Meals for under a fiver

Eating for less than a fiver is possible…we promise!

I am a firm believer that a depressing bank balance doesn’t have to mean a depressing diet. Especially if you are just cooking for yourself, by shopping in smaller local businesses like green grocers and butchers instead of larger stores, you can buy the quantity you need instead of huge packets and the prices are much lower. Here are three of my favourite overdraft friendly recipes:

Mushroom risotto

All you need for this is; butter, onion, mushrooms, stock and risotto rice. Parmesan is an optional extra to serve.

Start off by sweating the onions in the butter and then add in the mushrooms sliced however you chose. After the mushrooms have reduced in size slightly, pour risotto rice into the pan and stir everything up to make sure all of the rice is coated in the buttery goodness. Then add in the stock, ladle full at a time, stirring it constantly in between to make sure the liquid is absorbed before you add in more. Stirring risotto is extremely cathartic since it requires your complete attention, but gives an excellent excuse to momentarily ignore all other responsibilities.

Total cost: £3.20


Bottom of the fridge soup

This is the perfect way to use up all the obscure vegetables lying around your fridge that are looking despondent. Ideally these vegetables should include some kind of potato (sweet or the normal boring kind) just to thicken the soup.

Boil up the chopped vegetables, whatever they may be, in stock until they are soft. Blend it all together and then add as much cream as your gluttony desires. Perfect on a blustery Scottish day.

Total cost: Approximately £3.50 if you don’t already have vegetables at home


Courgette and chilli pasta

Delicious and still cheap because of the very few ingredients needed. Put your pasta on to boil and as it cooks, fry some chopped chilli in olive oil and add in some grated courgette. Pour the courgette and chilli with their cooking juices onto your pasta once it is ready.

Total cost: £3


Proof that low budget meals can be more than just baked beans and baked potatoes!