Monday, 28 April 2008

BUTTERBEAN CURRY

This is a mild tomato-ey curry – and is delicious, filling and looks appetising on the plate. I serve it with brown rice, but it would be equally good with any rice you happen to have. It serves 4 and freezes well, so you can make double – even more money saving! It ‘s also great just on its own in a bowl, like a sort of chunky soup, if you have any left over – it reheats well in the microwave.

Ingredients
300g/10 oz dried butterbeans* (soaked overnight, cooked to packet instructions, drained and set aside)
3 tablespoons olive oil (or any other you have)
I large onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 heaped teaspoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon of flour (white or wholemeal)
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato purée
1 400g tin of tomatoes, roughly chopped as you add them to the saucepan
Water (fill the tomato tin full up to measure it then it rinses out all the tomato juice!)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method
Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. Stir in the coriander, curry powder, turmeric and flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Pour in the tomatoes, water, tomato purée, drained beans and black pepper. Bring back to the boil gently, stirring all the time to mix in the flour and spices. Turn down to a low heat and cover, simmer for 30 minutes and serve with rice ( I allow around 55g/2oz per person).

* If you don’t want to use dried beans you can use two 400g tins of ready cooked butter beans(rinsed and drained) – probably not so cheap, but then you save 1 hour’s worth of gas or electricity it would take to cook the dried variety!

More Frugal Recipes!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

TELL YOUR TEENAGER ABOUT MONEY

  • The 3 rules of money management
Almost unbelievably, the average British couple will get over 2 million pounds during their lifetime – where’s ours then?! Of course the word “average” includes a lot of millionaires and a lot of very poor people – who may always be poor, but that being said, most of us will earn (or inherit) enough to have a fairly comfortable standard of living, own our own homes and raise a family – but, Rule No. 1, none of us will be able to afford to waste any of our money; we will need to save for that rainy day - Rule No. 2 and never, ever, ever borrow any money unless you absolutely have to and that means the only exceptions are a mortgage or an emergency -Rule No. 3.
  • Understand that debt is the enemy

Every pound you borrow will cost you to pay back anything from 6p to, well, it’s limitless – as the longer you take to pay it back the more you it goes up. This means that you are spending your future wages long before you receive them. So you’ll never have any money to buy anything and will have to borrow more – a never-ending cycle of debt which will only stop when you can’t afford the repayments any more and up in court or bankrupt.

  • Plan your spending

Yes, that means “budgeting”, which is just another word for deciding how much you have to spend and how much income you have in any given period of time. Even a ten-year-old with £2 pocket money a week must decide whether he or she wants to blow it all on sweets or plan out to have some sweets, plus a comic- or save some for each week to buy a toy! This doesn’t change, however old you are – the “toys” are just bigger!

  • Do your research

Whatever your “toy” is – do your research. Don’t just whiz out and buy the first thing you see with your credit (debt!) card. Find out what’s available, decide exactly what you want and use the internet and friends’ or relatives’ knowledge, to find your item for the lowest price. Save up for it – or ask for it (or money towards it) for birthday and Christmas presents. Unless it’s an absolute emergency (like buying a car to get to work when there’s no other transport to get there) do not take out a loan or use a credit (debt!) card.

  • Do your research 2

If you really must buy that car, bike or whatever, and you really must borrow to do it – do your research. Find the lowest personal loan you can – use the internet and local banks and building societies to find out just who’s charging what and for how much – the less you want to borrow the more expensive it can be. It is quite difficult to borrow amounts under £5000 without incurring horrendous interest rate charges. You may need to consider a credit (debt!) card. If so, try to get one with an introductory 0% interest rate. AND PAY IT OFF IN THE SPECIFIED TIME.

  • Learn about prices

Know the prices of things you buy every day, week or month, like bottles of drink, beer, perfume, tights, nail polish, A4 notepads, make-up, toiletries, chocolate bars, petrol, pens and stationery etc. Then you know when you’re being ripped off.

  • Know your tables and how to work out a percentage

Knowing these two things will enable you to compare prices and work out how good a deal a percentage discount is.

  • Ignorance does not pay

Financial literacy is essential in life. Financial ignorance will lead to a lifetime of working harder and longer for less. Arguments about money will take their toll on relationships and debt will cause stress and unhappiness. Where money is concerned, knowledge really is power.

  • Save regularly

Saving even a small amount per month is always worthwhile. Having to borrow to buy what you need has a double whammy effect; you lose out by being charged interest on your loan and then lose again by not earning interest on that money when it could potentially be invested.

And be happy! Take an interest in your own money – you earned it!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

FRUGAL FRITTATA

This frittata is a changeable frugal feast – very frugal, because, to a certain extent, you can change the ingredients to match whatever you have and make good use of leftover vegetables. You can also hide veg in it so the kids don’t notice what they’re eating! It’s also a good way to use reduced veg bargains from the supermarket.
Serves 4
Takes 10 mins to prepare and 25 mins to cook.

Ingredients
1 large chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
100g* chopped cooked carrots
100g* chopped cooked potatoes
100g* chopped cooked parsnips
100g* frozen peas (cooked)
100g* frozen sweetcorn (cooked)
100*g frozen green beans (cooked)
6 large eggs
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Ground black pepper
50g grated cheddar** cheese
100 g cooked chicken, ham or turkey (optional)

* this is a guideline – use whatever you have left over and/or supplement with frozen veg to make up to the same weight.
** Any grateable cheese that you like is fine, or use up different left over cheeses grated together.

Method
1. Fry the onion and garlic in the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan for 5 minutes until translucent and slightly golden.
2. Stir in the vegetables (and meat if using) and sauté over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until hot through.
3. Beat the eggs with the ground black pepper and chilli flakes. Pour over the vegetable mixture in the frying pan and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Level the surface of the mixture then continue to cook over a low heat for around 6-8 minutes – check that the base is golden brown.
4. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, then cook under a hot grill until the cheese is bubbling and starting to go slightly golden.
5. Cool slightly then cut into 4 wedges and serve with salad and crusty bread if you like.

More Frugal Recipes!