Bargain Basement Cooking!
Today’s challenge has been to make a meal with food found in the clearance sections at the supermarket. I didn’t have the time to go out and do the foraging myself so I sent my other half on a bargain hunting mission at one of our local supermarkets. And this is what he returned with…
There was a pack of stir fry veg, some extra mange tout, some fresh chillies and a tub of pineapple chunks. Well stir fry was obviously the way to go. I had a pack of ready cooked rice in the cupboard and few mushrooms that were on their way to the compost if I didn’t use them up so I threw them into the mix too. I normally would have some sort of tofu dish with stir fry but as there wasn’t any in the fridge, I used a can of chickpeas instead.
To get some flavour into the chickpeas, I tossed them in a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and then put them on a lined baking tray and baked them in the oven for about 15mins. Whilst they cooked, I fried a thinly sliced onion and one of the chillies finely chopped in a teaspoon of sesame oil. Once they began to cook, I added some pieces of the pineapple cut into small cubes and stirred for a few minutes, then added the cooked rice and finally the chickpeas.
In another pan, I stir fried the veggies with some Chinese five spice powder.
And ta-da! Bargain basement dinner done. In less than 30 minutes too!
Four For £4
I got lucky when I was deciding to what to make for today’s challenge. My parents gave us some marrow that a neighbour had grown which was substantial enough to feed at least four people. Marrow might not seem like the most exciting vegetable but I think it does have potential. I particularly like stuffed marrow and worked out I could do this dish quite cheaply. As marrow can be quite bland, I decided to go for a stuffing with plenty of spice. I have made marrow stuffed with couscous before and thought this would be ideal. I had some ingredients already in the cupboard, such as veggie stock and spices so didn’t need to buy in those. I did buy a pack of couscous for £0.65, tin of chickpeas for £0.55, a red bell pepper for £0.55 and a pack of onions for £0.60. Whilst looking for the spices I found a pack of raisins and thought they might go well in the stuffing.
Begin by preparing the marrow: Cut the marrow into large chunks, halve the pieces and then scrape out the seeds.
Put the pieces in a large pot and cover with plenty of salted water. Bring the water to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for about 10mins or until the marrow is soft but still retains shape. Put the pieces cut side up in a baking dish.
To make the stuffing, prepare 125g couscous according to the packet instructions. I always soak the couscous in vegetable stock rather than just water as I find it adds more flavour. Finely slice the onion and dice the pepper. Fry in a little oil or cooking spray (you can use water if you prefer to cook oil free) with a couple of finely minced garlic cloves, a teaspoon each of ground coriander and cumin, half a teaspoon tumeric and teaspoon chilli flakes. Add a couple of tablespoons of raisins and the tin of chickpeas and cook until the veggies are softened. Season with salt and pepper and also season the pieces of marrow. Spoon the mixture into the hollowed out marrow pieces and then cover the dish with foil. Bake for 20mins at Gas Mark 5/190C/375F.
If you were not limited to £4 you could always add some sort of sauce, in the past I have made a spicy tomato sauce to pour over the top. You could also serve with a salad of some sort. Enjoy xxxx