Tag Archives: cooking

Lentil pate

140927-lentil-pate-cover-photo-1000x639Once again I’ve struggled to update lately – I really need to get some kind of routine back in because I’m really missing updating this blog!

Don’t worry though, I’ve still been¬†saving money, keeping grocery costs low and cooking as much as I can from scratch. This month I’ve split my grocery budget into separate amounts for food and toiletries so I can better track what’s going where, but I’ll do a proper round-up at the end of the month and set a target on here for October too.

I’m really looking forward to sharing some new recipes on here. Since I started my new job three months ago, I’ve gotten into a slightly different cooking and meal routine. This is partly because I’ve been exercising a lot more and trying to eat really healthily, and it means I’ve been really experimenting, especially with lunch and breakfast foods. These new recipes aren’t always the cheapest though (I don’t eat soup as much now and given my usual soup recipe was about 12p a portion I can’t get salad anywhere near as cheap!) so my next challenge is to ‘frugalise’ some of these new recipes up a bit more ūüôā

Today I’ve got a quick and easy recipe for a vegetarian lentil pate, perfect for an easy lunch with crackers or pitta bread, or even used as a sandwich spread. You could also serve it for a vegetarian starter or (as I did today) as part of a mezze platter for a main course. We had it along with hummous, garlic mayo, pittas, a bulghar wheat salad and roasted veg –¬†SO tasty.

The recipe was kindly shared on the MSE forums by another user a few years ago, though I’ve very slightly adapted it below. It doesn’t look the prettiest but it’s tasty and incredibly cheap – mostly because it has no expensive ingredients in it. However, to get it so cheap I’ve been really embracing buying in bulk lately – the 2kg bag of red lentils for ¬£2 is the one I actually have and I bought a similar 4kg bag of onions from Morrisons a few weeks ago. Even if you don’t want to invest in giant bags of these of these it’ll still be fairly cheap though.

Lentil pate (makes 4-6 lunch portions at 7-11p per portion)

  • 150g red lentils 15p (TRS, ¬£2 for 2kg)
  • 1 pint water, just boiled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil¬†4p (Asda, ¬£2.89 for 1ltr)
  • 2 medium onions, about 250g, finely chopped or grated 11p (¬£1.67 for 4 kilos)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed 6p (90p for 4 bulbs)
  • 2-3 tbsp dried mixed herbs (you can either use a generic mixed herbs or mix in whichever dried herbs you like – I used some mixed herbs then added extra basil, oregano and thyme) 5p (Smartprice, 25p for 18g)

Add the red lentils and water to a large saucepan, bring to the boil then turn the heat down to the lowest setting and put the lid on the pan. Leave to cook for around 12-15 minutes, checking on it and stirring occasionally: you’ll need to take it off the heat when it starts catching on the bottom, but you want most of the liquid to have gone. Stir well with a wooden spoon to mash slightly.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions gently for several minutes until starting to colour. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute or two. Remove from the heat and add to the lentils, along with the dried herbs.

At this point, you’ll need to season quite well with salt and pepper – lentils can be really bland unless you salt them well, so I used about half a teaspoon here. Leave to cool and serve with crackers, pittas or toast.

Variations¬†– try swapping the mixed herbs for curry powder or other spices. Or use different lentils or beans, though they’ll be a little more expensive. The original recipe also suggested adding a spoonful of vinegar at the end to season, which I think would be la nice touch but I totally forgot about when I made mine.

Prices checked using Asda online delivery service.


Grocery Challenge Update 14/04

English: Tesco at Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang

English: Tesco at Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve had a busy day today and after the Tesco delivery, I spent loads of time in the kitchen, prepping food for next week. ¬†Wanted pie for dinner (I’ll post about that later this week) so I made chicken stock with two chicken carcasses from the freezer, rescued all the meat from the bones and made chicken pie for dinner with this. ¬†I also made my usual bread and soup for work lunches – I’ll share the soup recipe below for you as a little Sunday bonus.

I seem to have spent quite a lot this week so it’ll be a little tight to finish off the month (only ¬£25 budget left until the 25th!). ¬†Still need to get the steak for Saturday as well…

Grocery Challenge Update Рnew total £159.01

08/04 - stopped at local Tesco on way home:
RTC baby swede 13p
RTC pittas 19p
RTC white rolls 26p
RTC spring onions 19p

10/04 - nipped into Morrisons:
Milk, 2pints 89p
Value laundry liquid £1.60

12/04 - had to make a birthday cake so bought:
6 free range eggs £1.48
1kg caster sugar £1.70

14/04 Tesco delivery, delivery cost £5, used £2 voucher:
Whole cauliflower £1.98
750g beef mince £3.50
Tesco Mixed leaf salad x2 £2
Tesco Ham 115g £1
Whole milk 4 pints £1.29
Goats cheese 125g £1.35
Fresh greens sliced 300g £1.20
E'day Value unsalted butter 98p
E'day Value mushrooms 75p
Bacon 16 rashers £3.50
Creamfields single cream 300ml 69p
Red cabbage £1.10
Baking potatoes x4 £1.00
Discos 6pk x2 £2.50
Salad tomatoes 6pk £1.00
E'day Value plain flour 1.5kg 45p
Tesco toothpaste 100ml 40p
Chinese 5 spice £1.19
E'day Value bran flakes 750g 88p
Tesco dried cat food 1kg £1.39
Red chillies 60g 60p
E'day Value tuna in brine x2 £1.50
E'day Value penne 500g 30p
E'day Value chopped tomatoes x3 93p
Wheatfield Bakery giant baps 4pk x2 £1.40
Green beans 220g £1
Tesco cola x8 £4
E'day Value mayonnaise 500ml 42p
Imperial Leather shower gel x2 £1.89
E'day Value pears 4pk 90p
E'day Value carrots 1.5kg 69p
E'day Value garlic 3pk 69p
Gilette blue disposable razors x4 £8*
Alberto balsam shampoo & conditioner £1.80
Blue Dragon creamed coconut 200g £1
E'day Value vegetable oil 1lt £1.45
Bananas x6 57p
Courgettes x2 75p

*These are the only razors Mr Chilli likes, and it was a good offer, so bought enough to last for a while.


Sun 14th – chicken & mushroom pie, veg and potatoes

Mon 15th – goat’s cheese pasta with salad

Tues 16th – vegetable korma with chapattis

Wed 17th – baked potatoes with tuna and salad

Thurs 18th – thai-style stir-fry

Fri 19th – burger night!

Sat 20th – a steak meal from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals

Tomato, bean and veg soup (makes 5 lunch servings)

photo (71)

This was meant to be a sort of easy minestrone without pasta in it – it turned out quite tasty. ¬†Haven’t had time to price it but it should work out pretty cheap as well. ¬†One thing I forgot that I meant to do was add in a parmesan rind while it was cooking, so do try this if you have one.

  • 4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 baby swede, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tin black-eyed beans (can swap for any beans really)
  • 1/2 bag spring greens, or equivalent amount cabbage or other greens
  • Veg stock to cover
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp paprika

Heat a little vegetable oil in a big pan and gently fry the onions and carrot for several minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the tomatoes, swede, oregano and paprika and well cover with vegetable stock.  Cook for about 45 minutes or an hour, until all the veg are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed.  Add the beans and spring greens and cook until the greens are wilted and tender.  Season well to taste.

How’s your Sunday been – have you made any food for the week? ¬†Do you do a roast on Sunday or keep it cheap? ¬†And are you managing to keep in budget this month?