Roasted Vegetable Bolognese

29 Dec

P1040027

If, like me, you are totally sick of turkey after eating nothing else for the past week, then this should be the perfect antidote. A twist on everyone’s favourite dish, spaghetti bolognese, this uses roasted vegetables to give a delicious flavour and an awesome texture, and the paprika also gives a depth of flavour that you don’t find in regular bolognese sauce. It should be very healthy, although you might want seconds!

Leftover bolognese should be fine to reheat for around three days if kept in the fridge, or around a month if frozen.

Tip: I’ve kept this recipe very simple, but if you wanted to add extra vegetables then mushrooms or grated carrot, cooked with the mince, would go very well.

Serves: five people.

Cost per person: £0.82 (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 400g beef mince
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tsps paprika
  • 2 tsps mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180C, and heat a pan drizzled with oil in the oven.

2) Slice the peppers into thick strips and the onion into quarters, and place in the hot oil, making sure they are coated on all sides. Cook for around 15-20 minutes, until they are starting to crispy at the edges.

P1040013

3) Chop the garlic and fry with the mince for around 5 minutes, until browned.

P1040016

4) Add the chopped tomatoes and season with paprika, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

P1040018

5) Once the onion and peppers are cooked, remove from the oven. The onion should have separated into strips, but pull it apart if it hasn’t.

P1040020

6) Add the vegetables to the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes.

P1040025

7) Serve with pasta or spaghetti and enjoy!

P1040031

Black Forest Yule Log

22 Dec

P1040153

Just in time for Christmas, this recipe is perfect for everyone who doesn’t like Christmas cake or Christmas pudding but still wants a deliciously festive sweet treat. The addition of the cherries makes this yule log seem extra decadent and luxurious, and tastes amazing. I will admit that I used a tin of cherries in this. If you really want to make your own filling, use a recipe such as this, but personally I think life is just too short and used this:

P1040110

This yule log went down a treat with my family, with the flourless cake meaning that it isn’t too rich and heavy to enjoy lots of it!

NB: although most of my recipes don’t require any specialist equipment, I wouldn’t attempt this recipe without an electric food mixer (I got one for £5 in Argos). This is because beating the egg whites takes a good ten minutes even with an electric mixer – without one, you’ll need muscles like Popeye!

Makes: obviously it depends how thick you cut your slices, but I got sixteen decent sized slices out of mine.

Cost per slice: again this obviously depends how many slices your yule log makes, but assuming you have sixteen it works out as £0.21 per slice (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 1 can (400g) cherry pie filling
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180C.

2) Separate your eggs, doing them one at a time over a small bowl before adding them to your mixing bowl so that if one goes wrong you won’t ruin all the other whites – you need to make sure not to get any yolk at all in the whites, or the egg whites won’t hold their shape when you beat them. To separate the eggs break them over a bowl, and tip the yolk back and forth between the two halves of the shell so that the white falls out and only the yolk remains in the shell.

P1040068

P1040073

3) Beat the egg whites until they are thick and beginning to hold their peaks.

P1040076

P1040077

4) Still whisking, add 50g of caster sugar and continue whisking until the eggs hold their peaks but are not dry.

P1040079

5) In a separate bowl beat together the egg yolks and the rest of the caster sugar, until they have a thick, mousse-like consistency.

P1040084

P1040089

6) Add the vanilla extract to the egg yolk mixture, and sieve over the cocoa powder before folding both in.

P1040090

P1040094

7) Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture, about a quarter at a time. Fold carefully so that you don’t lose too much air from the mixture – you need it to keep the cake light and fluffy.

P1040100

P1040101

8) Line a swiss roll tin (or deep baking tray) with greaseproof paper, folding it into the corners so that the cake stays rectangular, and pour in the mixture.

P1040103

P1040106

9) Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

P1040108

10) Sprinkle icing sugar over a large piece of greaseproof paper, and when the cake is cool enough to touch turn it out onto this – the icing sugar should stop it sticking.

P1040111

P1040112

11) Spread the cherries over the cake. Spread the syrup right to the edges but keep the cherries fairly central – this ensures that every slice will have cherries in it.

P1040114

12) Roll up the log, trying to keep the roll nice and tight. It’s easier to roll it with your hands on the outside of the greaseproof paper. Don’t worry if any of it cracks or breaks – you can cover this up with icing. Trim the edges to make it neat.

P1040116

P1040117

P1040120

13) Make the icing by melting the chocolate over a pan of simmering water.

P1040125

P1040128

14) Set aside the melted chocolate to cool a little, and cream together the icing sugar and butter.

P1040130

P1040132

15) Add the melted chocolate to the buttercream, and beat in.

P1040133

P1040135

16) Spread over the yule log, as evenly as possible.

P1040136

17) If your yule log is too long to fit on the board or plate you’re serving it on then trim to the right length.

P1040137

18) Cut the offcuts diagonally, and use to make a branch for your yule log.

P1040138

P1040140

19) Cover this with icing as well, and make sure to hide the join.

P1040141

20) Serve dusted with icing sugar, to look like fallen snow.

P1040146

Snowman Biscuits

19 Dec

P1040056

These biscuits are so easy to make, and undeniably cute and Christmassy. They’re great to make with little ones as they’re so simple, or if you want something lovely and Christmassy to serve up that everyone will love. They’re also really cheap so if you wanted to make them for a party or get-together you could make loads, and with minimal effort on your part – all you need is a reasonably steady hand to ice the faces!

Tip: this recipe does make quite a lot of biscuits (I got thirty), so if you only want a few then halve the recipe.

Makes: around thirty biscuits, as long as you roll them out quite thin (about a quarter of a centimetre).

Cost per biscuit: this depends on how many biscuits you make but if you made thirty it would work out as £0.10 per biscuit (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 140g caster sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g icing sugar
  • White marshmallows (I needed 2 bags of marshmallows to get enough white ones – you can eat all the pink ones whilst you decorate!)
  • Writing icing

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 180C.

2) Cream together the butter and sugar.

P1040034

3) Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

P1040035

4) Add the flour, and get your hands in to knead it into a dough.

P1040037

P1040040

5) Sprinkle flour over a clean work surface, and roll out the dough to about a quarter of a centimetre thick.

P1040042

6) Use a round cookie cutter to cut circles out of the dough, and place them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Roll out and repeat until all your dough is used up.

P1040043

7) Bake in the oven for around fifteen minutes, until golden.

P1040046

8) Leave on a wire rack until completely cool.

P1040048

9) Mix up the icing sugar with water, and ice the biscuits, sticking a white marshmallow onto each for the snowman’s heads.

P1040051

10) Use different colours of writing icing to ice faces, bow ties and buttons, and overload on Christmassy cuteness!

P1040064

Chocolate Dynamite

17 Dec

P1070119

The perfect Christmas gift for anyone with a sweet tooth, think Hotel Chocolat slab but on a student budget.

It isn’t the cheapest recipe in the world, but cut up into pieces and packaged nicely it would make lovely Christmas presents which would cost far less than anything equivalent from a shop! I haven’t done a cost or how many this serves because obviously the cost depends on which fillings you want to use, and in my family this would probably serve one! I would definitely recommend using Tesco Value chocolate for this though – it’s only 30p per 100g bar, and once you’ve melted it and covered it in fruit and nuts it tastes just as luxurious as a high-end chocolate bar.

For this recipe you can play around with the ingredients to your heart’s content and it will still taste amazing. Freeze dried raspberries, almonds, toasted pecans, and various other toppings can be used in this, either instead of, or as well as, the ingredients I’ve used. I used a mixture of dark and milk chocolate to stop it being too sweet but also good for people who don’t like dark chocolate, but obviously you can change that around with that as you wish. The white chocolate isn’t essential if you don’t like it, but it does give a lovely Christmassy touch.

Tip: if you don’t like, or are allergic to, nuts then obviously you’ll need to leave them out of this recipe, in which case I would recommend adding another fruit as well as the cranberries, such as freeze dried raspberries, and maybe adding an extra crunchie bar to give a little extra crunch.

Ingredients:

  • 600g milk/dark chocolate
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 4 crunchie bars
  • 25 pistachio nuts
  • 25g dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp popping candy

Method:

1) Break the milk/dark chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

P1070092

P1030964

2) Whilst the chocolate is melting cover a baking tray with clingfilm.

P1030971

3) Chop the crunchies into small pieces and add to the melted chocolate.

P1030970P1070099

4) Pour the chocolate mixture onto the baking tray, making sure to spread it reasonably evenly.

P1030974

5) Chop the pistachios and add evenly to the chocolate.

P1030962

P1030977

6) Add the dried cranberries and sprinkle popping candy over the top. If you wanted to, you could also make several small slabs instead of making one big one and breaking it into pieces.

P1030978P1070102

7) Melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the top. On my second attempt at this recipe I realised that it would probably work best to pipe the white chocolate on – I did this by putting it in a sandwich bag and cutting off the corner to make a small hole.

P1030994

P1070115

8) Put in the fridge to set. It should take a couple of hours to harden completely.

P1070121

9) If you’ve made a big slab chop into pieces and wrap up for presents in cellophane with ribbon, or just eat it!

P1040004

P1070124

Ricey Cheesy Mess

8 Dec

P1030955

This is such a quick meal to make, and great for when you’ve almost run out of food – everything in it is pretty much guaranteed to be in the fridge. It’s also really versatile, and you can chuck almost anything in, depending on what you have or prefer. It’s not the prettiest food (hence the name!), but is really tasty and very easy to make, and is essentially a really cheap version of risotto.

It doesn’t really matter what cheese you use, but strong-flavoured is better; I use mature cheddar. The stock cube also isn’t essential, but it gives this dish a lot more flavour and just generally makes it more awesome.

Tip: if you have leftover (pre-cooked) chicken you can use that instead of the bacon, and it’s really tasty.

Serves: two people.

Cost per person: £0.42 (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 180g rice
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 75g grated cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Method:

1) Put the rice on to boil, with the stock cube in the water.

P1030940

2) Chop the onion, garlic and bacon, and fry for around 10 minutes on a low heat. Season with mixed herbs.

P1030944

3) Add the pepper and fry for another 3 minutes.

P1030948

4) Drain the rice and mix in the bacon and vegetables with all but a small handful of the cheese. Serve with the rest of the cheese sprinkled on the top.

P1030954

Double Chocolate and Marshmallow Cookies

18 Nov

P1030934

These are quite possibly the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. They’re rich, decadent and gooey, and we ate half of them straight out the tray before they even made it onto a plate (hence why there aren’t so many in the final pictures!)

This recipe makes quite a lot of cookies so you could cut it in half if you just wanted to make a few, although personally I’d make them all because they’re so good you won’t want to stop eating them.

You can use mini marshmallows instead of normal ones if you can’t be bothered to chop them up, although normal marshmallows are cheaper and I prefer them because you can use bigger pieces.

Tip: white chocolate would be great in these cookies, and would look pretty awesome too. You could also try them with dark chocolate, although that might make them too rich for some tastes.

Makes: around fifteen large cookies, or more if you made them smaller.

Cost per cookie: this depends on how many cookies you make but if you made fifteen cookies it would work out as £0.19 per cookie (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 400g caster sugar
  • 280g butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 65g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100g marshmallows

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180C.

2) Cream together the butter and sugar.

P1030925

3) Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

P1030927

4) Combine the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda and fold into the mixture.

P1030928

P1030929

5) Break the chocolate into pieces and cut the marshmallows up (I cut each marshmallow into around 5 pieces, but you can do them bigger or smaller if you want to).

P1030930

P1030931

6) Stir the chocolate and marshmallows through the mixture, spreading them as evenly as you can.

P1030932

7) Spoon the mixture onto a baking tray, making sure the cookies are well spread out – mine weren’t spread out enough and turned into a giant cookie traybake. Use greaseproof paper if you had it as these are quite sticky and could be a little tricky to get off the tray otherwise!

P1030933

8) Bake in the oven for around 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are hard on top (the rest will harden up when they cool) and the marshmallow is starting to go golden. Try not to eat them all at once!

P1030938

Cheat’s Tartiflette

7 Nov

20131104_204034

This is a perfect dish now that the weather is getting colder, because it’s really hearty and filling without being stodgy. The ingredients are all things that you probably already have in the fridge, so it’s really good for when you need to make something quick but tasty.

It’s also a great play on the classic French dish tartiflette, which is delicious but a lot more expensive as it uses double cream and reblochon cheese where I’ve used milk and cheddar, making it a perfect treat on a budget.

Tip: this would be really tasty with bacon in all of the layers, but if you want to do this I would suggest frying it first so that it crisps up a bit, as just cooking it in the milk won’t give it as nice a texture.

Serves: three people.

Cost per person: £0.63 (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 3 baking potatoes
  • 1 rashers bacon
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100g cheddar cheese (or similar)
  • 100ml milk
  • 2 tsps mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, to season

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180C.

2) Cut the baking potatoes into slices.

20131104_194329

3) Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with a layer of potatoes. Season with garlic, mixed herbs, salt and pepper.

20131104_194701

4) Cover with a third of the grated cheese and half a roughly chopped onion.

20131104_194907

5) Add another layer of potatoes and cover with another third of the cheese and the rest of the onion. Season with garlic, mixed herbs, salt and pepper.

20131104_195040

6) Add another layer of potatoes and season with garlic, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Chop the bacon rashers into pieces and cover the potatoes with them. Drizzle with vegetable oil.

20131104_195603

7) Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, then add the milk and return to the oven.

20131104_200350

8) After another 10 minutes, remove from the oven and stir, to avoid the milk curdling.

20131104_201705

9) Add the rest of the grated cheese and cook for another 10 minutes, until the cheese has completely melted and the potatoes are cooked.

20131104_203600

10) Tuck in!

20131104_204023

%d bloggers like this: