cheap, Lamb, Meats, Side dishes

Homemade Lamb Pastillas (49p each)

I always meant to do a post every week, however, I’ll have to acknowledge that sometimes I will get side tracked. Like this week, where I have been feeling exhausted most of the time and not really up to anything. But now, I’m back on track. I have been eating a lot of exciting food lately, Persian roasted lamb, with delicious rice and a delicious Spinach Yoghurt dip. Flipper and Blipper both enjoyed it to my surprise.

With some of the leftover lamb I made Lamb Pastillas, I didn’t make my own Filo Pastry as life is just too short for that, especially when you got kids. I love spending time in the kitchen, but I obviously also needs to spend time with my two lovely boys. Well most of the time they are lovely…

I only made 6 Lamb Pastillas and by the time I took a picture, only 3 were left! However, the recipe can easily be scaled up.

If you eat lamb pastillas in Morocco, you would often find them dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon. I didn’t do this as Blipper isn’t keen on cinnamon.

Flipper loved them, he ate 2 ½, Blipper on the other hand was not a fan at all. He always has struggled with couscous and raisins and the two together was just too much for him. I had anticipated this and made sure there was something else he could eat.

Normally, I got a rule that what I serve is what you get to eat, but I do (very occasionally) bend that rule. Only if I know it is something the boys really will struggle with. I always try and remember that everyone got likes and dislikes. I love most things in all honesty, but that has taken many years. When I was a kid, I was super picky…

Moroccan Pastillas are often formed like a large pie and can be filled with various fillings. Both chicken, lamb, beef, whatever meat you got laying around (rarely pork though, as 99% of Moroccan’s are Muslims) and then different grains/vegetables to fill it up with. You could fold the pastillas like Samosas, if that shape is easier to do. I filled mine with Couscous, raisins, onions, feta, and garlic. You could use carrots, dates, pistachios and almonds, it really depends what you like. Some are meatier than others. Mine contained a very small amount of meat, but where absolutely delicious.

The leftover Filo Pastry Sheets can be frozen and used for other recipes.

 

Lamb Pastillas

Makes 6 small Pastillas

Ingredients

3 Large Filo Pastry sheets
50g couscous
2 small onions
2 clove garlic
30g sultanas
100g Feta
1 tbsp Olive oil for cooking
2 tbsp Olive oil for brushing of pastry
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 vegetable stock cube.
150 g leftover cooked lamb
1 tbsp flacked almond
½ tsp icing sugar (optional – for dusting)
½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional – for dusting)

Method:

  1. Put the couscous into a small bowl and cover it with hot vegetable stock so it just covers the couscous. Then put a plate on top to cover it for about 10 minutes, or until the stock is totally absorbed.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  3. In a frying pan, add the chopped onion and garlic together with the sultanas. Then add the oil to the pan, and add the cumin seeds, ground cumin and the turmeric. Gentle fry it for about 15 minutes or until the onions are nice and translucent and soft. Ensure they do not turn brown.
  4. Whilst the mixture is frying, finely chop up the lamb mixture, add it to the pan together with the couscous. Mix together until the couscous and lamb has been evenly coated by the spice mixture.
  5. Take the mixture of the heat and crumble in the feta cheese. Have a taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Now, preheat the oven to 180c.
  7. Whilst the oven is heating up, you need to assemble the Lamb Pastillas, to do this you need to work quickly. Filo Pastry dries out very quickly. Lay the pastry sheets under a damp tea towel. Then take one pastry sheet and cut it into two halves. Brush them with the oil and place the lamb mixture along the shortest edge of the sheet. Fold in the sides and roll them up like logs.
  8. Put the pastillas on a non-stick baking tray, repeat until you have made them all.
  9. Then brush the top with more oil and crumble over the almonds.
  10. At this point you can sieve cinnamon and icing sugar on top.
  11. Bake the pastillas for about 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  12. You could serve them with yoghurt drizzled with harissa or chilli sauce
  13. Best eaten straight away whilst hot. However, can be enjoyed cold as well.

 

Bon Appetite – as my granddad would have said

 

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco prices (May 2019). I do buy most of my spices in bulk to bring down the prices (you save loads). Also, for Feta Cheese, Salad cheese works well in its place.

Filo Pastry (£1.85/12)x3 =47p
Couscous (70p/500g)x50g = 7p
Onions 10p
Garlic 6p
Sultanas (99p/500g)x30g = 6p
Olive oil (£3.60/1000ml)x45ml = 17p
Turmeric (£1.15/100g)x5g = 6p
Cumin seeds (85p/37g)x5g = 12p
Ground cumin (£1.50 / 400g)x5g= 2p
Vegetable stock cube (50p/10)x1=5p
Leftover cooked lamb (£6.67/1000g)x150g= £1.01
Flaked almond (£1.30/100g)x15g= 20p
Feta (0.99/200g)x100g= 50p

Total cost £2.89, Per pastilla (£2.89/6)= 49p

 

cheap, Danish, Side dishes, vegetarien

Warm Potato Salad – a Great Side Dish (45p per person)

I think I have mentioned a few times that I wasn’t the greatest fan of my mums cooking, however, one thing I remember that she did make exceptionally well, was warm potato salad. I loved the sourness off it, it almost gave another dimension to the dish. It felt lighter than a traditional potato salad.

Therefore, I called her a few weeks ago and got her to email me the recipe she used. However, it was not very precise so, a bit of this and a bit of that. However, this gave me enough to work on. So, for a few weeks, I have been perfecting my warm potato salad and finally found it good enough to give you all the recipe. This is the way I made them for our keyboarder last week.

The boys weren’t convinced about it, but then I assume it is quite an unusual flavour. They both gave them a very good try though. I will be serving them again for the boys as I believe the more times, they get to taste something the more likely they are to get to like it in the end.

Blipper has come such a long way since his little brother was born. When I was pregnant with Flipper, I was so poorly due to Hyperemesis gravidarum that the first 7-8 months I allowed him to live on cereal, pizza and ice-cream. This meant that he really started to dislike trying things. But now 18 months on, and he is amazing at trying new flavours.

The main difference is that I changed the way we serve the food. Instead of serving the food on individual plates I changed it, so all the food is served on big serving platters at the middle of the table, and no alternatives, so what we serve is what there to eat. I believe that when food is served up attractively both adults and kids are more likely to try the food. Since we changed the way food is served Blipper and Flipper seem so much happier at meal times since they don’t have any alternatives. Obviously, there will be times where I serve something different for them both, mainly when I cook something extremely spicy.

Another change I have done, is that Blipper get one day a week where he can choose what we eat, normally Fridays. This week he got to choose on a Thursday as tomorrow is Bank Holiday Friday and Bank Holidays, I like to choose, as it needs to fit in to the rest of our plans.

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Warm Potato Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

800g Small potatoes
6 Spring onions, white and green parts
50g Butter, unsalted
150ml water
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar (or normal vinegar)
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Salt (1 is for boiling the potatoes)
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method:

  1. Peel the potatoes and halve any that are too big.
  2. Fill up a pot with water and add the Salt then boil the potatoes until just cooked through.
  3. Cut the potatoes into 1 cm thick discs, leave them to cool down whilst preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Now rinse the spring onions and cut them into fine slices. Keep the Green parts aside.
  5. Pour 150ml of water into a pot, then add the vinegar, sugar, salt and the white part of the spring onions. Boil it for 2-3 minutes or until the spring onions are soft. Then add the mustard and butter to the pot and wait for the butter to melt.
  6. Add the Potatoes to the mixture and gently mix the potatoes into the mixture, be careful to not over mix as you don’t want the potatoes to break up. Slowly bring the mixture back up to a gentle boil, before turning it off. The potatoes should be warmed through before turning the mixture off.
  7. Before serving, taste and season with extra salt and pepper if needed then add the green part of the spring onion to the mixture and gentle mix it through.
  8. Serve warm or lukewarm as a side dish to any meat such as Meatballs (frikadelle), Karbonader, pork steaks etc.

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Bon Appetite as my grandad would have said.

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per April 2019).

Ingredients:

Potatoes (£1.00/1000g)x800g = 80p
Spring onions (6 in a bunch)= 55p
Butter (£1.50/250g)x50g = 30p
Tesco Cider Vinegar (£0.80/350ml)x30ml = 7p
Dijon Mustard (£0.55/185g) x 15g = 5p
Sugar (0.69/1000g)x10g= 1p
Cooking salt (£1.10/3000g)x10g= 1p
Salt and Pepper to taste. 2p

Total cost = £1.81
Per portion (£1.81/4) = £0.45 per portion

 

Side dishes, vegetarien

Courgette and Spinach Filo Pie (£1.15 per portion)

Whatever we eat these days seems to depend on what I get on offer in my local shop. If I’m lucky I get the 10p reduced deals in the evening. It’s very hit and miss. Some days, I get loads other days nothing at all. I have been lucky lately and found loads and loads of chicken reduced to 10p… My freezers are full of chicken (so be prepared, chicken recipes may appear soon). I’m lucky I got 3 freezers and I tend to fill them up. But rotating what I got in them, so I eat the oldest things first.

I often think that my kids are lucky they get a very varied dinner, and most of the time its quite healthy as well. I like to serve the food on big serving plates in the middle of the table. This is so the boys or at least Blip can help himself. It helps him understand how much he can eat, my rule is, what you put on your plate you must eat… however, he is welcome to come back for more if he eats what’s on the plate. I.e. You can’t just eat meatballs, you need your vegetables and potatoes as well before you can have more meat or whatever it is you fancy.

I love eating dinner with my boys, we talk, we laugh and we sometimes we cry. Our conversation is often really random, but sometimes I get snippets of what is going on in Blips life at school, things he perhaps wouldn’t have thought about talking about if it wasn’t for this important time together.

We now have dinner at 6 in the evening and when Blip comes back from school, we have a light snack, the snack will consist of something like a bread role with butter, ham or fruit. Just enough for the boys to not be starving. It does mean that I rarely make “kids” dinners, i.e. Fish Fingers, Nuggets, Hotdogs, instead I believe they benefit from eating the same food as me, and hopefully one day they will eat everything. Now, this does not mean that dinner time is always lovely, sometimes I feel ready to throw both boys out in the rubbish.. I mostly find this to be the days when I’m exhausted as I don’t have the energy and this reflects on the kids. It’s a funny world we live in.

One of the vegetables I often get reduced is courgettes, I absolutely love them, however, I get tired of eating them the same way every time. So when I found myself surrounded my courgettes I decided it was time for something different and I went searching in my fridge and freezer.

I also had salad cheese (feta), filo pastry and spinach, which I had purchased reduced and I was planning to turn it into a Greek Spanakopita Filo Pie. So, I decided to mix it all up a bit and make a Courgette and Spinach Filo Pie. What a triumph… I absolutely loved it… Flipper and Blip on the other hand was not convinced at all. In fairness it is a rather “adult” flavour, and most children probably wouldn’t be keen.

Luckily, I also made some paprika chicken with preserved lemons as I had a feeling they wouldn’t be keen on the Spanakopita. Instead I passed some off the Spanakopita on to my friend who enjoyed it.

I served it all with homemade Tzatziki


Courgette and Spinach Filo Pie

Serves 6 as a main, or 8 as a starter or side

Ingredients

2 eggs
450g Spinach
6 medium courgettes
½ grated nutmeg
200g feta (or salad cheese)
30g dill
30g Parsley
5 sheet Filo Pastry from a 175g pack
Pepper
Lemon zest from one lemon or 1 tsp lemon juice
2 grated garlic cloves.
2 tbsp Oil

 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C if fan assisted or 200C if not a fan oven.
  2. Grate the courgettes, and finely cut the spinach. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the grated courgettes and spinach to it with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and pepper and squeeze in the garlic cloves, then gently fry the mixture until the courgettes has gone slightly soft and started to release the extra liquid.
  3. Now add the mixture to a clean tea towel over a colander and let it drain for 15 minutes or until cold enough to handle the mixture. Then wring the tea towel tightly to extract as much liquid as possible from the mixture.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, adding chopped up parsley and dill, nutmeg, pepper, lemon zest and eggs. Then crumble the feta into the mixture and stir it well to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Then line a deep, frying pan with greaseproof paper, please ensure the frying pan is oven safe, alternatively use a baking tin. Lay a sheet of filo over the base, allowing the excess to hang over the side of the pan, and brush with oil. Top with another piece of Filo, rotating it slightly so the excess hangs at a different angle. Repeat these 3 more times until you have used up 5 sheets of filo. Make sure to oil the sheets every time and work quickly.
  6. Now add the courgette mixture to the middle of the pie and even it out. Then fold over the overhanging pieces of filo ensuring to brush with oil every time. For the best result the filo pastry on top should be crinkled/crumbled.
  7. Place the pan in a preheated oven for 45 minutes, (ensure the frying pan is suitable for oven use).
  8. Lift out the filo pie to a suitable serving platter and serve hot or cold. It’s brilliantly on its own or as a side dish.

 

Bon Appetite as my grandad would have said.

 

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per April 2019).

Ingredients:

Eggs = 16p
Spinach (1.50p/900g)x450g = 75p
Courgettes (0.4p x 6 courgettes) = £2.40
½ grated nutmeg = 5p
Salad cheese = 75p
Dill = 70p
Parsley = 70p
Filo Pastry = (1.85p/7sheets) x 5sheets =£1.32
Pepper 1p
Lemon zest (free, as the lemon I use for other dishes)
Garlic Cloves (0.62/40cloves)x 2cloves= 4
2 tbsp Oil (£3.50/5000ml)x30ml =3p

Total cost = £6.91
Per portion (£6.91/6) = £1.15 per portion

 

 

 

 

Condiments, Salad, Side dishes, vegetarien

Minty Cucumber and Leftover Fridge Veg Pickle (25p per person)

Being Danish I absolutely adore pickles… we always have something pickled with our food! However, most of these pickles takes forever to make.. and many people back home simply buy it ready made. When it becomes autumn and if Baby “Flipper” and Toddler “Blip” allows me, I’m going to post some traditional Danish pickled recipes here. 

However, I thought I would still post my quick Minty Cucumber Pickle recipe which I mentioned yesterday. It goes so well with Asian flavours, and it’s a brilliant way of using up those sad looking vegetables from the fridge.. 

We had it with the Firecracker prawn, tofu and Chinese leaves stir-fry I made yesterday. Now, this is a very quick and more or less instant pickle, so it will only last a few days in the fridge. Also, you can use more or less what vegetables you got in the fridge or even just with cucumber and mint. Depending on what I’m serving it with, I sometimes, add some chilli flakes, but as my dish from yesterday was rather spicy in itself it wasn’t needed. 

I had some radishes and daikon that also needed using up, you could make it and it will be ready after 30 minutes. I would recommend to put the mint in at the last minute, however, if you put it in at the beginning it still tastes yummy!.

Minty cucumber pickle

Serving size – approximately 6 people

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
2 Tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1/4 cucumber finely sliced
1/4 Daikon finely sliced
Handful Radishes, finely sliced
Small bunch of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds (optional)
1/2 Tbsp. Chilli Flakes (optional)

Method:

  1. In a bowl, add the rice vine vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper together and give it a good stir. 
  2. Then finely slice the cucumber, daikon and radishes and put them in the bowl with the marinate and make sure it is proper mixed together. 
    You can use a knife if your knife skills are good enough, I used my mandolin, but be careful with your fingers!
  3. If you got the time, leave the marinate/mixture up to 30 minutes to get a nice pickle taste to it. – you can leave out this step. 
  4. Now add the chopped mint and the sesame seeds (and Chilli if using) to the pickle and mix well and it is ready to be eating. 

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017).

Rice Vinegar 20p
Toasted Sesame Oil 20p
Sea Salt 10p
Black Pepper 3p
Cucumber 13p
Daikon 18p
Radishes 10p
Mint leaves 18p 
Sesame Seeds 10p
Chilli Flakes 5p

Total cost £1.47 – This serves around 6 people so 25p per person. 

 

Salad, Side dishes

Roasted cauliflower salad (£1.94 per portion)

Roasted cauliflower salad – a big step away from the old fashioned basic salads I had as a kid.

When I was a child I always remember salad as being the same, i.e. lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and perhaps radishes (if lucky), together with a standard salad dressing. This is still nice though, if it’s just something you want on the side with the main meal.

Funny enough, when I speak to my mum she still thinks a salad is just that. So, when I mentioned that salads can be much more interesting she seemed very confuzzled, not sure I will ever convince her.

We sometimes fancy a salad as the main meal and in that case, it needs to be more substantial than a few pieces of lettuce and cucumber. It needs to have a bit of umphhh to it, so you are filled up for a while.

Toddler Blip is still not convinced about this concept, but at least he is now willing to actually try the different elements of the salads.

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One thing that seems to have been very popular lately is roasted cauliflower, you get a totally different flavour profile by roasting the cauliflower. I occasionally add roasted chick peas to the salad as well, then I can stretch it to include two lunches the next day but cutting the price per portion from £1.94 to £1.06

Roasted Cauliflower salad

– Serves 2 as a main meal

Ingredients:

Salad ingredients:
½ large cauliflower head or one small
1 hot red chilli, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 spring onion finely sliced
3 streaky bacon pieces
100g fresh spinach
½ tub of mixed olives with feta
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
2 tbsp. Olive oil

Dressing ingredients:
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Olive oils
Salt/pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Finely slice the chili, garlic and spring onions.
  2. Now either cut the cauliflower into nice slices or alternatively break the cauliflower into nice florets (not too small and not too big).
  3. In a frying pan add the olive oil, add the chilli and garlic to the pan, when the garlic gets nice and crispy and the chili gets some colour take it out of the pan and reserve (leave the oil in the pan).
  4. Add the cauliflower to the remaining oil, and turn to a medium heat leave it until it starts getting colour, then turn the cauliflower over, make sure they do get some colour.
  5. Whilst the cauliflower is cooking cook the bacon in a separate pan until nice and crispy, then cut into pieces. When the cauliflower is almost done add the spring onion to the pan and finish off the cauliflower. Grate over half the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Turn off the pan and, return the chilli/garlic together with the olives and feta and make sure it is all proper mixed together. In your serving bowl add the washed spinach leaves, the cauliflower mixture, the bacon pieces and add the remaining grated parmesan.

Serve either warm or cold with the dressing on the time

Cooks tip: If you want add the chickpeas to the mixture then slightly roast them in the fat from the bacon and with a pinch of chilli flakes. Then add it to the salad with the bacon in the end.

We didn’t do it this time as husband is avoiding carbs, and I had no chickpeas in the house.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017).

Cauliflower 83p
Chilli 30p
Garlic cloves 6p
Spring onion 5p
Streaky bacon 42p
Spinach 40p
Mixed olives with feta £1.00
Grated parmesan 50p
Olive oil 11p

Dressing ingredients:
Lemon juice 4p
Olive oil 11p
Salt/pepper to taste 2p
Total price: £3.84 – or £1.94 per portion

Bringing down the price! Now – to get the price down, you need to be savvy… either grow your own chilies, or buy them from Asian corner stores. You could use cooking bacon pieces instead. And by adding the roasted chickpeas you can double the portion, so instead of feeding 2 it feeds 4. for about 40p more in total. Also, instead of using a pre-mixed olive packet use standard olives from a jar and normal feta (or salad cheese you cut into pieces). I buy my olives in Costco, because I eat SO SO many.. I get a huge box of them for £5.99 around 1 kg.

 

Side dishes

Easy, cheap coleslaw 

The husband went to China on Friday and me and baby Blip has been home alone. Its really strange to be home without the husband, nobody to talk to about Mr Blip. No daddy to change baby blip in the morning. First nappy is always daddy’s. Anyways this mean at the moment I’m trying to eat up everything in the fridge and freezers, that way I can clean and defrost them proper.

Before the husband went to China we have been eating a lot off comfort food, I spoilt him. We have had a lot of coleslaw (also because I had half a cabbage left).

This is my super easy and cheap recipe, it can be varied as fits you or freezer.

Easy and cheap coleslaw (56p)

Serve 2-4 as a side dish

1/2 white onion (5 p)

1 small carrot (or half large) (15 p)

1/8 Cabbage (around 100g), either white or red (12.5p)

1 tsp mustard seeds (7p)

5 tbsp Mayo (8p)

2 tbsp milk (3p)

1 tbsp oil (2p)

1 slice preserved lemon (optional) (4p)

Salt and pepper


Method

Slice the onion fine, the final cut the cabbage. With a veg peeler peel the carot, afterwards with the knife julienne the carot to sticks around 4 cm long. Take out the lemon flesh and chop finely.

In a bowl combine Mayo, milk and oil whisk together, consistency should be like double cream. Now add the lemon (if using) and the mustard seeds and taste with salt and pepper.

Add carrots, cabbage and onion and mix well. Taste and add further salt/pepper if needed.

Preserved lemon homemade

Prices based on Tesco and Co-op