Supermarket scavenging

We all love a good bargain, right? Well, currently I’m taking this to another level. I’ve set myself a challenge on how much we can reduce our grocery bill. But it’s not eating cheap food… it’s being creative with cut price food.

You know the stuff – the ones with yellow labels on at the end of the day in the supermarket. The stuff that attracts a milling crowd who have an overwhelming urge to touch everything before they snaffle it up and triumphantly add it to their trolley.I

I am now one of those supermarket scavengers… Oh yes! And I love it!

So as well as bringing you highlights from the garden, I’ll be sharing creative ways of transforming cut-price food into gourmet delights*

*Actually I’ll be having a bit of help with that… my chap trained as a chef so he’s pretty handy in the kitchen

Roasted sweet potato, butternut squash and red pepper soup

A perfect hearty, healthy, winter soup recipe…
Serves 4

You’ll need:

Drizzle of oil
1 large onion
1/2 butternut squash
1 medium sweet potato (approx 300g)
1 red pepper
Sprinkle of chilli flakes
Vegetable stock cube
A splash of milk
Salt and pepper to season
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)

I use a soup maker, but a large pan does just the same job – you’ll just have to transfer to a blender after it’s cooked and cooled down a bit.

What to do:

Pre-heat  the oven to 1800

Peel the squash and sweet potato, remove any seeds and chop into rough chunks

Put on a baking tray with the roughly chopped, deseeded pepper

Add the chopped onion

Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle sparingly with chilli flakes and salt and pepper. If you want to, you can add about a quarter of a teaspoon of cumin seeds too

Roasted red pepper, butternust squash and sweet potato soup

Roasted red pepper, butternust squash and sweet potato soup

Roast in the oven for about half an hour, or until the squash is soft but the peppers and onions aren’t burning – leave to cool slightly before handling

Transfer the tray of vegetables to the soup maker, sprinkle in a vegetable stock cube and add enough water to make 1400ml

Bring to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes, then blend until smooth

Add a splash of milk to the final stage of blending

Roasted butternut squash and red pepper soup

Another quick and easy soup recipe – delish!
Serves 4

You’ll need:

Knob of butter
1 large onion
1 butternut squash
1 red pepper
2 cloves of garlic
Sprinkle of chilli flakes
Vegetable stock cube
A generous dollop of creme fraiche
Salt and pepper to season

I use a soup maker, but a large pan does just the same job – you’ll just have to transfer to a blender after it’s cooked and cooled down a bit.

What to do:

Pre-heat  the oven to 1800

Cut the butternut squash and red pepper in half, remove the seeds and place on a baking tray

Drizzle with a little olive oil, peel and crush the garlic cloves, and pop one in each halves of the squash, and sprinkle sparingly with chilli flakes

Roast in the oven for about half an hour, or until the squash is soft but the peppers aren’t burning – leave to cool slightly before handling

Put the knob of butter in the soup maker on ‘Low’, add the onion and red peppers, stir and leave to sweat for a minute.

Scoop out the butternut squash flesh, and add to the soup

Add enough stock to make 1400 ml.

Simmer for half an hour, then blend until smooth

Season with a little salt and pepper, and stir in the creme fraiche just before serving.

Enjoy!

Roasted butternut squash and red pepper soup

Roasted butternut squash and red pepper soup

Carrot and lentil soup

Another concoction using fridge leftovers – scrummy!

You’ll need:

Knob of butter
1/2 large onion
1 washed, chopped leeks
4 peeled, chopped carrots (medium size)
4 dessert spoons of dried red lentils (about 75g)
Vegetable stock cube
Salt and pepper to season

I use a soup maker, but a large pan does just the same job – you’ll just have to transfer to a blender after it’s cooked and cooled down a bit.

What to do:

Put the knob of butter in the soup maker on ‘Low’, add the onion and leek, stir and leave to sweat for a minute.

Add the carrots and lentils, and add enough stock to make 1400 ml.

Simmer for half an hour, then blend until smooth

Season with a little salt and pepper just before serving.

Optional extras

Give a bit of a chilli kick by adding half a chopped red chilli pepper at the same time as the onion and leek

Stir in a little cream or creme fraiche just before serving

Bon appetit!

Carrot and lentil soup

Carrot and lentil soup

Leek and potato soup

I’ve never made this before, so thought I’d give it a go. Just had a taste, and it was blooming delish – so definitely worth a blog…

You’ll need:

Knob of butter
3 washed, chopped leeks
2 medium-sized peeled and cubed potatoes
a vegetable stock cube
a good glug of cream
Black pepper and salt to taste

I use a soup maker, but a large pan does just the same job – you’ll just have to transfer to a blender after it’s cooked.

What to do:

Put the knob of butter in the soup maker on ‘High’, add the leeks, stir and leave to sweat for a minute.

Add the potatoes, and add enough stock to make 1400 ml.

Simmer for half an hour, then blend until smooth.

Stir in a dollop of cream, and season with some freshly ground black pepper and salt.

Enjoy!

Leek and potato soup

Leek and potato soup

Sprout and potato soup: 5p a portion

In the spirit of growing your own and trying to be a bit more self-sufficient, I’m always on the lookout for ways to make nutritious meals out of next to nothing.

Yesterday I dug up my first sprout stick. All summer it looked like it was going to be the King of the Sprout patch, as it grew thick and strong, and quite frankly, made the other specimens pale into relative insignificance. I’d wander past, giving it a sage little nod, thinking ‘You’re Christmas Dinner!’

However, as time went on, it turned out to be  all leaf and no action – the sprouts growing on it were not tight and nutty, so we ended slapping them around a pie – actually quite tasty albeit odd shaped.

I then decided that there was loads more foliage on the plant that might be useful, so hunting around, I came across this recipe: Anthony Worrall Thompson’s sprout and potato soup.  As the recipe called for the sprouts to be shredded and then blended, I reasoned that it really wouldn’t matter what shape or size they were at the start. Add the fact that I’d just picked up a bag of potatoes for 15p at the late night Tesco, and everyone’s a winner.

So I popped all the ingredients into my soup maker last night, and hey presto: half an hour later I had enough soup  for my lunch for the next few day. For about 5p per portion. I’m just hoping there are no nasty… ahem… side effects of so much sprout concentrate…

Sprout and potato soup

Something this colour has to be either extremely good for you, or extremely bad!

They say that ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’, but I think I’ve nearly cracked that one!