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Low Cost Recipes

Nettle Soup

Nothing could be cheaper than picking those pesky nettles from the back garden or on one of your walks. You will be surprised just how delicious it is and you have the added pleasure of payback.


Have a look through Jack Monroe's website "Cooking on a Bootstrap", created purely with low cost, easy meals for people to whip up in smaller kitchens, in mind. 

You can find lots of great and tasty recipes HERE.


French-Onion-Soup-1.jpgOur very own Isobel suggests this pared down recipe from a fancier one needing white wine and finishing off under a grill. Serves 2-4.

I store my onions in the fridge to stop them making me cry when I slice them. Use the flat side of a knife to crush the garlic in the salt. Why buy croutons when you can make the same thing from buttered toast? The French don’t call our bread Pain Anglais for nothing!


2 tablespoons butter or oil
4 medium onions, peeled and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced and crushed in salt
2 pints of beef stock
2 handfuls of grated cheddar or toasted almonds
2 slices of toast (cut up into slices or squares)

  1. Heat the butter or oil in a large thick-based saucepan French-Onion-Soup-2.jpg
  2. Add the prepared onions, cook over a low heat, stirring from time to time, for 20 - 30 mins, until the onions are totally translucent. 
  3. Add the stock and simmer for another 20 mins.
  4. Toast the bread and cut into strips or triangles
  5. Dry fry the almonds over a low heat if not using cheese to garnish
  6. Serve into bowls
  7. Add the cheese or toasted almonds and serve.


Bread_pudding.jpgThis is so lovely that in times past I have gone out to buy bread specially to make it. You can use white or brown bread, or a mix of both. You will need a largish mixing bowl, a sieve, a long flat baking dish which will happily contain 2 pints or more, plus an oven.


8 oz stale bread (e.g. half a white loaf) or 227 gms
½ pt of milk (soya or cow)
5 tbs currants or sultanas
3 tbs sugar
½ tsp mixed spice
4 oz (4 dessert spoon scoops or just under half a 250g packet) butter or margarine, melted.
1 egg

Extra special ingredients (instead of mixed spice): 
Peel of ½ an orange or satsuma etc. cut into thin strips
Seeds removed from 6 pods of cardamon and ground
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

  1. Break the bread into pieces, dropping into the mixing bowl as you do so, then add the milk. Leave to soak for one hour.
  2. Break up any lumps with a wooden spoon so that the crusts aren’t crusty or rubbery. (Other recipes will tell you to cut the crusts off, but I find this method less laborious.)
  3. Put the mix into a sieve to squeeze out the excess milk. It is important to stop the mix being stodgy. Put a side plate on top of it to encourage the milk to depart.
  4. Set the oven to 180 C. Grease your dish with the butter or margarine. Melt the rest of it.
  5. Put the mix back into the bowl and add all the other ingredients.
  6. Put the mixture into the baking dish, spread out and bake for one hour, until golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle all over with caster sugar.

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