Lentil, sweet potato and coconut soup

I had some really tasty soup for lunch today out of a batch I made and froze last week, and belatedly thought that it’d make a good recipe to share, so here it is. It was far too hot for soup today really – I sat outside, which is why the pictures are so bright – but I enjoyed it anyway ūüôā

It’s got a lovely sweet, earthy, coconutty flavour plus a nice level of heat from the curry powder, without being too spicy. Interestingly, since I’ve been trying to have my lunchtime soup without bread I’ve paid a lot more attention to seasoning the soup and can really tell the difference. I think you can rely on buttered bread to ‘carry’ an underseasoned soup a bit¬†so I was being a bit lazy about tasting and seasoning before packing it up and freezing.

I’ve always said that soup’s the best way to get in a healthy lunch as cheap as possible and this one’s only 38p per portion when you split the batch into five (if you’re the hungry sort you may want to have bigger portions or have some bread with it too, but it’ll still be pretty cheap).

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Lentil, sweet potato and coconut soup (serves 5 for lunch at 38p per portion)NutritionLabel

  • 1/2 tbsp cooking fat (free* – I used homemade lard, vegetable oil is fine too)
  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped 10p, (Asda smartprice ¬£1.06 for 2kg)
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 50p (Asda ¬£1 per kilo)
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (I used Madras) 4p (Rajah Madras curry powder 61p per 100g in Asda)
  • 150g red lentils¬†27p (East End, ¬£3.50 per 2kg in Asda)
  • stock to well cover (free* as I used homemade ham stock but vegetable or chicken stock is fine too)
  • 1 can coconut milk¬†95p (Rajah brand, Asda)

Heat the fat or oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onions. Gently fry for several minutes until starting to colour, then add the sweet potatoes, curry powder, lentils and enough ham or vegetable stock to well cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are mushy and the sweet potato is cooked through.

Remove from the heat, blitz with a hand blender (or use a jug blender, but let it cool a bit first) and add the coconut milk. Reheat gently, taste and season as required.

Makes five lunch portions at 38p per portion. *If you use Asda own-brand vegetable oil it’ll add less than a penny to the¬†overall¬†price and Asda own-brand stock cubes are 40p for 12 or 6p to use two in your soup.

Credit Crunch Munch

I’m entering this into¬†Credit Crunch Munch¬†hosted by Sarah at Maison Cupcake, but set up by Helen over¬†Fuss Free Flavours¬†and Camilla over at¬†Fab Food 4 All.

Mealplan 20/07

Back from a lovely but brief weekend away in Argyll, where, after staying with Dave’s mum on Friday night, we attended a wedding on the beach – in fact standing barefoot in the sea in the pouring rain – a really unique and lovely day ūüôā

I’ve not been keeping an exact record of spends this month – though looking at my bank statements shows that we have been more or less in budget – so I’ll not bother adding up the¬†spending updates until next month’s budget comes in. Here’s this week’s mealplan and what I bought though:

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Mealplan

Sun 20 Рmacaroni cheese with broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes
Mon 21 Рsweet potato, onion and cheese frittata with salad
Tues 22 Рbreaded cod, homemade chips, peas and broccoli
Wed 23 Рturkey meatballs with a tomato sauce, rice and veg
Thurs 24 Рchicken and spaghetti in a puttanesca sauce
Fri 25 Рpork and apple burgers with corn on the cob and salad
Sat 26 Рchickpea and cauliflower curry with rice

What I bought (£28.74)

I spent ¬£27.74 in Morrisons today and a further ¬£1 in my local Tesco garage (because I didn’t realise I was out of pasta when I did the shopping and didn’t really want mac and cheese made with spaghetti).

Fruit & veg £9.84
Courgettes x3 50p
Savers frozen peas 900g 89p
Frozen broad beans 500g £1
Cauliflower 99p
Broccoli 49p
Salad tomatoes x6 50p
Cucumber 49p
Frozen summer fruit £2
Peaches x4 50p
Savers apples x7 89p
Bananas x5 60p
Salad leaves 99p

Meat & fish £5
Minced pork 1.05kg £5

Dairy & eggs £5.34
Cheddar 350g x2 £3.50
Meadow park whole milk 2ltr 84p
Free range eggs x6 £1

Bread 25p
RTC white pittas 25p

General £6.79
Basmati rice 1kg £1.49
Pasta 500g £1
Tuna in brine x4 £3.49
Oatcakes 81p

Household £1.52
Savers washing up cloths 3pk 45p
Savers washing up liquid 34p
Savers food bags 73p

A weekend away

I wanted to post a recipe today but time has gotten away with me. Even though I was off work today. I went for a run in the park, tidied up, packed, then got on a bus for four hours, finally arriving at a tiny village next to the sea where my mother in law fed me a fillet steak and a massive salad and Dave and I got to watch the sun set perched on a rock in the sea with vodkas in our hands.

Tomorrow we’re going to a wedding but I promise I’ll be back on Sunday with an update on my spending and mealplans.

Meanwhile, here’s the view from Dave’s mum’s house:

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A catch-up…

So I’ve been a terrible blogger and haven’t posted all month *looks appropriately guilty*.

banana milkshakeI don’t have that much of a reason, except that I seem to have been really busy for the last few weeks for some reason! I started a new job just over three weeks ago so it’s taken me some time to adjust to the new routine. You’ll be glad to know that I’ve continued taking my lunch in, making the majority of my food from scratch and keeping the grocery costs down. I have been incorporating more quick and easy meals but still ones I’ve made from scratch – e.g eating more oven-baked frittatas, stir-fries and meat-fish-or-halloumi-with-salad/veg meals. I’ve even been taking milkshakes with me in a water bottle when I’m too rushed for breakfast before I leave ūüôā

It’s not just the new job though. I’ve also been really focused on fitness the last couple of weeks¬†– specifically spending lots (for me) of time running. I’m still going to Crossfit too, but the reason I’ve been doing so much running is I’ve signed up to do the Great Scottish Run 10k at the start of October – eeek! I did my first Parkrun two Saturdays ago and was really happy to run pretty much the whole way and finish in 33 mins 57, so my next step is to get used to doing a bit more distance and also try to pick the speed up a bit.

Doing so much exercise has affected how I eat a bit – I want to take this opportunity to get as healthy as I can, so I’m trying to lower the amount of sugar and carbs I eat and make sure I’m hitting my daily requirements for protein too (always a challenge as you know I don’t eat masses of meat). So far I’ve made the surprisingly easy transition to having my lunch-time soup without bread pretty painlessly but hopefully¬†I’ll also be spurred on to come up with some lovely new healthy recipes. I’ll be keeping things low cost though and don’t worry – I’m not cutting out bread, pasta or sweet things altogether, so they’ll still feature here from time-to-time ūüėČ

Here’s a wee pic of my dinner tonight to keep you going until I get a recipe up. It’s a rainbow trout fillet simply pan-fried and dressed in butter and lemon juice, served with roasted veg, curly kale and I nabbed just a few homemade chips from Dave’s plate (yes, I got him to eat the fish too, even though he’s not the biggest fish fan – bribing with chips usually works tbh ūüėČ )trout veg and kale

Mealplan and Spending Update 23/06

Bit late this one! ¬†Had a busy weekend and I started a new job today so been sort of frantically preparing for that too – seemed to go well though there was a lot to take in so I’m sure it’ll take a while til I’m properly settled in.

Because of this, I’m keeping it simple with the mealplans until I get into a proper routine. ¬†We’re just slightly over the budget for this month but I don’t see us buying anything else until the new month starts so I’m not worried about that.

Since I didn’t need much, I thought I’d save time and only go¬†to the local Tesco garage yesterday, instead of the bigger Morrisons, but I forgot how expensive it was shopping there so won’t be doing that again in a hurry! ¬†The only saving grace of that place is that they do quite good reduced food sometimes – I got the carrots as I needed them anyway, and bought the cream to make butter with instead of buying it. ¬†We could have come in closer to budget if I hadn’t bought the sneaky pack of Snickers, but Dave tripped and badly cut his chin at the weekend, and was in need of a bit of comforting.

Mealplan

Sun 22 Рpittas, hummous, couscous, coleslaw and roasted veg
Mon 23 Рpotato, onion and cheese frittata with salads
Tues 24 Рveggie curry with rice
Wed 25 Рturkey meatballs and spaghetti
Thurs 26 Рpork and veg stirfry with sticky rice
Fri 28¬†–¬†Dave’s out, so I’ll probably have fishcakes
Sat 29¬†– I’m out; not sure what Dave’ll have yet

Lunches Рusual ham or tuna sandwiches for Dave; mix of stuff I need to use up for me (had leftover couscous/hummous + veg sticks today, having leftover mini quiches with veg & cottage cheese the next couples of days, then probably make some lentil soup)

Spending Update (£185.42 / £180)

Coca cola cans 6pk £1.86
Snickers bars 4pk £1.88
RTC carrots 1kg 60p
Cherry tomatoes 90p
Cucumber 49p
RTC whipping cream x2 90p
Bananas x6 £1.08
Salad leaves £1
Whole milk 4 pints 84p
Bread rolls x 10 £1

Mealplan and Spending Update 15/06

It’s getting to that tight time of the month again! Got 10 days to go until the new budget but we’ve got loads of food in the freezer so should be OK with a few quid left to get milk and fruit.

Dave’s mum’s staying with us for a couple of days so having a visitor is always an excuse to go all out with a roast dinner ūüôā Not made a proper roast chicken in ages – it was seriously good!

Mealplan

Sun 15 roast chicken with all the trimmings, apple crumble & custard
Mon 16¬†– my mother-in-law’s kindly cooking for us so got a night off!
Tues 17 Рpan-fried salmon with rice and roasted veg
Wed 18 Рcashew and veg patties with couscous salad
Thurs 19 Spinach, walnut and pumpkin seed spaghetti
Fri 20 Рchicken and ham fried rice
Sat 21 Рturkey meatballs, pittas and roasted veg with salad

Lunches smoked salmon and broccoli mini quiches for me; tuna or ham sandwiches for Dave

Spending Update (£174.87 / £180)

fruit & veg £10.60
savers potatoes 5kg £3.45
bramley apples 555g 92p
orange 25p
lemon 25p
braeburn apples 5pk x2 £1.33
frozen spinach £1.25
fresh sage, rosemary and thyme bunch 79p
bananas x6 56p
peppers 3pk 66p
broccoli £1.14

meat & fish £13.03
free range chicken 1.2kg £4.94
tinned tuna x2 £2
RTC pork steaks x2 £1.60
RTC pork and chorizo burgers 4pk £1
RTC haddock £2
savers smoked salmon £1.49

dairy & eggs £5.19
whole milk 4 pints £1.39
savers butter 99p
baking block 55p
RTC free range eggs 6pk 50p
RTC free range happy eggs x2 6pk £1.76

bread 75p
RTC sliced rolls 6pk 35p
RTC croissants 40p

general £6.05
cola x4 £1.80
cola cans 4pk x3 £3
savers mayonnaise x2 80p
savers orange juices 3pk 45p

What I Ate Wednesday 11/06

What I Ate Wednesday is a blog link-up hosted over at Peas & Crayons, encouraging bloggers to post pictures of what they ate over a whole day. Hopefully taking part will show you guys whether or not I stick to the mealplan and give a bit more insight into what I can eat on my budget.

I’ve missed taking part in WIAW for the last couple of weeks – excited to be back sharing my eats this Wednesday¬†ūüôā Pretty typical day for me – I seem to be off soup for lunch and having salads more, must be because it’s getting vaguely summery. ¬†Oh, I forgot to take a pic of the banana I had mid-morning, but you all know what they look like, right?

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8am Breakfast: porridge made  with milk, a little brown sugar, cinnamon and apple slices

11am Snack (not pictured): a banana

1pm Lunch: Couscous salad with feta, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, pepper and spices, with a quick carrot and cumin slaw on the side

7.40pm Dinner: Chorizo, black eye bean, pepper and tomato spicy stew with basmati rice

10.15pm¬†Snack:¬†Couldn’t resist an end-slice of my fresh baked no-knead bread with butter