Saturday, 5 December 2015

Leftover chicken: Rissoles

This is a blast from my past and now, thanks to my ageing, yellowed and coverless Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course book, a renewed favourite for using left over meat. 

Years ago I was given Delia' s Cookery book for Christmas, my first one! One of the first recipes I tried from that now treasured volume were the rissoles, partly for nostalgic reasons and partly because I knew there was no 'right or wrong' as they were such variable delicacies. 

I had half a cooked chicken and the scraps of bacon from our roast dinner (and later sandwiches) last week lurking in the freezer.  I want the half chicken to provide at least two further meals so I considered padding my rissoles out with some pulses and spices or some mash from the freezer.  As it turned out one chicken breast from a 2kg bird was enough for three large or four medium sized rissoles using the method below.

This couldn't be simpler, or more tasty.

I used

  • 1 cooked chicken breast from a 2kg bird, finely chopped with a knife
  • 2 large handfulls of breadcrumbs from my freezer
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 heaped tsp carroway seeds crushed finely
  • S&P
  • 1 large egg 
  • Sunflower oil to fry
  • Half tsp each onion and garlic granules
  • Flour for rolling out balls
  1. Simply combine all the ingredients, except the oil and flour,  in a bowl and form into four balls with well floured hands. 
  2. Flatten slightly
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan on a medium heat
  4. Carefully add the rissoles and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side until, turn carefully
  5. Once browned and heated right through they are really to serve. 

We had ours burger style in a bap with, mayo, mustard, salad and fries. Delicious!

How do you eat yours?  Do please send me a message with your own yummy rissole, or 'burger' ideas using leftover meat, beans and/or veg. I'd  love to try something you've made and enjoyed. What accompaniments would you prepare?  

Thursday, 3 December 2015

smoked haddock fish cakes with cheddar cheese and creamy curry sauce £0.42p each

A budget meal which stretches a small amount of fish. 

The price up includes that creamy spiced sauce

The amounts given yielded ten large fish cakes. The haddock was full price vac packed. 

I grant you that these are 'potato heavy' however, the strong flavoured smoked fish and addition of a little cheese paired with the curry sauce really punches the flavour up. 


  • Smoked haddock fillets around 300gms
  • Half pack Basics range cream cheese
  • 1kg peeled, cooked and mashed Basics range white potatoes
  • Half tsp onion granules, or if your OH isn't afraid of onions finely chop a small one
  • S&P
  • 2 slices of sandwich cheddar (I got this YS to £0.05p per slice)
  • Plain flour
  • Half tsp mild curry paste (or curry powder)
  • Hot water or milk to poach the fish
  • A scant half tsp English mustard (optional)


  1. Make the mash and set aside. 
  2. Pour water (or milk, which alters the final cost) over the fish to about half way up their depth in a saucepan. 
  3. Bring to a gentle simmer for ten minutes. Don't boil it hard
  4. Add the cheese, S&P, onion granules and some the poaching liquid to the mash until it will firm a firmish dough. Do this a little at a time. 
  5. Now flake the haddock and gently fork through the mash mix to evenly distribute. 
  6. Flour your hands well and form large balls roughly the same size coating well in flour as you go.  

At this stage you can flatten them slightly and freeze them laid out flat in the freezer to be bagged up later. Or, cook straight away. 

Either shallow fry for five minutes each side from fresh or give them 20-30 minutes or so at 200C on a lightly oiled baking sheet. To reheat from frozen place on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 200C for 40-45 minutes. 

To make the spiced sauce combine the cream cheese and curry paste and heat in the microwave at 15 second increments on medium heat or warm slowly in a saucepan stirring occasionally. You don't want a hot, intrusive curry flavour so check before warming and add more if required or add a spoon more of cream cheese if too spiced. You can loosen with a spot of milk if you prefer a thinner sauce. 

I eat one fish cake with sweet corn and a green veg. They are also lovely with homemade tomato sauce and a poached or fried egg on top. (Omit the curry sauce if doing this)   

Himself would eat as many as possible, he was restricted to two. 

faggots with mushroom gravy - Great British grub!

Thanks to Frugal Queen for the inspiration to create this recipe*

Please excuse the hasty shot. Himself began eating before I'd had a chance to get it properly organised. They're that good!

I grew up eating faggots, usually with mash and peas and lots of onion gravy. Our whole family loved them as did, and still do, many of our contemporaries. 

We didn't have home made but had Mr Brains faggots, still available today. Good British grub for bad British weather, welcoming and warming. 

Himself prefers his faggots with fries and no onions, so be it. 

In my version I used

  1. 500gm chicken livers, the supermarket didn't have pork liver
  2. 1 pack of cooking bacon
  3. 500gm pork mince
  4. 2 large handfulls of breadcrumbs from my freezer
  5. 2 tsp onion granules
  6. 2 tsp garlic granules
  7. 2 heaped tsp each of dried parsley and oregano

For the rich gravy 

  1. 2 tbsp basics gravy granules
  2. 2 tsp onion granules
  3. 10 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
  4. 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  5. 1 tbsp Brown sauce

I blitzed the meat ingredients in the food processor separately then combined in a bowl with the herbs, garlic and onion granules and breadcrumbs. 

With floured hands I made a ball in the palm of my hand, rolled in more flour and placed in a greased roasting tin. 

Make up the gravy by combining the ingredients and adding enough boiling water to form a thick gravy, or to your preferred consistency. 

Cook the faggots at 200C for thirty minutes without the gravy. Then, remove from the oven, pour the gravy over and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes.  

I got 15 large faggots from this batch as I didn't have the bulk of onions and they got the seal of approval from Himself too. 

Freeze after rapidly cooling with some of the gravy. Reheat from frozen. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

slow cooker vegetable chilli

This is a tasty, warm and comforting dish 

which is so easy to prepare

A sprinkling of cheese and a warm tortilla, basic but delicious!

This isn't so much a recipe as a rough guide. Use whatever veggies you have to hand in whatever quantity you wish. It freezes well and I always make a vast batch for other days. 

After reviewing the contents of my fridge and freezer I concluded that we currently have a veg glut in various forms mainly due to my yellow sticker bargain hunting. Supper tonight had to be veg based. Harkening back to my vegetarian days I revisited an old favourite, my slow cooked veg chilli. 

I used up the remnants of bags of frozen peas, carrot batons, sweet corn, red and green peppers, chopped onions and frozen crushed chilli. From the fridge came mushrooms and six plum cherry tomatoes past their salad days and two tins of plum tomatoes and a can of chickpeas from the zombie apocalypse cupboard. Other added ingredients were dried oregano, garlic granules, sweet smoked paprika, soy sauce and honey (one tsp of each), one tbsp tomato puree and S&P to taste. I omitted the lentils I would have added if I'd shopped for the ingredients as I used my last lot this week.

All stirred and ready to go. 

Including the gathering of ingredients, opening of cans, packets and jars, mashing tomatoes and tearing mushrooms the preparation took merely ten minutes and created no additional washing up. 

The directions couldn't be simpler no frying required here so this is very healthy. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker with one tomato can full of cold water to make the sauce, I tore the mushrooms as they were quite large and I couldn't be fussed walking to the knife drawer. Switch onto the low setting, stir well and go about your day. Supper is ready when you are in 5-8 hours. 

After five hours on low. 

I served mine with a warm tortilla and half an avocado mashed up which I liberated from the fridge and a cheeky sprinkle of cheddar cheese (omit for vegans). 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Monday pie, leftover beef #CreditCrunchMunch

Leftovers:  Monday Pie

Last Sunday we had a small topside of beef joint that was reduced to £3.50p. On Monday we enjoyed the leftovers sliced up and combined with leftover YS mushrooms and store cupboard basics of tinned potatoes and baked beans with gravy and a cheese topping. It was delicious, nutritious and filling. I served it with carrots and cabbage alongside.

Obviously, you can tailor this to suit whatever you have left after another meal. Left over roast potatoes are excellent but we scoffed the lot on Sunday.

Leftover beef = £0.70p
Tinned New potatoes (Aldi 15p) = £0.05p
Tinned baked beans £0.08p
Onion gravy granules £0.02p
Mushrooms £0.07
Cheddar cheese slice grated (reduced) £0.03p

Total cost per portion (there were 3 portions as one portion of the filling mix was frozen) = £0.95p

It's so simple to make. Merely slice the beef (or whatever leftover meat you have), combine it with the mushrooms, baked beans and some onion gravy made up with just a scant amount of water to add flavour. Mix together then slice the potatoes and arrange over the top of the mixture in an oven proof dish. Finely grate cheese over the top and bake at 200C for around 25 minutes until the cheese has melted and the top is golden.

Monday, 9 November 2015

creamy mushroom soup

So comforting and deliciously warming for a brisk autumn or 

winters day, and economical too

I made this recently and offered our neighbour some as he and Himself were outside talking cars whilst I busied myself preparing the soup for our lunch. He declined, however when I took Himself a mugfull out whilst they were chatting he quickly changed his mind and politely requested some too. They both thoroughly enjoyed it, as did I.

This soup is packed with flavour. Even though I used dried porcini mushrooms I only took two or three from the pack so the total cost won't be hugely affected. Obviously porcini aren't essential but we love the earthy and condensed mushroom flavour they imbibe into this soup.

For two hearty portions, or four smaller ones, you will need.

  1. 2 large handfulls of mushrooms of your choosing finely chopped. I used white ones and if you prefer a rustic, unblended, soup you could leave small ones whole or halved, your call
  2. 2 dried porcini mushrooms reconstituted in 3 tbsp of hot water and chopped, the stock intensifies the flavour so do add it. (Optional)
  3. 1 small onion finely chopped or half a tsp of onion granules
  4. 1 chicken (or veggie) stock cube or better still home made stock in place of the quantity of water suggested below
  5. 1 litre of hot water or chicken (or veggie) stock
  6. 1 tbsp cream/milk/ or creme fraiche to stir through 
  7. S&P
  8. Chopped parsley (optional)
  9. 2 tbsp Veg or sunflower oil

If using chopped onion fry in a wide pan until soft but not coloured.
Add the chopped mushrooms and let them cook until softened for about five minutes
If using onion granules add them now
Add the chicken stock (if using a stock cube dissolve it in the hot water first) and the porcini soaking water if using.
At this stage you could use a hand blender or put it into a food processor to make a smooth soup if desired 
Season to taste and add the cream or milk to your preference consistency
Once warmed through add the parsley and check seasoning
Serve immediately in warm bowls

So good with garlic bread!

To freeze omit the milk or cream and cool before freezing in suitable containers.

This is also good with some crispy bacon bits sprinkled on before serving.  Personal favourite :)

What else would you add to this to make it even more humphy?

some YS bargains at Morrisons today.

It frugally is worth finding out the best time of day to grab a reduced food item. 

Today I wandered into my local Morrisons just before 2pm as I know the reduced items would be likely to be out. I was in luck as I grabbed a loaf of branded sliced white for toasting reduced to £0.19p. Below the reduced bread were cartons of free range eggs that had hitherto contained a full dozen but now, due to obvious breakages, only had ten. I  bought ten at £0.85p or 8.5p per egg, with a long use by date too. 
In the refrigerated aisle there were more bargains to be had. A full kilo of shredded cabbage from the deli counter salad bar at £0.50p, it's easy to freeze (no blanching required) and use 'as and when' and I already have bags of red and green chopped sweet peppers which were only 20p per bag in the freezer.  

The last of my foraging produced two packs of pre sliced mature farmhouse cheddar cheese. The slices were thick and there were ten per pack marked at £0.50p each or £0.05p per slice. These are in the freezer bagged up in portions of two slices each. I have YS breaded ham frozen in the same fashion and this will be used for easy sandwiches and toasties for our lunches. 

What bargains have you found locally and what supermarket do you think makes the best reductions in your area?