Saturday, 29 March 2008

FRUGAL CELERY SOUP

This soup serves 4 and costs around 0.96p to make (pricing the ingredients from a supermarket). I often look out for a head of celery when my local supermarket reduces them. I find celery keeps well in the fridge, up to a week after the sell by date, so even if you don’t have the time to make it straight away, it’ll keep until you do.

Ingredients
1 chopped onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 head of celery
1 vegetable stock cube
Freshly ground black pepper

Method
Gently fry the onion in the oil until it is translucent and soft, keeping the lid on the saucepan. Meanwhile slice the bottom off the head of celery (and the top leaves if it has any – these can be washed and kept to decorate your soup). Wash the celery and slice it across the stems in fairly small strips. Add the celery to the onion and stir well, replace lid and cook on a low heat for 10 mins. Add the stock cube, crumbled and stir in 1 litre of water*. Replace lid and simmer gently for 25 mins. Allow to cool a little, season with a couple of twists of black pepper and then liquidise and serve.

*If you have used the frugal chicken recipes here and have the chicken stock ready, you can use that instead of a stock cube and water.

For a special occasion you can add a swirl of cream (not so frugal!) and a celery leaf to garnish. This soup freezes well if you don’t need the whole quantity.

Friday, 21 March 2008

CHOCOLATE EASTER NESTS


These little nests are a delicious treat for Easter tea (or any other time!!) and can be made for around 19 pence each (ingredients priced from supermarket). There are probably cheaper ready made alternatives on the supermarket shelves - but even if you make these with the cheapest dark chocolate, they will taste better!!!! (and have less "ingredients" in them!)

Ingredients
115 g Plain or milk chocolate, 4 crushed Shredded Wheat
50 g block butter or margarine, sugar coated chocolate mini eggs (around 36)

Instructions
Put the butter (or margarine) and chocolate into a bowl. Melt in a microwave oven or over a saucepan of simmering water. Do not allow the mixture to become too hot. Stir in the crushed shredded wheat. When all the shredded wheat is covered in chocolate, spoon the mixture into cake papers (it's easier if the papers are rested in a bun tin, just until the nests are set). Roughly shape each one into a nest. Press three eggs into each nest while the chocolate is still soft. When cool store in an airtight box.

Makes about 12

More Frugal Recipes!

Monday, 17 March 2008

JELLY WHIP – A FRUGAL EASTER DESSERT!



This dessert costs 88p and makes a huge bowl (or quite a few sundae dishes), serves 8-10 people and is made from 2 cheap ingredients; see picture – a jelly tablet and a large can of evaporated milk* (410g) previously cooled in the fridge if you can – overnight would be good, but it’s not that important. (any flavour you like) and
You can add decoration, fruit or cream to it (depending on what you have). See second picture. It is an old family favourite of ours and has been made every Easter, Christmas or on any old excuse for a celebration! It does need an electric beater – I don’t think it would be possible to beat the evaporated milk to the required consistency without one.
* Don’t use low fat evaporated milk – it will not thicken or increase in volume, however long you beat it for – it will just make a much smaller amount of milk jelly.
Method
  • Open the can of evaporated milk and pour into the mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until the beaters leave a thick trail in the milk and it has greatly increased in volume – it should nearly fill up the average mixing bowl. This may take 10 minutes or so.
  • If you have a stand for your mixer and can leave it, do the jelly whilst the beating is going on. Break the jelly into cubes in a Pyrex jug. Pour over 2 tablespoons (30ml) of cold water – and, depending on the power of your microwave, boil for 1 minute (until cubes look melted). You can do this without a microwave, by tipping 2 tablespoons of boiling water from a kettle over the jelly cubes in the jug, but you must use a fork to continually beat the jelly until it is all dissolved.
  • When the jelly is dissolved in the jug, add 3 ice cubes and stir until melted. Allow jelly to cool a little – but not set! If you dip your finger in it (yes, a clean finger, I know!) it shouldn’t feel hot at all.
  • Beat the dissolved jelly into the beaten evaporated milk and once well combined (so that there are no coloured streaks) pour into a large dessert bowl or small sundae dishes and leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  • Lick out the bowl, the beaters, the spoons etc!!!!
  • When the jelly whip is set, you can pipe cream over it in rosettes, add grated chocolate, etc.
Although this dessert is great on its own, you can add to it whatever you happen to have. In the summer I slice 2 or 3 fresh strawberries over the top of a strawberry jelly whip and decorate with cream. At Christmas, I put a few tinned tangerines in the bottom of sundae dishes with a few drops of Cointreau, poured tangerine jelly whip over the top and when set, finished with grated dark chocolate, a rosette of cream and a tangerine (see photo). If you don’t have Cointreau, use brandy or leave it out altogether – it doesn’t matter!
The cost for the jelly whip is based on branded ingredients from Tesco. It can be made cheaper still with supermarket own brand ingredients.
Enjoy!