I am a bit of a collector of cookbooks – I love pulling a load of them down on a Sunday evening when I’m meal planning and just dipping into them for inspiration. Not all of my books are very budget friendly… (I’m looking at you Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course.) But there are a solid three books, I know I can lift for inspiration and know most recipes won’t cost a bomb.
A Girl Called Jack: 100 delicious budget recipes – Jack Monroe. There is just something so damn resourceful about Jack and her recipes in this book. She’s left no scrap unused and she knows her way around a frugal kitchen and easily identifies all the typical ingredients that are normally left behind and makes use of them. A fine example of this is her “Car-Brie-Nara” recipe for a carbonara using that leftover corner of brie that’s always sitting at the back of the fridge and more than often gets chucked. She also does exceptionally well to make solid veggie dishes (actually, I’d wager that a fair few are vegan also) that are packed with substance and would definitely fill you up.
Nigella Express – Nigella Lawson. I don’t really understand why this book is frugal but do I know that I can pick it up, leaf through it and whatever I decide to make will be super tasty and won’t cost very much to make – perhaps the Express element of the recipes relies on those storecupboard staples or something. The Seasame Peanut Noodles have been a total game changer for hubby’s lunches as I don’t feel the pressure to stick to recipe, so he often gets this with the odds and ends of the veggie drawer dumped in. Disclaimer: there are definitely more decadent recipes in here but there are soooooo many that go easy on the wallet and there were loads of second-hand copies of this book on Amazon for cheap last time I looked.
Slimming World; Family Feasts on a budget. This one speaks for itself and thankfully most of the recipes are super low syn (for those on Slimming World) What I like most about this book is that nothing is actually that creative a recipe – there’s nothing experimental or wacky. It’s just a great wee book of recipes that you might not have considered frugal and done in a healthier way. The Chicken & Bacon Rosti Pots are particularly nice and I’d never have thought I could make a creamy pie that was light.
Honorable Mention to; Save with Jamie- Jamie Oliver. This book does a lot of things right – it looks at how we can use frozen foods in place of fresh to save money, explores how best to arrange your freezer to get the max out of ingredients and what storecupboard ingredients to rely on… However, if you’ve watched the series on TV, you’ll know that the recipes all follow on from the cooking of a larger joint of meat (called ‘Motherships’) at the start of the week and using the leftovers to make meals the following days and this is where this falls down for me… with hubby in the house, there is never enough leftover meat to make a second meal, nevermind three. I could strip a chicken and the meat would be nibbled at and GONE before the dishes were even done.