Monthly Archives: September 2011

I’ve made Bread!

I can’t believe it, I’ve actually made bread. Successful, soft bread. No egg, no baking powder or bicarb, just luck I guess…or a bit too much research into the science of bread. I made the dough in the morning, and kneaded it again at 3pm, and then put it in the oven at 5.30pm. It fit right into my uni schedule. It tastes great aswell, because it has mustard and herbs in it which gives a salty flavour. What really upset me is that I was gonna make this in my food processor, but it broke halfway through. DAMN YOU KENWOOD. Upon complaining about it to my sister, she pointed out that “Jessica, a lot of the people you write for don’t own food processors anyway, so it’s good to not have it for a while”. And, judging by the success of this bread, if I can do it without a food processor, so can you.

Anyway, this is something that involves patience. And don’t give up halfway through, otherwise it wont work.

Ingredients-serves a roll enough for 1 person

1 cup of flour

-1 7g sachet of yeast

-1tsp salt

-1tsp mustard

-1 tsp herbs

-1/4 cup of warm water


Mix together the dry ingredients, bar the mustard and the herbs.

-With a fork, slowly add the water, trying to blend together the ingredients into a dough, once the fork proves redundant, start to add the mustard and herbs and use your hands.

-The dough should be sticky, but tough. Form into a ball and turn out onto a floured surface and start to knead. Kneading involves bring the edge of the ball from the back and folding it towards you. Then turn the dough 90 degrees clockwise, and do the same thing again. Do this for about 4-5 minutes. The dough should still be sticky.

-Put the dough in a clean bowl, and cover in cling film. Store in a warm dry place, I put mine in the cupboard next to the boiler.

-After at least an hour (I left mine for 3), or until the ball has doubled in size, turn the dough out onto a flour surface and flatten with the heel of your hand to flatten the bubbles. Knead a bit more for 4 minutes. Place back in bowl and re-cover with cling film. Leave to prove for another hour +.

-Once the dough has risen again, put into an oven pre-heated at 200 c. and form into a shape of your choice. Place on a greased baking sheet/tray and cook for 40 minutes-hour (or until it looks ready!).


Filed under Bread, Pastries and Pizza

Back-to-School Pasta and Pesto

This is such a staple, and it was done perfectly. Pasta and pesto, the posh way. After a bit of trials and tribulations with the pasta machine, and then the food processor, this came out and we were very happy. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can easily do it the manual way, but it might be a bit of an effort, and in such a case you’re probably better of just making the pesto.

In other worlds, my food processor keeps on not working, any suggestions? Also, just moved into the new house, with my camera but without my dad’s macro lenses so I feel a bit deprived but I feel the photo has turned out okay.



-2 cups of plain flour

-2 eggs

-1 tsp salt


-a lot of basil, about 2 cups

-1/2 cup of olive oil

-1/4 cup of grated parmesan

-2 tbsp pine nuts

-1 tsp salt

-1 clove of garlic


-For the pasta, either mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with a fork until it forms into a ball, using your fingers to make sure the mixture is combined and the dough has turned silky and firm. If you have a food processor, process all the ingredients until one ball has formed in the food processor. Either way, leave the dough in a cool place for an hour.

-For the pesto, whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor until it looks like pesto!

-Follow the machines on your pasta machine to form tagliatelle, or if by hand, roll out the dough to about 1-2mm thickness, and cut into shreds. Cook in boiling salted water for 10 minutes, and there you go!


Filed under Cheese, Italian, Rice and Pasta, Vegetarian

Butternut Squash part 3

Mmmm, look at that cheesy, stuffed goodness. Salty, but with no added salt. Sweet but not too sweet. Filling, but not sickening. My sister called it a bad boy, but with only a small spattering of calcium rich mozzarella, this is in no way bad for you. In a continuation of how to cook a butternut squash, I give you butternut squash-stuffed. I would advise not to make this just for one person, this could serve 4 MASSIVE portions each (me and my sis had a quarter each, guilt-free) , but could easily serve 6. The only drawback, was the time it took. But believe it, never has a wait been so worth it.


-1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthways and deseeded.

-4 tbsp oil

-2 carrots, peeled and grated.

-1 tin of lentils, drained and rinsed.

-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

-1.5 tbsp of tomato purée.

-3 tsp basil, or a handful of the fresh stuffed finely chopped.

-anchovies (optional)

-mozzarella, however much you like. About 1 200g ball is PLENTY.

-some cherry tomatoes


-Preheat oven to gas mark 8/230-240 c. and place butternut squash halves face down a roasting dish, but before, cover the exposed flesh with 2 tbsp olive oil, and then once turned over in the dish drizzle the rest of the oil on the skin. Prod the skin with a fork, I feel this lets the butternut squash cook better all the way through. This will need to cook for about 1-1/2 hours.

-Whilst it’s roasting, mix all the ingredients except the cheese and anchovies in a bowl.

-The butternut squash is ready when the skin has brown, and when you poke a fork through the skin, it feels soft.

-Now, being careful, turn the halves upside and scoop out the flesh and mix with your lentil-carrot mixture. Once the mixture is well combined, divide back out evenly between the emptied out butternut squash halves.

-Lower oven to gas mark 6-7/210-220 c., and place these in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out again top with the anchovies and chopped mozzarella. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the mozzarella has browned.


Filed under Butternut Squash, Cheese, Fish, Pulses, Vegetarian


Oatcakes are great. My doctor recommended them to me for good ways of snacking, but they’re really good after meals aswell with cheese, or they taste really good with yoghurt. I love them. And, like the true thrifty I am, I’ll tell you that they are very cheap to make, VERY CHEAP. What’s good about oatcakes is that you can jazz them up in anyway you like, below are some ways to do so.

Anyway, I’ll shut up, and keep this post simple-like the oatcakes.

Ingredients-about 15-20 cakes

-200g oatmeal, plus extra for dusting

-1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

-1/4 pint of boiling water

-2 tbsp olive oil, or melted butter (oil is healthier)

-1 tsp salt

Jazzed up oats cakes , use all of the above plus:

-2-3 tsp of thyme

-2 tbsp chopped up blueberries, or raspberries

-2 tbsp dried fruit

-1 tsp grated cheddar cheese.


-Preheat oven to gas mark 5, 200 c. and line 1-2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

-Mix up all the ingredients except the water first. Then slowly add the water until you get a moist doughy mixture that can form into a ball and feels quite sticky to touch.

-Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with some more oatmeal and roll out your dough to about 3-4mm thickness.

-Using a cutter, or just a knife, form circular, or square, (or any type of) shapes. Try to use up all the mixture, by continuously collecting scraps of the dough, adding a bit of water water and repeating the above process. Place all your shapes on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cakes starting to brown at the edges and feel hard when you touch them.

-Don’t worry some will evidently fall apart, but that’s just the way the OATCAKE crumbles.

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Filed under Grains, Snacks and Starters, Vegan, Vegetarian

Have you tried cornbread?

I have made cornbread a lot, it’s a bit like cake but you tend to eat it as a savoury accompaniment. I must admit though, that the cornbread you see in this photograph tasted like soap, or deodrant, or something quite chemically. BUT THAT IS BY NO FAULT OF MY RECIPE. It’s just because I think there was something dodgy in one of my equipments I used, because this has never happened before. My sister had two slices though…which is a bit weird. Anyway, this is great with chilli, and for a great veggie chilli recipe, click here. I would say it’s thrifty because it uses a lot of store cupboard ingredients, and if you don’t have these in your store cupboard, then each ingredient literally costs nothing. If you buy a sack of flour, cornflour and caster sugar, it will total to about £1.50 and you will have them to hand for a while. Not like buying 500g of beef for £3 and only using it once.


-100g plain flour

-100g cornflour

-100g caster sugar

-2 eggs

-100g butter melted

-400ml milk

-2 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp salt

-If you have sweetcorn, throw about 3tbsp of that in too.


-Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200 c, and grease some sort of tin, it could be a cake tin, or a loaf tin. Your choice. I used a spring form cake tin so I could cut the bread properly. The only problem with this is that it’s hard to store post baking.

-Mix all the ingredients together, be careful about milk. You might not need so much, so preferably add it in slowly until your mixture is runny but still has a slight thickness to it. The mixture should resemble yoghurt in its consistency.

-Pour into baking tin and bake for about 40 minutes, or until it is brown and top and when you prod a skewer down the centre it comes out clean.

– Take out of spring form tin, if you used on, and leave to cool. Enjoy!


Filed under Bread, Pastries and Pizza, Mexican, Store Cupboard, Vegetarian

Berry Buckwheat Smoovie

Finding it hard getting buckwheat into your diet? Not fond of buckwheat salads and tabbouleh? It is the fibre king, has 8 amino acids, iron, phosphorus, copper and helps lower YOUR cholesterol. But you’re not buying it? Well here we have a lovely buckwheat smoothie, and it tastes like strawberry milkshake, NO LIE, I promise you it’s really smooth and so it has that strawberry ice cream taste.  Give it a go, and it’s particularly cheap because it can be made with frozen berries. I’ve discovered that frozen berries are genius for smoothies because they don’t go off and they cost about £1.50 for a bag that will last agessss.


-1/3 cup buckwheat groats

-2 x 1/3 cup of water

-3 almonds

-3 dates, pitted

-1 banana

-3 strawberries (optional)

-a tiny handful of frozen berries, or a bigger handful if you’re not using strawberries

1 tsp of vanilla extract

-1/2 cup of water, plus 100 ml


Leave the buckwheat to soak in the water for 2 hrs plus. Overnight preferably for the softest.

-Once you have done this, drain the buckwheat and rinse with water. Throw it in a blender with almonds, dates and 100ml water and process until it looks like porridge gone wrong.

-Add the remaining ingredients and process until your desired consistency. Pour into a cup and voila. So easy and so good.


Filed under Grains, Vegan, Vegetarian

Amber’s Banoffee Pie

Amber has left for 2nd year in the big P-A-R-!-$, and before she left she asked for banoffee pie. Our friend Cheyanna normally adopts the Banoffee patrol, but she could not this time round so for the 2.5th time, I made the pie. It was not challenging, but definitely time consuming, but it was worth it. My beloved food processor proved useful again, I love you food processor.

Originally I wasn’t going to put this on, but Amber was like “you should put it on”, and I was like “but it’s not that thrifty!”, but Amber was like “so what!”. So apologies if this isn’t that useful, or it’s a bit costly. But hey, who doesn’t like banoffee pie? (apart from my mum).


-2 x 397g tin of condensed milk.

200g of digestive biscuits

100g butter

400ml  double cream

-2 bananas

Decoration-Milk chocolate digestives and/or cocoa powder


For the caramel.

-Put your sealed cans of condensed milk in sideways in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Then boil for 2.5-3 hours. Make sure the cans are completely covered in water at all times.

-Once they’re done, leave the tins until cool to touch. Then open on side of the tin and turn upside down over a bowl, then open the other side of the tin and push the caramel out. Do this with both tins.

-There are other ways to make caramel using condensed milk, brown sugar and butter, which takes about 15 minutes. But you can research that yourself.

-Spread your caramel onto your…

Biscuit base

– Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/170 c/350 f.

-In a food processor process your biscuits until they resemble crumbs. Or in a plastic sealed bag bash the biscuits with a rolling pin until completely destroyed.

-Melt your butter, and mix with the biscuit crumbs until all is well combined.

-Press mixture into some sort of pie dish or tin, it doesn’t really matter,  but just make sure it is firmly pushed into the surface. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the base looks slightly browner. Take out and leave to cool.

-Once your caramel has slightly cooled, spread onto the base with caution, being careful not pick up the crumbs…and ruin the pie :).

-Put into the fridge for 2-3 hours. It is ‘ready’ when the caramel feels firm when you touch it.


-Take your biscuit and caramel base out of the fridge.

-Chop up the bananas into slices, and place evenly on the caramel base.

-Whip your cream until it is….whipped? And spread on top of the bananas. Sprinkle with crushed chocolate digestives or a few teaspoons of cocoa powder and serve.

-Good luck not trying to eat it all.


Filed under Desserts, Vegetarian

Meat-LESS flavour-FULL Chilli

When I was first a vegetarian, I thought that if you add substitute meats it would not taste different. I thought it would be like nothing had ever happened…like the companies make you believe. Well they were wrong, I spent a lot of my time buying sachets of spaghetti bolognese and chilli spice mix because my food just tasted bland and depressing. I should have realised that vegetarian chilli tastes better without fake meat, and bolognese tastes better with lentils. So the secret to flavourful veggie chilli? No substitute meats, and lots of pulses which absorb all the flavour.

And the secret to cheap chilli? The world food aisle. I was so happy when I went into Tesco’s and they had a special aisle for, I think, the Hindu festival of chariots. Lots of cheap chopped tomatoes, curry spices etc. But venture in to the world food aisle for black beans, jerk spices and cheap fizzy drinks!


1 carrot

-1 onion

-1 clove of garlic

-1 sweet potato peeled and chopped

-200g can of sweet corn

-1x 400g can of black beans

-1 can of chopped tomatoes

-1 tbsp cornflour

-2 tsp Cumin, Coriander, Paprika and 1 tsp cocoa powder


-Place the sweet potato in a pot and cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until they are soft. Drain.

-While these are boiling you can chop up your onion, carrot and garlic and fry in a casserole dish with a little bit of oil. Add some salt.

-Add the sweet potato and seal the edges.

-Add the remaining ingredients apart from the cornflour and bring to the boil. When the sauce begins to thicken add the cornflour. Leave the chilli to cook for an hour and serve with all your favourite Mexican garnishes!


Filed under Mexican, Pulses, Rice and Pasta, Vegan, Vegetarian