Hi guys, today I'm going to talk a little bit about cooking healthy meals from scratch and on a budget. We all know that things can get quite hard financially very easily these days. I myself have experienced this lack of money in the pocket not only when I was a poor wee student but also last year just after I got married. Being young, married and broke is not a good plan but what can I say we were in love and it made us stronger ( oh cringe, I'm getting sappy)! Me being me, I was not prepared to do without good food everyday, I wanted healthy and cheap recipes that I could make from scratch. So, today I have five recipe books that are great for these kind of meals, they scrimp on price but not at all on flavour and are full of great tips for eating well on a budget.
- EAT by Nigel Slater
The first of two books by Nigel Slater in this list. Nigel Slater is one of my favourite chefs at the moment so needless to say I was so excited when this book came out. I just love his simplistic approach to cooking, I love how his recipes don't use a whole pantry of ingredients, it's just good honest food with a few crazy combinations (mackerel and rhubarb, I'm looking at you). But apart from all these things, his recipes are very cheap, he includes a lot of vegetarian meals too, which we all know is cheaper than eating meat every night. The book also includes over 600 menu ideas which makes certain that there is always something you fancy in there for dinner. As well as that, the book contains loads of ideas on how to change up the recipes depending on what you may already have in your fridge and cupboards. A few of my favourite recipes are mackerel with bulgur and tomato, Spiced mushrooms on Naan, Poor man's potatoes and Bacon Boulangere.
-A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe
This book is seriously a life-saver. Her recipes are so cheap and tasty, I can't sing this books praises enough. The author has been through so much and her recipes are developed for people eating on the breadline. There is a huge range of recipes in this book all of which are healthy and yummy. Jack Monroe makes use of lots of tinned food like chickpeas and beans to bulk up her meals and making them filling without always having to use expensive meats and carbs. I still use this book frequently as the recipes are that good. I just love her relaxed approach to her recipes too, you can add whatever you like that you already have in the fridge too, making them good at reducing your household food waste. Some of my favourites are (it is really hard to pick just five) carrot, cumin and kidney bean burgers, chickpea, carrot and coriander falafels, creamy salmon pasta with a chilli lemon kick, not-meatballs and lentil Bolognese.
You should also check out her blog by the same name, it makes for great and eye-opening reading.
- Real Food by Nigel Slater
The sub-title to this book is 'real food means big-flavoured, unpretentious cooking. Good ingredients made into something worth eating. Just nice uncomplicated food'. This is exactly what this book delivers. As well as being uncomplicated, his meals are also quite budget friendly. When you only focus on certain ingredients and cooking them really well you don't need to spend too much. A few of my favourite recipes from this book are potato and smoked mackerel dauphinoise, creamy roast chicken risotto, Coq au Reisling ( for special occasions), green chicken curry, and Toad. There are so many great recipes including a whole chapter dedicated to garlic (yum yum).
-Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliver
This is quite a controversial one for me as I don't actually think it was that great for me but that was because I was only cooking for me and the hubby. If you use the book as it is meant to be used, when you're cooking for your family e.g. four people or more, I believe it would be very useful. Apart from that point, the recipes are completely delicious, easy and pretty much fail safe. I mostly stuck to the vegetarian meals when we were eating from this book just because it was cheaper and we aren't big meat eaters anyway. But I do absolutely love this book, it is also full of some great tips on using your freezer and making things out of leftovers. I also love Jamie Oliver's approach to cooking, it is so enthusiastic it's hard not to enjoy the cooking process. Some of my favourite recipes are Hangover noodles, Veggie Korma, BBQ baked beans, Sicilian squash and chickpea stew and Trout al Forno.
-BBC Good Food Magazine
Okay, so this isn't a recipe book but it's great so I HAD to include it on the list. If you don't know already, I LOVE this magazine, I get this magazine every single month without fail and I actually get excited the whole week before it comes out, it's that good. The night I get it I read the whole thing, pick all the recipes I want to make and cook them over the month until the new one comes out, it's a vicious circle. Why is this magazine so great, I hear you ask. Well, it has a huge range of recipes from healthy to cheap to special occasion to very very advanced. Every month it has a feature on what produce is in season and recipes on how to use this produce. It has amazing baking features. It even has menu plans for a whole week which it costs up and they are usually very budget friendly. I can't pick any favourites because there are too many, you just have to trust me and buy the magazine, you won't be disappointed!
Okay, so that's me done. I hope you found this post helpful, I really enjoyed writing it. I love sharing tips for cheap eating and other food related things. I just love all food generally (haha can't you tell!). If you have any other suggestions that you love let me know, I would love to try them :). Until next time, happy cooking!