frugal feeding http://frugalfeeding.com n. frugality; the quality of being economical with money or food. Wed, 27 May 2015 12:06:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Pear and Almond Cake http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/27/pear-and-almond-cake/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/27/pear-and-almond-cake/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 10:00:47 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8717 Though not currently in season, I was surprised to find a box of beautiful English pears being sold at my local grocer. On the look out for cake ingredients, I dutifully filled my basket with this succulent, juicy fruit – perhaps my favourite – and retreated to the kitchen to bake my Pear and AlmondContinue reading

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Pear and Almond Cake Recipe

Though not currently in season, I was surprised to find a box of beautiful English pears being sold at my local grocer. On the look out for cake ingredients, I dutifully filled my basket with this succulent, juicy fruit – perhaps my favourite – and retreated to the kitchen to bake my Pear and Almond Cake.

Pear and almond cake is a real no-brainer. Both headline ingredients help to create such a wonderfully textured cake, developing a moisture that you couldn’t in your wildest dreams achieve in a regular sponge. There’s little need to be delicate; even over-baking the cake wouldn’t be terminal.

How to Make Pear and Almond Cake

But the almond and pear combination doesn’t just make for a cake that’s a pleasure to eat; the flavour is also tricky to parallel. If you were to ask me about my favourite cake ingredients, almonds would be right up there. Perhaps at the top. Their subtle nuttiness – forget almond extract – elevates any bake above most others.

Almond Cake Recipe

Perhaps the one aspect of a pear and almond cake that requires a little thought is the preparation of the fruit. The caramel is simple enough to make, but you need to be sure that the flame isn’t burning too hot. Burnt caramel isn’t pleasant. Remember, you’re looking for a dark golden brown colour. Any darker and your cake could turn out a little bitter.

How to Make Almond Cake

If you were in any doubt of the versatility and sheer joy of almonds in baking, hopefully this cake has changed your mind. If not, my recipes for Chocolate Prune Cake and Raspberry, Orange and Almond Traybake might do the trick.

Pear and Almond Cake

Makes one 23cm cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 pears, peeled and quartered
  • 200g butter
  • 125g caster sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • icing or caster sugar to dust

Method:

  1. Melt 25g of butter in a frying pan, adding 1 tbsp of sugar. Continually shake the pan to create a golden brown caramel. Add the pear quarters and simmer for 5-10 minutes until browned. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven the 190C/170C(fan). Grease and line a 22cm springform pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the remaining butter and caster sugar. Thoroughly incorporate the eggs one by one, before folding in the flour and ground almonds.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Arrange the pears in the top and spoon over a small amount of the surplus caramel and juice. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  5. Once cooked, set the cake aside to cool. Meanwhile, gently toast your flaked almonds. Turn the cake out, sprinkle with the almonds and icing sugar, and serve.

Recipe for Pear and Almond Cake Pear Almond Cake Recipe

Cost: Pears aren’t expensive at any time of year, but do try to buy British (or local) if possible. Almonds are a little more costly, but not prohibitively so if you shop around a little. Indeed, all ingredients considered, this pear and almond cake recipe shouldn’t set you back more than £3.

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Tempura Cauliflower http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/25/tempura-cauliflower/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/25/tempura-cauliflower/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 10:00:01 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8708 Growing up, tempura batter always seemed like something almost mystical. Whenever a chef on Ready Steady Cook (British cooking television programme) had no idea what to do he or she would whip up a tempura batter. In reality, tempura is a quick and easy way to prepare any number of ingredients, keeping them fresh andContinue reading

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Recipe for Tempura Cauliflower

Growing up, tempura batter always seemed like something almost mystical. Whenever a chef on Ready Steady Cook (British cooking television programme) had no idea what to do he or she would whip up a tempura batter. In reality, tempura is a quick and easy way to prepare any number of ingredients, keeping them fresh and relatively healthy. Tempura Cauliflower? A vegetarian classic.

Batter has, over the years, developed a less-than-sterling reputation for being heavy and unhealthy. The culprit? Probably poor-quality fish and chips, or the notorious battered Mars Bar (we’re looking at you, Scotland). Either way, it is a misplaced assumption that batter must be calorie heavy and unappetizingly unhealthy.

My recipe for tempura batter, using both soda water and bicarbonate of soda, creates a light, airy batter, which crisps up very nicely when fried at the right temperature. And this is something to pay close attention to; when dropped in your cauliflower wants to fizz almost violently, but not brown too quickly.

Tempura cauliflower – indeed, tempura anything – is best eaten as quickly as possible. Leave it sitting too long and the inevitable steam from the contents of the tempura will soften the batter. Achieved soft batter? You’ve defeated the point.

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Meals

If tempura cauliflower is delicious alone, then it transcends mouthwatering served alongside a dip or two. There’s no need to get too complicated, however; a simple sweet chilli sauce or soy sauce will do the trick.

There are so many things you can do with batter, and so many different types of batter to experiment with. For something a little spicier, try adding your cauliflower to an onion bhaji or spinach pakora batter.

Tempura Cauliflower

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g cornflour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • soda water, refrigerated
  • enough sunflower oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. Split the cauliflower in manageable florets, transfer to a saucepan and cover with boiling water and pop the lid on. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before draining.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornflour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Using a whisk, incorporate enough soda water into the flours to yield a smooth batter, just thick enough to coat your finger. A bit like melted ice cream.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or wok (190C if you’re unsure). Coat the florets in the batter one by one, dropping them carefully into the oil until golden brown and crispy. Don’t be tempted to do more than a few at once.
  4. When the first batch of tempura florets are done pop them in a bowl lined with kitchen towels to drain. Serve immediately.

Vegetable Tempura Recipe Recipe for Tempura Batter

Cost: Dinner doesn’t get much more frugal than this. A head of cauliflower and a smattering of some of the least expensive items in your local supermarket can only mean one thing; a filling and healthy meal (or snack) for no more than £1.50.

* The entire price of the oil isn’t included as it can easily be left to cool and re-used numerous times.

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Coffee and Chocolate Scones http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/21/coffee-and-chocolate-scones/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/21/coffee-and-chocolate-scones/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 14:24:56 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8700 Scones are a weakness of mine. A plain, British-style scone spread with difficult to justify quantities of clotted cream and strawberry jam is a vice tricky to control. But because scones are such a blank canvas, without any added flavour, they are real fun to experiment with. The result? Coffee and Chocolate Scones. The unanimous reactionContinue reading

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Chocolate Scone Recipe

Scones are a weakness of mine. A plain, British-style scone spread with difficult to justify quantities of clotted cream and strawberry jam is a vice tricky to control. But because scones are such a blank canvas, without any added flavour, they are real fun to experiment with. The result? Coffee and Chocolate Scones.

The unanimous reaction I’ve had when talking about these scones has been one of intrigue. Raisins in your scones? Fine. Cheese and garlic? Bellissimo! Chocolate and coffee?! Pardon me?

Coffee and Chocolate Scones Recipe

Don’t worry, the idea of a chocolate scone may seem strange and the addition of coffee stranger still, but it does work. And very well. Very well indeed. As you’ll know, coffee and chocolate combine to outstanding success, add a dollop of cream and what you’ve got is an almost irresistible tea time treat.

How To Make Chocolate Scones

But what of the jam? Well, frankly, it’s optional. A scone without jam may not pique your interest, but the inherent flavour of the treat is enough to satisfy. If jam is demanded, and it may well be, plump for something with cherries; regret will not enter into your mind for a second.

When it comes down to it, you may only tentatively flirt with the idea of changing things up and altering your scone preference. But the moment you do you’ll begin to wonder why more people don’t experiment with their scones. Be glad that you did!

Coffee and Chocolate Scones

Makes 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75g butter
  • 40g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 50ml strong instant coffee
  • milk for brushing

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C(fan). Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter until the consistency is that of fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar.
  2. Beat the instant coffee and egg together in a separate bowl. Add to the dry mixture and stir. Bring it together by hand, into a soft, but not sticky, ball of dough.
  3. Gently roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until roughly an inch thick. Cut the scones out with a 5cm baking ring.
  4. Place the scones onto a floured baking tray, brush with milk, and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Coffee and Chocolate Scones Recipe for Chocolate Scones

Cost: The only additions I made to my basic scone recipe for these was the chocolate and coffee. A little cocoa powder and instant coffee go a long way; the entire batch shouldn’t cost more than 80p – 8p a scone!

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Tuscan Ribollita http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/14/tuscan-ribollita/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/14/tuscan-ribollita/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:13 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8694 Ribollita is a well-known Tuscan soup, entwined with the history of Italian peasants of the Middle Ages. Literally ‘reboiled’, original ribollita recipes would have consisted of a reheated minestrone, imbued with stale bread for sustenance and bulk. What you’re looking at is frugal Italian cuisine at its origins. Like minestrone, there are so many differentContinue reading

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Tuscan Ribollita Recipe

Ribollita is a well-known Tuscan soup, entwined with the history of Italian peasants of the Middle Ages. Literally ‘reboiled’, original ribollita recipes would have consisted of a reheated minestrone, imbued with stale bread for sustenance and bulk. What you’re looking at is frugal Italian cuisine at its origins.

Like minestrone, there are so many different vegetables you can add to ribollita. Whatever you have in the pantry is fair gain. But absolutely all renditions should contain leftover bread, cannellini beans, onion and carrot.

If you’re going to add greens to your ribollita – and you should – then Tuscan cavolo nero is the best decision. But it can be difficult to find. Happily, kale is a more than adequate substitute for cavolo nero, sharing many of its qualities; sweetness and hardy texture. Don’t be put off by the quantity of fresh greens going in the pot; they reduce considerably in volume.

Recipe for Tuscan Ribollita Soup

Despite having likened ribollita to minestrone, they shouldn’t be very much alike. Minestrone is brothy and contains pasta. Ribollita, generally speaking, doesn’t contain pasta and should be thick, substantial and almost glossy with good quality olive oil. Hearty doesn’t do this Tuscan favourite justice.

If making your ribollita for two, double up. Though delicious freshly made, your taste buds will sing songs about your culinary achievements for years to come should you allow the flavours to develop and improve overnight. Ribollita is very much nicer the next day. A frugal lunch, perhaps?

Tuscan Ribollita

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 jerusalem artichokes, small chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of whole fennel seeds
  • a pinch of chilli powder
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 3 handfuls of stale white bread, in chunks
  • 2-3 handfuls of cavolo nero or kale
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a twist of black pepper

Method:

  1. Sweat the onion, carrots, celery, artichokes, garlic, bay leaves and fennel seeds in 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook until soft through.
  2. Add the chilli powder, chopped tomatoes and beans to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir through the stale white bread and simmer for a further 20 minutes, before adding the greens. Leave on the heat for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Season with plenty of salt and black pepper and stir through the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil. Serve immediately or the next day.

Tuscan Ribollita Soup Recipe Ribollita Recipe

Cost: A great use of leftover bread, food doesn’t get a lot more economical than ribollita. You can make a big pot, plenty for four, for as little as £2.10. Peasant indeed!

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Chocolate Prune Cake http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/12/chocolate-prune-cake/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/12/chocolate-prune-cake/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 10:33:01 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8687 Everyone purports to have, in their possession, the recipe for the perfect chocolate cake. This is, of course, nonsense. There is always something better, if only because variety is something we crave. Having said all that, I’ll now dismount my high horse to admit that my recipe for Chocolate Prune Cake is among the mostContinue reading

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Recipe for Chocolate Prune Cake

Everyone purports to have, in their possession, the recipe for the perfect chocolate cake. This is, of course, nonsense. There is always something better, if only because variety is something we crave. Having said all that, I’ll now dismount my high horse to admit that my recipe for Chocolate Prune Cake is among the most enjoyable and moist chocolate cakes you’re likely to find.

Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

The key, inevitably, is the addition of loose leaf black tea-infused prunes. As with chocolate courgette cake, adding a wet ingredient to the cake batter yields a truly satisfying texture. Claggy isn’t usually a complimentary term. But here it is. The dense, moist sponge will have you coming back for seconds… Maybe even thirds.

With a mere 2 tablespoons of sugar to offset a full 300g of dark chocolate, this isn’t a sweet cake. And nor should it be. What sweetness there is comes mainly from the addition of prunes, but it’s a sticky kind of sweetness, with an almost caramel-like quality. This is about as “adult” as a chocolate cake gets.

Moist Chocolate Cake Easy

But you can take it a step further. The use of black tea complements the flavour of the prunes very well. You can, however, replace it with an equivalent quantity of rum (or similar). Of course, the addition of alcohol means needing to buy a bottle, which can be expensive. If you have a bottle on the shelf… Well, it’s there to be used.

Chocolate Prune Cake

Makes one 23cm cake

Ingredients:

  • 150g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
  • 100ml black tea, freshly brewed
  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 175g salted butter
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Method:

  1. Put the prunes and black tea in a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes, until all the liquid has been taken up by the fruit.
  2. In a saucepan or bain marie, gently melt together the butter and chocolate until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan). Grease a 23cm springform tin and coat with cocoa powder.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and egg whites separately, each with a tablespoon of caster sugar. Once beaten, the whites should form stiff peaks and the yolks should have visibly thickened.
  5. Stir the prunes and yolks through the chocolate mixture until combined. Fold in the plain flour and ground almonds.
  6. Gently fold in a third of the egg whites, followed by the remainder. Don’t over fold, but ensure there are no white streaks.
  7. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  8. Sprinkle the chocolate cake with a little cocoa powder before serving warm. But it’s even better served the next day with a spoonful of clotted cream.

Chocolate Prune Cake Recipe Chocolate and Prune Cake Recipe

Cost: The cost of your chocolate prune cake will likely come down to the quality of chocolate you use and where you buy it from.

Using not the cheapest chocolate, but certainly not the most expensive, this moist chocolate cake can be made for as little as £4. And because it’s so rich and dark in flavour it’ll easily serve 12. That’s just over 30p a slice.

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Garden Bean Salad http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/08/garden-bean-salad/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/08/garden-bean-salad/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 14:17:17 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8678 Green beans. Not exactly a staple of my youth. But over the past couple of years I’ve developed something of a muted appreciation of beans and peas of all varieties. Broad beans, green beans and sugar snaps in particular. This Garden Bean Salad brings them all together into one fresh and crunchy side dish. BeansContinue reading

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Garden Beans Salad Recipe

Green beans. Not exactly a staple of my youth. But over the past couple of years I’ve developed something of a muted appreciation of beans and peas of all varieties. Broad beans, green beans and sugar snaps in particular. This Garden Bean Salad brings them all together into one fresh and crunchy side dish.

Beans and peas are among the most versatile garden ingredients. However you feel like cooking – frying, boiling, steaming, stewing and even mashing – these joyous legumes can do it all. And do it well.

How To Cook Broad Beans

They’re exceptionally frugal too, especially as the year wears on. Fresh beans tend to come in at around £4 per kilo. That’s a lot of beans. Broad beans are perhaps the most expensive; a result of their thick, fibrous pods. But if you buy them frozen – almost as good – their price drops to only £1.50 per kilo. And they’re great to bung into any old dish for a little added flavour.

But for all the versatility of beans, there’s one surefire way of ruining them. Overcooking. Green beans and sugar snap peas in particular possess an enticing snap, a crunch that it’s best to maintain. It’s what gives this salad its satisfying texture. Food without interest is hardly worth eating.

How Do You Cook Sugar Snap Peas

Two to three minutes in a pan of simmering water is sufficient to soften the pulses, ready for eating. Make sure to have a bowl of iced water on hand to stop the cooking process dead in its tracks. Ignore this step and the beans will essentially steam cook one another as they slowly cool.

There are so many things you can achieve with beautiful legumes like these, from baked falafel and glorious Indian dishes, to all manner of colourful salads. Make the most of them as they become available as we move through the year.

Garden Bean Salad

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 150g green beans, trimmed
  • 150g sugar snap peas
  • 100g broad beans, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped
  • juice and zest of ½ a lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • a handful of rocket, washed

Method:

  1. Make sure your green beans are trimmed before popping them, along with the sugar snap peas and broad beans into already simmering water for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Once cooked, transfer the beans and peas to a large bowl of iced water. While they’re cooling, prepare your other ingredients.
  3. Once the beans and peas are cool, toss them through the herbs, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt.
  4. Serve the salad in a large serving bowl or similar and dress with a handful of fresh, peppery rocket.

Green Beans Salad Recipe How To Cook Green Beans

Cost: A simple salad, composed mainly of some of the most unabashedly frugal ingredients available, this dish should set you back no more than £2.10. It’s perfect served as a side for four, or main dish for two.

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Smoked Mackerel on Sourdough Toast http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/05/smoked-mackerel-on-sourdough-toast/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/05/05/smoked-mackerel-on-sourdough-toast/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 10:56:08 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8670 There is no more simple joy in the world of food than a thick slice of expertly crafted sourdough bread, toasted and topped with a few choice ingredients perfectly in harmony with one another. Quick, comforting and densely flavoured, my Smoked Mackerel on Sourdough Toast recipe is everything a good brunch should be. The wholeContinue reading

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How To Cook Smoked Mackerel

There is no more simple joy in the world of food than a thick slice of expertly crafted sourdough bread, toasted and topped with a few choice ingredients perfectly in harmony with one another. Quick, comforting and densely flavoured, my Smoked Mackerel on Sourdough Toast recipe is everything a good brunch should be.

The whole concept of brunch is that it should be a lazy meal for a lazy day. Brunch recipes are often more complicated than the brief would dictate. It isn’t a meal to spend an hour preparing. Even better, this is a dish that can easily be made ahead and put together in a minute or two.

A pleasingly versatile ingredient, smoked mackerel is always a pleasure to cook with. Whether you’re preparing a risotto and want a hassle-free and nutritious source of flavour, or you fancy a dinner party worthy pâté that won’t take long to whip up, smoked mackerel is a wonderful ingredient to have on stock.

Smoked Mackerel Recipes

It isn’t hugely expensive either. Of course, it’s gone through the smoking process and is therefore a little less frugal than buying and preparing fresh mackerel. But factor in the convenience and you’re onto a winner, especially if things are kept simple. And they should be.

The last thing you want to do with smoked mackerel is to add a plethora of additional flavours to the mix. It is a robustly flavoured ingredient that stands up for itself. Don’t confuse matters. The lemon juice and chives are there to complement the fish, nothing more and certainly nothing less.

If smoked mackerel isn’t something you enjoy cooking with you could give my recipes for Bacon Topped Avocado on Toast, Sourdough French Toast or Duck Liver on Toast a go. Each recipe makes an ideal brunch; simple and satisfying.

Smoked Mackerel on Sourdough Toast

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 fillets of smoked mackerel
  • 2 heaped tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • a twist of black pepper
  • 2 thick slices of sourdough
  • a little butter, for spreading
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Method:

  1. Remove the skin from the smoked mackerel fillets and place in a large mixing bowl along with the cream cheese. Beat together until the fish is broken apart.
  2. Fold through the chopped fresh chives, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Gently toast your sourdough, spread with butter, top with the mackerel and serve with a little fresh parsley.

Cooking Smoked Mackerel Smoked Mackerel & Chives on Toast

Cost: The quality of your mackerel will likely dictate the cost of this brunch. Generally speaking, two fillets of smoked mackerel shouldn’t set you back much more than £2. I’d avoid opting for the cheapest fillets available.

With that figure in mind, this easily prepared brunch for two shouldn’t set you back much more than £3.10.

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Chive, Tomato and Cannellini Bean Salad http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/04/30/chives-tomato-and-cannellini-bean-salad/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/04/30/chives-tomato-and-cannellini-bean-salad/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:24:25 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8663 Pulses – beans, lentils etc… – are some of the most versatile ingredients in your pantry. There is virtually no end to the number of dishes that can be prepared with a handful of beans; stews, casseroles, even brownies. But what is often overlooked is how great they are straight from the can. Unadulterated. ReadyContinue reading

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Cannellini Bean Salad

Pulses – beans, lentils etc… – are some of the most versatile ingredients in your pantry. There is virtually no end to the number of dishes that can be prepared with a handful of beans; stews, casseroles, even brownies. But what is often overlooked is how great they are straight from the can. Unadulterated. Ready in just 5 minutes, this Chive, Tomato and Cannellini Bean Salad recipe demonstrates just how good a hassle-free bean can be.

It’s fair to say that cannellini beans have something of a mild flavour, but it’s one that can be put to excellent use. Subtly nutty and inherently creamy in texture, they are most at home with just a few simple ingredients; fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil work particularly well.

Chive, Tomato and Cannellini Bean Salad

Nutritionally, cannellini beans are a truly healthy source of protein because they have such a low glycemic index, relative even to other legumes. What that means is that any energy you take on board is unlikely to be stored as fat. Why do you think I eat so many beans and lentils? Their nutritional value speaks for itself, and they fit well into a frugal lifestyle.

Having said that, you’ll likely realise that tinned beans are slightly more expensive than their raw, dried counterparts. Despite this, I’d urge you not to boil up your own for a salad; the method is far more effective for a slow cooked dish like a French cassoulet. Home boiled beans tend to be less attractive and never quite achieve the desired texture.

Cannellini Beans Nutrition

Because of their fluffy consistency, you’ll usually find that recipes with cannellini beans – or salads, at least – work very well with fresh ingredients like tomatoes and chives. Serving to convey some much needed acidity, a handful of lovingly-grown British plum tomatoes will go an awfully long way. And a tablespoon or two of chives is almost always a good idea.

For more delicious early-season salad ideas, see my recipes for Radish, Watercress and Potato Salad, Blood Orange and Fennel Salad and Samphire and New Potato Salad…

Chive, Tomato and Cannellini Bean Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 400g tin of cannellini beans
  • 150g baby plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and toss together with the tomatoes, chives, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Serve.

Recipes With Cannellini Beans Cannelini Bean Recipes

Cost: A simple cannellini bean salad like this is an inexpensive one; pulses are generally regarded as some of the most frugal ingredients available. Quality British plum tomatoes are likely to be relatively more expensive, but a greater spend is absolutely justified in this case. All things considered, this salad for two should set you back no more than £1.60.

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Cherry Bakewell Tart http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/04/27/cherry-bakewell-tart/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/04/27/cherry-bakewell-tart/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:24:36 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8641 Cherries and almonds go hand in hand; their flavours combine seamlessly. Despite not being entirely traditional, this recipe for Cherry Bakewell Tart is even more tantalising than the original. And for those of you a little tentative about attempting what appears to be a complex bake; ignore those feelings. It is so simple, you’ll notContinue reading

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Cherry Bakewell Tart Recipe

Cherries and almonds go hand in hand; their flavours combine seamlessly. Despite not being entirely traditional, this recipe for Cherry Bakewell Tart is even more tantalising than the original. And for those of you a little tentative about attempting what appears to be a complex bake; ignore those feelings. It is so simple, you’ll not know why you didn’t try it sooner.

With everyone wanting a piece of the proverbial pie, you’ll often find that the histories behind many of Britain’s regional favourites are storied and hotly contested. The origins of the much-loved Bakewell tart – or Bakewell cake – are much the same. No one really knows where its story begins.

These days, it is widely assumed to have originated in the eponymous market town of Bakewell, Derbyshire. A romanticism if ever one existed. Unfortunately, such origins are unlikely, given that recipes for the Bakewell tart and earlier Bakewell pudding pre-date 19th Century stories regarding the town. Either way, the tart has become something of a successful marketing campaign for the area.

Strictly speaking, raspberry is the jam most frequently used in recipes for Bakewell tart. And while the sharpness of raspberries does add some interest to the classic tart, cherry is the jam better suited to the flavour of almonds.

How To Make Bakewell Tart

But whichever jam you choose to grace your thin, crisp shortcrust pastry, just make sure that you spread it liberally. Too little jam and its flavour may well get lost in translation; two tablespoons is sufficient for a tart of this size.

For me, part of the enjoyment of ground and flaked almonds is the subtle flavour they endow on a dish. The flavour of frangipane should be delicate, almost in support of its light and airy texture. The point of all this? Almond extract.

Many recipes for Bakewell tart include almond extract. It’s unnecessary, unless you want your frangipane to taste of cheap supermarket marzipan. Adding additional flavour only serves to disguise the buttery shortcrust and complementary cherry jam. The practice is unfathomable.

Britain is a country full of highly regarded regional specialities. And because they’re usually very simple and quick to make it’s worth trying as many as possible. Cornwall, for instance, has its hevva cake, while sticky toffee pudding and greengage tart are well-loved, if not tied to one specific area. And though not part of Britain, Ireland boasts a rather delightful porter cake…

Cherry Bakewell Tart

serves 6-8

Ingredients:

for the pastry:

  • 150g plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75g cold butter, cubed
  • 1-2 tbsp cold water

for the filling:

  • 2 tbsp cherry jam
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 40g flaked almonds

for the icing:

  • 80g icing sugar
  • luke warm water

Method:

  1. To make the pastry, rub the cold butter into the flour and salt until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add just enough water to bring the pastry together into a soft, malleable dough. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until large enough to line your tart case. It should be only a few millimetres thick. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C(fan).
  3. Carefully transfer the dough into the case and press, using a spare piece of dough, into every corner of the case. Do not trim.
  4. Line the pastry with foil or baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 12 minutes, remove the beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, gently melt the butter and sugar together in a pan and beat through the almonds, flour and eggs.
  6. Once the pastry is ready, spread it with the cherry jam and top with the prepared frangipane. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Set the tart aside to cool for 10 minutes. Prepare your icing by mixing the icing sugar with enough water to create a paste thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Drizzle over and serve.

Recipe For Bakewell Tarts Cherry Bakewell Cake Recipe
Cost: Shortcrust pastry, frangipane and cherry jam; these ingredients don’t scream frugality, do they? No! But that’s the idea. Look in the right places and ground almonds aren’t particularly expensive. Homemade shortcrust? About as cheap as it comes.

All things considered, this recipe for an almost traditional cherry bakewell tart should set you back no more than £2.60 – not bad for 8 slices of heaven.

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Tenderstem Broccoli Tabbouleh http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/04/24/tenderstem-broccoli-tabbouleh/ http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/04/24/tenderstem-broccoli-tabbouleh/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:00:06 +0000 http://frugalfeeding.com/?p=8634 One of the many joys of spring is the reemergence of a whole range of crisp, sweet vegetables cultivated Britain. Being frugal and buying British is so much simpler once the weather warms up. Every vegetable and herb in this Tenderstem Broccoli Tabbouleh recipe was grown in Britain; even the tomatoes. And the quality ofContinue reading

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Tenderstem Broccoli Tabbouleh Recipe

One of the many joys of spring is the reemergence of a whole range of crisp, sweet vegetables cultivated Britain. Being frugal and buying British is so much simpler once the weather warms up. Every vegetable and herb in this Tenderstem Broccoli Tabbouleh recipe was grown in Britain; even the tomatoes. And the quality of each ingredient speaks for itself.

Though the tenderstem broccoli season doesn’t begin in earnest for another month or so, it isn’t difficult to source come mid-April. Available until around November, there’s plenty of time to enjoy and learn how to prepare this succulent, mild-flavoured brassica, which is in many ways akin to asparagus.

I often overhear people struggling with the conundrum of how to cook tenderstem broccoli, and other similar ingredients. In short, the answer is ‘as little as possible’. The absolute worst outcome is a limp, lifeless brassica, which is unlikely to do anyone any good.

Tenderstem Tabbouleh Salad Recipe

With brassicas the aim should be to retain, and even enhance, the vibrancy of their colour, while softening them a little, but not removing the crunch entirely. Cooking time depends on variety (regular broccoli is thicker and will require longer), but tenderstem and purple sprouting shouldn’t need more than the attention of 2-3 minutes.

The remainder of my tenderstem broccoli tabbouleh “salad” is even simpler; an assembly job if ever there was one. A handful of fresh herbs here, a smattering or quartered baby plum tomatoes there… It makes a delightfully quick evening meal, served alongside another salad or two.

As you’ll no doubt know, broccoli is an incredibly versatile ingredient, one that I’ve fallen in love with over the past few years. If you’re looking for other recipes and different ways to cook broccoli – purple sprouting broccoli for instance – the my Yaki Udon and Broccoli and Pea Soup are simple dishes worth sampling.

Tenderstem Broccoli Tabbouleh

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 50g bulgur wheat
  • 100g tenderstem broccoli, roughly chopped
  • a handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
  • a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 100g baby plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a twist of black pepper

Method:

  1. Pop the bulgur wheat on to boil in plenty of salted water. Just before it’s cooked through add the broccoli. Boil for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your remaining ingredients. Once the bulgur wheat and broccoli are cooked, drain the water and rinse with cold water for a minute or two.
  3. Transfer the cooked ingredients into a large bowl, tip in the herbs, vegetables, oil and seasoning and mix thoroughly.

Tenderstem Broccoli Recipes How To Cook Tenderstem Broccoli

Cost: No variety of broccoli is expensive at this time of year; brassicas are universally frugal. A large amount of fresh herbs and tomatoes does bump the cost of tabbouleh up a little, but it is a salad that shouldn’t set you back too much more than £1.75.

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