My everyday eating rarely involves expensive ingredients, and even when it does, they will be used in an economical fashion, in tandem with others to make them go further. This month's recipes shouldn't break the bank.
Spiced chickpea balls
It is the texture of these chickpea cakes that makes them such a winner.
chickpeas 2 x 400g cans, drained
paprika 1 tsp
garam masala 1 tsp
pinto or similar beans 1 x 400g can, drained
dried chilli flakes a pinch
chives 1 tbsp, roughly chopped
parsley roughly chopped
olive oil a little
For the dressing
clementine grated zest of 1
mint leaves 1 tbsp, chopped
watercress to serve
Spread half of the chickpeas on a baking sheet and dust with the paprika and garam masala. Bake at 180C/gas mark 4 till hot, lightly crisp and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Using a potato masher, crush the remaining peas and beans to a coarse purée. Stir in the chilli flakes, chopped chives, parsley, salt and pepper then the toasted chickpeas.
Form the mixture into 8 balls, place them on the baking sheet, lightly oiled or covered in baking parchment, then brush them with a little oil. Bake at 200C/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes.
To make the dressing, stir the zest and shredded mint leaves into the yoghurt. Serve in a bowl with the chickpea balls and watercress.
Masses of flavour packed into a traditional cheap and cheerful supper.
large baking potatoes 2
cooking chorizo 250g
Rinse the potatoes, salt them and bake at 180C/gas mark 4 for about 45 minutes till lightly crisp and cooked right through to the centre.
In a food processor, coarsely blitz the chorizo, then place in a shallow, non-stick pan and fry till sizzling and lightly browned. Slice the top of potatoes, scrape out the flesh into the chorizo pan; put the potato shells aside. Continue cooking till the potato colours a little – no seasoning is required.
Chop 100g of the cheese into the potato and chorizo, then stuff it back into the empty potato shells, grate and scatter over the remaining cheese, then bake for 10-15 minutes.
Cauliflower soup with mussels and hazelnuts
A filling soup that makes a few mussels and a bit of veg go a long way.
black peppercorns 6
bay leaves 2
cauliflower 1 medium sized
hazelnuts 2 tbsp
double cream 225ml
parsley a small handful, chopped
Wash and thoroughly inspect the mussels, discarding any that are open and refuse to close when tapped hard on the side of the sink or that have broken shells. Put the mussels in a pan with the black peppercorns, bay leaves and 200ml of water, bring to the boil, cover with a lid, and steam for a couple of minutes till the shells have opened.
Remove the mussels from the pan, reserving the cooking liquid, and pick the mussels from their shells and put in a bowl. Break the cauliflower into large florets and steam over the mussel cooking liquid for 10-15 minutes till tender.
Toast the hazelnuts in a frying pan till golden. Blitz the cauliflower and the strained mussel liquor in a blender or food processor till smooth. Stir in the cream then check the seasoning and reheat if necessary (probably not) then add the shelled mussels, parsley and toasted hazelnuts.
Beef and pepper rolls
rump steak 2 pieces x 250g
sweet red peppers 2
a little oil and butter
medium red onion 1
large leek 1
green olives 8, stoned
tomato passata 750ml
dry sherry 120ml
Slice the peppers in half, scrape out and discard their seeds and inner cores, then cut them into thin strips.
Warm a little oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan, add the strips of pepper, then let them cook for 10 minutes or so till soft and slightly caramelised. Remove with a draining spoon and set aside.
Peel and thinly slice the onion, then let it soften, in the pan in which you cooked the peppers, over a moderate heat. Trim the leek, then thinly slice and rinse well before adding to the onion. Once the leek and onion are soft and sweet, stir in the reserved, cooked peppers and the olives, then season with salt and pepper.
Bat out the meat, with a rolling pin or cutlet bat, to a thickness of a 50p piece. This is easier to do neatly if you sandwich the pieces of meat between cling film. Place large spoonfuls of the filling between the two pieces of meat then roll each one up and secure with a skewer or cocktail stick. There will probably be some of the filling left over.
Pour the passata into a baking dish or roasting tin, stir in the sherry and some salt and pepper, place the beef rolls among the sauce, mixing any leftover stuffing into the sauce, cover with foil, then bake at 180C/gas mark 4 for about 45 minutes. Serve a beef roll per person, spooning over the sauce as you go.
Churros with apples
So many desserts can end up being expensive. This one involves nothing that isn't in the cupboards already.
orange peeled strips of rind 1
olive oil 5 tbsp
plain flour 200g
sunflower oil for deep frying
cardamom sugar (see below)
For the apple purée
juice of the peeled orange, above
To make the cardamom sugar: remove the black seeds from 2 tablespoons of cardamom pods. Crush them finely in a pestle and mortar, then mix with 3 tablespoons of caster sugar.
Put the water, strips of orange rind and 5 tablespoons olive oil in a pan, bring to the boil then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
Remove the rind, add ½ tsp of salt to the flour, then stir into the flavoured water and beat hard with a wooden spoon, till you have a smooth paste.
Heat the sunflower oil in a deep pan suitable for deep fat frying. Take teaspoons of the mixture and drop them carefully into the hot oil. When the doughnuts float and turn gold, lift them out and toss them in the sugar and serve with the apples.
Slice the apples in quarters, cut out the core and seeds, then chop the fruit and bring to the boil with the juice of the orange and a couple of tablespoons of water. Simmer, then cook till you have a thick, coarse mixture.