Five Recipes for a Thrifty New Year


Let’s face it, January can be a pretty tough month. The festive gorge has left our waistlines larger, our bank balances smaller and ‘tis now the season for resolutions. The same resolutions I naively make every year, knowing full well they’re doomed to be broken. Learn French (always on the list), cook more, bake more, blog more, waste less, worry less, complain less and of course, spend less. So, not only is January the coldest month of the year, but the unending list of resolutions make for a very long slog.

I’m determined 2019 will be different. Obviously, I still want to be healthier, happier and thriftier; but this year’s mission is to have fun with it at the same time. In a bid to save our pennies, Sunny has challenged the nation to #DIYDineOut this January and they set me the task of sharing five of my favourite budget-friendly recipes, feeding four people for £10.

New research has found that Brits dine out at their favourite restaurants at least three times a month, spending on average £695.76 each year, which equates to 3% of the average take home salary. By swapping one night out for one night in a month, we could save an average of £240 per year. There’s also huge satisfaction in gathering your friends and family around the table and cooking a delicious meal without breaking the bank.

It’s been so fun collaborating with Sunny, and I spent a little time on the other side of the lens, shooting short videos for each recipe (seriously nerve-racking and way out of my comfort zone). I’ve loved the challenge of sticking to the budget, without compromising on flavour.

On the menu is a simple red pepper and mozzarella flatbread pizza; a comforting butternut curry; spicy chilli and broccoli noodles, a baked frittata and a fool-proof all-in-one orange and almond cake. All five recipes are vegetarian and two happen to be vegan. It’s important to note that I’m not a trained chef, but just an enthusiastic home cook. There’s nothing to stop you taking on the Sunny #DIYDineOut challenge and having fun creating your own favourite dishes on a budget at home.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a thrifty 2019.


Potato, Spinach and Feta Crustless Quiche

First up is this incredibly simple crustless quiche. It can be easily adapted to what you have on hand. You could use sweet potato, kale or even chorizo is you wanted to make a non-vegetarian version. It’s very similar to a frittata and would work well for a weekend brunch too.


500g baby potatoes (£1.00)
300ml double cream (£1.05)
Pinch of salt and pepper
A large handful of spinach (£1.50)
2 spring onions, finely sliced (55p)
100g feta/goat’s cheese (£1.30)
100g cheddar, grated (£1.50)
30g dill (70p)
Juice of 1 lemon (30p)

 Total: £8.65

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
Step 2: In a saucepan, boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender. When they’re cool enough to handle, cut them into thin slices. Alternatively, could also pop these in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.
Step 3: In a large measuring jug, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
Step 4: Grease a 30cm oven proof dish.
Step 5: Arrange the sliced potatoes, spinach and half the feta evenly around the base of the dish.
Step 6: Toss in half the spring onions, half the dill and half the cheddar.
Step 7: Pour over the egg mixture, making sure that everything is evenly distributed
Step 8: Scatter over the remaining cheddar and spring onions.
Step 9: Bake in the preheated oven for approx. 25 minutes until set and golden.Step 10: Scatter over the remaining dill and squeeze over the lemon.

Flatbread Pizza

Making the dough for this flatbread pizza couldn’t be more straight forward. It’s simply yoghurt, flour and baking powder. No proofing is necessary. You could buy ready-made pizza dough and red pepper pesto if you’re in a real hurry.

(Enough for two pizzas)
For the dough:
500g strong white bread flour (£1.80)
500g Greek yoghurt (85p)
1 ½ tsp baking powder (£1.40)
1 tsp salt

For the topping:
2 red peppers (£1.10)
4 cloves garlic (30p)
200g tinned chopped tomatoes (29p)
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
150g cherry tomatoes, chopped (85p)
390g buffalo mozzarella (£2.50)
fresh basil (70p)

Total: £9.79

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove the stalks and seeds of the red peppers, roughly chop and arrange in a roasting tin along with the garlic. Drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 mins until soft and slightly caramelised.

Step 2: To make the flatbread pizza base, place a non-stick baking sheet into the oven to heat up. Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt, flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Use a knife to mix together, eventually using your hands when the mixture begins to form a dough. Knead briefly to smooth out the dough. Leave to stand in a floured bowl and cover with a plate or clingfilm while you finish the sauce.

Step 3: Once the peppers are cooked, pulse them, along with the garlic, in a food processor. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.

Step 4: Divide the dough into two balls. Lightly flour a surface and with a rolling pin, roll a dough ball into a rough circle. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, drizzle with a little olive oil and then carefully transfer the rolled out dough to the sheet. As it cooks on the preheated baking sheet it should bubble slightly, at which point, turn it over and place back on the baking sheet. Spread over a third of the roasted red-pepper tomato sauce, reserving the remainder for the second pizza and for serving. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. If you’re oven is big enough you may be able to bake both bases at the same time, however I bake each one separately.

Step 5: Remove the bases from the oven, scatter over the chopped cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. Add a few dollops of the leftover Red pepper sauce. Tear over the basil leaves and drizzle with a little olive oil. You could pop the whole thing back into the oven for a few minutes so that the mozzarella melts slightly, or just eat it as it is.

Chilli Noodles

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of noodles? Use Soba Noodles if you can find them, but I’ve used whole wheat linguine in this recipe. Feel free to add more chilli if you like it a little spicier!


2 tbsp sunflower oil/sesame oil
3 tbsp light soy sauce (£1.30)
3 tbsp hoisin sauce (£1.20)
200g wholewheat linguine (£1.28)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (20p)
30g fresh ginger, grated (99p)
4 spring onions, sliced, white and green parts separated (55p)
1 red chilli, finely chopped (60p)
200g Purple Sprouting of Tenderstem broccoli (£1.80)
handful fresh coriander (70p)
juice of 1 lime (30p)
handful peanuts (£1.00)

Total: £9.92

Step 1: Boil the whole-wheat linguine for aprox 9 minutes, until al dente (they’ll continue cooking when added to the wok). Drain and refresh with cold water.

Step 2: Blanche the broccoli for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain and refresh with cold water.

Step 2: Combine 3 tbsp soy sauce and 3tbsp Hoisin sauce in a small measuring jug.

Step 3: Heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil/sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan and toss in the whites of the spring onions and garlic. Simmer for about minute.

Step 4: Add the chilli, ginger and broccoli and cook for a few minutes more.

Step 5: Add the linguine and toss everything together

Step 6: Pour in the sauce and toss everything together. Sprinkle over the peanuts, greens from the spring onions and the coriander. Squeeze over the lime juice and serve straight away

Butternut Curry

This is Butternut Curry is such a family favourite, I tend to make a double batch so I can pop some in the freezer. Add more chilli if you like it spicy!

Sunflower oil/olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and chopped (21p)
60g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (99p)
2 cloves garlic, peeled (30p)
3 red chillies, stalks removed, halved and seeds removed (60p)
1 tsp fenugreek (85p)
1 tsp ground turmeric (85p)
1 whole butternut, peeled and chopped (£1.00)
400ml tin coconut milk (75p)
1 cinnamon stick (85p)
8-10 dried curry leaves (£1.65)
400ml tin chopped tomatoes (29p)
A Large handful coriander (70p)
Juice of half a lime (30p)
Salt to taste

Total: £9.34

Step 1: Blitz the chilli, garlic, ginger and fenugreek in a food processor to make a rough paste.

Step 2: Heat the oil in a large sauce pan, add the paste, along with the turmeric and cook for a few minutes until softened and fragrant.

Step 3: Add the butternut, and toss to coat in the paste.

Step 4: Pour over the coconut milk and half the tin of chopped tomatoes. Add the cinnamon stick and curry leaves. Simmer, uncovered until the butternut has softened and the sauce has thickened (About 15 -20 minutes).

Step 5: When cooked, stir through the remaining chopped tomatoes, add salt to taste. squeeze over the lime and sprinkle over the coriander. Serve straight away.

Orange and Almond Cake

This has to be one of the simplest cakes ever and is adapted from the iconic Claudia Rodin recipe. It’s delicious as it is, but if you wanted to mix things up a bit, you could substitute bergamots or blood oranges instead of normal oranges.

For the Cake:
2 whole oranges (60p)
5 eggs (£1.00)
200g almond flour (£2.30)
200g caster sugar (£1.10)
3/4 tsp baking powder (£1.20)

For the Syrup:
Juice of 2 oranges (60p)
70g caster sugar
1-2 tbsp water

 To Serve:
Icing sugar for dusting (£1.00)
Mascarpone (£1.50)

Total: £9.30

Step 1: Boil the oranges (including skin) until completely soft. This takes about an hour to 90 minutes

Step 2: Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm loose-bottom cake tin.

Step 3: Let the soft oranges cool slightly and then blitz to a pulp in a food-processor

Step 4: Put all the ingredients, including the whole oranges into a food processor and blitz to a smooth batter. Don’t over do it, it should only take about 15-30 seconds.

Step 5: Pour the batter into the lined cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 50mins-1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the cake tin before attempting to remove.

Step 6: While the cake is cooling, make the orange syrup. Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and reduce to about half, when the mixture should be syrupy.

Step 7: When ready to serve the cake. Dust with icing sugar, then drizzle over the syrup. Serve with a generous dollop of mascarpone and/or candied orange slices.

This post was sponsored by Sunny UK