£15 then, a possible feasible budget for two people for a week? Well, yes and no. Yes, because I made four main meals: a) sausage ragu, b) this risotto (not recommended; overwhelmingly rich and salty), c) this cheese soufflé (ALWAYS recommended), d) celery gratin (enough for two, or four as a side which is how I served it; recipe to come) and a delicious side of Savoy cabbage (details to come). I baked bread and an orange and almond cake and I still had the makings of an Alsatian bacon and cream tart, another side of cabbage, an onion and cider soup and a parsley risotto. So, yes, it can definitely be done. But, here comes the ‘no’.
I eat and cook alone a lot but what I really adore is eating with and cooking for other people and so the extra stuff, the stuff I had the makings for but didn’t make (though I could, even now, thanks to the size of Turkish herb bunches, still make parsley risotto), well most of that got absorbed in cooking for two friends for dinner. The bottle of cider that was going in soup went into the bread (yep and very delicious it was too) and into a starter of chorizo and cider, as did most of the parsley, the dough-making was redirected towards Polpo pizzette-making (equally yummy and, yes yes, that recipe will be on soon too) and I spent a little more money on a round lettuce (60p), cooking chorizo (£2.50) and some more Parmesan for the pizzette (£2.74).
What does this all mean? That it can be done, as long as you can cook and bake from scratch and if you are not, like me, determined to try new things for every person who walks through your door. However, I also found out, thanks to this chorizo and cider dish, that it is possible to splurge without overdoing it. Since I usually can’t move in my kitchen for my pre-dinner-party splurge purchases this is rather a lovely, space-making revelation. This tapa, for example, is one of the easiest things to make in the world, it costs about £4 for three people and though it may turn your £15 week into a £20 one, it’s a lot lot cheaper than ordering it in a restaurant. Add some homemade bread, made with the other half-bottle of cider, and a lettuce (60p) and you have dinner not a starter for about a fiver. It is now on my list of ‘never-order-this-because-you-can-make-it-yourself’; it will be on yours too, once you’ve tried this recipe.
For three starter-y-size portions or two mains, with a salad on the side
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
1 tbsp olive oil
400g cooking chorizo (I bought a pack of six from Waitrose)
250ml dry cider
bunch flat-leaf parsley
1. Rinse the parsley if necessary and roughly chop it.
2. Chop the chorizo sausages into bite-size chunks (I’m thinking about 4-5 from each sausage).
3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the chorizo and cook until coloured and lightly golden all over.
4. Pour in the cider, stir it in then leave to cook for about 6-8 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.
5. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and serve with bread and salad.