Monday, 24 March 2014


As a big fan of Jack Monroe, and his Sainsbury's adverts and his blog, and his recipes in the newspapers, I've found myself reading The Guardian a lot more, to see how 'real people' create 'real food'.

Inspired by the latest recipe for 'Make Your Own Gnocchi'
I've decided to concentrate on pasta this month, and more importantly, what it is?

Pasta is made out of wheat.
But sometimes it is made out of wholewheat (which is better for your children if they never leave their room).
And sometimes it is made out of eggs.

One of my favourite websites Fit Chick Tricks .com says this:
"Whether it is angle hair, fettuccini, elbow, or macaroni, white or wheat has become one of the great debates, right along with boxers or briefs, and chocolate or vanilla".

I'm going to use Tesco Value Spaghetti because it is currently only 20p.
(Up yours Aldi! With your so-called 'cheap' 29p pastas!)
I'm also going to use Smash mash because there is little chance of it going green, sprouting triffids or making my veg box dirty.

Gnocchi is essentially pasta stuffed with mash.
If like me, you have only tried it at middle-class students' houses, you'll know that there is always a great chance they will overcook it, and it will taste a bit like wallpaper paste.
My recipe deals with this issue by TIMING the pasta as it boils.

I'm going to use Tesco instant potato instead of Smash because these blogs are about cooking on a budget.
It's essentially the same thing, although if you read the ingredients you'll notice there are a lot less adverts for other Cadbury's products on the packet, thus reducing the overall net unit cost.

1. Boil a kettle
2. Add HALF of the water to a saucepan (any pan will do - it doesn't have to be specifically for sauce)
3. Put the saucepan on a heat source ('source' not 'sauce') and when boiling again, add the spaghetti, stir it about a bit, get it boiling again, and then look at your mobile phone to see what time it is?
Add ten minutes to that number (i.e. 6-45pm + 10 = 6-55 or 18-45 + 10 = 18-55) and remove from heat when cooked.
4. Use the other HALF of the kettle water to make a paste with the potato.
(Be careful. Too much will make it gloopy. Too little will make it crusty.)
5. Mix the potato with the pasta.

E ecco!
Gnocchi Inglesi-style, and all for under a pound!

Instant Mashed Potato

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is celebrated all over Europe, not just in developed countries like England or America.
Shrove literally means 'use up all the eggs and butter quick' and is often celebrated  40 days before Easter, so that the supermarkets have time to take down the Jif and McDougalls displays, and replace them with larger items, such as Yorkie Easter Eggs and disposable barbecues.
A lot of people forget that Baby Jesus nearly died of malnutrition in the desert, before having himself crucified so that we could make (or buy) hot cross buns and mini eggs.
In France they call Pancake Day 'Mardi Gras' which literally means 'Fat Tuesday', and shows that the French have no respect for Baby Jesus or any of the Big 3 supermarkets.
The Swedes also call Pancake Day 'Fettisdagen' which literally also means 'Fat Tuesday', but as they are significantly wealthier than us, and very nearly invented Lego, my recipe today will ignore them completely, and focus on the slightly more accessible ingredients used by those cuddly Vikings, the people of Iceland.
'Sprengidadur' literally means 'a day for bursting your stomach open', and in my experience, the frozen food from Iceland is very capable of doing just that, if eaten in great quantities.

Ten Minute Sprengidadur Supper

If, like me, you struggle to make your ends meet, living off benefits and generally being feckless, you may find this recipe a little challenging, and decide to get a takeaway pizza from say Pizza Hut or The Dominoes.
If you do, try asking for a maple syrup, or lemon & sugar topping, in order to be festive and show respect for the Lent stuff.

1. Get your ingredients from Iceland

2. The Icelandic people celebrate with salted meat and peas.

3. Carefully sprinkle salt onto your meat (I use Tesco Value Free Running Table Salt, but I once had a lodger who got hers from the sea! I think it was a quirky hipster thing, but it tasted ok, even though it was very lumpy).

4. Open your bag of peas from Iceland carefully, and add them to a boiling pan of water.
(If, like me, you've had your gas cut off, try melting the peas with a lighter from Gary's Discounts, or putting them out in the sunshine for a bit).

5. Serve with Findus Crispy Pancakes from Iceland (optional - mince beef may contain bits of animals).

Meat (animal meat is best)
Crispy Pancakes (optional)

Og Lita' Par!
A ten minute recipe that'll have you fit for bursting, and won't have you taking out a crisis loan in order to pay for the kids Easter eggs

This is a photo of an experiment I did earlier. 
Call it 'Yanny-Fusion' if you like, but I combined pancakes from Iceland with waffles from the more developed & civilised country America (Untied States of, NOT South America!)