolate pudding ever, chocolate cakes with orange mascarpone. I put the book on my Christmas list long before it came out and, aha, my gorgeous nephew bought it for me.

For someone like me, who wants quick, simple and cheap, it at first seemed, I have to admit, like a book that might become a tad dusty on the shelf: the recipes are quite complicated, often take a couple of days and require Ottolenghi-long lists of ingredients. But, having tried some of the results in the summer, and remembering the sheer depth of flavour, the inventiveness of some of the combinations (that pudding is worth the price of the book alone), I got my Post-it notes out and started to read. Continue reading

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